Marquette-area real estate market showing strength

MARQUETTE – The Marquette area real estate market for single-family residential homes has shown strengths in virtually all areas over the past year, according to a recent market analysis.

In his “Marquette Area Residential Market Analysis 2013,” analyst Bruce Closser, of the Marquette appraisal firm Closser Associates, Inc., said the number of single-family residential home sales had increased to a near-record high of 304 in 2013.

Closser’s firm has been tracking a range of local real estate market indicators since 1983. The studies are created from sales information compiled from the Marquette Area MLS and the Closser firm’s own market analysis.

Over the past two decades, the average number of home sales was 271. The high of 305 was reached most recently in 2005. Since then, sales dipped as low as 241 in 2009 and were at 286 in 2012.

According to the study, the average number of home real estate listings rose from 172 in 2012 to 182 in 2013, a little above the long-term average over the past 20 years of 174.

Meanwhile, the median price of a home largely remained the same from 2012 to 2013. The median sale price represents the middle – half of the sales were more expensive and half were less – and is not affected by extremes. Closser said this factor is the best indicator of changes in market prices.

“The median sale price increased from $144,750 in 2011 to $164,950 in 2012, a surprising 14 percent increase. This was the highest percentage increase since 2004 and is the third-highest since we started keeping median-sale-price statistics in 1989,” Closser said in the report. “In 2013, the market paused, perhaps to digest its gains, registering a tiny decrease to $164,750, a change of only one-tenth of one percent.”

The study includes sales of existing homes and any new homes sold through MLS member realtors. It does not include new subdivision homes or new condominiums built and sold by contractors not using the MLS system.

The Marquette area was defined in the analysis as the city of Marquette, Marquette Township, Chocolay Township and the portion of Sands Township situated north of Marquette County Road 480.

Closser’s firm arbitrarily takes quarterly data sample readings on listings and other facets of the market on the first Monday of January, April, July and October and produces a report each year.

Over the past two decades, the average selling time for a home was 119 days. The low was 69 days in 2003.

“From that point, the average selling time increased each year to a 20-year high of 186 days in 2008,” Closser said. “For the past four years, the average selling time has been steadily decreasing and stood at 109 days in 2013, which is below the 20-year average and the lowest since 2006.”

The total dollar volume of MLS sales set a record in 2013 at $57.5 million. The low over the past 16 years was $23,749 in 1998.

Since 2007, the Closser firm has also been producing an analysis of the single-family residential housing market for Marquette and Alger counties through the North Central MLS.

According to that analysis, the number of single-family home sales increased by 13.1 percent from 655 in 2012 to 741 in 2013. The number of sales has increased in each of the past three years. The median sale price was up 3.9 percent from $125,000 in 2012 to $129,900 last year.

“Of the 741 sales that went through the North Central MLS in 2013, 634 occurred in Marquette County, (compared to 570 in 2012) and 107 in Alger County (compared to 85 in 2012),” Closser said.

The two median homes in 2013 were located in Gwinn and Marquette.