The peak season for the housing market is off to a good start. In April we saw a 27 percent increase over March in the number of houses sold and in May we had a 22 percent increase over April. The total dollar volume in May and year-to-date, and the average and median selling prices in May and year-to-date all set new records in the year-over-year comparison from 2006. The number of homes sold in May set a new record, but the year-to-date number of houses sold fell short by just four houses from the record 1,306 sold in 2017.

Comparing May 2019 to May 2018, the number of houses sold increased 10 percent (361 vs. 328). Year-to-date, the number of houses sold was up 6 percent (1,302 vs. 1,228).

The increased number of house sales raised the total dollar volume in May to a new record of $95,366,067 and brought the total dollar volume up 13 percent over May 2018 ($84,270,858). Year-to-date, the total dollar volume was up 6 percent ($292,823,002 vs. $274,962,131).

The average selling price in May 2019 increased 21 percent from April ($264,171 vs. $218,607). In May 2018, the average selling price at $256,923, was 3 percent lower than the May 2019 average selling price. Year-to-date, the average selling price changed less than 1 percent ($224,902 vs. $223,910).

The median selling price jumped 12 percent to $182,000 in May 2019 from $163,000 in May 2018. Year-to-date, the median selling price at $165,000 was up 7 percent from May 2018 ($154,250).

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

The inventory of houses for sale dropped 2 percent below that in May 2018 (1666 vs. 1704). This was the first time in two years that the inventory didn’t drop by double digits when comparing year-to-year in May. At 1666 houses, the market had a 6.5-months supply of homes for sale. In May 2010, the market had 16.4-month’s supply.

The number of bank-owned or foreclosed homes as a percentage of all transactions rose to 6 percent from 3 percent in April. For the year, the percentage has been below double digits with the highest at 9 percent in January. The previous lowest percentage in May was also 6 percent in 2017. The highest percentage in May was 34 percent in 2009 and 2011.

Locally, the mortgage rate decreased to 4.255 from 4.320 percent in April. Last year in May, the rate was 4.75. Nationally, the Freddie Mac mortgage rate in May dropped to 3.99 from 4.20 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…

What does selling your house yourself and driving a race car in the Indy 500 Memorial Day Race have in common? Both should be done by professionals with years of experience and knowledge. A REALTOR® is a licensed professional who knows the market (the race track), has access to the latest housing data and current competition to help price your home to sell (knows the other drivers who will be on the track), and will market your home through proven resources to reach a qualified buyer (can take all the turns in the track with the maximum skill to win the race). Selling a home is a significant financial process. Call a REALTOR® to help you follow the winning path.

When Buying a Home

When you make an offer for your dream house, before it is presented. you should discuss your negotiation strategies with your REALTOR®. Your Realtor® should know your reasons behind each item that is part of the offer and the significance each makes in making or breaking the deal. This will simplify the response if a seller should make a counteroffer and speed up the response time. You should plan for when the seller counters with an increase in price and know your limit. Rank each contingency by importance to you, so you have already decided what to let go if needed. Let your Realtor® know what other areas you can be flexible such as possession date, picking up costs usually paid by the seller or additional earnest money. Having thought this through before, will lessen anxiety and give your Realtor® a better negotiation position.

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.