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      Local realtors forecast hot summer market

      The real estate market is heating up in northern Michigan and local realtors are predicting it hasn't peaked yet.

      Visit Up North Vacation Rentals is coming off a record 2012 year but already the company is up ten percent from last year. In fact, this month of April is going down in the record books as the companyâ??s best booking-month ever. Operations Manager Jack Woods says already they've had calls from people in California, Texas, Florida and the East Coast.

      Woods credits the Pure Michigan Television Ad Campaign as well as the national attention that surrounding the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, when Good Morning America named it the "Most Beautiful Place in America."

      Woods says he's blown away by the increase this year and he says it's a sign that the economy could be looking up. Woods says, "In the past when times were really, really hard people were still taking vacations but they were last minute... people were making their decisions, ok now I can afford this, or I still have my job so I can take that trip... what were seeing now is people are looking in January, February, April for June, July and August which is a lot earlier than in the past."

      The housing market is also seeing success here in northern Michigan. Megan Luce, the 2013 President-elect for Traverse Area Association of Realtors and a realtor at Century 21 Northland says her company is already up 26% from last year.

      Luce says she's seeing a trend of buyers looking for second investments homes; water front properties and houses close the downtown area.

      â??I predict this positive trend will continue in our northern Michigan market, I think weâ??re going to see a low inventory and a sellers market right now," Luce said. "With a low inventory and more buyers out there, thereâ??s little to pick from it does drive the prices up.â??

      The National Association of Realtors says that the number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes jumped in March to the highest level in three years.