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Sunday, April 3, 2011

A tale of two townships - Green Oak and Hartland

Two of the townships that border on Milford, Michigan are in Livingston County on either side of Brighton. They are Green Oak, which is just west of Lyon Township in Oakland County and Hartland Township, which is just west of Highland Township. Green Oak and Hartland share some characteristics in common. They are both what might be considered to be "bedroom communities", that is to say that they don't have any strong central town/city/village downtown areas around which they revolve.

While Hartland Township does have an unincorporated little area that calls itself Hartland and another unincorporated area called Pharshallville, neither little "village area" has a strong downtown and were likely never much more than a small farm towns. There are few businesses in either to attract anyone. Green Oak has even less of what could be called a central core and was always a fairly rural area. I supposed that it could be argued that the Village of Whitmore Lake is Green Oak's "commercial center." Both tend to be heavily influenced by the City of Brighton, although both do have commercial, shopping strips. Green Oak is served by three different school districts - Brighton, Whitmore Lake and South Lyon - while Hartland does have its own consolidated school district.

One would assume that the real estate markets in these two little suburbs of Brighton would be fairly consistent with that of Brighton itself. In fact, Green Oak is not even tracked and reported separately from Brighton by the Altos Research folks, from whom I get my market charts. However, Hartland is reported separately and is on a completely different track than that of Brighton. The chart shows what appears to be a bottoming out of the market in Hartland after a sustained fall in median home values of sold homes and a continued drop in inventory.

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research

The Green Oak market is included in the Brighton chart, which shows a remarkable recovery of median home prices late last year,, with a bit of leveling off early this year and a continuing decline in inventory.

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research

So far this year, there have only been 31 homes sell in Green Oak Township above $20,000 (my arbitrary cut-off point for tracking purposes) at an average price of $84/Sq Ft and an SEV multiplier of 1.6206. That means that homes that the assessor says are worth $200,000 have been selling on average for about $162,000 in Green Oak or about 81% of the value that they are assessed for. Distressed sales - those that are short sales or foreclosures - made up 46% of all sales in Green Oak so far this year.

In Hartland Twonship, only 30 homes have sold thus far in 2011 at an average SEV multiplier of 1,6255 and at an average of $74/Sq Ft. Hartland has seen distressed sales of 53% of all sales so far this year.

Green Oak has benefited a bit from being out along the I-96 corridor, which makes is a good commuter location for those oriented towards Detroit for work. Hartland is along the M-59 and M-23 corridors, which is not nearly as accommodating for Detroit-oriented work commuters.

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