Homeowners in Oakland County who are considering a move enjoyed an advantage in the real estate market in October, with median home prices increasing by 18.7 percent from the same period in 2012.
Home prices, which have been driven upward by a combination of dwindling inventory levels, still-low interest rates and a recovering local economy, increased from an average of $147,000 in October 2012 to $174,550 this year, according to a report released by Farmington Hills-based Realcomp, which measures real estate activity in Southeast Michigan.
The median price is about $10,000 above the average selling price recorded by Realcomp in 2007, and is a is indicative of a positive, sustained trend in Oakland’s real estate market, said Karen Kage, the president of Realcomp.
“The median selling price was $164,500 in October of 2007, so prices are up significantly,” she said. “Obviously, it’s good news for people that are considering placing their home on the market.”
Oakland’s prices, however, increased at a higher clip than those in neighboring Macomb County, where median prices have reached 2008 levels, Kage said.
The number of home sales has also increased, signaling a newfound confidence in Oakland County’s real estate market. According to the report, the number of sales increased by 10.8 percent; 1,787 homes were sold in October 2013 vs. 1,613 the previous year.
Tim Gilson, a realtor with Re/Max Vision in Huntington Woods, said homes are moving quickly in the communities that make up south Oakland County.
“If the homes are priced right, they will sell,” he said. “We’re seeing people get out-bid on homes, and homes are selling faster than they have been in a while.”
Record-low inventory levels are still a big issue for buyers, said Kage.
“We’re getting listings, but homes are selling so quickly that they’re not reflected in the listing numbers,” she said.
Oakland’s sales data
Last month, sales activity in Oakland outpaced those recorded in both Macomb and Wayne County. Macomb saw sales increase by a slim .9 percent, and sales in Wayne decreased by 4.6 percent.
But median sales prices in both Macomb and Wayne outpaced increases in Oakland. In Wayne, sale prices increased 43.6 percent, from $52,225 in October 2012 to $75,000 in this year; Macomb year-over-year prices increased by 46.2 percent, from $82,000 in October 2012 to $119,000 this year.
Foreclosure sales in Oakland decreased by 28.3 percent, from 371 in October 2012 to 266 in October 2013, according to the Realcomp report.
The county’s listing decreased by 9.6 percent, further spurring competition among buyers for available homes, said Kage. In October, 5,189 homes were listed in Oakland County, according to the report.
Royal Oak, Berkley hot commodities
South Oakland County traditionally is sought after by buyers because of its hip shopping and entertainment areas as well as its proximity to major freeways.
Vilson, who works extensively in the south end of Oakland County, said that Royal Oak is still a hot zone for buyers of all ages. But if a buyer can’t afford a home in Royal Oak, they move onto nearby Berkley, where homes are more affordable.
“South Oakland has always been a mixed bag of younger and older homeowners, and it’s still attractive, especially for millennial buyers,” he said. “Berkley is an excellent option for buyers that want to live on the Woodward corridor.”
He added that buyers seeking to purchase a home in the southern portion of Oakland County are also looking for other attributes, such as safe neighborhoods and successful schools.
“Buyers that are interested in south Oakland are interested in living close to the downtown areas,” he said. “It’s a lifestyle choice.”
Read the original article by: MOLLY TIPPEN, For the Daily Tribune