SEPTEMBER 17, 2012
BY MICHAEL MARTINEZ THE DETROIT NEWS
Metro Detroit home sales increased for the 13th time in the past 14 months in August, showing that the region’s housing recovery remains strong, according to a report released Monday.
The four-county region experienced an 11 percent rise in sales last month compared with a year ago, according to Farmington Hills-based Realcomp II Ltd., the second straight double-digit gain. The median price rose 8.8 percent to $87,000 in August from a year ago.
In addition, homes are selling 14 days faster than this time in 2011. And the inventory of houses and condominiums listed for sale in Metro Detroit has hit its second lowest monthly number since 2009, according to Realcomp.
The higher-price, faster-sale theme has been consistent in the area for more than a year, said analyst Darralyn Bowers of Southfield-based Bowers & Association, who added that it is an encouraging sign for the region.
“I think it’s all positive,” she said. “We’re finally seeing a trend we can rely on. We’re seeing buyers entering the marketplace who have previously deferred based on confidence.”
Livingston County is the region’s sales hotspot, experiencing a 19.2 percent jump in residential and condominium sales and a 20.5 percent rise in price, according to multiple listing service Realcomp.Sales in the Detroit area, which includes the city, Hamtramck, Harper Woods and Highland Park, soared 15.4 percent to 570 in August from 494 a year ago, with the median price increasing 7.5 percent to $10,500.
Bowers said the growth in the Detroit-Hamtramck-Highland Park area is a long time coming because the area struggled even when the housing recovery started.
“That’s amazing,” she said. “We’re seeing a lot of retail properties going on in Detroit. At one time, foreclosures dominated but retail properties are going on the market and being sold quickly.”
Metro Detroit foreclosure sales rose by 9.2 percent, but not as much as nonforeclosure sales, which jumped 12 percent from this time a year ago.
Inventory remains low, as the number of listings on the market declined 17.3 percent to 18,866. Nearly 12 percent of that inventory came from foreclosures, while 21.3 were from short sales, the report said.
Bowers said no more inventory is needed.
“The fact that it’s diminishing is a good stat,” she said. “What we had was oversupply, and it depressed the market. As inventory is decreasing, the market is stabilizing.”