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At the halfway point of the year, the number of houses sold dropped 6 percent from a year ago (1595 vs.1694). The inventory of houses for sale continued to fall behind each month when compared to the same month in 2017. At the end of June, the inventory was down 9 percent. We had 1,798 houses for sale for buyers in Berrien, Cass and the westerly 2/3 of Van Buren counties. At this level there was 5.9-months supply of houses for sale. At the end of May there was 1704 houses for sale. In 2010, the inventory was 16.9-months supply or 3679 houses.

The year-to-date average selling price increased 8 percent ($225,547 vs. $209,735). The year-to-date median selling price climbed 5 percent ($158,000 vs. $150,000).

Increased selling prices kept the year-to-date total dollar volume up 1 percent over 2017 ($359,747,465 vs $355,292,735).

A bright point in our local housing market was that we reached a new low percentage in the number of bank-owned or foreclosed homes as a percentage of all transactions for 2018. In June, the percentage dropped to 6 percent. In February we were at 16 percent. Back in June 2009 the percentage was 36 percent.

Comparing house sales in June 2018 sales were down 5 percent from June 2017 (367 vs. 388). The average selling price at $231,009 was 3 percent higher than the June 2017 average selling price of $225,091. The median selling price rose 4 percent ($172,000 vs. $165,250). The total dollar volume dropped 3 percent ($84,780,334 vs. $87,335,485).

June average and median selling prices and the year-to-date average and median selling prices were the highest prices in our year-over-year comparison back to 2006. The year-to-date total dollar volume also was the highest in the comparison.

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

Locally, the mortgage rate decreased to 4.73 from 4.75 in May. Last year in June, the rate was 4.03. Nationally, the Freddie Mac mortgage rate in June was 4.55 down slightly from 4.56 in May 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…

When you receive an offer, you can accept it as-is, reject it outright, or make a counteroffer — a move that opens negotiations with the buyer. Unless you’re being offered an amount equal to or above the full listing price, many buyers expect you to make a counteroffer — which is why a lot of people make an initial offer that’s lower than the asking price. It is not to insult you but a starting point in negotiation. This is when you should sit down with your Realtor and family to prioritize what is important. Is it money, a longer closing date, fewer contingencies, etc. Once you have determined your strategy, your Realtor will have a baseline to prepare the counteroffer. Your counteroffer should have an expiration date to put pressure on the buyer to make a decision. The most important thing at this stage of selling your home is to avoid making emotional decisions.

When Buying a Home

You found it! Your dream home! Now you want to make an offer. Take a deep breath and consult with your Realtor. You can trust your Realtor’s advice on price, contingencies, and other terms of the deal. But ultimately, it’s you who decides what the offer will be — and you who knows what your financial and lifestyle limits are. Buying a home means mixing strong emotions with business savvy, so focus on your limits and needs. Determine your top offer price based on what you can afford and have been approved by a lender. Don’t be surprised if the seller makes a counteroffer. It is just part of the process that can go back and forth until all parties are satisfied with the deal.

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.