Lately I've been hearing on TV and radio that the real estate market is on the rebound. That because of the first time home buyer tax credit and the "economic recovery" that housing sales are through the roof. My mother even received a mailer from another Realtor stating that we are at record sales (units).
I don't know where these reports are coming from. It's like one of those stupid little videos that gets posted on Youtube and goes viral for no apparant reason. I try to update real estate sales- both units and prices- for the Clarkston, Oxford and Orion areas on a monthly basis. I have been keeping sales records for the Orion and Oxford areas since 2000, and those reports I referred to above are no where close to accurate.
Maybe after Alice ate a mushroom and was out frolicing in strawberry fields, she posted something on the internet, and it went viral like one of those silly videos. And since it was "on the internet" various reporters and pundits took it as gospal and repeated it, and repeated it, and repeated it again, until now it is a "fact"- we are at the beginning of a housing recovery. NOT!!
The facts: unit sales are about the same as last year and median sales prices are down drastically.
Let's start with the unit prices. For the first three quarters of the year Orion has had 2 less sales than last year- 267 closings as opposed to 269 closings for the same period last year. Last year- 2008- had a total of 357 closings for the entire year. Compare that to the amount of closings in 2004- 476 closings. There were 525 closings in 2003, 434 closings in 2002, 444 closings in 2001 and 475 closings in 2000- the first year I started keeping track. Hardly record sales.
Now for the really ugly news- the median sales prices. The median sales price so far this year in Lake Orion and Orion Township is at $152,000! That's down 28.3% from last year which was down 15.8% from the previous year. Of the sales so far this year over 43% are either short sales or foreclosures- a big reason for the drastic drop in prices.
If you are a seller- life sucks for you right now. If you are a buyer - this is a beautiful market. Houses are so on sale, interest rates are low, and there are many many tax credits for home improvements (the topic for another post). I had a buyer purchase a house this year in Orion Twp for $31,500! Over 1300 sq. ft. on a huge lot. A house that had sold for a little over $130K a few years ago. Sure- it needed some work. SOME work- not a ton.
I showed another house in Orion that my buyers decided to pass on but I thought was a real steal in Orion Woods. It was built in 1997, over 2300 sq. ft., finished basement, 2 car attached garage, backed to Bald Mt state land. It appeared the only problem with the house was one broken pipe and 2 sheets of drywall. Other than that the house was immaculate. It sold for $95,500 with $7,740 in seller concessions- that's an actual price of $87,760. For a house that sold for $225,000 in 2005. There was new construction on Newton Ct that sold for $130,660 after concessions- over 1700 sq. ft., 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, basement, garage. There was the 2384 sq. ft. house in Forest Hills that sold for $149,460, that 2107 sq ft house in Round Tree that sold for $179,450, and that 3082 sq. ft. house on Shrewsbury in Heather Lake Meadows that sold for $200,000. This particular house sold for $515,000 in 2006! And the list goes on and on.
I did an MLS search today for houses in Lake Orion and Orion Township built in 1990 or newer with at least 3 bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths, garage and basement, under $200,000- 27 houses came up. In that list there are probably at least a few deals like the ones mentioned in the paragraph above.
For ACCURATE, up to date sales stats for Lake Orion and Orion Township, please refer to my stats page. It is long, dry and very detailed. And the best part is it is totally accurate!