Monday, June 28, 2010

Clare County home sales increase; Gratiot, Isabella sales pace struggles

Saturday, June 26, 2010 7:25 AM EDT

Sun Online Editor

Realtors in Clare and Gladwin counties sold more homes in April than any April in this decade, and May's sales pace was the fastest in five years.

Meanwhile, members of the Central Michigan Association of Realtors reported sales at a near-average pace for the two months. Those agents, who work mainly in Isabella and Gratiot counties, sold 89 homes in April, compared to a five-year average of 81, but only 84 in May, compared to a five-year average of 97.

That's according to an analysis of recent sales figures released by the Michigan Association of Realtors trade group.

Prices paid for homes in Clare and Gladwin also recovered, but buyers there paid the lowest prices of anywhere in outstate Michigan. Only in economically ravaged Detroit were prices lower.

Members of the Clare-Gladwin Board of Realtors, which represents agents who do business mainly in those two counties, sold 65 properties during April and another 73 in June. The April sales pace is well above the five-year average of 46, and the May average also is considerably above the five-year average of 64 sales for the month.

The record sales pace for May was in 2005, when 74 properties changed hands.

So far this year, 253 properties have been sold by Clare-Gladwin agents, up nearly 19 percent from the first five months of last year.

The average sale price for the year so far is $62,787, up 7 percent form 2009's highly depressed average.

May's sales rate of 84 was the slowest May of the decade in the Gratiot-Isabella region.

So far this year, agents have sold 350 homes, compared to 365 in the first five months of 2009. The average sale price for the first five months of the year was $75,773, up 6.77 percent from 2009.

Prices increased in 37 of the 40 regions tracked by the statewide real estate marketing group. Prices fell only in Branch, Lenawee and Livingston counties.

Sales rates also increased in 30 of the 40 regions. Besides the decline in Gratiot and Isabella counties, the pace of sales of existing homes also fell in the west-central region, the Down River and Eastern Upper Peninsula regions, Branch, Hillsdale and Lenawee counties, and Detroit, Flint and Saginaw.

Overall, the pace of sales of existing residential properties was up nearly 5 percent in 2010 compared to the first five months of 2009, and prices were up nearly 11.5 percent, averaging $88,863.

Detroit continued to have the cheapest residential property in the state. Nearly 5,300 homes have been sold in the city since the start of the year at an average price of just $15,329. As low as that figure is, it's a third higher than 2009's average price through five months of $11,387.

Michigan's priciest real estate this year is in Emmet County, at the northern tip of the Lower Peninsula, where sales are up 39 percent over last year, and an average home sold for $187,296 during the first five months of the year, up 15.5 percent from last year.

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