Real Estate Corner with Rick Seese: October Edition

This month Rick shares his perspective on the inflation battle continuing, provides area statistics, and ends with a monthly summary.

My Perspective – The Inflation Battle Continues

On one hand, individuals and families are being impacted greatly by higher inflation, higher food prices, higher gas prices and heating expenses, and higher everyday living expenses.  On the other hand, higher interest rates will subdue economic growth, cause unemployment to rise, continue to have a negative affect on the financial markets, and change the real estate market.  Well, we can’t have our cake and eat it too.

With no real downward results reported in the Producer Price Index (PPI) or Consumer Price Index (CPI) last week, it appears that the Federal Reserve (Fed) will have no choice but to bump interest rates again.  Currently, 30-year fixed rate mortgages are running between 7-7.5%.  7-year adjustable-rate mortgages are running between 6-6.5%.  I would expect the Fed to increase their rate by another .75% soon, which will put the 30-year fixed rate near 8%.  The expectation for the next round of inflation reports would be to see the beginning of at least a slight downward trend.  Then, and only then will we see the Fed lighten up with interest rate increases.

The stubbornly hot economy is continuing to show enough strength to weather another interest rate hike. There are two additional culprits behind the inflation problem.  One factor is the higher cost of oil which is a result of other global factors of supply and demand.   The other cause is the lingering supply chain shortage of many other goods and services which was caused by the global COVID pandemic.

Hopefully, we begin to see the Fed’s efforts to control inflation take effect in the coming couple of months.  We also hope to see some supply chain problems resolve as the slowing economy causes less demand.  It would be very helpful if the oil supply problems abroad can find peaceful resolve.  If these potential positive phenomena were to become reality, we could see interest rates begin to decrease as the inflation reports deem it prudent by the Fed.  However, don’t expect 3% mortgage rates anytime soon, as those rates were artificially low to begin with.

2022 Statistics Year-To-Date

Average Sale Prices Year-To-Date Through September 2022

School District Average Sale Price YTD    /    Final 2021
Forest Hills $555,194 / $503,893
Rockford $454,913 / $389,329
Caledonia $423,198 / $393,991
Lowell $406,503 / $348,377            
Entire MLS $289,801 / $268,982
Saranac $252,767 / $254,552
Lakewood $240,523 / $203,636
Belding $239,625 / $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 Entire MLS Average Sale Price remains $20,819 above the 2021 average, which equals a 7.7% increase.  The Lowell School District is $58,126 above their 2021 average, which equals a 16.7% increase.  All our focus area school districts remain well above their 2021 levels, except Saranac.  Buyers continue to push sales in higher demand school districts, but sales continue to slow in less demand areas. With one more quarter of 2022 remaining, most of our focus areas remain destined to end 2022 with larger than historically normal Average Sale Price increases.

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

Township Average Sale Price YTD
Ada Township $607,096
Cascade Township $584,278
Vergennes Township $441,700
Grattan Township $382,053
Lowell Township $379,852
Bowne Township $345,300
Entire MLS $289,801
Boston Township $274,007
Keene Township $247,562
Statistics courtesy of GRAR (Greater Regional Alliance of Realtors)

Here are the Average Sale Prices by Surrounding Townships through September 2022. The Lowell School District takes up a portion of each of these townships, except Vergennes and Lowell, where the entire townships are encompassed by the Lowell School District.  This table represents the first 9 months of 2022.  As you can see, our surrounding townships have higher average sale prices compared to the total MLS, except Boston Township and Keene Township in Ionia County.  All the townships increased or retained their 12-month rolling average sale prices from last month, except Grattan Township and Bowne Township.

Market Inventory As of September 30, 2022


School District

Homes Currently

for Sale

Months of Supply for September 2022 New Listings in Sept.

 2021 vs 2022

Entire MLS – GRAR* 5,409 1.8 4,097     3,316
Forest Hills 99 1.6 67           64
Rockford 81 1.3 64           86
Caledonia 73 2.0 46           42
Lowell 32 1.2 35           19
Belding 21 1.5 23           14
Saranac 8 1.3 11            6
Lakewood 8 .7 11            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, five to 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.

Homes Currently for Sale increased slightly within the Entire MLS from last month, as well as all our focus area school districts, except the Lowell School District, which decreased from 40 to 32.

Months of Supply increased or stayed the same, except for Lowell and Lakewood. The Entire MLS remained the same as last month.

New Listings have slowed most everywhere when comparing August 2021 and August 2022, except for Rockford. The Entire MLS had a large decrease year-over-year, as well as the Lowell School District. This table tells us that we remain short of inventory, and we are not replenishing needed inventory with New Listings. We still have 2.0 Months of Inventory or less everywhere.

Pending Sales As of September 30, 2022


School District

Pending Sales

Sept 2021 vs Sept 2022

Entire MLS 3,632         2,525
Rockford 66             81
Forest Hills 64             48
Lowell 31             25
Caledonia 30             34
Belding 19             12
Lakewood 10              3
Saranac 11              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).  Overall, the Entire MLS saw a large year-over-year decrease in Pending Sales. All our focus area school districts experienced year-over-year decreases as well, except for Rockford and Caledonia.  All regional and state-wide real estate markets continue on a slowing path, as interest rates continue to affect buyer demand.

Pending sales have now decreased within the Entire MLS for the eighth consecutive month.  However, higher demand locations are weathering the interest rates with continued buyer demand. We will continue to watch this chart closely, as additional hikes in interest rates should continue slowing the overall demand.  These numbers are important as a tool to forecast future closings and indicate recent activity.   

October 2022 Monthly Summary

What does all this mean?  The West Michigan real estate market remains strong, and our focus area school district real estate markets remain stronger.  Other areas throughout Michigan and America are not necessarily experiencing the same strength, as many pocket areas have been affected more adversely.  The Fed’s increase in interest rates is doing exactly what it is meant to do, which is slow down an overheated economy and slow down inflation.  We may be finding a silver-lining in economic slowing as we finish another year of robust real estate activity.  Over exuberant buyers are not forcing as many multiple offer situations, sale prices are not predominately over list price, and homes are not necessarily selling within hours of hitting the market.  Our first-time homebuyers need this reprieve, and they need to catch their breath with hope of a return of some semblance of affordability.

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

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