We are now more than five weeks into the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order in Michigan and look forward to being able to resume in-person real estate activity on a limited basis Thursday. Somewhat surprisingly, real estate has remained relatively strong here in West Michigan, and there are positive indications that it will continue to get stronger and bounce back quickly. Here are some stats showing how our market is comparing with other areas nationally.
- Most large metro areas have seen a decline in listings of 50%-85% year over year. Currently in West Michigan, we have only seen a decline of 40%-50%. This puts us on the low end in declines. We are outpacing the nation on new listing inventory despite being under one of the strictest stay-home orders in the country. This is a good sign of the strength of our market and the flexibility of our industry.
- Nationally after 30-35 days under shelter-in-place orders, even in the markets that were hardest hit by the virus, there is a trend showing an increase in listings taken. This can be attributed to agents and sellers feeling more comfortable operating under the new rules and also sellers who were tired of waiting to list. With the partial lift of restrictions on real estate starting Thursday, we expect to see a lot of listing activity.
- The absorption rate (listings to pending sales ratio) in West Michigan is stronger this year than it was last year. Last year, we sold 92% of the inventory that hit the market during this time. This year, overall numbers are down, of course, but we actually sold 96% of the inventory that came on the market. This data shows continued strong demand in our market.
For these reasons and more, we can look forward to a much-anticipated, even if somewhat delayed, spring real estate market in West Michigan. As in-person real estate activity begins to restart Thursday, we expect a flood of activity.
However, we know too that this will not be “business as usual.” The health and safety of our communities still is our top priority. Realtors and real estate companies have been preparing for this reopening for weeks and are ready to reengage safely. Together, we can look forward to real estate being a big part of what helps us all move ahead.