269.983.6375info@swmar.org

The housing market across SWMI in January 2020, started the year off to a good start by bouncing back significantly from January 2019 in sales and by giving buyers a break from the escalating selling prices in the latter half of 2019. 

January tends to be the least productive month of any given year. For a variety of reasons, buyers and sellers push to close in December before the year-end. When we compare the number of houses sold and closed in December to January of the next year, there has been a 25 to 37 percent drop in houses sold over the last five years. For example, home sales in January 2020 were 25 percent below sales in December 2019 (190 vs. 254).

Milder weather last month may have pushed home sales up 9 percent over January 2019 (190 vs. 175). January 2020, home sales returned to the same level as in January 2018. The increase in sales was notable since the inventory of houses for sale dropped 5 percent from January 2019 (1,178 vs. 1,244). Since 2017, the inventory level has been around 4.2 to 4.9-months supply in January. The declining inventory affects buyers living in Allegan, Berrien, Cass, and the westerly 2/3 of Van Buren counties.

The average selling price increased 11 percent $220,881 from $199,131 in January 2019.

The median selling price dropped 23 percent from January 2019 ($168,750 vs. $137,500).

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 at $41,967,468 jumped 21 percent in January 2020 from $34,848,017 in January 2019.

The number of bank-owned or foreclosed homes as a percentage of all transactions was 7 percent in January, reaching the lowest percentage in the year-over-year comparison. In December 2019, the percentage was 4 percent. The highest percentage in January was 57 percent in 2009.

Locally, the mortgage rate decreased to 3.589 from 3.756 in December 2019. Last year in January, the rate was 4.573. Nationally, the Freddie Mac mortgage rate in January was 3.51 versus 3.74 in December for a 30-year conventional mortgage.

This data reflects home sales across Allegan, 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…

You want buyers to fall in love with your home the minute they walk in. Staging your home is the marketing tool that will help this happen. It presents your house in a flattering light and helps you compete at a favorable price. Staging also leads to eye-catching listing photos, which are especially valuable given that most homebuyers begin their search by scrolling through listings online.

Many listings agents offer staging services to clients as part of their services. If you want to use someone you find yourself, you typically will have to pay out of pocket. So set a budget. Staging costs vary depending on where you live and how many rooms you’re staging. On average, home sellers pay between $302 and $1,358 for staging. Staging the rooms where people tend to spend the most time usually makes the biggest impression on buyers. Start with the living room, followed by the master bedroom and the kitchen.

If you are thinking, staging is not necessary, here are some stats that may change your mind: 77% of buyers’ agents said staging makes it easier for their buyer to visualize the property as their future home. It’s like helping the buyer dream it so they can achieve it — and so you and your agent can make the sale. 39% of sellers’ agents said staging a home greatly decreases the amount of time a house is on the market. For you, time saved could mean moving into your new house even sooner. Still on the fence? Ask your REALTOR® for advice. 

When Buying a Home

It makes good sense to get pre-approved by at least three lenders. Your REALTOR can make suggestions based on your local market. Why three lenders? Mortgages come in many types — and recognizing which type you should choose is critical for your financial future. Reviewing your options with different lenders will help you find the right type of mortgage and a lender that you will feel is working for your best interest.

Pre-approval puts you in a better position when you make an offer. Everyone takes you more seriously. Pre-approval provides evidence to your real estate agent and the seller (or seller’s agent) that a trusted financial institution is willing to finance the purchase. In most housing markets, sellers are going to expect you to be pre-approved when you make your offer. And when you’re pre-approved, you’re more likely to have your offer accepted — or at least, you won’t lose out on a bid because you have to go back to the bank to get approved for a loan. 

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 Allegan, Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren Counties. The Association can be contacted at 269-983-6375 or through their website at www.swmar.com.