By David Fleet
Atlas Twp. — A combination of escalated interest rates up substantially from their historic lows a few years ago, lower home inventories and higher prices has produced a challenging real estate market for buyers and sellers.
However, this scenario could see a change later this spring as mortgage rates are expected to decline over 2024 as the Federal Reserve begins to slash rates that impact borrowing rates for financial institutions, according to news sources.
Jeff Dawley, owner of Atlas Real Estate, 8491 S. State Road, Goodrich has worked in the area market and The Citizen readership area for more than 40 years.
“Prices are up,” said Dawley. “It’s a function of the interest rates. We were very busy for three years and a lot of people that wanted to move have done so already. The residents that remain are happy and don’t feel it’s time to move keeping the current home inventory low. The upcoming lower interest rates are going to bring both buyers and sellers back into the market.”
Dawley’s local real estate analysis is reflected in the 2023 year end data released last month from Realcomp, which represents 16,000 Realtors and 2,600 offices across Michigan.
Average home prices soared in 2023 with Atlas Township prices up 14.2% to $404,550: Brandon Township, up 2.4% to $371,967; Groveland Township up 12.4% to $437,044; the Village of Ortonville up 4.7% to $290,775 and the Village of Goodrich up 3.6% to $306,606. In comparison Genesee County was up .3% to $207,759.
“Homes in our areas are in high demand, provide good schools and are accessible to job markets,” said Dawley. “The Village of Goodrich is higher, there are newer homes and there’s sewers. That (infrastructure) facilitated subdivisions over the years too.”
Inventory remains an issue, said Dawley.
Currently if every listing on the market sold it would take 1.9 months to absorb, said Dawley.
“In comparison, a balanced market for buyers and sellers is six months,” he said. “That demonstrates the shortage of inventory, which therefore impacts the values.”
Dawley does not see a significant drop in appreciation of homes with a forecasted decline in interest rates.
“There may be more units sold, but it will not change the dynamics of buyers and sellers,” he said. “Low inventory is what we’ll continue to see in the foreseeable future. We have a housing shortage in Michigan, and I don’t think we are going to build our way out of it.”
By David Fleet