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Grand Rapids Cheap Homes Make City Still a Buyer’s Market

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By : John Cutts    99 or more times read
The prevalence of Grand Rapids cheap homes makes the city still a buyer’s market, based on sales records from the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors.

The average price for Grand Rapid homes dropped month-over-month from almost $110,000 in December last year to $105,714 in January 2010. Although the January 2010 average price marked more than 11 percent of decrease from January 2009, it was still lower by about 16 percent from the 2009 peak average price of almost $125,000.

Because of the still cheap prices, home sales increased in January, with a number of families and couples selling their manufactured homes to take advantage of low house prices, low mortgage rates and the first time buyer tax incentives.

Sales of single-family houses jumped up by more than 8 percent while overall sales for all types of homes rose by 8.8 percent from January 2009 sales. The number of houses listed for sale in January also climbed up to 7,629 units.

According to Cathy Dracht of GRAR, the sales pace for Grand Rapids cheap homes has also been faster. While in the past months, homes lingered on the market for about six months; in January, they were selling for only about two or three months.

Home prices have been dropping month-over-month and have not been improving significantly from prices a year ago because residential properties continue to enter foreclosure auctions in Grand Rapids.

The percentage of short sales and foreclosure sales has dropped from 68 percent in January 2009 to about 60 percent in January this year, but the percentage is still very high.

In 2009, the Grand Rapids-Wyoming metro area posted a total of 7,829 foreclosure filings, equivalent to 2.5 percent of all households in the area. The total filings marked an increase of 12.24 percent from filings in 2008 and put the Grand Rapids metro area 56th among large areas in percentage of foreclosure activity.

Despite the rise in foreclosures, the housing situation in Grand Rapids is much better than in the other Michigan cities of Flint, East Lansing and Detroit, where the collapse of the manufacturing industry led to waves of foreclosures.

According to Julie Rietberg, CEO of the realtor association, members are happy about the drop in the percentage of distressed sales, but they are still concerned because of the still high rate of delinquency in the area. With more foreclosures, high numbers of Grand Rapids cheap homes will continue to drag home prices.
John Cutts has been educated in the finer points of the foreclosure market over 5 years.

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