Fox 17 Lead Story May 12, 2021: Open houses generating more interest in Grand Rapids

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Grand River Realty Broker Pete Bruinsma was interviewed on Fox 17 news this week after his Instagram photo generated mixed feelings, displaying lines out the front door of a Saturday open house on a sunny afternoon along Riverside Park. While Mr. Bruinsma never mentioned a housing boom or lack thereof, the interview touched on a few points of interest:

  • Sustained and increased demand is fueling the market with unparalleled competition.
  • Markets in which prices are doubling and tripling are the outliers. For example, Colorado resort towns are experiencing a boom due to some absolutely stunning market shifts fueled by the super rich.
  • Grand Rapids prices are rising quickly, but this is not connected to the “insane” figures coming from outlying “exceptions.”
  • Median prices for single family homes in Grand Rapids have increased by 12.5% in the past 12 months from $189,000 to $212,000. This is explainable, and not part of a “bubble” like 2008’s lending-fueled Great Recession.
  • The median sales price for the same period the preceding year was close to 8% (from about $176,000 to $189,000).

Why does this housing market favor sellers so heavily?

  • Millennials are the largest living generation and are currently more ready than ever to make big, long-term financial decisions.
  • 2020’s COVID restrictions disallowed many buyers from entering homes, with Real Estate activity nearly halted temporarily. Even long open house lines outside of a home make many onlookers uncomfortable, after Michigan has achieved a 50% vaccination rate.
  • New home starts are behind pace in such a demand-rich environment, due in part to supply chain and labor shortages making it very hard for new construction.
  • Grand Rapids is a desirable place to live, with home prices often still priced below the cost of leasing.

Fox 17 Post

Home prices recovered from 2008’s crash and have been increasing since 2009. People’s memories of the trauma stemming from the foreclosure flood and sustained shadow inventory, are all too fresh. Here’s an article Mr Bruinsma wrote in 2015 when many people were worried about sustained housing appreciation.

Median single family home prices on the rise in the City of Grand Rapids are currently on a sustained rise:

Link to Fox 17’s blog post about the open house photo: