In October, the Cass overall housing market varied by one house when compared to October 2017 (63 vs. 62). The number of waterfront sales was the same at 17 houses and non-waterfront home sales increased by one house (46 vs. 45). 

Year-to-date, overall home sales were down 2 percent (578 vs. 588). Waterfront home sales, year-to-date, were down by 2 houses (173 vs. 175). Non-waterfront home sales, year-to-date, were down by 8 houses (405 vs. 413).

The overall average selling price increased 15 percent ($244,238 vs. $212,892). Year-to-date, the overall average selling price grew by 2 percent ($208,088 vs. $204,644). The overall median selling price at $159,000 was up 11 percent over the $143,500 price in October 2017. Year-to-date, the overall median selling price was up by 2 percent ($154,900 vs. $152,250).The average selling price for waterfront homes jumped 25 percent to $506,765 from $406,765 in October 2017. The median selling price for waterfront homes increased 2 percent ($350,000 vs. $342,000).

The average selling price for non-waterfront homes in October increased 5 percent to $147,218 to from $139,651 in October 2017. The median selling price sky rocketed to $126,500 from $99,900 in October 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, there were 5 houses that were bank-owned or foreclosed houses as a part of all closed transactions in October. The highest percentage in the month of October previously was 22 percent in 2013. Year-to-date the highest percentage was 16 percent in February.

For comparison the number of bank-owned or foreclosed homes as a percentage of all transactions in Berrien, Cass and the westerly 2/3 of Van Buren Counties increased slightly to 5 percent from 4 percent in September the lowest percentage for the year. The percentage of bank-owned or foreclosed homes has been less than 8 percent since March. The highest percentage in October was 34 percent in 2009.

The dwindling overall inventory of houses for sale in SWMI continued to raise the selling prices to record levels in October 2018 and year-to-date. The year-to-date, total dollar volume also was the highest in the year-over-year comparison since 2006.

The number of houses sold in October 2018 was down 8 percent from October 2017 (324 vs. 354). Year-to-date, the number of houses sold was down 4 percent (3,056 vs. 3,167).

The October 2018 average selling price increased 3 percent to $244,403 from $238,088 in October 2017. The year-to-date, average selling price of $232,016 was an 8 percent increase over the $217,718 year-to-date average selling price in October 2017.

The median selling price increased 10 percent in October 2018 ($171,000 vs. $156,113). Year-to-date the median selling price was up 5 percent ($162,750 vs. $155,000).

With 30 fewer homes sold this October, the total dollar volume dropped 6 percent from October 2017 ($79,186,855 vs. $84,283,224). Year-to-date, total dollar volume was up 3 percent from October 2017 ($709,043,183 vs. $689,513,153).

Inventory of houses for sale decreased 5 percent from a year ago (1737 vs. 1830). At the end of October there was 5.8-months supply of houses for sale; down slightly from 5.9-months supply at the end of October 2017. In October 2010 the inventory of houses for sale was 3385 or 16.6-months supply.

Overall in SWMI, the mortgage rate increased to 4.937 from 4.827 in September. Last year in October, the rate was 4.125. Nationally, the Freddie Mac mortgage rate in October was 4.83 up slightly from 4.72 in September for a 30-year conventional mortgage.

When Selling a Home… With extreme weather events like Hurricane Florence dominating the news and everyday concerns about lessening energy usage, property buyers and communities are more concerned about the environment than ever before. Buyers are more interested in walkable communities and energy-efficient homes now more than ever, according to NAR research. Work with your REALTOR to make your home’s listing stands out from the competition by marketing and promoting your home’s location and highlighting your home’s sustainable features. Potential buyers will notice during their online search and it will give Buyer agents talking points beyond the norm.

When Buying a Home…

In this competitive selling market, if you are beginning to think about buying a house, you need to take this major financial step very carefully. Don’t run out to every open house. Start at home with your partner or spouse and discuss your wants, needs and desires. House Logic has a worksheet on their website titled ‘Know-What-You’re-Willing -to-Compromise-On’ which will guide you through your discussion. Putting your decisions on paper will help you stay focused throughout the buying process.

Then you should look at your financial position. If you haven’t started saving for a down payment, make a plan to do this now. Step three is to find a REALTOR to help you hone your search, to advise you when a house matches or does not match your wants and needs from the worksheet and to suggest what financial documentation you may need.

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.