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Real estate jumps locally: Sales and prices spike in certain sectors

While the housing market remained steady in Becker County over the past year, real estate sales on lake property, raw land and commercial all saw dramatic jumps in the number of sales and often times also in prices. Low interest rates and more disposable income are what some experts believe are responsible for the dramatic jump. FORUM NEWS SERVICE/Paul Quam

Some areas within real estate in Becker County are experiencing quite a ‘boom’ these days.

According to Jason Ziegler, president-elect of the Lakes Country Association of Realtors, 2013 proved to be a very “interesting” year for the Becker County real estate market.

According to the association’s statistic obtained through the multiple listings service, a lot more people were in the mood to buy this past year.

The report indicates that land sales (just bare, raw land) in Becker County went up by 45 percent in 2013 from the previous year, with an increase in average land value of 24 percent.

Lakeshore land saw a similar spike, as sold listings in that sector were also up by 48 percent with prices shooting up 22 percent compared to 2012.

Commercial property kept with that trend, with a sharp jump of 43 percent and an increase in average prices of 4 percent.

In 2012, there were 11 commercial transactions; in 2013, there were 19. Lakeshore homes were also selling well, with an increase of 12 percent from 2012 but unlike the other sectors, a decrease in prices by 10 percent.

The residential housing market is the one area that stayed steady, with a 1 percent increase in the number of homes sold and in the average prices.

When it comes to the significant changes in the outlying areas of the real estate market, Ziegler says he may be surprised seeing the numbers jump like that in one year, but it makes sense.

“It is in line with the economy as a whole,” he said. “People have been holding tight on to their money for quite a while, and I think this shows that people are ready to spend their money again.”        

Ziegler says from his experience in land sales last year, he noticed that people weren’t necessarily always interested in building homes on the land.

“A lot of them were buying it for recreation — to build a cabin on a lake or things like that,” he said.  “I think there’s getting to be a little bit more disposable income and people are looking at some of this as recreational.”

Ziegler says the fact that interest rates have remained extremely low compared to what they’ve been in the past are also a factor in more people buying.

An overall picture of all properties across every sector saw an average increase in the number of sales by 16 percent (that breaks down to 477 sales in 2012, compared to 570 in 2013) and an average median price decrease of 6 percent.

So is it a buyer’s market or seller’s market?

“It really looks good for both,” said Ziegler, who admits that it’s a good time to be a realtor in Becker County as well.

“I’m giddy about it,” he laughed. “We’re going really strong and all indications are that we are continuing to trend forward.”

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Paula Quam

Paula Quam is the editor for Forum Communications Co. newspapers in Detroit Lakes, Perham and Wadena, all in Minnesota.

(218) 844-1466