Steady housing market threatened

Michigan State Roundup

Published September 1, 2001  | September 2001 issue

While the construction market appears steady for many U.P. counties, the outlook for real estate around Marquette County's former Sawyer Air Force Base is not as optimistic. Plans are in motion to sell several hundred former military housing units to private purchasers at cut-rate prices. Local real estate agents fear this will have a devastating impact on the housing market in surrounding communities.

Since Sawyer's abandonment in 1995, many of the units have been leased to commercial companies and others, including the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Currently 600 of 1,660 individual housing units and 586 multifamily units are rented.

But as many as half the units are scheduled to be sold to private purchasers for $30,000 to $45,000 in the next year. These prices have been criticized by real estate agents concerned with how the sales will affect other property values. One agent fears the sales could close down the housing market in Negaunee, Gwinn and Ishpeming.

Rosie Cataldo