Home sellers’ market heats up as properties for sale dwindle

Homes and condominiums continue to sell faster and for higher prices than this time last year as the declining number of listings drives a seller’s market in metro Detroit.

According to new data released from Farmington Hills-based Realcomp Ltd. II, home sales on average took place in just 38 days last month, a 20.8 percent drop from April 2016 when they averaged 48 days on the market.

That comes as the number of listings fell 44.6 percent from 17,615 in April 2016 to 9,755 last month in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Livingston counties, according to Realcomp.

“Month over month, the inventory issue seems to be getting worse,” said Frank Tarala, president of the Realcomp board of governors and owner of Sterling Heights-based Principal Brokers Network. “Everywhere around the country, a lot of markets are having that issue.”
The reason for that is two-fold, Tarala said: People are staying in their homes because mortgage interest rates have risen and understanding that it’s difficult to find a new home if they sell.

“To sell your home today, it’s a little simpler; to find your home today is extremely complicated,” he said.

The tight inventory is also driving up median sale prices in the region, rising 9.6 percent from $154,250 in April 2016 to $169,000 last month.

Total sales dipped 3.7 percent from 4,791 to 4,615 last month, according to Realcomp.

The April numbers are largely in line with what was reported in March, when year-over-year on-market listings fell 44 percent and sale prices rose 9.5 percent in response. Total sales in March fell 0.2 percent in the region, Realcomp reported.

In the Midwest, 101,000 existing homes were sold in March, a 5.2 percent increase from March 2016, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. Nationwide, home sales increased 8.3 percent year-over-year to 456,000 in March.

Prices in the Midwest and nationwide are also increasing. They rose 6 percent year-over-year to $214,600 in the Midwest, according to the Realtors association, and 5.3 percent nationwide to $278,500 in March, the last month for which data was available.

The NAR will release its April figures on May 24.


By KIRK PINHO, Crain’s Detroit Business