ROCKFORD, Mich. — Home prices in West Michigan continue to rise as demand stays steady, and fewer homes are being put on the market.
When COVID-19 first hit West Michigan a year ago, realtors didn't know how it would affect the way they do business and the market.
"We were looking at our business being shut down totally. We didn't know how long that was going to last," said Lu Anne Baar, an associate broker at Rockford Realty Co.
If you remember, restrictions were quickly placed on the industry— barring in home tours, and open houses, among other things.
“Zoom and video tours became very, very important. Even our photographers weren't even let in initially, so the only way we were able to get photos would be for the owners themselves to do them on their cell phones," Baar told FOX 17 Thursday afternoon.
Barr and others like her were doing their best at assisting sellers with the process of photographing their properties, as the only people allowed inside were the sellers themselves.
But, as she says she did in 2008 and during other moments of economic instability, “you flip and you do whatever you need to do just to get the job done.”
And so they did. And wouldn't you know it, despite the pandemic, people were still looking for homes to buy.
“And what we saw were a lot of people not selling their homes, and it's resulted in the inventory shortage that we have right now,” Baar said.
"It was one of the things I'd actually predicted accurately, it was that we would just have a lag, and then we would have a boom trying to catch up and make up for that lost time. That's exactly what happened.”
The demand is there— just not enough homes going up for sale to keep up.
“A lot of people just didn't want to move, they didn't want to have people in their homes,” Baar explained Thursday.
“Our builders can't build quickly enough, their costs are going up.”
In years past, Baar says that homes in the metro Grand Rapids area would typically receive about 10/11 offers each. Lately they are seeing homes receive 50/60 offers in a single weekend.
"So that's a lot of disappointed people going back out on the market that were interested in just that one home," she said.
Because of this, home prices continue to rise.
Baar shared some statistics with FOX 17 on Thursday about average home prices in the metro Grand Rapids area for January of 2021 compared to February of 2021.
In January, the average sale price for a home in the area was $265,000.
Just a month later in February, the average sale price for a home in the area had jumped to $295,000.
That is an 11% price increase in a month's time.
Her best advice if you're looking to buy right now? Find yourself an experienced team— at least a realtor and a loan officer.
“They're the ones that are working in that market every single day. And they're the ones that are going to be able to help you save your money, get your credit score up, and just be prepared for a wild roller coaster ride,” Baar said.
"And hopefully that ends up with you at the closing table with the home of your dreams."
SEE MORE: CORONAVIRUS IN WEST MICHIGAN