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1st Quarter 2012 County Market Reports

The first quarter County Market Reports are further proof of what we are seeing every day: Sales are picking up and inventory is getting scarce. Seven of the eight markets tracked showed sales unit gains over last year. Declining home inventories are moving all areas closer to a Seller’s Market, with many of the lower priced areas already crossing the Seller’s Market barrier (under three months of inventory). The vast majority of areas are sitting in a neutral market. When we examine those neutral markets, we see about one-third of the market in a solid Seller’s Market with multiple bids and two-thirds still sitting at a Buyer’s Market, typically because of price or condition. Even in the upper-end markets, where we still see inventories in excess of 12 months, the one-third/two-thirds pattern still follows and is even more pronounced since overpricing tends to be more prominent in the over $400,000 price ranges.

Wayne County: MSI improved 14%, sales 4% and inventories fell 11%. Excluding Detroit, Wayne MSI for under $75,000 was actually under three months. For the first time in a while, the City of Detroit did not fare as well as the rest of the county in terms of sales activity.

Oakland County: MSI improved 21%, sales 5% and inventories fell 16%. Under $100,000 moved to a Seller’s market with the balance of the county in neutral territory.

Macomb County: MSI improved 50%, sales 16% and inventories fell 40%. Macomb made the most significant improvement over last year and is the first county to move into a Seller’s Market overall.

Livingston County: MSI improved 18%, sales 13% and inventories fell 7%. Under $100,00 moved to a Seller’s Market with 75% of the market at Seller’s or Neutral.

Washtenaw County: MSI improved over 25% for combined condo and single family sales, sales fell 8% and inventories fell 30%. Although sales did not match last year, Washtenaw has been the strongest market in SE Michigan, so quarter-over-quarter gains will be more difficult.  Inventories continued to fall, improving the strength of the market, even without an increase in sales.

Grand Traverse Market Area: MSI improved 26%, sales 8% and inventories fell 16%. The NW Michigan markets are about six months behind SE Michigan, but continue to see improvements in sales, and MSI for waterfront and non-waterfront properties at all price points. Under $100,000 has moved to a Seller’s Market.

St. Clair County: MSI improved 43%, sales 48% and inventories fell 14%.  Like Macomb, St Clair County jumped over last year, with 92% of the market in neutral territory.

Genesee County: MSI improved 25%, sales 19% and inventories fell 11%. Neutral markets make up 96% of Genesee. Both Genesee and St. Clair are particularly hard hit in terms of economic growth, but great pricing seems to be taking hold and drawing activity to both markets.

We’ll be looking forward to second quarter market reports where the upward trends will possibly grow even stronger. All signs point to a Seller’s Market in the near future.

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