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Since March, the momentum in number of houses sold has picked up while the increase in the housing inventory has been very marginal. The low inventory has kept the number of houses sold down 6 percent year-to-date. After two years of breaking records in the number of home sales, this year sales have fallen to fourth place in the year-over-year comparison back to 2006. In just the month of May 2018, the number of houses sold fell 4 percent below May 2017 (328 vs. 341).

Selling prices have continued to climb. From April to May this year, the average selling price increased 20 percent ($256,923 vs. $213,923) and the median selling price increased 44 percent ($163,000 vs. $154.950).

Comparing to May 2017, the average selling price was up 15 percent in May 2018 ($256,923 vs. $224,204). Year-to-date, the average selling price was up 9 percent ($223,910 vs. $205,177). Both the May and year-to-date average selling price set records for the highest average selling prices in the year-over-year comparison since 2006.

There was only $2,000 difference in the median selling price in May 2018 from May 2017 ($163,000 vs. $165,000). The year-to-date median selling price at $154,250 was up 6 percent from May 2017 ($145,000) and set a record in the year-over-year comparison.

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

The higher selling prices pushed the total dollar volume up 10 percent in May 2018 when compare to May 2017 ($84,270,858 vs. $76,453,730). Year-to-date, total dollar volume increased 3 percent ($274,962,131 vs. $267,962,250). The May and year-to-date total dollar volumes became the highest volume numbers set since 2006.

Inventory of houses for sale increased slightly to 5.6-months supply from 4.9-months supply in April. The inventory at the end of May was 1704 compared to 1501 houses at the end of April. In May 2017, the inventory was 1956 houses for sale. Which was a 13 percent drop in inventory from last year to May 2018. In May 2010 the inventory of houses for sale was 3602.

The number of bank-owned or foreclosed homes as a percentage of all transactions in May dropped back to 7 percent from 8 percent in April. The percentage was 7 percent also in March. The previous lowest percentage in May was 6 percent in 2017. The highest percentage in May was 34 percent in 2009 and 2011.

Locally, the mortgage rate increased to 4.75 from 4.602 in April. Last year in May, the rate was 4.129. Nationally, the Freddie Mac mortgage rate in May was 4.56 down slightly from 4.58 in April 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…

Homeowners considering taking on a renovation project may want to look outside to get the most bang for their buck. A study from the National Association of REALTORS® and the National Association of Landscape Professionals found that outdoor remodeling projects bring great value – both emotionally and financially – to the homeowners who complete them. The study found that the most cost-effective project was implementing standard lawn care, which recoups 267 percent of the project cost at resale.

Check out NAR’s 2018 Remodeling Report: Outdoor Features for more information on various outdoor renovation projects. Definitely, ask your REALTOR® about the benefits of improving your home’s curb appeal to make your home competitive in the market and attractive to buyers.

When Buying a Home

Buying and moving into a new home is both an exciting and overwhelming time whether you are a first-time homeowner or a previous homeowner. It can be tempting to go straight to doing all the things you could never do when you had a landlord, like paint the walls. However, there are a few things all homeowners should tackle before they get to the “fun” stuff.

The very first thing homeowners should do is change out the locks. Spare keys could be floating around anywhere, and there is no way to know who may have one, so it is crucial to get new locks when you first move in. In the same spirit, reset all the key codes for garage doors, gates or lock boxes. You have no idea if the previous owner shared them with the neighbors!

Start a list of “First Things To Do” and get advice from your REALTOR® about other things you should put on the list.

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.