For the past year, Krystal Roquemore and her husband have been looking for a home with more space. That search was halted when the coronavirus pandemic hit Michigan and in-person home showings weren’t an option for weeks.
Now their search has resumed, the Detroit resident brings her mask, gloves and shoe coverings when she tours homes.
“It feels good to get out and look instead of being confined to the house and dreaming about it,” Roquemore said recently as she prepared to enter a home for sale in St. Clair Shores with agent Chandra Graves.
Roquemore is among potential homebuyers in Michigan contributing to the recent boost in residential real estate activity since home-showing restrictions were lifted in early May.
Here’s a snapshot of how much things have improved: In April, there were 2,423 pending sales across 18 Michigan counties, including Wayne, Oakland and Macomb, according to the Greater Metropolitan Association of Realtors. By May, there were 7,833.
“When the governor lifted at least some of the restrictions, it just took off like we couldn’t have imagined,” said James Cristbrook, president of the Southfield-based Greater Metropolitan Association of Realtors.
During a seven-day period earlier this month, there were 1,740 new home listings and 270 listings coming back on the market in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, according to that Realtors group. During that time period, there were 2,065 pending sales.
During the shutdown, mortgage lenders, title companies, home inspectors and movers continued to operate.
“And because those other industries were poised to get going as well, they basically didn’t miss a beat,” Cristbrook said. “Things started moving along pretty smoothly.”
Cristbrook said in the $200,000 to $400,000 price range, agents are seeing multiple offers and in some cases offers that are $10,000 to $20,000 above list prices. Agents say the market is similar to the shortage of homes for sale prior to the pandemic.
“Even if they’re in decent shape, they sell very quickly,” Cristbrook said. “Sometimes within hours.”
Mortgage applications are on the rise with an increase of 9.3% as of June 5, compared to one week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Detroit-based Quicken Loans Inc. and Pontiac-based United Shore Financial Services say their industry is booming and they’re hiring.
Interest rates were at an average of 3.21% as of June 11, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., also known as Freddie Mac.
“Outside of the previous two weeks, when the rate was 3.15 and 3.18%,…