We’re halfway through the year! I’d like to share what’s happening in Grand Rapids’ real estate market and how it affects buyers and sellers.

The Market In General

This year has seen fewer new listings than last year in the same time frame (Jan 1 — July 21).

In the Grand Rapids area (pictured above), we’ve seen 7,660 single family homes listed this year compared to 8,960 in the same time frame last year — a 14% drop.

This is significant to me not only because of the amount of difference, but also because this time frame encompasses a key period of our seasonal home sale cycle.

The spring months see many homebuyers and sellers eager to put new year’s plans to action. In summer, families plan to move in between the school years.

Granted, you couldn’t really blame sellers for not taking the plunge in April this year, since effectively during that month buyers had to write offers on houses site unseen.

At the time I had suggested that real estate activity might possibly rebound in such a way that would make up for lost time.

During April 2020 new listings in Grand Rapids area dropped sharply. Source: FlexMLS.

We can clearly see a rebound in new listings in May and June (pictured above). But in the grand scheme of things, we haven’t had as many new listings as we’d need to keep even with last year.

And while new listings have decreased by 14% over last year, the number of listings under contract (those that secured a buyer), only dropped by 4%.

Practically, this means homes for sale are relatively scarcer now than they were last year.

I think this is probably one of the most defining elements in understanding our current market and the outcomes it will generate.

Buyers

The silver lining of this market is that mortgage interest rates have stayed low. This translates to lower monthly payments.

The challenge continues to be the relative scarcity of homes for sale. However, it’s worth saying that this has been the challenge for all of recent memory — and it’s certainly not insurmountable.

I will toot my own and Clarity Realty’s horn here and say that having a good agent who can advise you well and present your offers well will go a long way toward improving your experience in these circumstances.

We have been immersed in the “low inventory” real estate market and know what to do.

What’s more, the late summer months tend to see longer market times and less buyer competition, so if you were thinking about doing something now is an excellent time to give me a call and get things started.

Sellers

Overall, sellers are going to have a good time selling their homes given the current market conditions.

A relative scarcity of listings means buyers will generally be competing for them. This tends to drive prices upward and result in more favorable selling terms.

However, in the larger context of making a move to a new home, sellers who are planning to purchase a home must also consider the real estate market conditions they will face as buyers.

As noted above, there are advantages in terms of financing opportunities, but also familiar challenges in terms of the relative scarcity of homes for sale and the competition that generates among purchasers. There are several options for structuring a move in this type of market which I am happy to walk you through over a call.

Closing Statements

Thanks for reading along this far. This was a longer article than I intended from the outset, but once I started writing it I felt that some nuance was important.

I am looking forward to writing about some lighter topics, like my summer projects and my fondness for the Margarita.

I encourage you to like my Facebook page where I post updates and consider subscribing to email updates (on the sidebar to the right) so you never miss a post.