The March housing market turned around the February market’s lackluster sales by 35 percent (248 vs. 184) and managed to increase the average and median selling prices by double digits. The total dollar volume from February to March increased by 51 percent.

However, when we compare year-to-year results, the market in March 2018 had fewer houses sold at significantly higher prices from an inventory that was down 15 percent from March 2017.

The number of houses sold in March 2018 declined 13 percent from March 2017 (248 vs. 285). While the monthly and year-to-date average and median selling prices set new records over the same month in 2017; the peak year in our year-to-year comparison back to 2006. Year-to-date, the number of houses sold was down 8 percent (622 vs 675).

The average selling price in March 2018 was $221,065 compared to $192,212 in March 2017 (15 percent increase). Year-to-date, the average selling price was up 10 percent ($210,965 vs. $191,723).

The median selling price in March 2018 jumped 21 percent to $157,725 from $129,900 in March 2017. Year-to-date, the median selling price was up 12 percent ($146,000 vs. $130,000).

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

The increased selling prices, even with fewer houses sold in March 2018, pushed the total dollar volume to stay almost even with March 2017 ($54,824,314 vs. $54,780,625). There was a 1 percent difference in the year-to-date total dollar volume ($131,220,518 vs. $129,413,512). The year-to-date total dollar volume set a record over 2017 to become the highest set in the year-over-year comparison.

The inventory of houses for sale dropped 15 percent from March 2017. There were 1391 houses for sale at the end of March compared to 1646 in March 2017. In February 2018, the inventory had 1313 houses for sale at the end of the month. The market had 4.5-months supply of houses for buyers; up from 4.2 in January and February. In March 2010, there were 3218 houses for sale.

The number of bank-owned or foreclosed homes as a percentage of all transactions decreased from 16 percent in February to 7 percent in March. The previous lowest percentage in March was 13 percent in 2017. The highest percentage in March was 60 percent in 2009. 

Locally, the mortgage rate increased slightly to 4.577 from 4.53 percent in February. Last year in March, the rate was 4.365. Nationally, the Freddie Mac mortgage rate in March was 4.44 up from 4.43 in February 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 love it. You think it is beautiful. You spent hours and hard-earned money to make a house your home. Now you want to sell it. If you sell it yourself maybe you can save money. The biggest problems you’ll face besides the time required for DIY are finding the buyer and selling it for the right price. Working with a REALTOR who has experience in your local market that will help you price your home to sell for the most money in the shortest time. And your REALTOR will provide widespread exposure of your home’s listing through the multiple listing service to reach potential buyers. And if you are still thinking about the money…According to National Association of Realtors® 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the average FSBO sales price was $185,000, while the average price for a home represented by an REALTOR was $235,000. That's a difference of $50,000!   This is the reason why 89% of home sellers worked with a REALTOR.

When Buying a Home

So, you are planning to spend Sunday afternoon touring open houses. But are you really ready to be a serious buyer? It’s a seller’s market with a very low inventory of houses for sale. Before you open a door at an open house you should visit a lender to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This step lets you know how much mortgage you will qualify so you won’t waste time looking at homes you can’t afford. Do you know what kind of home you want? Make a list of what features in a house are important to you and narrow down the location that would best fit your lifestyle. Next you need a REALTOR to help you narrow down the existing listings to what meets you needs and to help you get the intel on new listings as they hit the market. Taking these steps will save you time and help you find the right home with less stress.

To view properties that are for sale in your local area go to www.swmar.com 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.