ZEELAND, Mich. (WZZM) - Politicians on both sides keep asking the question, 'are you better off than four years ago?' WZZM 13 is taking a closer look at whether Americans are better off when it comes to the housing market.
In 2008, there were 957 foreclosures in Ottawa County, compared to 353 so far this year.
WZZM 13 found an up and coming Zeeland subdivision where there are homes for sale, sold, and under construction. Chris Burman and his wife just moved in, after recently going through that whole process.
"Today we are in a lot better position. Our mortgage balance is a lot lower than in the past, but we still obviously have a very nice new house," says Burman.
According to the West Michigan Lakeshore Association of Realtors for Muskegon, Ottawa, and half of Allegan counties, the number of home sales has increased from about 2,400 in 2008 to 2,700 this year. However, the average home price since 2008 has dropped from about $140,000 to $136,000 in 2012. Those stats were all from the first eight months of the year.
"Are we better off? A resounding absolutely. Absolutely we're better off," says Dale Zahn, CEO of the West Michigan Lakeshore Association of Realtors.
But WZZM 13 talked to other people who say their property has gone down in value.
"In terms of resale I believe I'm worse. I have two properties in upstate New York that have decreased in value quite a bit. I also have two in Ludington which probably went down," says homeowner, Chris Carpin.
The realtors association admits many people are still financially underwater or owe more than their home is worth, but the organization says they are not the majority.