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Is Ann Arbor's real estate market slowing down?

A conversation with local real estate agent Tammi Ebenhoeh

Tammi Ebenhoeh poses outside the Reinhart Realtors office on E. Stadium Blvd. (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)
Tammi Ebenhoeh poses outside the Reinhart Realtors office on E. Stadium Blvd. (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

ANN ARBOR – The real estate market in Ann Arbor is known to be a hot one. 

In some price ranges, homes are snatched up within hours of being listed, especially during the busy spring season. But is this changing?

We recently sat down with local real estate agent Tammi Ebenhoeh of Reinhart Realtors, who has been selling homes in Ann Arbor for 15 years. 

This interview has been edited and condensed.

What trends are you noticing in the market?

"The last two or three years, the market was hot. Spring was multiple offers, houses didn’t last one or two days without 15 offers and $30,000 over list price in some cases. This year, it seems like it started off that way in February, March and April, but it seems like in May and June a different tone has come into the market place.

"We’re hearing that the market is slowing. And we are hearing the Fed could also cut rates in 2020 if an expected economic slowdown threatens to snowball (according to the Kiplinger Report). So it's probably good for buyers. Sellers are asking themselves, 'Are we going to sell now? Are we going to wait now?'"

So is it a buyer's market?

"I think it’s more of a balanced market. I wouldn’t say we’re in a buyer’s market by any means but I think that definitely there’s a slowing to the market.

What else has stood out to you?

"I think 30% of our business last year was cash. There’s lots of cash on the market. People would even buy houses sight unseen. It can be very difficult to get a house that is move-in ready. Most buyers don’t want to change the carpet, they don’t want to replace the kitchen. They want it ready to go and they will pay top dollar if it offers that."

Which homes sell the fastest?

"It seems like the people that want to purchase here because it’s such a great place to live, work and play. People really want to be able to have a house that’s move-in ready. Even 1,000-square-foot houses are going for $400,000-plus. We’re seeing an uptick in the $1 million-plus homes, too. Those are selling pretty quick, as well.

"Anything under $200,000 will get snatched up in a moment, whether it’s in Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti. In a lot of places in Washtenaw County, it’s hard to even find a house under that. Houses between $500,000 and $800,000, those listings are a bit more quiet, I think. Not quite as many sales as we would have thought in the past."

Why is the spring market so hot in Ann Arbor?

"We are a transient town, so the market ebbs and flows throughout the year as people come and go. But nonetheless, people typically want to be in a house before summertime, before school starts and because people are on vacation in the summer in Michigan.

"It (also) gets dark in Michigan at 5 p.m. in the late fall and winter months. Nobody wants to shop when it’s cold and dark. So there’s this pent-up demand that breaks loose when the sun comes out and you can show people properties when people are done working at 5 p.m. then that’s easier." 

What advice do you have for buyers?

"I say you should start your search with a trusted Realtor six months ahead of when you want to close. Just getting familiar with the market. Then, when you really want to house shop, it should be two to three months ahead of time."

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