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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Separated by 6 miles, but worlds apart...

I was tempted to title this piece a tale of two cities, but it's actually a tale of two townships in Oakland County, Michigan.

In Oakland County most townships are squares that are 6 miles on a side. The Townships of Highland and South Lyon are separated by Milford Township, so they are only six miles apart from each other; however, they are worlds apart so far as the local real estate market goes. Look first at Lyon Township, which contains the city of South Lyon within it's borders.

The market in Lyon Township took off at the beginning of the year and never looked back. Median Sold house values have continued to rise, even after the tax credit expired and though much of the inventory was sold off, more houses are now coming on the market.

Lyon is positioned well, out along a major East-West artery (I-96) and has been the hottest new-build community for the last few years. Lyon is likely the fastest growing community in the County. Things are good in Lyon township.

Now take a look at Highland Township, just six miles away; but those six miles are all north off the highway and much of the Highland market is north of M-59 a secondary East-West artery. The road to Highland from I-96 winds through the Village of Milford. There is no easy or quick way to get off I-96 and get to Highland.

The market in Highland has been dropping, in terms of Median Sold Home Values for 3 years, with no end in sight. It actually perked up a bit at the beginning of the year, but the trend turned down again when the tax credit expired and Highland's cheaper houses were mostly sold off.

So, what do these two charts mean to you if you are looking to buy a home? Well, if you don't mind those extra six miles, there are great bargains to be had right now in the Highland market. The Lyon market will likely have less inventory and the prices will likely be less subject to negotiation. There are many more newer homes in Lyon (though you really can't tell that fromteh chart) than in surrounding communitires that have not had as much new-build activity lately and you are more liklely to find a newly built home there.

If you live in Highland and want to sell, it means that you need to be all that much more aggressive to attract buyers across those extra six miles. Not every buyer will need to get to I-96 to get to work. Indeed, many find M-59 to be the most convenient way to jobs in northern Oakland County and that is the buyer audience that you'll need to market to, in order to sell more quickly. If you are a seller in Lyon Twonship keep in mind that you will be competing against all of those new-build developments. Many new start homes, even in the same subdivision, are now using smaller and less expensive floor plans, in order to attract new customers. However, you should be able to take advantage of the hot Lyon market and sell faster and for a better price than in surrounding markets.

If you want to buy or sell in either of those markets, give me a call, I know them both. I live in MIlford Township, halfway between them.

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