2018-02-01 / Views

Smile, Leelanau. These are good economic times

We’re not economists, but we converse with enough sources and deal with enough statistics to have a pretty good handle on what happened on the business side of Leelanau County in 2017.

By all accounts, and that is no exaggeration, the county economy performed at its highest level in at least 20 years.

We’d suggest a longer time frame, but that’s how many years we’ve published the Enterprise. Our instinct is to say economic strength rivaled the boom years of the early 1980s.

Consider these facts and nuances:

 The volume of home sales in the county, as tracked by the Traverse Area Association of Realtors, grew by more than 12 percent to top $200 million for the first time ever. The median sold price also set a new mark, for the first time rising above $300,000.

 Attendance at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore just missed setting a new record, and basically equaled visitation in 2016. Few thought that would happen as the spike in visits counted in ‘16 was attributed largely to the 100th birthday celebration of the National Park Service. Turns out it wasn’t a fluke.

 The number of firms in our annual Honor Roll of Businesses section published two weeks ago also spiked. While we do believe it’s a fun section for readers that has always been popular as a way for business owners to tell the age of their companies to residents, two other factors contributed. There are more businesses here, and they are doing well.

This isn’t one of those “Oh, but” opinion pieces that regresses into a lament about the problems that accompany a healthy economy. You can always find something to complain about.

Higher home values cut into affordable housing. More visitors at the Lakeshore mean longer commutes between county villages. Expanding businesses create a shortage of workers.

And bright sunshine hurts your eyes when you stare into it.

We’re not going there. We have but a simple opinion to express.

The Leelanau Peninsula, due to a combination of its unique physical characteristics and its ability to retain and attract a certain caliber of people, is succeeding in a way most other locales can only dream about.

Try to find time today, even if it’s just a few seconds, to enjoy this good news.

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