While March set the bar high for the SWMI housing market, April brought significant increases in selling prices that were set in March and outperformed April 2014.

The number of houses sold in April and March varied just 1 percent (242 vs. 245). The average selling price in April jumped to $186,327 from $160,996; a 16 percent increase. The median selling price rose 20 percent with $138,250 in April versus $115,500 in March. The significant increase in selling prices raised the monthly total dollar volume by 14 percent. The total dollar volume in April was $45,091,173 and in March was $39,443,923.

Comparing year-to-year, the number of houses sold in April 2015 was up 8 percent over April 2014 (242 vs. 224). The number of houses sold year-to-date is up 9 percent (801 vs. 735). Looking back to 2006, the year-to-date number in April 2015 of 801 was the highest number of houses sold in the month of April over the ten year period.

There was a 12 percent rise in the total dollar volume for April 2015 when compared to last year in April ($45,091,173 vs. $40,279,761). Year-to-date, the total dollar volume was up 11 percent ($141,420,656 vs. $127,405,510). Even though we consider 2006 the peak housing market year, the year-to-date total dollar volume this year in April was the highest for the ten year period. In April 2006, the year-to-date total dollar volume was $121,718,471.

The average selling price increased 4 percent in April 2015 to $186,327 compared to $179,820 in April 2014. The year-to-date average selling price was 2 percent higher this year ($176,555 vs. $173,341).

The median selling price of $138,250 set the record for the highest median selling price in our 10 year comparison and it was up 9 percent over April 2014 when the median selling price was $127,050. Year-to-date the median selling price at $121,700 was also the highest since 2006 when the year-to-date median selling price was $114,750. The year-to-date median selling price in April 2015 rose 14 percent over April 2014 ($121,750 vs. $107,000).

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

The number of bank-owned or foreclosed homes as a percentage of all transactions in our market plunged to 13 percent from the 21-22 percent recorded in the previous months of 2015. In April 2014, the percentage was at 23 percent. At 13 percent, this was the lowest percentage obtained in April since 2009. In April 2009, the percentage peaked at 54 percent.

Locally, the mortgage rate has held fairly steady this year. In April 2015, the rate was 3.83 versus 4.48 in April 2014. Nationally, the Freddie Mac mortgage rate in April was 3.67 percent compared to3.77 percent in March for a 30-year conventional mortgage.

While our selling prices have improved, the inventory of houses for sale has not reached the levels of years past. Our inventory of homes for sale continues to be very low. In April the supply of homes available dropped to a 9.1-months supply from 9.8-months supply in April 2014. In April 2010 the inventory level was 15.6-months supply.

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 Your House? Go professional. Most of us can drive a car but it doesn't make us qualified to drive an Indianapolis race car on Memorial Day. That takes a professional driver with years of experience and knowledge of the race track. The same is true when you list your house with a REALTOR?. As a professional, he or she knows the market (the race track), has access to the latest housing data and current competition to help price your home to sell (knows the other drivers who will be on the track), and will market your home through proven resources to reach a qualified buyer (can take all the turns in the track with the maximum skill to win the race). Selling a home is a significant financial process. Call a REALTOR? to help you follow the winning path.

When Buying a Home?So many questions confront buyers, especially first-time buyers. "Am I ready? Is this a good investment for me? Can I afford it? Will I live here long enough to warrant buying a place instead of renting?" If you are overwhelmed, call a REALTOR?. He or she can help advise you based on their professional training and experience with the many financial opportunities for purchasing a home. You may be surprised to know that you may not need a large down payment. According to data from the National Association of REALTORS? Confidence Index, in the months of December 2014 through February 2015, about two-thirds of first-time buyers made a down payment between 0-6 percent. With so many personal and family benefits of owning your home, you really should talk with a REALTOR? to learn more about making this financial investment.

To view properties that are for sale in your local area go to www.swmar.com and click on "Find Properties". The Southwestern Michigan Association of REALTORS?, Inc. is a professional trade association for real estate licensees 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.