‘Strong spring’ predicted for Downriver’s real estate market

Like many adult children left with their late parents’ house, brothers Jeff and Greg Tyler worked through a handful of questions to deal with the family home in Taylor.

Should they rent? Sell? For how much? When? What about inspections, repairs? Again, how much?

Add to that the uncertainties of the post-COVID pandemic real estate market, a jittery economy and hard-to-predict mortgage rate trends.

Plus, the brothers who grew up in Taylor now are retired and living in Nevada and South Carolina.

“We first thought about renting it out, but being out of state makes that more of an issue,” said Jeff, a retired auto industry executive now in Las Vegas. Greg is a retired auto workers union official, now operating a deli in Myrtle Beach.

After their mother died in April 2022, the brothers chose to sell the family home, a 1,300-square-foot ranch near Wick and Telegraph roads.

At the time, the real estate market was starting to come down from a frenzy ignited by the work-from-home trend accelerated by the 2022 pandemic. Aware that the house – built in 1955 – was a bit “dated,” Jeff said they took a shot and listed at $164,500.

“The real estate market had been going nuts and we had a lot of showings,” he said. “It was getting looks, but no bites.”

But no buyers.

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Tom Hines

Working with Realtor Tom Hines of the LeBeau Team at RE-MAX Masters of Flat Rock, Hines and the brothers revised their strategy. They decided to invest strategically in upgrades that would update the look and feel of the house.

“It needed some TLC,” Jeff said.

Ultimately, revisions included replacing a linoleum floor with wood, modernizing old cabinets, new carpet, paint and a good cleaning. All in, the improvements, including the work of a handyman, totaled about $10,000, Jeff said.

Back on the market in late January, the house returned to a more moderate climate for home sales. Through the first three months of this year, according to the Realcomp sales data, Taylor reported 152 home sales closings – a 7.3% decline from the first quarter of 2022.

The median sales price in Taylor in slipped by 4.3% – to $143,500 – in the three-month period.

With Hines helping the brothers clear several inspections by the city of Taylor, the house sold after six days on the market in a cash deal for $140,000. The buyer agreed to pay for some concrete repairs required by the city.

“As soon as we put it back on the market, we started getting traffic left and right,” Jeff said. The deal closed in late March.

Karen Kage, chief executive of Realcomp II Ltd., said the spring selling season is likely to produce buyers returning to the market after being outbid during the pandemic home sales activity.

“Hold on to your hat,” she said. “Now is the time that normally brings an increase in activity.”

Jeanette Schneider, president of Re-Max of Southeastern Michigan, said sales accelerated in March over February.

“Buyers are aware of mortgage rates and the ongoing up-and-down movement of rate this year, but have adapted to the current rates and are moving forward,” she said.

Added Hines: “With some positive adjustments in the lending world that have taken place, we’re hoping for a strong spring/summer for buyers and sellers.”

Downriver data

The Downriver home market rolled into the spring selling season a bit slower, a bit more expensive and a bit less frantic than a year earlier.

Highlights for the 18-community Downriver home sales market from the Realcomp Ltd. multiple listing service include:

• Closed sales in the three months ending in March trailed the year-earlier quarter by 18% (880 in 2022 and 722 this year).

Among communities with at least 15 closed sales this quarter, these reporting the sharpest declines: Huron Township, 40% (30-18 closed sales); Melvindale, 40% (25-15); Lincoln Park, 34.1% (138-91); Southgate, 32.5% (77-52); Trenton, 26.7% (45-33), and Wyandotte, 26.2% (65-48).

Three communities reported an uptick in closed sales: Ecorse, 69.2% (13 last year and 22 this year); Woodhaven, 19.2% (26 last year, 31 this year); and Riverview, 9.5% (21 last year, 23 this year.) Flat Rock was steady with 13 both years.

• The median price for a Downriver home ($165,000) was 1.9% higher than the first three months of 2022.

Communities showing the greatest first-quarter percentage increases compared with the year-earlier period were Flat Rock, up 33.8% to $305,000; River Rouge, up 30% to $65,000; Huron Township, up 18.1% to $331,250; Southgate, up 13.3% to $194,250; Trenton, up 14% to $220,000; Romulus, up 6.5% to $165,000; Lincoln Park up 3.6% to $128,500; Allen Park, up 2.5% to $176,500, and Wyandotte, up 2.5% to $159,950.

Among the largest declines were Grosse Ile, down 16.8% to $395,000; Gibraltar, down 15.5% to $186,000; Taylor, down 4.3% to $143,500; Melvindale, down 4.3% to $110,000; Riverview, down 8.8% to $187,000, and Rockwood, down 3.9% to $173,000.

• The days on market until sale increased 29.6% (35 in the first quarter, compared with 27 a year earlier). Among the communities where closings slowed most were Trenton, 39 days this quarter compared with 20 a year earlier; Woodhaven, 23 compared with 12; Ecorse, 61 compared with 32; and Brownstown Township, 38 compared with 28. The sales pace accelerated most in Melvindale, dropping to 19 days from 34 a year earlier.

• The percent of list price received slipped in the first three months of this year compared with 2022 (98.3% to 100.5% ). Among the communities bucking the trend were Rockwood, where the percent of list price was 99.8% this year, compared with 96.5% a year earlier; River Rouge, 96.5% compared with 90.1 a year earlier; and Romulus, 99.7% compared with 99.6 in the first quarter of 2022.

Steepest declines were reported for Grosse Ile, 95.5% this year, compared with 100.1% a year earlier; Flat Rock, 97% this year, compared with 101% a year ago; and Wyandotte, 97.3%, compared with 102.1 a year earlier.

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