269.983.6375info@swmar.org

ST. JOSEPH, MI ? "Since July we have seen monthly housing sales bounce up and down with no particular pattern. For example July, normally a peak-selling month, had only 170 houses sold and closed when August had 232. Then September had 192, October 212 andNovember had 168. As people get ready for the holidays, November typically has a decline in sales. However thanks to the tax incentive, year-to-date we have stayed ahead of last year until September for the number of house sold and by the end of November we fell 5 percent behind last year. At this point in the year, our year-to-date average selling prices are still up for the year, but the monthly trend appears to be a downward trend from a high earlier in the year," stated Gary Walter, EVP, of the Southwestern Michigan Association of REALTORS?, Inc.

Read More

Comparing November this year to November 2009, the number of houses sold and closed dropped 18 percent (168 vs. 205). Year-to-date the unit numbers are down (2122 vs. 2239). The total dollar volume declined 22 percent ($26.543,475 vs. $34,011,303). The year-to-date total dollar volume is almost even with last year ($340,160,177 vs. $340,383,970). The average selling price slipped 5 percent behind last year ($157,997 vs. $165,909). The year-to-date average selling price is up 5 percent ($160,302 vs. $151,994). The median selling price is down 6 percent ($95,000 vs. $101,250). Year-to-date the median price was up 9 percent (103,750 vs. $95,000). In 2009, the year-to-date average and median selling prices were the lowest in five years. The median price is the price at which 50% of the homes sold were above that price and 50% were below.

?

Nationally, existing-home sales got back on an upward path in November, resuming a growth trend since bottoming in July, according to the National Association of REALTORS?.

?

Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 5.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.68 million in November from 4.43 million in October, but are 27.9 percent below the cyclical peak of 6.49 million in November 2009, which was the initial deadline for the first-time buyer tax credit.

?

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, is hopeful for 2011. "Continuing gains in home sales are encouraging, and the positive impact of steady job creation will more than trump some negative impact from a modest rise in mortgage interest rates, which remain historically favorable," he said.

?

Yun added that homebuyers are responding to improved affordability conditions. "The relationship recently between mortgage interest rates, home prices and family income has been the most favorable on record for buying a home since we started measuring in 1970," he said. "Therefore, the market is recovering and we should trend up to a healthy, sustainable level in 2011."

?

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $170,600 in November, up 0.4 percent from November 2009. Distressed homes have been a fairly stable market share, accounting for 33 percent of sales in November; they were 34 percent in October and 33 percent in November 2009.

?

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Midwest increased 6.4 percent in November to a level of 1.00 million but are 35.1 percent below the year-ago surge. The median price in the Midwest was $138,900, down 1.1 percent from November 2009.

?

A parallel NAR practitioner survey shows first-time buyers purchased 32 percent of homes in November, the same as in October, but are below a 51 percent share in November 2009 from the surge to beat the initial deadline for the first-time buyer tax credit.

?

Investors accounted for 19 percent of transactions in November, also unchanged from October, but are up from 12 percent in November 2009; the balance of sales were to repeat buyers. All-cash sales were at 31 percent in November, up from 29 percent in October and 19 percent a year ago. "The elevated level of all-cash transactions continues to reflect tight credit market conditions," Yun said.

?

In SWMI, Walter stated "Bank owned or foreclosed homes stayed within the one-third range for most of the year with two-thirds of the homes sold and closed completed through normal transactions. Transactions involving foreclosed or bank owned properties were at 36 percent in November. In July we hit our lowest point at 24 percent. The lowest point in 2009 was 34 percent."

?

Nationally, foreclosures, which accounted for two-thirds of the distressed sales share, sold at a median discount of 15 percent in November, while short sales were discounted 10 percent in comparison with traditional home sales.

?

"On November 30th, we had 3,160 houses listed for sale, which is even with the number of houses listed for sale a year ago and 7 percent less than in October. With our current inventory, based on the last 12-month's sales, we have a 15.8-month supply of homes for sale. Last year in November our inventory was at 16.5 months," Walter reported.

?

Nationally, the total housing inventory at the end of November fell 4.0 percent to 3.71 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 9.5-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 10.5-month supply in October.

?

NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I., said good buying opportunities will continue. "Traditionally there are far fewer buyers competing for properties at this time of the year, so serious buyers have a lot of opportunities during the winter months," he said. "Buyers will enjoy favorable affordability conditions into the new year, although mortgage rates are expected to gradually rise as 2011 progresses."

?

Locally the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate bumped up slightly from 4.47 in October to 4.55 in November. According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional fixed rate mortgage, rose to 4.30 percent in November from a record low 4.23 percent in October; the rate was 4.88 percent in November 2009.

?

"In the short term, mortgage interest rates should hover just above recent record lows, while home prices have generally stabilized following declines from 2007 through 2009," Yun said. "Although mortgage interest rates have ticked up in recent weeks, overall conditions remain extremely favorable for buyers who can obtain credit."

?

The numbers reported for local sales include residential property in Berrien, and the western half of Van Buren and Cass counties.? All three counties are included in numbers and percentages and do not reflect differences in any individual areas.

? ?

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 is located at 3123 Lake Shore Drive St. Joseph, MI 49085, (269) 983.6375.? They can also be contacted through their web site, www.swmar.com.

? ?

The National Association of Realtors?, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

? ?

###

12/22/2010

?