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Posted on Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Hot markets: View 2012 home sale prices by Ann Arbor elementary schools

By Lizzy Alfs

Related story: ‘Shockingly’ low inventory of homes for sale in Ann Arbor area as market heats up

Residential home sale prices in Ann Arbor neighborhoods are showing gains year-over-year, but most markets are still down from 2005 sale prices.


Average per square foot home sale prices across the county are on the rise. file photo

Ann Arbor homes — defined by those in the public school district — gained 7.38 percent in value last year based on sales prices per square foot. The data provides a gauge on value changes by taking into account the size of homes.

The 2012 year-end data is optimistic: Of 19 elementary school areas, 17 posted gains in average sales prices.

The elementary neighborhood with the biggest one-year value gain was Northside, which was up 15.68 percent in 2012. Homes in that area sold for an average of $152 per square foot, or about $304,000 for a 2,000-square-foot home. That compares to $186 per square foot in 2005. Allen, Eberwhite, King and Wines also posted value increases of more than 10 percent in 2012.

The two elementary areas showing drops in average sales prices from 2011 to 2012 were Lawton (down 1.26 percent) and Burns Park (down .61 percent).

“Where you see the greatest improvements in price is areas that got hit harder,” said Rick Taylor of the Charles Reinhart Company. “When you think about the different areas that suffered, Burns Park didn’t suffer as much.”


Data compiled by Martin Bouma

Still, the only elementary school area where homes are selling above 2005 levels is in the Angell district, where homes sold for an average of $240 per square foot in 2012, compared with $235.61 in 2011.

Four areas are still 20 percent or more below 2005 values: Allen (down 24.14 percent), Carpenter (down 22.68 percent), Mitchell (down 37 percent), and Pittsfield (down 22.17 percent).

The data is reflective of regional and national trends: Home sale prices are slowly rising as the real estate market accelerates. The National Association of Realtors reports home sale prices in January were up 12.3 percent across the nation, marking the 11th consecutive month of year-over-year increases.

Realtors and house hunters in the Ann Arbor area market are reporting extremely low inventory of homes for sale, which is helping to drive price increases. In January, the average residential sale price in the county was $224,686, a 33.7 percent increase over the same period in 2011, according to the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors.

“We’re seeing such a jump,” said Martin Bouma of Keller Williams.

Along with Ann Arbor, home sale prices per square foot increased in every school district in the county last year. Willow Run was up 35.27 percent over 2011, while Ypsilanti was up 22.62 percent. However, both districts are still down roughly 50 percent from 2005 prices.

The 2012 value gains in other districts based on sales prices per square foot include:

  • Chelsea: 12.66 percent
  • Saline: 5.81 percent
  • Dexter: 8.78 percent
  • Lincoln: 12.10 percent
  • Milan: 6.18 percent

  • Download the chart listing sales prices per square foot for Ann Arbor elementary school neighborhoods and other district-wide areas in the county. The data was compiled by Martin Bouma of Keller Williams.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at


Joe Hood

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 6:20 p.m.

Interesting that their data show my area went down in value in the last year but oddly enough my assessment went up this year?

Jon Saalberg

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 4:45 p.m.

So the Open School area is just left out entirely, because it is K-8?

Paula Gardner

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 6:15 p.m.

The Open School serves the entire district, so it doesn't have a defined neighborhood.

say it plain

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 5:54 p.m.

because it doesn't *have* a region associated with it, it's a magnet program accepting students from anywhere in the district. I'd imagine its data is included in whatever school the kids who live in that area automatically go to. As much as you might be being encouraged to see this as a referendum on the quality of the schools (by the title), it's really about the real estate in the respective neighborhoods.

Victor Wong

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

What happened to Pattengill? Good news in general for Ann Arbor.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 5:47 p.m.

Look under the row for Bryant; the two schools are combined.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 3:34 p.m.

Good news. Hope the trend continues and expands to some of the smaller outskirt communities that have a lot to offer.

say it plain

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 2:53 p.m.

Wait, we basically learned from the RE report posted ten minutes ago about the "shockingly low" inventory that the inventory is artificially low, a combo of manipulation by banks sitting on foreclosures, sellers underwater, homes converted to rentals, and perhaps just people sick of the RE buy-sell game wanting to do something else with their lives for a while instead of listening to the "news"outlets and following their reports and classified ads about home flipping, which improvements pay off, how to stage a home with potpourri. But, in keeping with the business model, we need to get yet *more* on the 'market' to keep the phones ringing from buyers who need to be "re-educated". This is more shilling, irresponsibly, from one of the most influential lobbying groups (the realtors, at a national level, are, and they had been critical to newsoutlets income as well), with the facilitation by the 'press'.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 2:43 p.m.

So I'm curious to know approximately how much of a home's value is determined by the school - whether district, or between districts. I know the possibility of re-districting has been implied as an upcoming possibility in the next couple of years. How much impact is this anticipated to have on the housing market? *disclaimer - I realize this is a HIGHLY speculative question, but I'm curious.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

Why do people refuse to spend their money the way I want them to spend it?

Basic Bob

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 2:21 p.m.

Your Jedi mind control tricks won't work on me.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

Most all are down, but I am noticing the worst performers are also the schools that parents complain about the most. I know in my sub division MANY parents have been pulling out of the public school and going to charter, private, Saline, or home school because of the notoriety of the public elementary school of which we belong. It definitely affects our home values.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 3:09 a.m.

Time for new glasses Ann! Pattengill is listed as Bryant_Pattengill because they are the "super-pair." When I go to volunteer the parking lot is usually near full (probably mostly with staff cars. The lot is tiny.). Maybe you passed by on a snow day or teacher work day?

Ann English

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:30 a.m.

I don't see Pattengill listed. You give the impression that parents on Crestland and Medford are sending their children to St. Francis School, if not other parochial schools. The last time I drove past Pattengill, it looked like no classes were in session, yet it was a weekday about 2 pm.

say it plain

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 5:03 p.m.

Vey good point @BasicBob... Realtors are not allowed to even talk about the schools, only direct you to sources of info but not talk about the data or details or even rumours on "good" versus not schools. But why should care about those minor details when clicks are at stake?

Basic Bob

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 2:27 p.m.

In most places, people choose their homes based on the school district. Here in Ann Arbor, we are more discerning than that and make snap decisions about people based on which elementary or middle school they attend, or which post office delivers their mail. It is disconcerting that our real estate professionals encourage and support this kind of social engineering. I thought this was not allowed after 1964.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 1:20 p.m.

Looks like real estate is going to be the meme-of-the-week. Next in the series: top 10 list of something that has to do with real estate. Later in the week: real estate in the Mark's Carts area.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 8:10 p.m.

How about covering how hard it is to refinance? I've been trying since June and despite well above earnings, we've been ignored, turned down (because of software mistakes at the bank) and because our latest appraisal came in $280K lower than the last two. I could save over $2400/month if we were allowed to refi, but apparently, we're a big risk because we've paid all our bills on time and have good credit ratings? Banks are not lending.

Paula Gardner

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 6:13 p.m.

It is, @Say it plain! Get ready to comment:)

say it plain

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 5:05 p.m.

Lol, @Brad, do you think the Milstein/Milsheytn brothers story and these were planned? Ah, spring is smelling up the air at last!

say it plain

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 4:07 p.m.

Lol @Brad, I like that idea. But Ms. Gardner, the now-content-director at, used to work the RE beat, so, I'll bet some stuff is lined up already ;-)

Paula Gardner

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 1:25 p.m.

Anything you'd like to suggest in our ongoing coverage?

Basic Bob

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 1:17 p.m.

Why would anyone pay over $250 per square foot for a house? That's crazy. There are still plenty of houses within the AAPS boundaries where you can pay $100 per square foot. Then you can take your thousands of dollars monthly savings and remodel, put your kids in private school, buy a car, save for retirement, and take vacations in Hawaii. If your trying to think of it as an investment, your chances of making any money on a house you buy for $250/SF are greatly reduced. The inflated commissions will certainly increase the interest of realtors and possibly make for a quick sale.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 3:50 p.m.

It's a more complicated risk-reward analysis than that, of course. Areas where houses hold their value are better investments than other areas -- and quality of the school district affects that. Might not be right for you, but that doesn't make it a bad investment for someone else whose goals are different from yours. And in the case of a house, you get to enjoy the view while you live out your investment's ride. Buy something with something nice out the window, I guess...


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 3:38 p.m.

And a lot of great buying opportunities in some of the small towns west and southwest of Ann Arbor in Washtenaw and northern Lenawee. Lot's of bargains in the fifty dollar per sq foot range, most with some land as well. You can still tell people you live in ann arbor....chances are they don't want to come over anyhow. lol


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 1:04 p.m.

Don't use this article to rate the schools the market areas are named after, Northside school is still on a slide and operating at half capacity. Maybe someday they will get it together over there.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 12:58 p.m.

Great news! But why are we still focused on comparing ourselves to 2005? Those years were clearly an abberation in terms of real estate prices and causes the whole article to be overshadowed as a debby downer. Let's focus on the postive!


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 2:09 p.m.

It just makes sense to compare to the last highest mark. Not debby downer, just good analysis. I get your point, however. I am just glad that overall we are moving in a better direction.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 12:41 p.m.

More sales plugs by the National Association of Realtors. "Hurry, buy now, you'll never have a chance like this again, you'll have to pay more in the future, etc., etc., etc.," The bloom is off on housing. It will not return in our lifetimes. People should begin to reconsider a house simply as a dwelling, and not an investment. As such, a house - when all costs are taken into consideration - should be no more expensive in the long run than renting (any more than buying a car is any better a deal than leasing one). Worried about missing out on equity appreciation? Put your money in an index fund. The broker will charge you $8 and you can get your money back whenever you want. You'll do better over the long run as well.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 3:10 p.m.

I wouldn't say this article would appeal to buyers nearly as much as it does sellers. So instead of saying buy now, they are saying sell now. This is also what I'm hearing from people in the real estate business is values are up substantially and many listings are getting multiple offers. But at the same time, interest rates can only go up where they've been. So if you are looking to buy or refinance, now is the time to do it. I did the end of last year and cut my interest rate in half.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 3:09 p.m.

I would agree about renting vs buying a home or car if you look at the average owner that does not take care of their property. However my wife and I both have vehicles that are 14 and 12 years old. Both are in great shape with low miles. No way we would be better leasing.