In February, the Cass County overall housing market jumped 23 percent over February 2018 (38 vs. 31). The number of waterfront sales were the same, six houses in both years. Non-waterfront home sales increased by 7 houses in February 2019 for a 28 percent increase over February 2018 (32 vs. 25).

Year-to-date, overall housing sales in February 2019 were 65 versus 63 in February 2018. Waterfront home sales were down 33 percent in February 2019 (10 vs.15), Non-waterfront housing sales were up 15 percent (55 vs. 48).

The overall average selling price with fewer waterfront properties selling, dropped 8 percent to $167, 070 vs. $181,813 in February 2018. The overall median selling price in February at $125,000 was down 11 percent from the $140,000 price in February 2018. 

The average selling price for waterfront homes fell 26 percent to $292,506 from $394,543 in February 2018. The median selling price for waterfront homes decreased 21 percent ($313,500 vs. $395,000).

The average selling price for non-waterfront homes in February increased 10 percent to $143,550 from $130,758 in February 2018. The median selling price dropped 3 percent to $117,150 from $119,900 in February 2018.

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 2 houses that were bank-owned or foreclosed houses as a part of all closed transactions in February for 5 percent of total houses sold. The highest percentage in the month of February previously was 35 percent in 2014.

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 dropped to a record low 6 percent in February. The previous low percentage was 13 percent in February2017. The highest percentage in February was 75 percent in 2009.   

In February, the SWMI housing market began to warm up after a dismal start to the year in January. The number of houses sold in February bounced up to 235 from 175 sold in January for 34 percent increase. In the year-over-year comparison back to 2006, February 2019 was the highest sales overall which included a 28 percent increase over February 2018 (235 vs. 184). Year-to-date, February sales were up 10 percent over February 2018 (410 vs. 374).

The total dollar volume also followed the same bounce back as housing sales in February. The total dollar volume of $46,866,871 in February 2019, was 34 percent higher than in January ($34,848,017) and 29 percent higher than the $36,318,279 volume in February 2018. The total dollar volume in February 2019 was also the highest recorded when comparing previous February numbers in the year-over-year comparison. Year-to-date, February total dollar volume was up 7 percent ($81,714,888 vs $76,396,204) and was the highest in the year-over-year comparison.

The average selling price in February 2019 was $ 199,433 compared to $197,381 in February 2018 for modest 1 percent increase. The average selling price was the highest in a month of February in the year-over-year comparison Year-to-date, the average selling price was up 7 percent ($199,304 vs. $204,267).

The median selling price in February 2019 increased 5 percent to $140,000 from $133,250 in February 2018. Year-to-date, the median selling price decreased 3 percent ($139,450 vs. $ 144,250).

The inventory of houses for sale dropped 6 percent from February 2018. In almost a three county area, there were just 1229 houses for sale at the end of February compared to 1313 in February 2018. The market had just 4.8-months supply of houses for buyers. For comparison, in February 2009 there were 3099 houses for sale. 

Overall in SWMI, the mortgage rate was 4.573 in January and did not change in February. Last year in February, the rate was 4.53. Nationally, the Freddie Mac mortgage rate in February was 4.35 down from 4.46 in January for a 30-year conventional mortgage. 

When Selling a Home…

With the extremely low inventory of houses for sale, you might be wondering if this is a good time to put your house on the market. But you have a lot of questions. What if my house sells before I find a house to buy? How much is my house worth? What happens when someone makes a lousy offer? When you are considering making this important financial change in your life, you need to seek advice from someone you can trust to look at the whole picture with you. REALTORS are professionally trained, have the marketing information to guide decision making and have the pulse of what buyers’ and sellers’ actions or reactions are in the local market. With the many steps in the selling and buying stages, not to mention the emotions involved, working with a REALTOR gives you peace-of-mind that all your questions will be answered and that the advice you receive will protect your financial investment. 

When Buying a Home

Before you open that laptop or walk into a REALTOR’s office, there is one step you should do first. You and your spouse or partner should separately make a list of everything you want in a house. Then sort your lists by and importance. Together discuss your wants and combine your lists into a list of your top 10 items. Rank these items by what you must have. Use the list when searching online and when you start going to open houses. Give this list to your REALTOR to help him or her narrow the list of houses for viewing and to be able to point out to you what items that you want are not in a house that you are viewing. The list will keep you from getting distracted by the hot tub when you really wanted hardwood floors. Staying focused will help you find the right house for both of you and your family without any regrets or expensive make right projects after you move in.

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.