“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.” stated Alan Jeffries, Association Executive, Southwestern Michigan Association of REALTORS®, Inc. 


Jeffries added, “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.” 

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 number of bank-owned or foreclosed homes as a percentage of all transactions 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. 

Locally, the mortgage rate 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. 


According to the National Association of Realtors®, – Existing-home sales receded in September following two consecutive months of increases. Each of the four major regions witnessed sales drop off last month, with the Midwest absorbing the brunt of those declines. 

Total existing-home sales, which were completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, fell 2.2% from August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.38 million in September. Despite the decline, overall sales are up 3.9% from a year ago (5.18 million in September 2018). 

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said that despite historically low mortgage rates, sales have not commensurately increased, in part due to a low level of new housing options. “We must continue to beat the drum for more inventory,” said Yun, who has called for additional home construction for over a year. “Home prices are rising too rapidly because of the housing shortage, and this lack of inventory is preventing home sales growth potential.” 

The median existing-home price for all housing types in September was $272,100, up 5.9% from September 2018 ($256,900), as prices rose in all regions. September’s price increase marks 91 straight months of year-over-year gains. 

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Midwest dropped 3.1% to an annual rate of 1.27 million, which is nearly equal to August 2018. The median price in the Midwest was $213,500, a 7.2% jump from a year ago. 

First-time buyers were responsible for 33% of sales in September, up from 31% in August and 32% recorded in September 2018. NAR's 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 33 percent. 

As the share of first-time buyers rose, individual investors or second-home buyers, who account for many cash sales, purchased 14% of homes in September 2019, unchanged from August but down from 16% recorded last September. All-cash sales accounted for 17% of transactions in September, down from 19% in August and 21% in September 2018. 

Nationally, the total housing inventory at the end of September sat at 1.83 million, approximately equal to the number of existing homes available for sale in August, but a 2.7% decrease from 1.88 million one year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 4.1-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 4.0 months in August and down from the 4.4-month figure recorded in September 2018. 

“For families on the sidelines thinking about buying a home, current rates are making the climate extremely favorable in markets across the country,” said NAR President John Smaby, a second-generation Realtor® from Edina, Minnesota, and broker at Edina Realty. “These traditionally low rates make it that much easier to qualify for a mortgage, and they also open up various housing selections to buyers everywhere.” 

The numbers reported for local sales include residential property in 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®.


The Southwestern Michigan Association of REALTORS®, Inc. is a professional trade association for real estate licensees 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

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1,401,418 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.