Thursday, October 30, 2008

Would you like my autograph?

I got a nice little plug on the 11:00 news last night. TV 7&4 (NBC) contacted me yesterday afternoon about buyer activity and the market. The reporter, Courtney Rehmer, was looking for a local tie in to the NAR figures for September. I spent a solid half hour with her at one of my listings in Beulah.

I'm very proud to have bumped politics and Barack Obama's infomercial Blitz from the top billing, as I was the lead story!

They didn't use everything that Courtney shot, but I think it turned out quite well. Some of the information that was left "on the cutting room floor" included:

That while closed units were down 11% Year to Date in the region, September was off just 4% over last year, indicating we're closing the gap.

That inventory levels are shrinking, and the ratio of listings taken to listings sold has improved dramatically.

That we're at or near the bottom price wise.

After the interview I got to thinking, and emailed Courtney that "There is one more thing that occurred to me, and that is that we do not need more foreclosed homes on the market, or more people displaced from their homes by foreclosure. Please encourage viewers to take action if they are having trouble making their payments. For the most part, banks do not want to take their homes and should be willing to work with them. There are resources available, especially if they act quickly. If they're having troubles with their lender they can contact the TAAR office or ask a REALTOR for guidance."

While it was trimmed off of the end of the video posted online, I was glad that this was included in the news report. In fact they used it as a segue to some extent, and followed up with advice from financial advisers that they've had answering viewer calls this week.

Good deals are out there, as well as some great ones. For buyers who are making a sound financial decision, and are buying for the long term (5 years as opposed to 1) it is a great time to buy.

It was fun having the opportunity to do the interview, and I've gotten quite a few comments on Facebook and via text from friends and colleagues.

Friday, October 24, 2008


I submitted a correction to The Traverse City Business News recently, as I noted an error in a story on the real estate market. Gayle Neu was quick to respond with apologies and a promise that they'd address it. Whether it's stories on new businesses, the real estate market, or being included in their annual 40 under 40 feature, I really enjoy working with Gayle and the crew at TCBN, and know that the error was innocent and not an attempt to spin the news to the negative.

At any rate, the information is worth sharing here.

To the Traverse City Business News,
I noticed the article titled "Traverse City real estate: alive and (relatively) well" by Bill Wheadon in your October 2008 issue. I wish to point out an error in the labeling of the data, as well as provide some additional information that may clarify the figures reported. While I will address my home market of Benzie County specifically, I believe the error to be the same for all areas, though how that changes the assumptions which were made will vary.

In the chart provided, sales information is reported as being thru July. The data is actually for the month of July alone, NOT year-to-date through July. Thus, this is a one month sample of what is occurring in the market. Small samples are inherently less accurate for deriving a mean (or average) than a large sample, a fact which I believe is illustrated in the % change indicated.

A search of YTD sold data for all property types (Residential, Vacant, Commercial and MultiFamily) in the Traverse Area Association of REALTORS MLS shows that through September 30th, the number of sales in Benzie County decreased by 33%, while the median price fell from $122,000 to $115,000, a drop of 5.7%.

As much of the focus is on what is happening in the Housing Market, I have been tracking Residential Sold data separately. Year to date in Benzie County through September 30th, I find that the number of residential sales has fallen from 179 to 134 (-25.1%) and median prices have fallen from $155,000 to $132,500 (-14.5%)

While our region is seeing a decline in home prices, we continue to outperform most if not all of the state. The availability of mortgages at low interest rates (yes, mortgages are still available, and with favorable terms,) increased affordability of homes, the forecast growth expected for our region, the desirability of the area including quality of life, and the impact of the baby boom generation will continue to make the Grand Traverse region one of the best areas in Michigan to purchase real estate. Buyers who act now are making exceptionally good deals, and we are seeing some owners choosing to take advantage of the market to move up into a larger home. Inventory is beginning to tighten, with less new inventory coming onto the market and the ratio of Listings Taken to Listings Sold for September at 3.06/1, a much healthier ratio, and vast improvement from its peak of 5.78/1 in January of 2007.

Attached is the data from which the statistics on sales were drawn. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Sincerely yours,

Matt Case
Associate Broker, Director of Support Services
Coldwell Banker Schmidt REALTORS
President, Traverse Area Association of REALTORS

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Air Time

I went "on air" to talk about the Grand Vision last Friday, when I was a panelist of sorts on Interlochen Public Radio's Points North. Jim Maitland from the Grand Traverse Road Commission, Jim Lively from the Michigan Land Use Institute and I had a discussion with Peter Payette. Here's a link to the interview.