Raising the roof

Home prices that were once a sore subject are starting to soar.
Marie Havenga
Apr 6, 2013

As the nation climbs from an economic cellar, the door has opened for escalating home prices. They're up 10.2 percent nationally from this time last year — the largest jump since 2006.

Northwest Ottawa County appears to be on an even steeper ride.

“We're stabilizing and we're well on our way,” veteran local real estate agent Debbie Reynolds said. “Homes are selling almost as quickly as we're listing them.”

Prices on home sales in Grand Haven, Spring Lake and Ferrysburg have vaulted 20 percent over the last year, according to West Michigan Lakeshore Association of Realtors CEO Dale Zahn.

During the first quarter of 2012, 148 local homes sold for an average $165,180.

In the first three months of 2013, six fewer homes sold, but the average sales price jumped to $200,164.

“I am cautiously optimistic and stop just short of saying we are officially over the hump," Zahn said. "But from all indications, we are definitely seeing a lot of bright light at the end of the tunnel we were in.”

The glut of foreclosure inventory has faded, people are regaining confidence in the economy and the stability of their jobs, and new jobs are blossoming through industrial expansion, according to Zahn. Throw in historically low interest rates and people are buying homes, and spending more than they have in recent years.

“The industry is enthused, but is closely monitoring policies from the federal level on down that could impact the recovery,” Zahn said.

Any measures that tighten the belt on financing — such as higher credit score requirements, larger down-payment mandates, or the elimination or reduction of the mortgage interest deduction — could slam the door on the market, Zahn said.

To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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