Real Estate Corner with Rick Seese: December Edition

In this edition, Rick shares information about the Grand Rapids National Ranking and the Latest Area Market Statistics.

National Ranking Above Asking Price

More than half of the homes sold in Grand Rapids were purchased above the asking price this year, according to a recent report.  The report found 59% of homes in Grand Rapids sold above the asking price between January and September 2021.

The median sale price for homes in the city of Grand Rapids was $264,277, and the median number of days homes stayed on the market was seven.  Grand Rapids was ranked 20th among large metropolitan areas in the country with the largest percentage of homes selling above the asking price, topping Detroit, which was 29th, and Chicago, which was 46th.

The national percentage of homes sold above the asking price between January and September 2021 was 48.5% and the median days homes stayed on the market was 20. The median sale price for homes in the entire country was $368,150.  Prior to the pandemic, the average number of homes selling above asking price in the U.S. market was between 20-25%.

The increase in home prices is the result of competitiveness among homebuyers due to limited home inventory.  Multiple offers from eager buyers continues to drive sale prices above asking price.

2021 Statistics Year-To-Date

Average Sale Prices – Year-To-Date Through November 2021

School District Average Sale Price
Forest Hills $505,549
Caledonia $386,002
Rockford $385,602
Lowell $343,828
Entire MLS $267,037
Saranac $248,832
Belding $211,129
Lakewood $203,274
Statistics courtesy of GRAR (Greater Regional Alliance of Realtors)

The entire MLS (Multiple Listing Service) Average Sale Price grew .69% in November.  The Average Sale Price in our focus area school districts (as shown above) all increased more than the entire MLS, except Caledonia. The Lowell School District Average Sale Price grew by .76% to $343,828.  The affordability factor may have caused larger increases in Lakewood (6.1%), Belding (2.9%), and Saranac (1.9%).  The overall demand remains very strong throughout West Michigan and our School District focus areas continue to have above average demand.  We will watch for the effect on demand as interest rates rise in the coming months.

Average Sale Prices by Township – As of November 31, 2021 

Location/School District Average Sale Price
Ada Township $552,869
Cascade Township $512,019
Vergennes Township $411,676
Grattan Township $343,468
Lowell Township $334,148
Bowne Township $333,050
Boston Township $280,643
Entire MLS $267,037
Keene Township $244,167
Statistics courtesy of GRAR (Greater Regional Alliance of Realtors)

All the above surrounding townships experienced increases in Average Sale Prices in November, except Vergennes and Bowne Townships decreased slightly.  Keene Township experienced the highest increase in Average Sale Price, mostly likely due to an affordability surge. There are portions within Ada Township and Cascade Township boundaries that are Lowell Schools, but most of their areas are in the Forest Hills School District.  Bowne Township contains a large area of Lowell Schools but is also partly within the Caledonia School District.  Grattan has a portion of Lowell Schools, but also has a large area of Belding Schools.

There is at least a portion of each of the above townships that contain Lowell School District boundaries, but Vergennes Township and Lowell Township are entirely contained within the Lowell School District.  As you can see, nearly all our surrounding township Average Sale Prices exceed the Entire MLS Average Sale Price.

                                                 Market Inventory – As of November 31, 2021

Location/School District Homes Currently

for Sale


of Supply

New Listings

Nov 2020 vs Nov 2021

Entire MLS – GRAR* 3,916 1.2 2,604 – 2,653
Rockford 63 .9 40 – 48
Forest Hills 53 .7 40 – 39
Caledonia 37 1.0 24 – 32
Lowell 25 1.0 22 – 19
Belding 10 .7 14 – 10
Lakewood 8 .7 9 – 10
Saranac 7 1.0 5 – 6
*MLS is Multiple Listing Service.  Coverage area includes all of Kent and Ionia Counties, northern Barry County (inclusive of Gun Lake) and southeastern Ottawa County.  Statistics courtesy of GRAR (Greater Regional Alliance of Realtors).

“Months of Supply” refers to the number of months it would take for the current inventory of homes on the market to sell given the current sales pace.  Historically, six months of supply is associated with moderate price appreciation, and a lower level of month’s supply tends to push prices up more rapidly.

All our focus area school districts had the same or a smaller number of homes for sale at the end of November compared to the end of October, including the entire MLS.  Months of Supply in our focus areas continue to be less than the entire MLS.

The lack of inventory continues to be the story, causing continued Average Sale Price increases.  I have recently added a new comparison that shows New Listings comparing November 2020 and November 2021.  New Listings increased slightly in the Entire MLS, Rockford, and Caledonia.  New Listings decreased in all our other focus areas.            

Average Price Per Square Foot – As of November 31, 2021

Location/School District Average Price Per Sq. Ft.
Forest Hills $169
Rockford $165
Caledonia $159
Lowell $155
Entire MLS $140
Saranac $130
Belding $128
Lakewood $125
Statistics courtesy of GRAR (Greater Regional Alliance of Realtors)

The Average Price Per Square Foot means the price per square foot in relation to the Sale Price. These averages continue to increase in our focus area school districts.  These numbers are also an indication of supply and demand.  Average new home construction costs begin around $200 per sq. ft. in West Michigan, but that does not necessarily include landscaping; the cost of the land or lot to build the new home; or the cost of improvements to the land, such as water/sewer hook-up, well, septic, driveway, electric, and gas.  The above averages include existing homes and some new construction.  The Lowell School District increase was $3 per square foot and the Entire MLS increase was $2 for the month of November.

Pending Sales – As of November 31, 2021 

Location/School District Pending Sales
Entire MLS 3,082
Forest Hills 65
Rockford 60
Caledonia 40
Lowell 20
Belding 16
Lakewood 12
Saranac 5
Statistics courtesy of GRAR (Greater Regional Alliance of Realtors)

Pending Sales are sales under contract with an accepted offer, but those transactions have not finalized yet (closed).  Some of the above numbers could change daily, as some sales will terminate for various reasons, but new sales will be added.  Pending Sales decreased from last month within all the focus area school districts, except Belding and Saranac.  The Entire MLS Pending Sales decreased from 3,082 Pending Sales to 2,536.  Many of these decreases are due to the seasonality of lower demand through the winter months.  These numbers are important as a tool to forecast future closings and indicate recent activity.  The above numbers are based on the one-month activity of reported Pending Sales.  Most pending sales become finalized and closed within a three-to-six-week period, from the date it became pending.

Rick Seese works with buyers and sellers of residential, commercial, and industrial real estate.  He is an Associate Broker with Greenridge Realty, Inc. and has been licensed full-time for over 40 years.  If you’re interested in reaching out to Rick for more information, or have a question for the monthly article, you can contact him via email ([email protected]), visit his website at or Facebook page , or call/text him at 616-437-2576.

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