Real estate’s ‘spring market’ shifts to summer


As with all sectors of the economy, the real estate industry has experienced its fair share of changes this year. Social distancing, use of PPE, working from home and daily video conferencing have all become regular parts of life and work.

Adapting to change has become a new norm for us all. Even our “spring market” in West Michigan — typically marked by a peak in listing and sales activity — has changed; it’s now emerging in our summer months, and that’s a good thing.

It is no surprise that in the initial weeks of the stay-home order in Michigan, real estate activity slowed. Even while prices remained strong and Realtors and consumers adapted (still managing to list and sell homes at a level of about 60% compared to the same time last year), activity was understandably impacted.

The real estate community helped lead the state back toward a safe return to in-person business operations in early May, and we began to see what we all had hoped for; listings came to market, buyers safely viewed properties in person and purchases increased.

Nearly overnight, the trend lines for listings and pending sales returned to previous year levels. The real estate surge typical of March, April and May is now projected for June, July and August.

What does that mean for us? It is a very positive indicator that the residential real estate market is not just weathering the changes 2020 has brought, but it is helping lead us through the economic challenges of these times.

We are not out of the woods yet, but we anticipate that real estate will continue to be a bright spot in the economic recovery, as home values continue to increase and activity bounces back.

Looking at the market ahead, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Inventory levels are low

Housing Inventories remain at the historic low levels that they were coming into this time —meaning prices are still strong and making it a good time to sell.

Mortgage interest rates are low

Mortgage interest rates and relative affordability of West Michigan housing make it an opportune time for buyers, as well.

The importance of home

We’ve all been reminded of the value of a home and wanting to make the most of life at home.  We’ll likely all be finding ways to “love where we live” more now than ever before.

For these reasons and more we are now experiencing a much anticipated, even if somewhat delayed, spring real estate market in West Michigan. As Realtors stand ready to serve, we also continue to serve safely. And together, we can look forward to real estate being a big part of what helps us all move ahead in 2020.

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