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Overall home sales in January increased by 3 houses in January 2018 over January 2017 (32 vs. 29). In February 2018, 3 fewer homes were sold than in February 2017. Year-to-date, overall home sales were even with 2017.

The number of waterfront homes at 6 matched the number of waterfront homes sold in February 2017. Non-waterfront home sales decreased by 3 houses in February 2018 (25 vs. 28).

In February, the average selling price in Cass County for all homes sky rocketed 47 percent to $181,813 from $123,414 in February 2017. The median selling price for all homes in February rose 60 percent to $140,000 from $87,500 in February 2017.

The average selling price for waterfront homes increased 73 percent in February to $394,543 from $227,583 in February 2017. The median selling price for waterfront homes soared to 102 percent ($395,000 vs. $195,500).

The average selling price for non-waterfront homes in February increased 29 percent to $130,758 from $101,092 in February 2017. The median selling price jumped 60 percent to $119,900 from $74,860 in February 2017.

The median price is the price at which 50% of the homes sold were above that price and 50% were below.

In Cass County, the number of bank-owned or foreclosed homes as a part of all closed transactions in February increased to 16 percent from 12 percent in January. The highest percentage in the month of February was 35 percent in 2014.

For comparison the number of bank-owned or foreclosed homes as a percentage of all transactions increased in February to 16 percent from 10.5 percent in January. The previous lowest percentage in February was 13 percent in 2017. The highest percentage in February was 75 percent in 2009.

Throughout the area, the number of houses sold in February 2018 was 3 houses less than in February 2017 (184 vs.187). However, the average and median selling prices for the month are up 19 and 17 percent respectively. The increase in selling prices pushed the total dollar volume up 17 percent; making it the highest total dollar volume in the year-over-year comparison since 2006. 

Year-to-date, the number of houses sold was down 4 percent (374 vs. 390). And the year-to-date total dollar volume was 2 percent higher than in 2017 ($76,396,204 vs. $74,637,887). The year-to-date total dollar volume set a record over 2017 to become the highest set in the year-over-year comparison.

The average selling price in February 2018 was $197,381compared to $166,520 in February 2017 (19 percent increase). Year-to-date, the average selling price was up 7 percent ($204,267 vs. $191, 379). Both the monthly and year-to-date average selling prices set records in the year-over-year comparison.

The median selling price in February 2018 jumped 17 percent to $133,250 from $114,000 in February 2017. Year-to-date, the median selling price was up 11 percent ($144,250 vs. $130,000). The year-to-date median selling price beat the previous recorded prices since 2006.

The inventory of houses for sale dropped 13 percent from February 2017. In almost a three county area, there were just 1313 houses for sale at the end of February compared to 1512 in February 2017. The market has just 4.2-months supply of houses for buyers. In February 2009, there were 3099 houses for sale.

Overall in SWMI, the mortgage rate increased to 4.53 from 4.24 percent in January. Last year in February, the rate was 4.314. Nationally, the Freddie Mac mortgage rate in February was 4.43 up from 4.15 in January for a 30-year conventional mortgage.

This data reflects home sales across Berrien, Cass and the westerly 2/3 of Van Buren counties and should not be used to determine the market value of any individual property. If you want to know the market value of your property, please contact your local REALTOR®.

When Selling a Home…

You’ve invested a great deal in your house. So when the time comes to put it on the market, you expect potential buyers to recognize its true value. But sometimes, you get an offer that’s so far below your asking price it is insulting and your first instinct is to reject not only this offer but any other from the potential buyer. But, the fact that someone wants to buy your home is a good thing. Countering, rather than ignoring, a low offer is often the smartest strategy. Sometimes when a seller receives one or more low-ball bids, it may be because the asking price for the home is out of step with the market. You and your REALTOR may need to review the comps used to determine your original price. While getting your price is important, ask yourself what else is important to you. For example, do you need to sell quickly because you’re buying another home, fewer inspection contingencies, an all-cash deal, knowing the buyer is approved for a mortgage, etc. It is time to step back and look at the big picture. Ask your REALTOR to help you decide on the right response.

When Buying a Home

Your REALTOR will help you complete a contract with your offer. You can trust your REALTOR’s advice on price, contingencies, and other terms of the deal - remember it’s a mutually beneficial relationship. However, when it comes to price, you should know what your financial and lifestyle limits are and decide what your offer should be. Next review all the contingencies you should include and understand what your tasks will be and if needed where you may need to negotiate with the seller. Be ready to give a check for an earnest money deposit to show the seller that you are serious about buying. This is usually 1-3 percent of the sales price. If the seller accepts your offer, the earnest money will go toward your down payment at closing. Remember that you are making a life changing financial investment. So, don’t get caught up in the excitement of the moment. Think through and discuss everything in the contract with your REALTOR so that you comfortable that the offer is right for you.  

To view properties that are for sale in your local area go to www.michric.org and click on “Property Search”. The Southwestern Michigan Association of REALTORS®, Inc. is a professional trade association for real estate professionals who are members of the National Association of REALTORS®, and ancillary service providers for the real estate industry in Van Buren, Berrien and Cass Counties. The Association can be contacted at 269-983-6375 or through their website at www.swmar.com.