Metro Detroit home prices, sales rise in May

Posted on June 12, 2012

Metro Detroit home prices and sales rose in May as the tables turn on the buyer’s market that’s been going strong since the housing slump began.

“The housing market, for all practical purposes, has shifted from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market,” said Dan Elsea, president of brokerage services for Real Estate One in Southfield, in his monthly market email.

The good inventory on the market in metro Detroit – where foreclosures and short sales account for 35% of current listings – attracts multiple bids and pushed the median sales price to $79,000 last month, up 21.5% from $65,000 in May 2011, according to Realcomp, a Farmington Hills-based multiple listing service.

Its Realtor members reported 5,023 closed sales in May, which is up by 10.9% from the 4,528 homes and condos that sold in the same month a year ago.

Sales gains were seen in all counties with Oakland County leading the way with a 20% boost in sales to 1,717 in May. Macomb County was up 16% to 1,070, Livingston County was up 14.8% to 240, and Wayne County rose 1.4% to 1,996.

All four counties included in the metro Detroit stats – Livingston, Oakland, Macomb and Wayne – saw median sales price increases in May. Here’s the breakdown:

• Livingston: $149,450, up 12.8% from $132,500.

• Macomb: $75,000, up 11.9% from $67,000.

• Oakland: $137,900, up 19.9% from $115,000.

• Wayne: $45,000, up 34.5% from $33,450.

The Detroit area, which is defined as Detroit, Hamtramck, Harper Woods and Highland Park, saw median prices rise to $9,562, up 0.7% from a year ago, but sales dropped 18% to 547 in May.

Nearly half, or 46%, of sales last month were cash sales and homes were selling an average of 13 days faster with 84 days on market, Realcomp said.

Inventories dropped 17.6% in May to 27,227 homes for sale in the entire multiple listing service compared to 33,029 in May 2011. The MLS includes metro Detroit plus parts of the Thumb and Genesee County.

By: Greta Guest, The Detroit Free Press