Is Michigan’s Lower Peninsula the new Hamptons?

Visits from New Yorkers up 60 percent this year

A growing number of New Yorkers are buying vacation homes along the shoreline of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, where median sale prices are about a quarter of those in the Hamptons, Bloomberg News reported.

The number of visitors from the city rose 60 percent this summer, according to data from the Traverse City Conventions & Visitors Bureau, due in part to reasonable real estate prices and the tourism board’s stepped up efforts to lure visitors from the area.“The tourism is definitely a big factor in driving second-home sales,” Megan Luce, a Century 21 agent, told Bloomberg News. “Most people who buy second homes have been vacationing up here and then decide to buy.”

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That has contributed to price increases: the average price for a home in the area surrounding Traverse City was $187,590 through July, up 10 percent from the same period the previous year, according to data from the Michigan Association of Realtors cited by Bloomberg.

The Traverse City visitors bureau has courted New Yorkers with five-second videos on Times Square billboards and a travel guide advertisement that went out to 112,000 New Yorkers this past weekend. Popular New York restaurateur Mario Batali is a spokesman for Michigan’s tourism campaign. [Bloomberg News] – Leigh Kamping-Carder