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Archive for September, 2010

Is This a Trend? Clarkston Michigan Sales are Up AGAIN!

Let’s hope it is. The past couple days I wrote similar posts for Lake Orion and Oxford. And today I’m happy to write that sales are up, AGAIN, in Clarkston Michigan. The median sales price was up for the first half of the year, up through the end of August, and up for the past 4 months in a row. Unit sales are also up and total sales volume for Clarkston Michigan homes is also up from last year.

clarkston michigan home sales

in the graph above the pink line is for 2010 and the blue line is for 2009

In fact- unit sales through August 2010 are up from 2009, 2008 and 2007. Even though unit sales are up, bank owned sales are down from 2009- 95 bank owned sales though August 2010. 101 bank owned sales through August 2009.

Median Sales Price:
2010: $157,450
2009: $142,000

Units Sold:
2010: 268
2009: 209

Total Sales Volume:
2010: $48,227,480
2009: $$37,348,470

Bank Owned Sales:
2010: 95 units or 35.4% of total sales
2009: 101 units or 48.3% of total sales

Short Sales:
2010: 64 units or 23.9% of total sales
2009: 27 units or 12.9% of total sales

As of 9/18/2010 there were 223 total listings for sale in Clarkston Michigan with a median asking price of $217,000. On 9/28/2009 there were 258 homes for sale with a median asking price of $239,450.

For more detailed information about a particular house or neighborhood a market analysis would need to be done for that specific home. Below are links to some pages where I’ve been compiling information (including sales data) for specific subdivisions and lakes (for lakefront homes). The above numbers are averages for Clarkston Michigan/Independence Township with some additional date to help interpret the data. The more specific the geographic area, the more one can glean from the data.

 North Oakland County Michigan Neighborhoods

North Oakland County Michigan Lakefront Homes for Sale

Search the MLS

Clarkston Michigan Homes for Sale

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Oxford Michigan Homes- Prices Up! Inventory Down!

Does this mean Oxford Michigan real estate has reached rock bottom? Who knows? What I can state is that at the end of August:

Unit sales are up 17.5%

Median sales price is up 15%

Total sales volume through August 2010 was $30,807,690 vs $22,988,190 in 2009. In fact the total sales volume is up slightly from 2007 and 2008, too.

oxford michigan home sales data

Active listings on 9/18/2010- 119 with a median asking price of $189,900
Active listings on 9/28/2009- 165 with a median asking price of $238,500

Bank owned sales are on the decline:
Through August 2010: 71 bank owned sales or 41.5% of total sales
Through August 2009: 70 bank owned sales or 49.6% of total sales

Short sales are on the increase:
Through August 2010 there were 33 short sales or 19.3% of total sales
Through August 2009 there were 14 short sales or 9.9% of total sales

The decrease in foreclosure sales in Oxford Michigan has contributed to the increase in the median sales price. Many of the bank owned homes are on the lower end of the price spectrum. There are still deals to be had- private home owners need to price their homes like a foreclosure in order to sell. Interest rates are low. Property taxes have been dropping and are more in line with the true value of Oxford Michigan homes

We will not know when we’ve hit the bottom until we’ve passed it. But whether you buy at the bottom of the curve or a just near the bottom, this is a great time to buy that home you may not have been able to afford in the past. It is also a great time to buy investment properties- using cheap money to buy cheap houses in an environment where rental demand is high.

Specific Neighborhood Sales Data

Oakland County Michigan Lakefront Homes For Sale

Oxford Michigan Homes For Sale

Search The MLS

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Lake Orion Michigan- Sale Prices Up 4 Months In a Row!

Normally hearing that year to date median sale prices are down 3.4% wouldn’t be good new. But when you consider Lake Orion Michigan/Orion Township Michigan prices have been plummeting since 2005, a slight decrease in prices truly is good news.

Even better news is the median sale price has been up over the previous year the last 4 months in a row. And the extraordinary news is the total sales volume is up from last year.

lake orion michigan median sales price by month

in the graph above the yellow line is for 2010 and the blue line is for 2009

Median Sales Price Through August
2009: $152,000
2010: $146,850

Unit Sales Through August
2009: 227
2010: 270

Bank Owned Sales Through August
2009: 113
2010: 99

Short Sales Through August
2009: 20
2010: 54

Total Sales Volume Through August
2009: $38,935,780
2010: $41,645,700

Active Listings
9/28/2009: 235 with a median asking price of $209,900
9/18/2010: 159 with a median asking price of $174,900

Are we on a recovery in Lake Orion Michigan? It’s hard to say right now; only time will tell if this is a trend. The reduction of both bank owned homes and the major reduction of inventory could certainly contribute to a stabilization of prices. The increase of both unit sales and total volume is also encouraging.

The best way to determine how a specific subdivision or neighborhood is doing is to contact me for a market analysis or for a more general idea of neigoborhood prices check out the neigoborhood pages linked below.

Individual Neighborhood Sales and Community Information

Lake Orion Michigan/Orion Township Michigan Sales Data

Lake Orion Michigan Homes For Sale

Search The MLS

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It’s no big secret that Michigan residents in general have been going through some rough economic times. I say in general, because not everybody is hurting. But with unemployment/underemployment at 20% or more many Michiganders have felt a financial pinch.

Some of that financial pinch shows in many of the houses that have sold in the past few years. Not as well maintained and some foreclosures are downright destroyed. For those who have taken advantage of our buyers’ market, you will more than likely need/want to make repairs and improvements on those homes. And while making those repairs and improvements you may want to consider the fact that the cost of energy has been on the increase with no end in site at this time. Personally, my electric use is down, but my electric bill is higher than for the same period last year.

We can only tackle the cost of power itself with constant contact with Congress people (Cap and Trade, etc) and in the voting booth this fall. But we DO have some control on the amount of electricity and gas we use and get some of our tax dollars back in the process via tax credits and rebates.

There are Federal tax credits that don’t expire until 2016 for items such as Geothermal Heat Pumps, Residential Wind Turbines and Solar Energy Systems- 30% of cost with no upper limit.

And there are Federal tax credits that expire December 31, 2010 for 30% of the cost up to $1500 for items such as “biomass stoves” known to the rest of us as wood stoves (or corn, or pellets), central air, heating, water heaters, insulation, windows, doors, and roofing. You should go to the federal government web site for details and exclusions and consult with your accountant before purchasing anything.

Not covered are items like ceiling fans, CFL’s- those swirly light bulbs made in China (the last American light bulb factory just closed down), toilets, electric furnaces/boilers (like we all have natural gas available), clothes washers and dryers….

You state may have it’s own credits or rebates. Some of the rebates for the state of Michigan have run out of money (but there is sill money in the budget to promote breast feeding), but there is still some money left for the purchase of refrigerators, clothes washers and dishwashers. Check this web site for details.

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Michigan Tax Legislation Now in the House of Representatives- Good News for Home Buyers

A brief explanation of how Michigan property taxes work. We have what is called the homestead exemption for a person’s primary residence in The Great Lakes State, which basically means if the house is your primary residence you get a break on the millage rate- up to 18 mills. On a house valued at $200K- or a taxable value of $100K- 18 mills equals $1800. Not chump change.

The way the law currently works is if you buy a house that isn’t a primary residence, such as a bank owned home, you must close and file your homestead exemption with the township prior to May 1. If you file after May 1, you will pay the higher rate for the remainder of the year. So if you close on your house in June, you will have both the summer and winter tax bill at the higher rate.

Today I received an E-News Special Alert in my in box from the Michigan Association of Realtors letting me (and everybody else in their e-blast) know that Senate Bill 77 passed the Michigan Senate today with a vote of 36-0 and now moves to the House of Representatives. The email states that “This legislation would provide for an additional principal residence filing date of October 1st.” It goes on to state an amendment was added to move that date to November 1 for 2010 only. It wasn’t specific as to whether you have to file ON Oct. 1 or BY Oct. 1. As I find out more details, I will update you.

In the meantime you may want to contact your state rep to let them know how you want them to vote. I have also found when I need more details on a piece of legislation, my rep has had no problems in the past emailing me the complete text of a bill. Remember- our representatives work FOR us.

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Why an Oakland County Michigan Foreclosure Listing May Not be the Best “Deal”

I often get inquiries from potential buyers who want to look at foreclosure listings. No short sales. No “regular” listing. Just foreclosures. Sometimes foreclosure listings in Oakland and Lapeer County Michigan are GREAT deals. Often times foreclosure listings are grossly under-priced. And often times those listings need major work and won’t mortgage in their current condition.

Not every foreclosed listing in Oakland and Lapeer County areas are dumps; there are some beautiful homes in pristine condition. Sometimes they’re priced at fair market value and sometimes they are grossly under-priced. But the sad truth is that every time a grossly under-priced home sells they bring down the value for ALL homes in the area. So if a “regular” seller truly wants to sell, he needs to price it like a foreclosure. And as long as prices are on the decline, short sale listings need to sell for bit less than foreclosures or regular sales, since it takes about 6 months to get a short sale approved and the house will need to appraise 6 months out.

I was showing houses recently in Waterford Michigan, under $100,000, and my client even mentioned the difference in condition between the bank owned and private owned homes.

My suggestion to those who want a deal. Look at ALL the listings that fit your criteria (unless you don’t have time to wait on a short sale). You could miss out on a great deal if you are only looking at foreclosed homes– at least that is the case in Southeast Michigan.

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The Foreclosure Process in Southeast Michigan

Many of the numbers the media likes to spout about homes going into foreclosure are a bit exaggerated. When you read about the number of homes in foreclosure the stats often quoted are the notices of foreclosure that have been served- not the new bank owned listings. There are also companies like Realty Trac that publish specific houses as foreclosed homes. And technically while that that may be true, those houses are not for sale and may never come up for sale.

Below is my attempt to dispell the myths floating around about foreclosures and explain as simply as possible how the foreclosure process works in Southeast Michigan.

Typically a person needs to be behind on their house payment by 3 months or more before they receive a notice of foreclosure. That notice of foreclosure will have a date for the sheriff’s sale– usually a couple months off. The bank (or first lien holder if there are multiple loans on a house) will buy the house back at the sheriff’s sale for the amount of the mortgage or fair market value or someplace in between.

After the sheriff’s sale the owner has what is called a redemption period to pay off their mortgage(s). Most homes will have a 6 month redemption period. Homes on 3 plus acres will have a year to redeem. During this entire time the owner still has full rights of use and has the ability to sell. But the media will still call these homes bank owned or “in foreclosure” during this period.

Many of these homes will never go back to the bank. Some people will catch up before it ever gets to the sheriff’s sale. Some will sell during that time; some people still do have equity in their homes and others may be willing and able to bring cash to the closing. Others will sell via the short sale route. Many times a lender will delay the sheriff’s sale if the owner is in the process of a short sale. Some will even extend the redemption period if necessary rather than take the house back and sell as an REO (bank owned) property.

I’m finding that the amount of true bank owned sales in North Oakland County are on the decline and a major increase in short sale closings. For very detailed sales statics please click the links below for very dry and for many boring sales data for Lake Orion, Oxford and Clarkston Michigan.

Lake Orion Michigan sales data

Oxford Michigan sales data

Clarkston Michigan sales data

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