Overall home sales in August were up by 3 houses over August 2018 (75 vs. 72). Sales of waterfront houses dropped by 1 house (27 vs. 28). Non-waterfront home sales increased by 4 houses from August 2018 (48 vs. 44). 

Year-to-date, overall housing sales in Cass County were down 8 percent (416 vs.453) as a result of fewer waterfront house sales. Waterfront home sales, year-to-date, were down 19 percent (109 vs.135). Non-waterfront housing sales, year-to-date, were down 3 percent (307 vs. 318). 

The overall average selling price rose 14 percent to $260,355 from $227,790 in August 2018. Year-to-date, the overall average selling in August 2019 at $217,772 was up 8 percent from the $202,380 price in August 2018. 

The overall median selling price was $196,000. This price was 14 percent higher than the overall median selling price of $172,450 in August 2018.

The average selling price for waterfront homes increased 5 percent to $378,687 from $359,045 in August 2018. The median selling price bumped up $500 to $305,000 from $304,450 in August 2018. 

The average selling price for non-waterfront homes in August rose 34 percent to $193,794 from $144,265 in August 2018. The median selling price jumped 22 percent to $152,500 from $125,000 in August 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, 2 houses were bank-owned or foreclosed houses as a part of all closed transactions in August for 3 percent of total houses sold. The highest percentage in August previously was 18 percent in 2016. 

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 stayed at 3 percent in August. This was the third month at the lowest percentage recorded since 2009. The percentage also was 3 percent in April and July 2019. The previous lowest percentage in August was 4 percent in 2018. The highest percentage in August was 36 percent in 2009.

Home sales in August rebounded 25 percent from July sales (397 vs. 317). The number of completed home sales in August was the highest per month this year. The average and median selling prices dropped 5 percent in August from July. The average and median selling prices peaked in May and June. 

Comparing August 2019 to August 2018, the number of houses sold varied by 10 houses (397 vs. 387) for a 3 percent increase in August 2019. Year-to-date home sales in August were up by just 11 houses (2383 vs. 2372). 

The average selling price in August 2019 for houses sold in SWMI was $239,639 compared to $238,886 in August 2018, for just $753 difference in price. Year-to-date, the average selling price increased by 4 percent ($236,722 vs. $228,285). 

The median selling price jumped 12 percent to $189,900 in August 2019 from $170,000 in August 2018. Year-to-date, the median selling price rose 9 percent ($175,000 vs. $160,850). 

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

The total dollar volume in August 2019 increased slightly due to the higher selling prices ($95,136,922 vs. $92,449,229). Year-to-date, the total dollar volume rose 4 percent over August 2018 ($564,229,898 vs. $541,493,551).

The inventory of houses for sale dropped 4 percent below that in August 2018 (1864 vs. 1949). At 1864 houses, the market had a 7.5-months supply of homes for sale. In August 2010, the market had 17.8-month’s supply with3757 house for sale. 

Overall in SWMI, the mortgage rate decreased to 3.692 from 3.961 in July. Last year in August, the rate was 4.681. Nationally, the Freddie Mac mortgage rate in August declined to 3.58 from 3.75 in July 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…

Rolling into fall after a busy summer, you might want to step back and look at your home the way new home buyers will see it. Are you flubbing homeowner maintenance? Start with the trees in your yard. Are they overgrown and overlapping the roof? It is time to trim limbs to keep mold off the roof and critters from leaping to the roof and entering the attic. 

Haven’t had the time to mow the grass or tackle the flaking paint? Both scream to potential buyers “What else can be wrong?”. The next biggest No-No is the winter supply of firewood stacked next to the house, so you don’t have far to go to resupply. Your woodpile is a cozy home for critters and insects, think termites, to live. Move the woodpile 20 feet from the house. 

Parking on the grass may be convenient, but it kills the grass which invites weeds to take over. Not to mention the tire ruts parked vehicles cause. While the weather is still warm and dry, you should patch the cracks in the driveway. Finally, if you didn’t do this in the spring, clean out the gutters. No buyer will be impressed with little plants growing at the edge of the roof.

All of these tasks seem like a lot of work but well worthwhile to make a good impression. When in doubt, it is good to ask your REALTOR for suggestions and perhaps a priority of the tasks you should do. 

When Buying a Home… The only thing more exciting than shopping for your first house is the day you move into it. And in your eagerness to get to that day, there are a bunch of opportunities to botch the shopping. Here are just a few. 

"I Saw the House Online. It's Perfect — Let's Make an Offer Before It's Gone!" Buying a house sight unseen? Online photos are a fun sneak peek. It's the photos that aren't in the gallery you should worry about. 

"I Want to Buy This House. And Look, There's an Agent Right Here!" While that might seem mighty convenient, it's not in your best interests. The real estate agent at an open house most likely represents the seller. As a buyer, you should contract with a buyer's agent who works on your behalf. 

“I'll Rely On an Online Home-Value Estimator." Google “home-value estimator" and you'll get pages of tools that promise you a free estimate of home value. But unless that estimator’s been poking around the basement with a flashlight, it's a ballpark figure at best. 

“I Don't Have Kids, So I Don't Have to Worry About School Districts.” School district matters regardless of your parenting status. Whether or not you have kids, a future buyer might. 

Working with a REALTOR will help you make a good financial investment in your new home and avoid shopping pitfalls. 

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.