Saturday, September 29, 2007

Broadway Village Construction to Start Within 30 Days

Yesterday's Post highlighted the fact that Brenan Hospitality Management Group has decided to invest in the Ann Arbor real estate market with a new condo/ hotel development in downtown Ann Arbor.

On the heels of that news is another ray of sunshine in the fog of the daily negative news about the areas real estate market. This article in today's Ann Arbor News reports that the long delayed Lower Town redevelopment project is now moving forward.
According to the story, Strathmore Development of East Lansing is ready to begin the clean up of the area of this project, which was announced in 1999.

The proposed 6.4-acre development includes 186 residential rental units, office and retail space, a parking structure and an environmental cleanup of a blighted area that was contaminated by perchloroethylene from a dry cleaning business. It is located at the site of the long-vacant Kroger store and other businesses at Broadway and Maiden Lane. The project was first proposed in 1999.

With these two nuggets of good news, it begs the question: If these two, out of town developers see potential and are investing heavily in the Ann Arbor market, is this not an indicator of the overall viability of the Ann Arbor Real Estate Market?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Condo Investment Opportunity for U of M fans

This article in the Michigan Daily tells of a new Condo development for Ann Arbor, which is based on successful projects already underway in South Bend, IN, and Lansing, MI.

Brenan Hospitality Management Group is building a Hotel-Condo near the Big House, with a target market of Die hard University of Michigan football fans, who would like a 'homey' place to stay during home football game weekends.

While initial announcement of this project has brought some skepticism, there is definitely a market for it, and I think this will be a great success.

The concept is basically to purchase the Condo as an investment. You get to come and stay in the condo on football weekends, and the rest of the year, your unit is rented out as a hotel, with you and the management company splitting the proceeds.
If you happen to have confidence in the stability of Ann Arbor real estate in the long term, this could be worth a close look. If you have interest in learning more of the particulars, please shoot me an email at:

Thursday, September 27, 2007

2007 YTD Market Snapshot

One of the advantages of being an Agent for Real Estate One, the largest real estate brokerage in the state of Michigan, is that we have access to sales data statewide. So rather than relying on statistics from Washtenaw County only, we can inform and educate our clients with a wider perspective.

That said, some newly published statistics bear out what we have suspected regarding real estate for sale in Ann Arbor, Michigan. That is: numbers are down, but are not as bad as certain other areas of the state.

Our corporate office has just published a Y.T.D. Market analysis based on four market indicators: Number of homes sold, Listings taken, Median selling price, and average chance of selling a home in 120 days, and the results of the analysis paint the follwing picture:

Throughout Southeast Michigan, the total number of homes sold in the period Jan. - Aug 2007 is down 6% from the same period in 2006. Livingston County has been hardest hit, with the number of sales down 15%. Overall, Washtenaw County is down 7%, which is very close to the area average. I read a report ysterday for the state of California, which indicated the staewide average down more than 24%.

For Listings Taken, the Southeast Michigan average is a PLUS 5% over the same period last year. Detroit has had the biggest spike, with an increase of listings of 32% over last year. Again, Washtenaw is trending right with the average at 5%.

The most concerning news is in the market indicator of Median Sales Price. The area average shows the median sales price DOWN by 13%. Here, Washtenaw fares better than average, with a median price down by just 2%. By comparison, median prices in Wayne County are down 22%, and prices in Detroit are down a whopping 57%.

An interesting new Market Indicator is the Average Chance of Selling (in 120 days). Other statistical indicators may label this as Months of Inventory. Anyway you look at it, the numbers have room for improvement. According to the analysis, throughout Southeast Michigan, the chances of selling a home within 120 days of putting it on the market is exactly 0%. Yes. Zero.

This ranges from a 7% chance in the Grosse Pointe area, to a -10% in Macomb County. Here in Washtenaw, we are slighltly ahead of the curve at a 1% chance of a home selling within the first 120 days on the market.

Where do we go from here? Hopefully up. People have to sell, and it is an excellent time to buy.

Monday, March 26, 2007

You're Invited! FREE Homebuyers Seminar

Purchasing or selling Real Estate requires extensive due diligence. You cannot get all the information from newspapers or the internet. You need to talk to, and hear from Full Time, Professional Agents who are in the marketplace all day, every day.
You are invited to join us for our next FREE, Fact-filled, fast paced, and informative Real Estate Seminar.

At our “How to Buy a Home” 45 Minute Seminar – You Will Learn:
--The Latest Market Updates
--How Much House You Can Afford
--Financing Alternatives
--Why You Need a Buyer’s Agent
--Searching for Homes Efficiently
--Viewing Homes Like an Inspector
--Contract Negotiating Strategies

This Seminar is completely FREE of charge, and are our service to YOU as Educating Real Estate Professionals. There is no obligation, nothing to sign, and no commitments to make. Please come to learn how you can purchase a home with the knowledge and information you need to make the right decisions.

Please join us Wednesday, March 28 at 6:30PM at the Offices of Real Estate One, 555 Briarwood Circle #333, Ann Arbor, 48108

For more information, call Brian at (734) 678-9032

Saturday, March 24, 2007

New 2% Service Tax Voted Down

One issue which has many Michigan Real Estate Agents' shorts in a bunch was the Governors proposed 2% Tax on Real Estate transactions. On Thursday evening, the Michigan Senate Republicans, under the leadership of Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R- Rochester) voted down Governor Granholm’s 2% tax on services, sending a clear message that tax increases to balance the 2007 budget are off the table. The vote went down along party lines with all Republican Senators voting against the Governor’s tax proposal joined by one Democrat, Senator Glenn Anderson (D- Westland), a REALTOR® member. In speaking with reporters following the vote Sen. Bishop declared Governor Granholm’s 2% tax on services “killed for good.”

Following the vote to defeat the tax, the Senate worked into the night to pass the remaining budget cuts totaling almost $600 million. The remaining votes went down party lines as the budget was passed.

This defeat was "Good News" in the sea of all those negative real estate news stories.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

New Tax Benefit Proposal for Homebuyers

They say that the best thing about getting hit in the head with a hammer, is that it feels so good when it stops. In creating this Blog, I made a promise to myself that I would refrain from Postings that simply reference Real Estate News or information that is readily available elsewhere on the web. Well, so much for that promise. New Policy: I will reference and comment on Real Estate stories which are of the Good News Variety.
Among another spate of recent disturbing real estate news (sales down, foreclosures up, avg. price down), was this article in today's Ann Arbor News which introduces a new and innovative way to help turn the real estate ship around.

In essence, typically when a homebuyer buys a home, the buyer must pay a property tax based on the purchase price. Under this plan, the buyer would get the opportunity (for a while anyway) to pay the tax rate paid buy the seller. This could be quite a significant savings, depending on the length of time that the seller owned the home. I'm not sure how big of an impact this plan will have in sparking the real estate market, but it is an encouraging sign.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

The Pfizer Remedy

This article reports on a meeting held today with Mary Sue Coleman of the U of M, Michael Finney, Executive Director of Ann Arbor S.P.A.R.K, and more than 300 local business people. The upshot is that the U of M has committed more than $3 million to develop programs and recruit the newly displaced Pfizer employees. This is huge.
While some critics maintain that our political leadership should have foreseen the Pfizer departure a long time ago, this initiative to not only offset the Pfizer loss, but to agressively partner with people to keep them in the area is a really positive sign.
I am a firm believer in the Entrepreneurial Spirit. If you have the seed planted to create your own business, Ann Arbor is a great place to do it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Market Conditions: Briar Hill Subdivision (Ann Arbor, MI)

Briar Hill is a Subdivision of 180 homes, and is located just south of the City of Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is just off of I-94 and Ann Arbor-Saline road, and is convenient to the city, expressway, and shopping. Briar Hill was built in four phases over about 13 years (1991-2004) Here is a snapshot of Briar Hill real estate:

Current Listings: There are nine homes presently on the market in Briar Hill, with six of the nine in the $400,000 - $450,000 Price Range. Outside of Briar Hill, but in the entire Ann Arbor area, there are 78 homes for sale in the $400,000 - $450,000 price range.

Recent Solds: In 2006, nine homes sold in Briar Hill with an average time on market of 10.25 months, and with a sales price averaging 88% of the original listing price. Compare to 2005, where seven Briar Hill homes sold, with an average 5.71 months on the market, and average sale at 94% of the original listing price.

Nationally, real estate sales in 2006 were down 21%, and locally, the number of sales were down 11%. Briar Hill was able to buck this national and local trend, with the number of sales actually up in 2006 vs. 2005, it is just that Briar Hill homes took longer to sell in 2006, and sellers sold their homes for significantly less in 2006 than 2005.

Bottom line, homes are selling in Briar Hill, it is just taking longer (for the sellers). For Buyers, Briar Hill is a tremendous value. The houses are well built, the schools are excellent, and it's location is convenient.

I am a walking testimonial for Briar Hill, as I am not only a Real Estate Agent who sells homes in Briar Hill, but we chose to purchase oue home in Briar Hill in 1998, when we relocated from Chicago to Ann Arbor. If you have questions or futher interest in Briar Hill, please feel free to comment or contact me.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Taking the Plunge

This whole Blogging Adventure is not as easy as many of my (now) Blogging Bretheren make it look. I have a strong appreciation for those who post things so quickly, with a wit that seems to come easy. I have read lots of Blogs, lots of 'How to Blog' websites, and even the very helpful Blogging for Dummies book by Brad Hill. Enough study and standing on the sidelines.

It's time to jump in. Sink or swim. Upcoming posts will share some slices of life and times of an Ann Arbor, Michigan Real Estate Agent. We will be heavy on real estate related topics, but also fold in some posts on why we love living in Ann Arbor. There will also undoubtedly be several tangential digressions on a multitude of subjects and opinions, because, well, hey, It's my party and I'll Blog if I want to. Now, I know about Posts and settings, and I've even figured out how to add a photo. I have a long way to go to learn about feeds, tags, widgets, hyperlinks and other doo-dads. TTFN and Happy Blogiversary to my Blogging Mentor, Black Tie Todd.