West Side Home Prices: Blowing Up, or Recovering?

Here’s an opinion piece I wrote that was published in the rapidian, in response to the article Just Out of Reach: Housing Prices Climb on Grand Rapids’ West Side





Everyone agrees, 2015 was a crazy year for Real Estate in West Michigan. Why, to what extent, and how that affects our market are questions that are less processed and understood. Here, I’ll share some analysis and interpretation, to add perspective and to assist with drawing some conclusions. I’ll start broad and finish by examining the elusive “West Side” of Grand Rapids.

2006 Sales

2006 Sales

Number of Sales: 83
Average Time on Market: 72 days
Average Sale Price: $92,468
Median Sale Price: $92,900
Low/High: $35,000 – $155,000

2014 Sales

2014 Sales

Number of Sales: 83
Average Time on Market: 35 days
Average Sale Price: $80,876
Median Sale Price: $81,000
Low/High: $13,500 – $233,600

2015 Sales

2015 Sales

Number of Sales: 82 (As of 12/14/15)
Average Time on Market: 36 days
Average Sale Price: $91,873
Median Sale Price: $84,950
Low/High: $19,000 – $325,000

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!


Will Downtown Grand Rapids get a Streetcar after all?

“The Rapid public-transit system is paying HDR Inc. $293,895 to refine the 2008 study, updating what an electric streetcar line would cost and how the money could come together. An advisory committee started meeting last month.

“‘We’re going to build on that (2008 study),’ said John Logie, a former Grand Rapids mayor who is chairman of the committee. ‘We think the timing is right. The economy is coming back.'”




The Recession is Over, Tell a Friend

Here’s an excerpt from a great article about West Michigan’s economic recovery published last week in Rapid Growth GR.

Here’s the follow-up article about wages, which suggests an across-the-board wage increase to invest in our local economy.


“Household income is up, nearly 10% in the last year alone. We’re almost caught up to the national average in household income. But apparently that’s not good enough for local pundits.

“Home sales in the Grand Rapids area are at a record high. Homes (listings) on the local real estate market are at an all time low, at about 2.9 months of inventory (ask your Realtor what that means). We’ll give you a hint: homes priced competitively are being snatched up at a breakneck pace. Homebuilders are seeing a pace of construction they haven’t seen in about 6 or 7 years. But apparently still not good enough.

“Apartments in the Grand Rapids metro area are, according to many sources, going on waiting lists. Downtown developer 616 Development has reported that they have close to 800 people on a waiting list for the 50 or so apartments they have under development. Suburban apartment complexes are reporting similar situations. Still not good enough.”

More here.

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

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

Pending Home Sales Rise Again in November, Highest in a Year-and-a-Half













Link to National Association of Realtors Press Release Here.

According to the NAR, “Pending Sales” of residential property have rose in the midwest by 3.3% in the past month, and are 9.5% higher than one year ago at this time.

According to a separate study entitled “Existing Home Sales Continue to Climb in November,” it has been found that “Sales reached the highest mark in 10 months and are 34 percent above the cyclical low point in mid-2010 – a genuine sustained sales recovery appears to be developing.”

Studies by Laurence Yun, Chief Economist of the NAR.


Vice President of 5 Banks Paid 10 Dollars Per Hour.

Jaw drop lately? 60 Minutes explains one reason for delays behind economic recovery.