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2020 Real Estate Stats That Will Blow Your Mind

2020 has been a year that many of us will never forget. It’s been the year of COVID-19, the year of society upheaval in the US, a controversial election year, and for those of us living and breathing the real estate market in Northern Michigan, one of the wildest years we’ve ever seen.

We started poking through the statistical data for the Traverse Area Association of Realtors and examined the performance of the market as a whole, as well as specific sections therein, comparing 2019 to 2020, from the first of the year through the end of September. 

What we found surprised even us; here are our top ten takeaways. 


1. Non-Waterfront Home Sales are Down 2020, but Prices Are Way Up

The number of total non-waterfront home sales has taken a hit in 2020, but not for the reasons you’d think. Despite a global pandemic, economic recession, and general uncertainty in the country around a whole host of issues; many real estate professionals attribute the drop in sales in our area to one thing: inventory. 

Buyer demand is high, but the number of available homes seems to continue to shrink. This is driving prices up; in fact, in 2020, the median sold price for a non-waterfront home is up nearly 10% over 2019.


2. Condo Sales Have Tanked in 2020

Not every sector of the real estate market is up and to the right in 2020. The condo market in Northern Michigan has taken a bit of a bath this year, and the numbers aren’t pretty. 

So far, the number of condo units sold is down almost 9%, the median days a property for sale remains on the market before it’s sold is up, and the median sold price for condos sold is down almost $4,000

If you’ve got a condo and are considering a sale, you might want to wait for 2021. 


3. The Number of New Construction Home Sales Plummeted by nearly 40%

You’d think that with the incredible inventory shortage our market is facing that new construction would be booming and new construction home sales along with it. Unfortunately, COVID-19 had other plans, and the construction industry is feeling it. 

Everything from mandatory shutdowns that shuttered job sites to a reduced labor force to a difficulty getting building materials has created a major slowdown in the number of new construction solds this year; 2020 has seen just over 60% of the number of 2019 homes closed


4. The Number of Homes With a Sale Price Between 750k and 1 Million Dollars is Up 27%

The number of luxury properties sold in 2020 is up a staggering 27% and counting; a number many local area experts are explaining with the number of out-of-state clients they’re representing right now. 

High net-worth, high-income buyers, many of whom were geographically tethered to places like Chicago or New York City are suddenly able to work from home, which means they can effectively work from anywhere. 

A million dollars typically won’t buy you a thousand square feet in Manhattan, driving many who are seeking more room, lower cost of living, and higher quality of life, to our area. 


5. The Total Number of Cash Sales has Declined in 2020

In just about any other market, the phrase “cash is king” rings true, but maybe not for the 2020 real estate market. Usually a license to cut to the front of the offer line, the cash offer has been used less in 2020 than it has in 2019, most likely because it has literally never been cheaper to borrow money, especially for those who are well-qualified. 

The irony of this is, those who are the most qualified for a mortgage, those with high-income jobs and more in the bank are those who, more often than not, can afford to pay cash for a home. 

However, with interest rates dipping close to 2% for those most qualified, the benefit of offering cash doesn’t outweigh the value of getting a mortgage. 


6. The Median Price for Waterfront Homes is up over 8%

Though the prices of non-waterfront homes are outpacing the rise of waterfront, there’s still a significant year over year jump in 2020 of over 8%

However, unlike non-waterfront homes, the actual number of waterfront homes sold has jumped up in 2020 to 1,248 from 1,175 in 2019


7. The Total Number of Homes with a Sale Price Between 500k and 750k is up 22%, Median Days On Market down Nearly 20%

The high-end market increases don’t stop at $750,000; homes above half a million dollars are revving their engines too, with the number of homes sold up 22%

One theory that explains why this is happening is the “leveling up” move that many locals have been making this year. With more and more of us spending a lot of time at home, many homeowners who were in the 300k – 400k range have taken advantage of the historically low interest rates and accelerated equity in their existing homes to make the jump into the start of the luxury market. 

This is supported even further by the fact the median days on market for homes in this price range is down almost 20%, showing that buyers are hungry to make a move here, and the demand is still out-pacing supply. 


8. The Number of Transactions Requiring Seller Concessions has Declined Nearly 7%

In a buyer’s market (or, for that matter, a balanced market), it isn’t uncommon for buyers to ask for concessions from the seller to help complete the purchase. Usually, these concessions come in the form of covered closing costs or allowances for things like appliances or carpet. Most buyers ask for seller concessions because, while they are qualified to make the purchase, they may be cash poor. 

However, in an ultra-competitive marketplace where multiple-offer scenarios are more common than not, requests like a seller concession aren’t typically the best move, which explains the drop. 


9. The Total Dollar Value of the Waterfront Homes Sold in 2020 is Up 13.9%

One of the more stunning (but not surprising) numbers we came across while researching the market statistics of our area is the rise in the total value of waterfront homes sold year over year. 

Through September 2019, the total value of waterfront homes sold was $404,812,607. In 2020, that number is $461,427,921; jumping up 13.9%. 

With an extra 57 million dollars and change moving in 2020, this is proving to be one of the most volatile and intriguing sectors of the housing market.   


10. The Median Sale Price for Waterfront Homes on Lake Leelanau is up Nearly 11%

We all know that Lake Leelanau is beautiful, and in this case, beauty comes with a (higher) price. The median sale price for a home with deeded access to Lake Leelanau (private or shared) jumped from $605,000 in 2019 to $670,000 in 2020.


We Know the Numbers, And We Can Help

The Brick & Corbett Team know our market inside and out. We know the most important statistics that help position our buyers and sellers in the perfect place for success, something that’s even more important in a competitive market like this one. 


If you have questions about buying or selling your home, Brick & Corbett are here to help. 

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