Judy Levin
July 2021
Leelanau County Specialist

How Are Soaring Materials Costs Affecting Real Estate?
There are some factors converging in the real estate market right now that are putting home prices at an all-time high. In fact, home prices are so high and bidding wars so common that a lot of buyers are waiting for things to settle down a bit, although we don’t know when that’s going to happen.
      So what’s behind the increasing home prices around the country?
      There’s limited supply and increased demand, coupled with extremely high costs for building materials. That’s putting a limit on what new home builders can do right now, and a lot of current homeowners aren’t willing to sell.
      Home Price
Mortgage Rates
U.S. averages as of July 2021:

30 yr. fixed: 3.02%
15 yr. fixed: 2.34%
5/1 yr. adj: 2.53%

price inflation peaked last year at 11.4%, and the estimates for anticipated average price growth were recently revised upward to 8.1% in 2021 and 5% in 2022. By 2023, price growth is

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How Long Should A House Stay on the Market?
     When you put your house on the market, you obviously want it to sell as fast as possible. That’s not always what happens, though. In 2020, homes spent an average of 25 days on the market, which was down from 30 days. Compare that to 2010, when the average number of days to sell a home was a whopping 140.
      It’s a seller’s market right now, especially since inventory is low and building materials are incredibly expensive.
      While the time on the market has, on average, gone down, there are a lot of individual factors that play a role in how long it takes to sell a house.
      For example, demand, seasonality, and local market factors all play a role. So how long is too long, and why

What’s Going On with Home Prices Right Now?
     The housing market is currently what many analysts are describing as overheated. Demand continues to grow more quickly than supply can keep up with, meaning home prices keep reaching record highs.
      Rising Prices According to data gathered by Redfin, two years ago, before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, only around ¼ of properties were selling above asking.
      Now, the most recent data shows that home prices in March rose at the fastest pace in over seven years.
      The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index went up 13.3% in March compared to a year before, making it the biggest jump since December 2013. That follows a 12% year-over-year increase in February.
      Many homeowners aren’t willing to sell, and that’s leading to bidding wars. As of the end of April, there were 1.6 million homes for sale in the U.S. That’s a 20.5%


 July 2021 Blog


Personalities of the Peninsula: 5th Generation Fishmonger Nels Carlson
The Ticker - By Kim Schneider

If you’ve been to Leland’s Fishtown in the past decade, you’ve likely seen Nels Carlson processing, brining, fileting and smoking Great Lakes whitefish on the docks and in the tiny shanty that anchors one of the state’s busiest tourist destinations. He bought Carlson’s Fishery in 2012 from his uncle Bill Carlson. That made him the 5th generation of the family to run what started as a commercial fishing operation more than a century ago and also the company’s second owner named Nels (after the business’s first-generation Norway-born founder).

This Nels puts his University of Michigan degree in natural resource management to work in the sustainably oriented fishery in a partnership with lifelong friend Mike Burda, another Leland legacy family (in his case of the Leland Mercantile). You’ll find both working until late, back processing early in the morning, and still loving what they do. Here’s more on the fishmonger life from Carlson:

Leelanau Ticker: We just see the finished product — the famous smoked whitefish dip, the finished fillets. What’s the job really like?
Carlson: It’s a cool profession in my opinion just because the product we get and use is so, so fresh. We are often cleaning fish that were just alive and then go right out the door. We don’t have huge freezers and forklifts and filet machines, so it goes out the door very quickly. There aren’t many places where you get to work with ingredients that fresh and directly pass it on to the consumer. People wonder how we get our fish to taste how we do. We brine our fish in saltwater, smoke it with maple, and that’s it. It’s not rocket science. It’s more about getting it right all the time.

Leelanau Ticker: It doesn’t sound like it’s easy though.
Carlson: We did 3,000 pounds of fish last night, and it’ll be gone in a couple of days. You get tired. We do it all by hand. It’s crazy. But even our fish guts are fresher than fish anybody would eat from anywhere.

A big part of the stress is finding the product. We’re a processor in the sense that we don’t go in our fishing boats anymore, which is the case with most processors in Michigan. We work with fishing operations; we bring the fish here and process them just like they came out of the water, then we will brine those fish. We will come in the next morning and put them in smokers and start doing it all over again. The charters go out, and we do their fish, and we have trout from the tribe. That’s it, over and over again.

Leelanau Ticker: What was your first job in the company, and what hooked you on following this as a profession?
Carlson: I was scrubbing boxes like the kids are doing now, washing the dock down, taking smoked fish off the racks. That’s how everybody starts at the fishery. As far as wanting to do it as my life, the opportunity presented itself when my uncle was ready to retire. I like working with my hands, producing a product.

Leelanau Ticker: If you had the chance to meet the company founder, the first Nels, what would you want to ask him?
Carlson: There’s a picture right here of my grandfather Pete. I was just sitting here looking at it, thinking, I just wish I knew them, all those guys. It’d be interesting [to know] what they’d think of what this place has become. In their day it was a commercial fishing operation; this wasn’t a business focused on a tourist industry. They took semi-truck loads of fish to Chicago, Detroit, New York. They smoked fish because that’s how we used to preserve it. They were making a living on the water, and people died doing it. It was dangerous. Now it is something they wouldn’t believe…we cater to tourists, that’s it. Even our wholesale that goes to restaurants is tourism.

Leelanau Ticker: What kind of satisfaction do you get from that?
Carlson: It’s fun for people to experience this and see what it’s like. Doing this stuff was normal even 50 years ago. It wasn’t an odd lifestyle for people. Today people come to see it [through an open kitchen concept that lets customers see into the processing room] because now nobody does it. We have people ask for their kids to come to work for us. One said, ‘My kid doesn’t know anything about the world. You don’t have to pay him, but can he learn what happens in the world, not on a computer screen?’

Our main concern and goal is to get people the product that comes right out of the water, from right there, a resource we still have and utilize. No preservatives, just simple and easy. It’s right here.

Leelanau Ticker: What do you hope your generation's legacy will be?
Carlson: I hope I raise my kids well, that they do whatever they want to do and that I’m a good father and community member. That’s it. If my kids or business partner’s kids want to take over, it’s their choice. We’re just trying to survive here, be part of a good community, and I think we help that. [The business] draws people here.

Leelanau Ticker: With concerns over fishing sustainability and the problem of invasive species…what’s the biggest threat to what you do — and the whitefish we get to eat?
Carlson: There’s certainly from a political standpoint an effort to eliminate commercial fishing from the Great Lakes, which is unfortunate. It stems from a variety of government and lobbying groups, sport fishing groups, the Michigan charter boat association. I don’t know of any commercially fished species that has been in decline because of overfishing. It’s always been some other industry, particularly shipping which has brought in invasive species, that have changed the ecology of the lake. The result of the bills the DNR was trying to pass this year is that there would probably be people coming here and not being able to get whitefish. (See Leelanau Ticker’s coverage here and here.) That’s the reality of it.

Leelanau Ticker: Back to the product. Do you like eating fish?
Carlson: I test a lot of product and eat our pate every day. Let’s say I don’t generally get fish at restaurants much…but I eat enough of it. I get plenty of Omega 3s!


Photo of the Month

Leland Blues By Ken Scott


Property of the Month 

7347 S Stachnik Road Maple City, MI
$2,750,000 MLS#1889415

Stunning Horse Farm in NW MI Leelanau County, only minutes from Leland and Glen Arbor. In business for 20 years. Located on a beautiful 48-acre parcel. 40 acres zoned Agricultural and 8 Commercial. 25,000 square foot Morton main building that features 33 12x12 stalls, indoor riding ring 75x200, huge heated viewing room, owner tack, border tack rooms, laundry and bath with heated wash rack, fly system. Besides the indoor ring arena included is an outdoor 150x300 ring that has featured many horse shows over the farms history. Most everything included even the tractors and equipment negotiable to run a successful year-round training and boarding facility. Featuring 11 paddocks 7 with run ins including auto waterers. A wonderful updated 2-bedroom 2 bath owners home attached. The facility has many options, Crop farm, Livestock, Vineyard, Hops, Storage etc. With the popularity of Hemp and its many uses you could grow and process onsite and have a store on the Commercial portion of the property that would be a popular stop with all the Wine Tours.


Real Estate Update 



6561 N. Christiansen Road Northport
$895,000.00 MLS#1888688
VIEWS OF LAKE MICHIGAN from this custom-built home on 17+ acres. Built by Easling Construction this home is quality built and offers 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms with 3893 sq. ft. living area. Lower walkout level features 4th bedroom and exercise/den. Over 1000 sq. ft. of decking to enjoy the views and private setting. 400 sq. ft. horse barn with 2 box stalls, tack room and hay storage. Fenced corral ready for your critters! Both a living room and family room (with floor to ceiling natural stone fireplace) on main level. Spacious master suite on main level with private bathroom, bedroom, office and sun room. Home is cedar sided and has blacktop private driveway - you cannot see the home from the road!



BLUE WATER OVERLOOK Parcel B Our Majestic Trail
$60,900.00 MLS#1832830
One acre of hardwood forest No Deed Restrictions 


Food Store of The Month 

720 N. St. Joseph St. Mon-Sat 6:00am to 2:00pm Closed Sunday

 They bake like your grandma used to make pies and lots of other bakery items. Look at this list of pies. There must be one kind that you will just love for your family gatherings!!!

Crumb top cherry
Crumb top Apple
Rhubarb (In Season)
Lemon Meringue
Oatmeal Coconut
Coconut Cream
Mini Fruit Pies


Recipe of the Month  

 Crab Cakes

3 tablespoons mayonnaise 
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 
½ teaspoon kosher salt 
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper  
2 large eggs, lightly beaten 
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked 
⅔ cup panko 
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 
3 tablespoons butter



Step 1: Whisk together first 5 ingredients in a bowl. Gently stir in crab, panko, and parsley. Shape mixture into 12 (3-inch) patties, pressing gently to flatten. Place patties on a baking sheet; cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Step 2: Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 6 patties to pan; cook 2 1/2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove crab cakes from pan; repeat with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter and remaining 6 patties.



First Sips of Summer 2021: Winery News From Leelanau County
The Ticker - By Emily Tyra

Openings and expansions are afoot in wine country, on the heels of a collective big win for the Traverse Wine Coast at the prestigious 2021 TEXSOM International Wine Awards: French Valley Vineyard’s brand-new Cedar tasting room (pictured above) opened over the weekend. Starting tomorrow (June 3) Verterra Winery is offering a new wine tasting experience (and unreal views) at its satellite venue “The Ridge” near Northport. And a young Leelanau family purchased Gill’s Pier Ranch just north of Leland with plans to return the yak and alpaca farm to its winery/tasting room roots.

French Valley Vineyard
Crews have been plugging away since February on the tasting room at Cedar’s French Valley Vineyard  — and the new space is still awaiting the arrival of the official front door — but Tasting Room and Venue Manager Julie Lopata reports, “This is really happening. We’ve had the last inspections, and stamp of approval. Saturday was our opening day.”

The warehouse-style barn tasting room has what Lopata calls a rustic-industrial aesthetic as a complement to the winery’s renovated centennial Amish barn used for weddings and events. “We are really excited to show off all the work that has been done,” says Lopata. This includes the custom saddle bar stools, which are best experienced in person. As are the winery chickens: “The chicks arrived April 13th as tiny puff balls and now they are walking around as teenagers,” laughs Lopata.

Construction crews begin work today on a pavilion to host music at French Valley. Regardless of its completion date, Lopata says that live music will be hosted every Thursday at the winery this summer, kicking off tomorrow (June 3).

Gill’s Pier Ranch Becomes Dune Bird Winery
Nicole and Bo White have purchased Gill’s Pier Ranch north of Leland from Chris and Angie Butz, who raised yaks and alpacas on the farm’s 52 acres.

Says Nicole White, “Many know Gill’s Pier Ranch with the yaks and alpacas, but before that, this was Gill’s Pier Winery, which Ryan and Kris Sterkenburg ran as one of the early wineries in a newly burgeoning wine area.”

The Whites plan to revive and reopen the property as a winery: “We have our federal and township licensing, and we are applying at the state level. Meanwhile, working on a pretty massive build-out of the original tasting room,” says Nicole.

The sale of the ranch property didn’t include the adjacent farmhouse and parcel, so the family has been residing in an RV, with plans to convert the outbuilding currently housing the alpacas into a “barn-dominium.” (The yaks have moved to a ranch in Arkansas; the alpacas are currently seeking a new home.)

Says Bo White, “This year’s focus is getting the tasting room up and running.”

The Whites, a military family, are no strangers to change or hard work: after selling their dream “Hangar House” in Bohemian Valley last year — with the driving factor being the ability for Bo to not work overseas as often and as long — then renovating a farm house in Maple City, the Gill’s Pier Ranch opportunity presented itself. 

Bo, who has deep family roots in the vicinity — his grandmother is in biking distance; his parents a few miles away — says reopening as a tasting room means, “we can own a business, create a community space, and I can stay home and live here and be with my family.”

The vineyard established by the Sterkenburgs has been leased and maintained by neighboring wineries while Gill's Pier operated as a ranch, and the Whites say they “have an excellent local winemaking partner” to help them produce their estate wines. The new winery will be called Dune Bird.

“Bo is a pilot,” says Nicole, “So “bird” is a play on aviation. Everyone immediately associates “dune” with Glen Arbor and the Dune Climb, but we’re right across the street from Houdek Dunes; the dunes follow the whole shoreline, so it’s kind of cool to pull that name recognition up north, where it equally belongs.”

Dune Bird will open as a winery tasting room and “also incorporate a coffee bar and shared workspace, and be very family-friendly,” says Nicole. “We have two little kids, and we love going to wineries and breweries around here where kids are welcome; we definitely want to create a space like that, too.” They plan to open this fall.

The Ridge at Verterra Winery
Verterra Winery’s 30-acre Swede Road vineyard, perched on one of the highest ridges in the northern Leelanau Peninsula, has eye-popping views of Grand Traverse Bay, Gull Island, Lake Michigan and — on a clear day — the North and South Fox Islands.

The Ridge, a satellite location to Verterra’s tasting room on River Street in Leland, “is one of those sites that every other year is destined for expansion,” owner Paul Hamelin tells the Leelanau Ticker. After originally planting vines on 15 acres, the winery moved to hosting weddings and private events at The Ridge four years ago, constructing tent pads with underground power and a structure that houses bathrooms, a catering kitchen, and a bridal suite.

Now, opening to the public tomorrow (June 3), is a tasting room inside a new “structural three-season tent” with an adjacent flagstone patio, all with views of the coast. Says Hamelin, “We still have our traditional tasting room in Leland. And now we have a second location for tastings at The Ridge, which will offer flights and food bites and a more Old-World experience.”

He adds, “Last year because of COVID, having tents for weddings turned out to be life-saving, and during the week when we didn’t have wedding activities, we quickly did some beta testing on how we would use the site to do tastings.”

The Ridge will be open June through October for tastings, on days without booked events. Hamelin’s ultimate plan is to build a formal tasting room at The Ridge so the winery can have both weddings and tastings onsite simultaneously.

And what’s the general vibe and prediction for all of the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail heading into summer? Says Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association president and Shady Lane Cellars General Manager Rick DeBlasio, “there is a potential we’ll see 15-20 percent growth over last year from a winery visit standpoint.”

But now, even moving out of the pandemic, the days with wine-sipping crowds standing elbow-to-elbow may be changed forever, for the better. “You’ll find tasting rooms have really dialed in their experiences relative to the lifting restrictions and we are open and ready for business. I think everyone is excited for the season to kick off.”

As with many in hospitality across the county, winery tasting rooms are feeling a hiring pinch. DeBlasio says those who “have ever thought about a fun summer gig or are looking for a weekend side hustle, there has never been a better time to connect with one of our local wineries.”

The wine trail’s event lineup is also evolving: "We are still working with some limited event offerings this year to help get the word out that we are open and ready — and that we still offer a fun, safe environment for tasting,” says DeBlasio. Sip & Savor is officially back this June 4-6.  The three-day self-guided progressive event showcases the peninsula’s unique wines, hand-selected by the winemakers, each paired with small plates of locally sourced cuisine


Real Estate Cartoon of the Month


Judy’s Movie Reviews



This stars Tom Hanks who is one of my favorites. Five years after the end of the Civil War, Capt. Jefferson Kidd crosses paths with a young 10 year old girl taken by the Kiowa people. She is forced to return to her Aunt and Uncle with Capt. Kidd taking her across the harsh plains of Texas. This is quite the adventure thriller! 4.5 out of 5 stars
Click Here to View the Trailer


This stars Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman both Oscar winning actors. The sharp funny man who is losing his grip on reality because of Alzheimer’s disease is like a living death to his daughter. He tries mightily to hold on to his independence and she tries to come to grips with the changing of her Father. 4.5 stars out of 5
Click Here to View the Trailer


A Korean American family to a tiny Arkansas farm in search of their American dream as farmers. When their sly, foul mouthed, loving Grandmother moves in, everything changes!! This movie highlights the strength of family and what really makes a home. 4.5 out of 5 stars
Click Here to View the Trailer



A widowed Dad copes with doubts, fears, heartache and dirty diapers when his wife dies in childbirth and he is alone to raise his daughter on his own. I really loved this warm feel-good movie. I shed a few tears as it was so touching. Not a lady’s movie, a family movie. 4.5 stars out of 5
Click Here to View the Trailer



This was my first time back in a real movie theatre since December 2019. I loved returning to the Bay in Suttons Bay. This movie was everything I was anticipating. The script is the memories of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s childhood in Washington Heights, a wonderful Puerto Rican neighborhood at 181st in New York are terrific. He wrote the music and lyrics, starred and brought it Broadway and now is the producer of the movie and has a cameo role. The dancing, the singing, the music, the costumes and the photography are brilliant. It makes you feel you are right there in the neighborhood. Loved seeing it on the big screen. 5 out of 5 stars.
Click Here to View the Trailer


Video of the Month   

Click Here to View the Video of the Month
 Lake Leelanau Narrows - Leland Fishtown
By: Flyt Shot


Local Information

The City Opera House

The State Theater and The Bijou By the Bay

Old Town Playhouse

Leelanau County Farmers Market

Met Opera



  Daily News and Advice

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Judy Levin, CRS e-PRO
231- 218-7653
Coldwell Banker Schmidt
71 W. 4th Street
Suttons Bay, MI 49682

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