Grand Rapids: Trulia’s Top Market to Watch in 2016

Grand Rapids, MI topped the December 2015 list from Ralph McLaughlin of (owned by Zillow). On December 9, 2015, Trulia released the list of “10 Hot Real Estate Markets to Watch in 2016.”


According to the study, “Each city was examined for affordability and strong job growth, plus other factors including vacancy rates, to determine which areas are contenders for growth in the year ahead.”

Full Article Here at, which includes the full list of top 10 markets.


The “What’s My Home Worth” Troll

“What’s My Home Worth?” A marketing hook equally brilliant and meaningless. A report automatically generated with the click of a button gives you a round number based on municipal records and sometimes other general data. What it accomplishes effectively is adding your name to a list of contacts that is sent to those who offer to pay for it.

Magic Home Evaluation Button

Magic Home Evaluation Button

Why not make the most important decision in the home selling process for yourself: Which local listing agent will you choose to hire? 

“Free Market Evaluations” do exist. These are a basic, stage-one component of what your agent of choice will do for you, usually with 12-24 hours. Insight varies depending on the agent. 

Thinking of selling? Good timing! I’d like to offer you a free, personalized market report on your home. Then we can meet to discuss its implications, have a Q&A, and talk proactive strategy. 

Here are links to my most recent listings and their results:

407 College SE
Listed $249,900, Sold Full Price, Discount for Inspections issues, $248,700, 3 Offers
Facilitated cleaning and refinishing hardwood floors.

110 East Elm
List $114,900, Sold $120,000, 3 Offers

1435 Colorado
List $127,000, Sold $129,900
Facilitated cleaning, painting, and refinishing hardwood floors

130 Ann Street
List $110,000, Sold $111,650, 2 Offers

321 Diamond NE
List $147,000, Sold $155,000, 5 Offers

505 Cherry SE #203
We purchased for $109,900 in 2014
Sold for $127,000 in 2015.

Services I Offer:
Analysis, Repairs & Renovation through my company, Advice on Staging, Advice on your next step

Referrals I Offer:
Staging, Major Repairs, Appraisals, Lenders

2014 Residential Avg Sale Price finishes at 2006 level in Grand Rapids Michigan

According to GRAR stats, the 7% rise in average home sale price in 2014 brought us right back up to the average sale price we were experiencing before 2007. Congrats Grand Rapids, Michigan we made it through to the other side!


Biggest real estate story of 2013: Homeowners gain $2.2 trillion in equity

Full Article at

“The biggest story in American real estate in 2013 hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves, so let’s shout this out: Homeowners’ net-equity holdings soared by $2.2 trillion between the third quarter of 2012 and the third quarter of this year, according to new data collected by the Federal Reserve.

“This is a record rebound for a 12-month period.

“And it’s crucially important in personal-financial terms for hundreds of thousands of owners who’ve been underwater on their mortgages for years.”

Grand Rapids Home Values Up 16 Percent After Healthy Spring Market

With the Spring Market well underway in Grand Rapids, its time to look back and see if the ecomonists favorable yet conservative predictions from 2012 have come true.  After the big and constant decline over the past few years, I’m happy to say that Real Estate is trending upward, probably faster than we were expecting.


Comparing January-April 2012-2013, the numbers are looking great. Here are a few facts that point to a recovering market:

Heritage Hill & surrounding historic district, Grand Rapids:
In 2012, 42 homes in the surveyed downtown area were sold from the beginning of the year through April, as compared to 43 homes sold during that same period in 2013. The average sale price was $189,000 in 2012, and $215,000 in 2013. That is a healthy increase of around 14% from last year to this year.

Other neighborhoods of note:

Grand Rapids Downtown Historic District: up 14%
Grand Rapids Northeast: up 11%
Walker: up 15%
Northwest Neighborhoods: up 17-27%
Northeast Side: up 5-38%
East Grand Rapids: up 20%
Southeast Areas: up 2-23%
Wyoming: up 15-23%
Grandville: up 9%
Kentwood Neighborhoods: up 9-13
West Side: up 8%
Grand Rapids Township: up 26%
Cascade: up 25%

Overall, the Greater Grand Rapids area has had a similar number of listings and sales in Spring 2013 as compared to Spring 2012, but the average sale price this year is $132,688 as compared to least year’s Spring average of $114, 626. That’s an almost 16% increase across the Greater Grand Rapids area.

Right now, consumer confidence is up and foreclosure listings are down. Over the next 2-3 years, the banks will be selling the rest of their Shadow Inventory, which are the foreclosures that remain from the dark period we just experienced. Still, there are far fewer foreclosure listings now than there have been in recent years, and the confidence of home sellers continues to grow along with sale prices.

With inventory this low and lots of buyers out there, the market seems to favor the seller. Still, there are some foreclosure listings in the mix, which jostle the recent memory of a heavily-weighted buyers market. Right now, it is a great time to engage in this Real Estate market, whether you plan buy or to sell. Buyers are faced with historically low interest rates coupled with low prices. Sellers are experiencing the most success since prior to 2008. These are good times.

All statistics courtesy of Grand Rapids Association of Realtors

National Home Prices Back to 2003 Levels

According to this article from CNN Money, the housing market has recovered to the point of around 2003, which is actually not too bad considering 2006 is widely-accepted as the peak of the real estate market. We wont be seeing 5-7% annual increases any time soon like we were predicting back then, but many economists are predicting a small 1-2% increase from this year to next.

Full article here.

West Michigan Real Estate Market Continues Noticeable Recovery

By Pete Bruinsma

Great news for people in West Michigan, the real estate market is finally recovering!

According to research on sold homes within the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors data range, February is when this year’s Spring market really kicked in, showing a 40% increase in sales volume in the region as compared to the year before.

Current reports show that the strengthening of West Michigan market will continue. Not only are total number of homes increasing, but value is also increasing. This is a good sign for people worried about foreclosures dragging down prices, bad news for those looking to capitalize on home flips and property investments.

GRAR stats from May 2011 show that 1100 homes were sold in West Michigan, as compared to 1400 in May 2012. Total sales volume in May of 2011 was $123 Million as compared to $180 Million this year.  That’s a 20% increase in number of homes sold, and a 32% increase in value.

June continues to be a hectic month for Realtors in the area, and listings continue to sell.

The numbers above are a good indicator that West Michigan is selling fewer “fire sale” listings, and more on normal terms. So how do these numbers translate to property value? CNN Money predicts that the average home in West Michigan will appreciate by 3.6% in the next year. People in West Mighigan, get ready for your homes to start appreciating again!

All Rights Reserved, © Pete Bruinsma 2012

BOBville still in the Books!

Greg Gilmore’s proposed concert venue and festival marketplace known as BOBville has received a go-ahead financing kick from Grand Rapids DDA. Last Wednesday the Board approved over $2.5 million in support for some major downtown projects, including $432,000 for the new entertainment structure next to the BOB.

Grand Rapids Downtown Urban Market Receives City Funding Approval

Last Wednesday the Grand Rapids DDA Board approved over $2.5 million in support for some major downtown projects. The  Downtown Urban Market project will receive $1,067,445 out of future tax revenue it generates.

3 Million Dollar Renovation of Fulton Street Farmers Market Unveiled

LINK to full article.

For over 80 years the Fulton Street Farmers Market has brought locally grown produce and homemade items to the heart of Grand Rapids. Last Tuesday the association unveiled an estimated $3 million renovation of the market that will improve vendor conditions and customer experience. The new designs include a 2,000-square-foot building, which will house 8-12 vendor stalls year round…

Photo Credit: Lott3Metz Architecture