The local housing market in August rebounded nicely from the disappointing July results. However, over time July has routinely taken a step backward during our peak selling season. In August, there was a 13 percent increase in the number of homes sold and a 13 percent increase in the total dollar volume from those sales while the average and median selling prices held steady. July had dropped 7 percent in both number of homes sold and total dollar volume from June this year.

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In many ways the market in August provided favorable comparisons to other monthly results this year and to past years for the month of August.

Since May of this year, the average selling prices and median selling prices have held fairly steady around $200,000 and $145,000 respectively. The median selling price at $148,700 was the highest for the year. With 330 houses sold, August also had the highest number of houses sold in a month this year.

Comparing August 2014 to August 2013 is interesting since only five more houses were sold this year (330 vs. 325) but total dollar volume and selling prices were up double digits. The total dollar volume at $65,767,439 was up 17 percent over August 2013 (56,215,587). The average selling price ($199,295 vs. $172,971 was up 15 percent in August this year and the median selling price ($148,700 vs. $124,000) was up 20 percent when compared to August 2013.

The year-to-date dollar numbers were also positive with more modest gains while selling fewer houses. The number of houses sold year-to-date slipped 4 percent behind last year (1936 vs. 2019). The year-to-date total dollar volume was up 2 percent ($368,645,296 vs. $359,832,972). The year-to-date average selling price jumped 7 percent ($190,416 vs. $178,223). The year-to-date median selling price also increased 7 percent at $130,000 versus $120,950 last year.

Looking further back in time for the month of August, this year's August numbers fell into third place behind the peak years of 2006 and 2007 with the exception of the monthly median selling price. The median selling price in August 2014 was the highest at $148,700. During the peak year, 2006, the median selling price was $139,000.

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

For the last the four months, the number of bank-owned or foreclosed homes as a part of all closed transactions has held to the lowest percentages since 2009. The number of bank-owned or foreclosed homes was 12 percent in August. The highest percentage this year was 36 percent in January. The highest percentage occurred in February 2009 when 75 percent of all transactions involved bank-owned or foreclosed homes.

The overall housing inventory level reached a 12-month supply for the first time this year in July and held to that level in August. The lowest inventory this year was in January and February when the inventory was just slightly over an 8-month supply.

Locally, the mortgage rate dropped to 4.19 in August from 4.28 in July. This was the lowest mortgage rate for the year. The highest rate was 4.58 in January. Nationally, the Freddie Mac mortgage rate in August was 4.12 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 your home ? The internet is a wonderful resource but for the most part it focuses on the vast array of knowledge and lacks focus on what is close to home. Good examples are real estate sites, Zillow and Trulia whose headquarters are located in Seattle and San Francisco respectively. These sites pay or mine for data that is uploaded to massive servers and sell advertising packages to Realtors. Typically, the data on a specific housing market is out-of-date by as much as six months. If you want current information for your market, call a local REALTOR?. Their feet are on the ground, they have access to local data that reflects sales as recent as yesterday and a professional and ethical interest in helping you sell your home for top dollar and as quickly as possible.

When buying a home ? The local housing market is very fluid and much like the weather changes almost daily. When shopping for a home using sites like Zillow and Trulia for information, especially about what your offer price should be, puts you weeks and perhaps six months behind the curve on what is happening in your market. Downloading agreement forms and using on-line calculators may seem a quick and easy way to go but could lead to amateurish decisions that might lead to trouble down the road with the potential of costing you time and money. Only a local REALTOR? can advise and effectively guide you through the home buying process in your local market.

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.