ST. JOSEPH, MI ? ?Our housing market has continued a nice rebound with over 300 houses selling per month since June. The month of May missed the trend with only 297 houses sold. October sales, at 347 houses sold, was the highest number of sales than in any other October going back to 2006, the peak year in our market area. This makes the third month in a row housing sales have set this record. October 2015 home sales were up 8 percent over October 2014 and 7 percent over sales in September,? stated Gary Walter, EVP, of the?Southwestern Michigan Association of REALTORS?, Inc.


?This rebound in home sales has faced a continued drop in inventory of houses for sale. Since May, the inventory of houses for sale has been down 9 to 11 percent from the same months in 2014. In October 2015, there were 2356 houses for sale compared to 2622 in October 2014. That was a 10 percent drop in the number of houses for buyers to view and at that level gives the market only an 8.6-months supply of homes available at the current pace of sales activity. By comparison, in October 2010 there were 3385 houses for sale which was a 16.6-months supply,? said Walter.

Year-to-date, the number of houses sold was up 11 percent over 2014 (2828 vs. 2551). Our market at the end of October was within 176 houses from the number of houses sold in all of 2014.

The total dollar volume in October jumped 24 percent over October 2014 ($74,340,313 vs. $59,929,204) and was a 27 percent increase over the total dollar volume in September ($58,313,055). The total dollar volume in October 2015 was also the highest total dollar volume in any October since 2006. Year-to-date, the total volume was up 13 percent over last year ($549, 878, 149 vs. $488, 149, 017).

The average selling price in October increased 15 percent from October 2014 ($214, 237 vs. $186, 116). This was a nice rebound from September when the average selling price dropped to $180,535. Year-to-date, the average selling price was up just slightly over 1 percent ($194, 155 in 2015 vs. $191, 356 in 2014).

The median selling price in October 2015 dropped 3 percent from October 2014 ($127, 900 vs. $132, 250). From the September median selling price of $139,000, the October price dropped 8 percent. Year-to-date, the median selling price was up 3 percent over this time in 2014 ($135, 000 vs. $131, 500). The year-to-date median selling price was the highest set since October 2006.

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 part of all closed transactions decreased back down to the lowest point set in July at 9 percent. Nine percent was the lowest reached since 2009. In February 2009, bank-owned or foreclosed homes were involved in 75 percent of all transactions,? stated Walter.

Locally, the mortgage rate decreased to 3.95 from 4.10 in September. Nationally, the Freddie Mac mortgage rate in October was 3.8 compared to 3.89 in September for a 30-year conventional mortgage. A year ago, the average commitment rate was 4.04 percent.
According to the National Association of Realtors?, with mortgage rates remaining below 4 percent for the third straight month, nationally existing-home sales in October were at a healthy pace but failed to keep up with September's jump. All four major regions saw no gains in sales in October.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, fell 3.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.36 million in October from 5.55 million in September. Despite last month's decline, sales are still 3.9 percent above a year ago (5.16 million).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says a sales cooldown in October was likely given the pullback in contract signings the last couple of months. ?New and existing-home supply has struggled to improve so far this fall, leading to few choices for buyers and no easement of the ongoing affordability concerns still prevalent in some markets,? he said. ?Furthermore, the mixed signals of slowing economic growth and volatility in the financial markets slightly tempered demand and contributed to the decreasing pace of sales.?

Adds Yun, ?As long as solid job creation continues, a gradual easing of credit standards even with moderately higher mortgage rates should support steady demand and sales continuing to rise above a year ago.?

The national median existing-home price for all housing types in October was $219,600, which is 5.8 percent above October 2014 ($207,500). October's price increase marks the 44th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Midwest sales declined 0.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.30 million in October, but are 8.3 percent above October 2014. The median price in the Midwest was $172,300, up 5.7 percent from a year ago.

The percent share of first-time buyers increased to 31 percent in October, up from 29 percent both in September and a year ago. NAR's annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers?released earlier this month, revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers fell to its second-lowest level since the survey began in 1981.

?All-cash and investor sales are still somewhat elevated historically despite the diminishing number of distressed properties,? adds Yun. ?With supply already meager at the lower-end of the price range, competition from these buyers only adds to the list of obstacles in the path for first-time buyers trying to reach the market.?
Nationally, the total housing inventory at the end of October decreased 2.3 percent to 2.14 million existing homes available for sale, and is now 4.5 percent lower than a year ago (2.24 million). Unsold inventory is at a 4.8-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 4.7 months in September.

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. The Association phone number is (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 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.