Holy moly!

·4 min read

We are experiencing a hot real estate market in Northern Michigan and home prices are on the rise. In some areas of the country, however, the sale prices are just crazy.

Here are some eye-popping numbers for you — California’s median price (half the prices above, half below) of a single home residence is $827,940, up 17 percent from last year. In LA County, it’s $830,700 and in San Francisco, $1.85 million. Yeah, $1.85 million.

So Californians are flocking to the “Inland Empire,” a 27,000-square-mile swatch of land running from the LA County line to Nevada and Arizona. Median home price – a measly $570,000.

Kendall P. Stanley
Kendall P. Stanley

Going all the way across the country, the median price on Martha’s Vineyard is $1 million.

Austin, Texas, is at $588,000 median price, an area that is seeing 100 people moving in every day. The price is up 35 percent from last year, compared to Boise, Idaho, at 46 percent, Phoenix at 36, Salt Lake City at 33 and Sacramento at 28.

A recent article in The New York Times looked at the housing market in Austin and the effort by Drew Mena and Amena Sengal made in trying to find a house. They were stymied by bidding that was all over the board – but always well above asking price. The house they finally were able to buy they paid $50,000 over the asking price of $525,000.

Meanwhile back in California, about a quarter million people moved to the Inland Empire, the largest migration ever in our most populous state. The area tied Phoenix for the largest gains in households from migration nationwide in the past decade.

According to the article there has been a shift in California demographics, with the middle class moving to mountain and desert areas and the affluent remaining on the coast along with low-income residents who cannot afford to leave.

In a story eerily familiar to our neck of the woods, on Martha’s Vineyard it’s becoming impossible for the working class — including teachers, dentists and other professionals — to afford housing on the island.

It’s not like the workers on the island can move farther away from the towns to find cheaper homes. There are a whole host of towns with the same dynamic of expensive housing and no place for the workers to live — Carmel, Calif., Aspen, Colo., Harbor Springs.

Do I know workers who live inside the city limits of Harbor? Sure — and they all bought or built their homes long, long ago before Harbor was “discovered” by those with money burning a hole in their pocket.

Petoskey is headed that way, with listings deep into six figures and some topping $1 million. Housing stock below $200,000 is a pipe dream.

There was an article in Money magazine that said as the fall is cooling off, so is the real estate market.

One, the prices will not continue to accelerate at 15 to 20 percent rates. Price increases in the 5-7 percent range are expected in 2022.

Second, there is the probability of more homes in the affordable category, around $200,000. A big part of that will come from mortgage holders that were spared foreclosure under the CARES Act who now may have to sell to make the mortgage demand.

There is still, however, a national shortage of affordable housing, almost 4 million homes according to Freddie Mac.

Third, bidding wars, while still out there, will be greatly reduced. According to the article, only 41 percent of homes sold last month were over list price compared to 50 percent in July.

Finally, it is taking longer for homes to sell than it did earlier this year. But even though it is taking longer to sell a home, they are still selling faster than historic norms.

But all is not shiny and bright.

“We are seeing the market begin to level out while remaining a seller’s market,” says Dottie Herman, vice chair of Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Money.

And with mortgage rates expected to rise, there is more of a market cooling coming.

Even with a cooling housing market there will still be housing issues, especially in areas such as ours, where service jobs and the cost of housing don’t even begin to mesh.

As area agencies try to find solutions to the housing shortage for workers it has to be thinking outside the box for ways to provide the housing our area workers need. As a start, Petoskey is looking at zoning changes that may encourage some affordable housing.

Any and all thoughts appreciated in trying to solve this seemingly intractable problem!

Kendall P. Stanley is retired editor of the News-Review. He can be contacted at kendallstanley@charter.net. The opinions expressed in this column are those of the writer and not necessarily of the Petoskey News-Review or its employees.

This article originally appeared on The Petoskey News-Review: Kendall P. Stanley: Holy moly!

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