“As we rush through the last quarter of 2019, the housing market continued to stay strong. At the end of October, the monthly and year-to-date average and median selling prices and total dollar volume surpassed 2018 and set new records in the year-over-year comparison since 2006.” stated Alan Jeffries, Association Executive, Southwestern Michigan Association of REALTORS®, Inc.

Jeffries added, “Home sales in October were up 6 percent from October 2018 (345 vs. 324). Year-to-date sales varied by 20 houses for less than 1 percent difference from 2018 (3076 vs. 3056). The year-to-date sales in October 2017 still hold the record at 3167 houses sold.”

The average selling price in October 2019 for houses sold in SWMI rose 7 percent to $262,720 from $244,403 in October 2018. Year-to-date, the average selling price increased by 4 percent ($240,229 vs. $232,016). 

Both the October and year-to-date median selling price jumped 11 percent. The October median selling price was $190,000 compared to $171,000 in October 2018. Year-to-date, the median selling price was $179,950 versus $162,750 a year ago. 

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

The higher selling prices in October 2019 pushed up the total dollar volume 14 percent from October 2018 ($90,638,587 vs. $79,186,855). Year-to-date, the total dollar volume rose 4 percent over October 2018 ($738,947,310 vs. $709,043,183).

The inventory of houses for sale dropped 4 percent below that in October 2018 (1675 vs. 1737). At 1675 houses, the market had a 6.7-months supply of homes for sale. In October 2010, the market had 16.6-month’s supply with 3385 houses for sale.

The number of bank-owned or foreclosed homes as a percentage of all transactions set a new record low at 2 percent in October. This was the seventh consecutive month that the percentage has been under 6 percent. The highest percentage in October was 34 percent in 2009.

Locally, the mortgage rate increased slightly to 3.871 from 3.786 in September. Last year in October, the rate was 4.937. Nationally, the Freddie Mac mortgage rate in October also inched up 3.78 from 3.64 in October for a 30-year conventional mortgage. 


According to the National Association of Realtors®, – Existing-home sales rose in October, a slight recovery from the declines seen in September. The four major U.S. regions were split last month, with the Midwest and the South seeing growth, and the Northeast and the West both reporting a drop in sales.

Total existing-home sales, which were completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, increased 1.9% from September to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.46 million in October. Despite lingering regional variances, overall sales are up 4.6% from a year ago (5.22 million in October 2018).

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said this sales increase is encouraging, and he expects added growth in the coming months. “Historically-low interest rates, continuing job expansion, higher weekly earnings, and low mortgage rates are undoubtedly contributing to these higher numbers,” said Yun. “We will likely continue to see sales climb as long as potential buyers are presented with an adequate supply of inventory.” 

The median existing-home price for all housing types in October was $270,900, up 6.2% from October 2018 ($255,100), as prices rose in all regions. October’s price increase marks 92 straight months of year-over-year gains.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Midwest increased 1.6% to an annual rate of 1.29 million, up 2.4% from a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $209,900, a 6.7% jump from a year ago.

First-time buyers were responsible for 31% of sales in October, down from 33% in September and identical to the 31% recorded in October 2018. NAR's 2019 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 33 percent.

Individual investors or second-home buyers, who account for many cash sales, purchased 14% of homes in October 2019 unchanged from September but down from the 15% figure recorded in October 2018. All-cash sales accounted for 19% of transactions in October, up from 17% in August but down from 23% in October 2018. 

Nationally, the total housing inventory at the end of October sat at 1.77 million units, down approximately 2.7% from September and 4.3% from one year ago (1.85 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 3.9-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 4.1 months in September and from the 4.3-month figure recorded in October 2018.

“The issuance of more housing permits is a very positive sign and a good step toward more inventory,” said Yun, citing the latest data for housing starts. “In order to better counter and even slow the increase in housing prices, home builders will have to bring additional homes on the market.”

“It is great to see home sales rise along with an increase in housing permits,” said NAR President Vince Malta, broker at Malta & Co., Inc., in San Francisco, CA. “Both home buyers and the home sellers are being rewarded by these developments, and we see that conditions remain extremely favorable for real estate investment in America.”

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®.About

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.