Housing market in Grand Rapids not booming but ‘demand is very high’

Grand Rapids Realty says they’re seeing a 12% increase in housing prices
Posted at 7:25 PM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 20:05:15-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — On Saturday, Grand River Realty opened one of their "hottest properties" for potential buyers to see and tour. For most of the afternoon there was a line of people that stretched from the doorway to the sidewalk.

“It had like a $100,000 kitchen in there. A couple of other things like a view of the park. So, we listed it on Wednesday. By Thursday afternoon we had about 75 showings scheduled on it,” said Pete Bruinsma, a broker with Grand River Realty. “With 75 over three days, that’s like 12 hours fully booked for three days. So, a lot of people came Saturday to the open house to just get a quick five-minute tour to see if they wanted to write an offer.”

Bruinsma said they only allowed two parties into the house at a time, one to view the upstairs and one downstairs. Outside, in the line, people abided by CDC guidelines standing several feet apart while wearing masks.

Before the showings were over, Bruinsma snapped a few pictures of the line and posted it to his Instagram page. He said the line was not indicative of a housing boom in Grand Rapids but it does show an increase in demand.

“Demand is very high,” Bruinsma said. “We’ve seen an increase in housing prices by 12% over the last one year. Before that I think we had about 8%. The median home price right now is $212,000. A year ago it was like $189,000, and the year before that it was $176,000.”

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However, even though demand is high, he said being a realtor is tough these days. Brokers are putting a lot of effort into writing offers that aren’t always accepted. And, the high demand is driving up prices but slowing the market.

“People are reluctant to move right now because of just everything that happened in the last year,” Bruinsma said. “People aren’t quite comfortable yet. Builders aren’t building anything. Materials are sky high. Labor is impossible.”

Nevertheless he said deals are getting done. People are even declining video and virtual tours, which was popular during the pandemic, to set up appointments to views homes in person.

“The biggest generation, which is millennials, are getting to be the age where they’re having kids,” Bruinsma said. “They’re comfortable in their jobs, and they’re ready to move from renters to buyers. So, I mean, it is a little bit crazy right now, but the same number of homes are still being sold. Transactions are happening.”

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