Overall home sales in April nearly doubled what was sold in March (57 vs. 31) but were down 10 percent from April 2018 (57 vs. 63). Sales of waterfront houses dropped 44 percent (9 vs 16). Non-waterfront home sales increased by one house in April 2019 (48 vs. 47).

Year-to-date, overall housing sales in April 2019 were 153 versus 171 in April 2018. Waterfront home sales fell 50 percent in April 2019 (21 vs. 42), Non-waterfront housing sales were up by 3 houses (132 vs. 129).

The overall average selling price rose 6 percent to $ 191,768 vs. $180,161 in April 2018. The overall median selling price in April increased to $160,000 from the $148,900 in April 2018 for 8 percent climb.

The average selling price for waterfront homes tumbled 17 percent to $270,111 from $324,891 in April 2018. The median selling price fell 19 percent to $260,000 from $321,000 in April 2018.

The average selling price for non-waterfront homes in April sky-rocketed 35 percent to $177,078 from $130,891 in April 2018. The median selling price rose 17 percent to $137,500 from $117,500 in April 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 4 houses that were bank-owned or foreclosed houses as a part of all closed transactions in April for 7 percent of total houses sold. The highest percentage in the month of April previously was 21 percent in 2015.

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 fell to 3 percent; the lowest point in April or any month since 2009. The previous lowest percentage in April was 8 percent in 2018. The highest percentage in April was 54 percent in 2009.

The housing market across our area in April stepped up nicely from the slow start during the first quarter. April leaped 27 percent in house sales from March (297 vs. 234). At 297 houses sold last month, this April set a new record for sales in the year-over-year comparison dating back to 2006 and was up 7 percent over April 2018 when 278 houses were sold. Year-to-date, the number of houses sold was up 5 percent (941 vs. 900).

The increased number of house sales raised the total dollar volume in April to a new record $64,926,322 and brought the total dollar volume in April up 9 percent over April 2018 ($59,470,755). Year-to-date, the total dollar volume was up 4 percent ($197,456,934 vs. $190,691,273) and also set a new record.

The average selling price in April 2019 only grew 2 percent ($218,607 vs. $ 213,923) from April 2018 but still reached the highest average selling price in the year-over-year comparison. At the same time, the median selling price jumped 10 percent ($170,000 vs. $154,950) and set a new record for median selling price in April.

Year-to-date, the average selling price slipped $2,000 or 1 percent in April 2019 when compared to April 2018 ($209,837 vs. $211,879). The year-to-date, the median selling price at $155,000 was up 3 percent from April 2018 ($149,950) and set a new record.

The inventory of houses for sale was just 1 percent below that in April 2018 (1484 vs. 1501) which was the first time in three years that the inventory didn’t drop by double digits when comparing year-to-year in April. At 1484 houses, the market had 5.8-months supply of homes for sale. In April 2010, the market had 15.6-month’s supply.

Overall in SWMI, the mortgage rate decreased slightly to 4.320 from 4.475 percent in March. Last year in April, the rate was 4.602. Nationally, the Freddie Mac mortgage rate in April was up slightly to 4.20 from 4.06 in March 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…

As energy costs continue to rise, 7 out of 10 real estate professionals surveyed by the National Association of Realtors said they found it valuable to promote energy efficiency in their listings. As you prepare your home to go on the market take the time to list the energy efficient upgrades that you have made to your home over the years that you have lived in it. For example, adding extra insultation, installing a new heating and cooling system and/or a new water heater are good big ticket items but don’t forget the small ones like water faucets and LED light fixtures. Put together a spreadsheet of the utility costs going back at least three years to help buyers understand what their costs might run while giving them more valuable information than other sellers may be doing. This can be a valuable promotion tool that sets your house ahead of the competition. Ask your REALTOR for other energy efficiency ideas. Don’t take any of your upgrades for granted. All your hard work and investment in your home has value to a buyer.

When Buying a Home

Browsing for homes online is so fun and easy and it is exciting to look at wonder photos of elegantly decorated rooms, perfect landscaping, and backyard kitchens. However, browser beware, those listings may be seductive, but they might not be giving you the complete picture. You should start with realtor.com® which pulls information every 15 minutes from Multiple Listings Service (MLS) regional databases where real estate agents post listings for sale. Sites like Zillow and Trulia update less often.

Each realtor.com® listing, for example, has a “property details” section that may specify important information such as the year the home was built, price per square foot, and how many days the property has been on the market. Ultimately though, ask your REALTOR to help you interpret what you find. The best REALTOR have hyper-local knowledge of the market and may even know details and histories of some properties. If a listing seems too good to be true, your REALTOR will likely know why. 

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.