Overall home sales in September were down by 5 houses from September 2018 (57 vs. 62) as a result of fewer waterfront home sales (16 vs. 21). Non-waterfront home sales stayed even with September 2018 (41 vs. 41). 

Year-to-date, overall housing sales in Cass County were down 8 percent (473 vs.515). Waterfront home sales, year-to-date, were down 20 percent (125 vs.156). Non-waterfront housing sales, year-to-date, were down 3 percent (348 vs.359). 

The overall average selling price plunged 19 percent to $172,306 from $213,064 in September 2018. Year-to-date, the overall average selling in September 2019 at $212,293 was up 4 percent from the $203,666 price in September2018. 

The overall median selling price dropped to $151,000, resulting in a 5 percent decline from the $159,700 median selling price in September 2018. Year-to-date, the overall median selling price in September 2019 varied by just $1,500 from September 2018 ($152,500 vs. $154,00). 

The average selling price for waterfront homes decreased by nearly $90,000 for a 25 percent decline from a year ago ($262,053 vs. $351,257). The median selling price plummeted $95,000 to $219,900 from $315,000 in September 2018. 

The average selling price for non-waterfront homes in September was down 5 percent to $135,110 from $142,283 in September 2018. The median selling price slipped 2 percent to $123,000 from $124,995 in September 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, 3 houses were bank-owned or foreclosed houses as a part of all closed transactions in September for 5 percent of the total houses sold. The highest percentage in September previously was 40 percent in 2013. 

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 4 percent in September from 3 percent in August. This was the same percentage in September 2018. The highest percentage in September was 37 percent in 2009. 

Home sales in September dropped 12 percent from August sales (348 vs. 397). When compared to September 2018, the number of houses sold slipped 3 percent to 348 from 360 houses. This was the lowest number of homes sold in the month of September since 2015. 

Year-to-date sales varied by 1 house at the end of September 2019 versus September 2018 (2731 vs. 2732). Both year-to-date sales fall short of the peak year sales in September 2017 of 2,813. 

The average selling price in September 2019 for houses sold in SWMI dropped 2 percent to $241,620 from $245,447 in September 2018. Year-to-date, the average selling price increased by 3 percent ($237,390 vs. $230,546). The year-to-date average selling price was the highest in our year-over-year comparison since 2006. 

The median selling price jumped 13 percent to $193,500 in September 2019 from $172,000 in September 2018. Year-to-date, the median selling price rose 10 percent ($177,500 vs. $162,000). Both the monthly and year-to-date selling prices set records in the year-over-year comparison. 

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 September 2019 decreased 5 percent from September 2018 ($84,083,825 vs. $88,361,176). Year-to-date, the total dollar volume rose 3 percent over September 2018 ($648,313,723 vs. $629,853,828). 

The inventory of houses for sale dropped 4 percent below that in September 2018 (1820 vs. 1886). At 1820 houses, the market had a 7.3-months supply of homes for sale. In September 2010, the market had 17.3-month’s supply with 3574 houses for sale.

Overall in SWMI, the mortgage increased to 3.786 from 3.692 in August. Last year in September, the rate was 4.827. Nationally, the Freddie Mac mortgage rate in September rose to 3.65 from 3.58 in August 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…

Homeowners who decide to undergo a home improvement project, whether it be interior or exterior modifications, often find that the task was worth the investment and time, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors®, with insights from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. 

Remodelers often take on projects with resale in mind, rather than their own home preferences. The report found the top projects for recovering costs are new roofing, hardwood floor refinishing, and new hardwood floor installation. NARI Remodelers estimate that new roofing costs $7,500, and Realtors® estimate that new roofing helps sellers recover $8,000, on average. That equates to 107% of value recovered from the project. 

Renovations that increased sense of enjoyment of being in the home and improving functionality and livability included kitchens, closets, and new windows.

If you are wondering what projects would increase your home resale value, contact your REALTOR® for advice that would apply to your local market. 

When Buying a Home… Before you fall in love with your dream house, you need to do your homework on where and with whom you want to do the financing. Over the life of the loan, subtle differences could add up to tens of thousands of dollars. That money belongs to future you, and all will affect your vacations, renovations, and remodeling goals. Start by asking your REALTOR® for an opinion. He or she has experience with reputable lenders, particularly in your city or town. 

Thoroughly research any retail bank, credit union, mortgage bank, mortgage broker, or online option you’re considering. Make sure you’re clear on what they can offer you. About one in five (21%) home buyers said they regret their choice of a mortgage lender, according to a recent J.D. Power survey. 

Interview lenders. You’re aiming for a shortlist of three. Get pre-approved by each lender so you will have loan estimates the spell out your future loan terms, including interest rates, length of the loan, estimated costs of taxes and insurance, and other important factors. By comparing loan estimates, you can effectively size up your loan options and decide which lender is best for you — and your future.

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.