Marketing condos

Ninety-six new residential units are planned for Grand Haven's Wharf Marina area, adding to the generous roster of condominium units already in the city. Realty experts say the new condos couldn't come at a better time.
Alex Doty
Sep 15, 2012


What used to be a five-year inventory of available condominiums, said developer John Rooks, has already dwindled to a nine-month to 18-month inventory. This massive project could be the first to come online in the rebounding economy.

Demand picks up

City Planner Kristin Turkelson said the condominium project comes at a time when supply is starting to shrink.

“Other than Grand Landing, we don’t have a large number of vacancies,” she said. “I think that the planning commissioners are very well aware of the condominium market … other than Grand Landing, we’re in a very good position.”

Wharf condo project developers have cited the amenity list of the proposed seven-story complex — indoor parking, impressive views, the convenience to boating and walking downtown — as reasons they believe the project will succeed.

“We have customers who are coming out of the marina who are interested in the purchase of a condo,” Rooks said.

Rooks noted that he wouldn’t begin construction until at least half of the units are pre-sold. The timeframe, he said, is about 18 months.

“The Grand Haven market has inventory, but I believe by the end of that 18-month period, it’ll be gone,” he said.

Condo sales increase

Local Realtors say they’ve noticed an increase in the number of people jumping on the condominium bandwagon.

“It’s been strong,” real estate agent Jake Hogeboom said. “What we’re seeing is more property selling than being listed.”

Hogeboom noted that property that is priced right is selling in a reasonable timeframe.

“As long as we see that trend, it will be back to where it needs to be and even out,” he said of the market.

Hogeboom isn’t the only Realtor to notice an increase in condo sales locally.

“I am very happy to talk about condos, because it has been non-stop,” agent Sandi Gentry said.

Gentry said that during the past few months, condo unit sales have been strong.

“It is incredibly good,” she said. “Every single month, we’ve exceeded our goals.”

Gentry said she thought low interest rates are helping to drive people toward condo purchases.

“Buyers are secure enough to make a purchase like that,” she said.

Different perspective

While Grand Landing might have failed to sell or fill condo space in its stalled project, that doesn’t mean that there is a glut of condos on the market, noted Turkelson.

“I think they’re entirely different projects and it is not just market-based,” she said.

Local planning officials point to condominium projects at the Grand Theatre and Zephyr as examples of successful ventures.

Turkelson noted that each development has different amenities and caters to different sorts of clientele, and just because there were vacancies at one development didn’t mean that a new one wouldn’t sell.

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




The reality of today’s real estate market is that folks don’t believe condo marketers or real estate agents any more. Why? Because for the last three years you’ve been saying it’s a great time to buy and really only the first of those three years was an okay time to buy. Many of the folks who bought in years one and two got screwed and aren’t afraid to talk about it."

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