Is it still possible for a regular person to buy a home in Grand Rapids Michigan in 2022?


Information is swirling about the housing market as buyers make plans for 2022. Interest rates are still attractive, payments are pretty affordable compared to rents. The question is, can a regular person just buy a home in this market?

This “active residential listings” chart has been receiving attention, and rightly so. Current Active listings are at a modern-day low. Currently, the number of homes with “sale pending” signs is 140% of the number of homes with active “for sale” (active) signs.

How about total number of new listings submitted to the MLS annually? Comparing 2015 to 2021, it looks like the annual number of homes listed is down by a total of 15%. That’s 2268 fewer annual listings per year, or 189 fewer listings per month. 2015 was a year when Realtors were fighting to prove a 2-5% increase to appraisers, often falling short, as many appraisal reports still somehow showed the Greater Grand Rapids market as “stable” as opposed to “appreciating.”

The red box illustrates an era when local inventory was flooded, with homes eventually ending up selling for pennies on the dollar. That took a few years to get past, and took homes away from a lot of people. People were trending out of homes fast, loans were harder to get, and rental investors made up a large portion of buyers. That’s one reason we saw the epic first time buyer tax credit in 2008-09.

Here’s an interesting chart. Number of homes sold does not seem to change much from year to year. This chart compares number of homes sold in January each year since 2012. The population of West Michigan is pretty stable. Confidence in 2022s housing market is high as people watch property values quickly increase. The group of active first time buyers, which drive the housing market, is increasing. Loans are easy to obtain and cheap, rents are going up, and the generation of Millennials in the age range of 26-41 are rapidly entering the market.

Solutions to low inventory are not super encouraging in the short term:
*Redistribute some rental homes from investors back to owners, left over from the foreclosure era. Offer investors incentives to sell rentals, possibly a reduction in capital gains tax or a creative local state or federal tax incentive
*More new construction, address labor shortages, address supply chain issues, incentivize builders?
*Interest rates raising, making homes less affordable
*Reduction in conglomerate purchases or REITs
*Reduced foreign investment
*Restrictions on short term rentals
*Buyer Fatigue
*Shift in demand
*Shift in population

Is it still possible for a regular person to buy a home in 2022?
Yes. A successful buyer will align with an experienced agent who understands the current market, property values, and has a strategy for this market. Agents at Grand River Realty have the knowledge, training, experience, and strategy that is necessary to be successful as a buyer in this competitive market. Here are some great Realtor® options.

Posted by Pete Bruinsma, Broker.
Pete’s Buyer Stats from 2021