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Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Southeast Michigan Market

Every market is different, of course; so this report is local to the Southeastern portion of Michigan, which embraces Washtenaw, Wayne, Livingston, Oakland and Macomb Counties and is inclusive of several cities, including Ann Arbor, Warren, Troy and Detroit. The statistics that were used to generate the chart below were collected from the various MLS's in those areas and compiled by Real Estate One.

The chart shows average home sale values and clearly shows what happened to this market right after it hit its peak in 2006. Our crash was rather dramatic and reached an average of 40% loss in values, with some areas (especially the City of Detroit) going well beyond that into value losses of 50-60%. We believe that the market bottomed out somewhere in 2011, after five years of falling values. The chart shows a gradual return of value over the next five years.

It should be noted that this chart assumes a fairly brisk appreciation rate and there are many factors which could impact the rate of recovery of value. A financial meltdown in Europe, for instance, would certainly not help our economy and would slow everything down. The pace of recovery could still be impacted by many factors, but the point is that those waiting to see their home values return should anticipate it taking years, not months.

Other factors that will impact the pace of recovery include the speed with which the lendors recover from the legal issues of the Rbob-signing debacle and get back on track with foreclosures and the release of the overhang of foreclosure inventories. We still need to work that inventory off the books.

Finally there seems to be growing awareness in Washington that something needs to be done about resetting all of the underwater mortgages that are essentially damming up the normal flow of homes and home buyers in the markets. I'm not sure that there is the political will to do anything this year, with the election looming; so, perhaps that is a 2013 issue to resolve - depending upon the election outcome.

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