Real Estate Corner with Rick Seese: June Edition

This month Rick shares his perspective on Grand Rapids rankings, provides area statistics, and ends with a monthly summary.

My Perspective

This month I decided to provide other perspectives from national polls, because it’s midway through 2022, it’s Happy News and it’s time to toot our horn.  The Grand Rapids area has long been viewed as an up-and-coming market for many reasons.  Over the past several years Grand Rapids has been achieving national publicity for rankings in several categories.  Forbes and U.S. News has been the more prominent authors of such rankings, which certainly gives credibility to the ranking’s lists.  So, sit back, raise your chins, and raise your eyebrows, as we re-visit some of the accolades provided to our own Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Out of 150 metro areas in the United States Grand Rapids has been named:

#16 in Best Places to Live

#18 in Best Places to Live for Quality of Life

#28 in Best Places to Retire (and Best in Michigan!)

#11 in Best Affordable Places to Live

#21 for Livability

#11 in Best Places to Raise a Family

            (Based on Affordable Housing, Outstanding Education, Affordability & Commuting)

These rankings certainly give us West Michiganders reason to wear a smile.  I’m sure that we can all find more positive reasons, so don’t be afraid to comment at the bottom of the article.  I can even think of reasons that the Lowell Community might carry high rankings for “Best of” lists within the Grand Rapids area or even Michigan!  Be happy.  Be proud.

2022 Statistics Year-To-Date

Average Sale Prices Year-To-Date Through May 2022

School District Average Sale Price YTD    /    Final 2021
Forest Hills $555,825 / $503,893
Rockford $443,239 / $389,329
Lowell $399,770 / $348,377            
Caledonia $387,576 / $393,991
Entire MLS $279,462 / $268,982
Saranac $256,278 / $254,552
Lakewood $236,632 / $203,636
Belding $231,254 / $212,680
*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). 

The above table shows the 2022 Year-to-Date Average Sale Prices compared to the Average Sale prices for the entire year of 2021.  All our focus areas are above their averages from 2021.  The Lowell School District is 5.4% above last month and a hefty 14.8% above 2021.  The Entire MLS is 1.1% above last month and 3.9% above 2021 average prices.  As we near the mid-way point of 2022 it is apparent that the demand continues to be consistent within of our focus areas. The next couple months should begin to show the effect of increasing interest rates.  Through the first five months of 2022, the total sales volume in the Lowell School District has increased 13% over the same period as last year.

Average Sale Prices by Surrounding Township Through May 30, 2022 (12-Month Rolling Average)

Township Average Sale Price YTD
Ada Township $591,549
Cascade Township $538,999
Vergennes Township $405,372
Grattan Township $354,749
Lowell Township $349,636
Bowne Township $332,006
Boston Township $286,245
Entire MLS $276,375
Keene Township $238,770
Statistics courtesy of GRAR (Greater Regional Alliance of Realtors)

Here are the Average Sale Prices by Surrounding Townships for 2022. The Lowell School District takes up a portion of each of these townships, except Vergennes and Lowell Townships, where the entire townships are encompassed by the Lowell School District.  This table represents the first 5 months of 2022.  There is nothing surprising with the current trends.  Grattan and Vergennes Townships have risen, as expected due to the seasonality of lakefront properties.  As you can see, our focus areas have higher average sale prices compared to the total MLS, except Keene Township.

Market Inventory As of May 30, 2022


School District

Homes Currently

for Sale

Months of Supply for May 2022 New Listings in May

 2021 vs 2022

Entire MLS – GRAR* 3,754 1.2 4,304     4,462
Rockford 57 .9 97           96
Forest Hills 50 .8 94          102
Caledonia 39 1.1 52           72
Lowell 24 1.0 27           32
Belding 14 1.0 16           23
Saranac 7 1.0 7            10
Lakewood 6 .5 10           12
*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.

If we ever return to a normal Months of Supply, a new normal may range between 4 to 6 months of supply.  That prediction remains to be seen.  Statisticians will be able to determine normalcy as the demand is compared to sale prices when inventory moves upward.

Months of Supply edged upward within the entire MLS, and in all our focus areas, except Rockford and Caledonia.  So far, we do not see a huge effect from increasing interest rates, but we will be watching the year over year column for New Listings over the coming months.  New Listings in May of this year did increase slightly over 2021 or stayed relatively the same.

As the spring market winds down, the summer market will take over with the annual push toward buying and selling before the start of school in the fall.  Interest rates will continue to rise as we continue to battle inflation.  My expectation is to see more inventory, and rising months of supply toward normal levels.  However, I do not expect our focus areas to reach 2 or 3 months of inventory this summer.

Pending Sales As of May 30, 2022


School District

Pending Sales

May 2021 vs May 2022

Entire MLS 3,799         3,276
Forest Hills 92               79
Rockford 85               95
Caledonia 45               58
Lowell 31               26
Belding 13               19
Lakewood  9                12
Saranac  7                 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.  I have added an important comparison for the same month 2021 vs 2022.

Pending sales have now decreased within the Entire MLS for the fourth consecutive month and when comparing the same time frame in 2021 vs 2022.  Year over year decreases also happened in the Forest Hills and Lowell School Districts but increased in most of our other focus areas.  We will watch the increase of interest rates over the coming months as an influence to trending Pending Sales.  These numbers are important as a tool to forecast future closings and indicate recent activity.  Most pending sales become finalized and closed within a three-to-six-week period, from the date it became pending.

June 2022 Monthly Summary

What does all this mean?  As interest rates rise, housing sales may decrease because demand decreases.  As pending sales decrease, inventory should increase.  I don’t think we will see a sizable jump in inventory immediately, but we may see a leveling off from large increases in average sale prices.  The initial .5% increase by the Fed was the beginning. The reports last week showed continued inflation increases and the Fed bumped rates .75%.  I believe there will be further interest rate increases coming. The question becomes how much the next increase will be and how will the markets adjust.  I am reading updated inflation reports, watching further Fed moves, Pending Sales and Inventory reports. Ultimately, Millennials will continue to dictate the demand.

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 at ( Seese), or call/text him at 616-437-2576.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.