ST. JOSEPH, MI ? ?Just like the record set in August, more homes were sold in September 2015 than in any September going back to 2006. In September, 323 houses were sold compared to 293 in September 2014 for a 10 percent increase year over year. For the year, the number of houses sold was up 11 percent (2481 vs. 2229),? stated Gary Walter, EVP, of the Southwestern Michigan Association of REALTORS?, Inc.

?The increase in sales occurred when the housing market inventory was down 10 percent from a year ago. In September, there were 2525 houses for sale compared to 2813 in September 2014. Our inventory has steadily decreased from17.3-months supply in September 2010 to almost half this past September at 9.3-months supply. For comparison, in September 2010 we had 3574 homes on the market,? said Walter.

The total dollar volume in September decreased 2 percent from September 2014 ($58,313,055 vs. $59, 574,517). Year-to-date, the total volume was up 11 percent over last year ($475,537,836 vs. $428,219,813).

The average selling price in September dropped 11 percent from a year ago ($180,535 vs. $203,326). Comparing to the August average selling price of $214,765, the September average selling price dropped 16 percent. During the peak selling months, May through September, this year the average selling prices were up and down. Last year all five months were over slightly or near the $200,000 mark. Year-to-date, the average selling price was within $441 ($191,672 in 2015 vs. $192,113 in 2014).

The median selling price in September 2015 was down $200 from September 2014 ($139,000 vs. $139,200). The median selling prices for both years were still the highest set since September 2006. Comparing to the August median selling price of $159,575, the September median selling price dropped 13 percent. Year-to-date, the median selling price was up 4 percent over this time in 2014 ($136,450 vs. $131,000). The year-to-date median selling price was the highest set since September 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 increased to 15 percent from 12 percent in August. The 9 percent set in July was the lowest reached since 2009. In February 2009, bank-owned or foreclosed homes were involved in75 percent of all transactions,? stated Walter.

Locally, the mortgage rate held even with rate in August at 4.10. The rate has not change much throughout the year. In January, the rate at 3.67 was the lowest and it peaked at 4.19 in July. Nationally, the Freddie Mac mortgage rate in September dipped to 3.89 from 3.91 in August for a 30-year conventional mortgage. A year ago, the average commitment rate was 4.16 percent.

According to the National Association of Realtors?, existing?home sales rebounded strongly in September following August's decline and have now increased year?over?year for 12 consecutive months. All four major regions experienced sales gains in September

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 4.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.55 million in September from a slightly downwardly revised 5.30 million in August, and are now 8.8 percent above a year ago (5.10 million).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says a slight moderation in home prices in some markets and mortgage rates remaining below 4 percent gave more households the confidence to close on a home last month. ?September home sales bounced back solidly after slowing in August and are now at their second highest pace since February 2007 (5.79 million),? he said. ?While current price growth around 6 percent is still roughly double the pace of wages, affordability has slightly improved since the spring and is helping to keep demand at a strong and sustained pace.?

The national median existing-home price for all housing types in September was $221,900, which is 6.1 percent above September 2014 ($209,100). September's price increase marks the 43rd consecutive month of year?over?year gains.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Midwest sales climbed 2.3 percent to an annual rate of 1.31 million in September, and are 12.0 percent above September 2014. The median price in the Midwest was $174,400, up 5.4 percent from a year ago.

First?time buyers fell to 29 percent of sales in September after climbing to their highest share of the year in August (32 percent). A year ago, first?time buyers represented 29 percent of all buyers.

All?cash sales rose to 24 percent of transactions in September (22 percent in August) and are unchanged from a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 13 percent of homes in September, up from 12 percent in August but down from 14 percent a year ago. Sixty?seven percent of investors paid cash in September.

Nationally, the total housing inventory at the end ofSeptember decreased 2.6 percent to 2.21 million existing homes available for sale, and is now 3.1 percent lower than a year ago (2.28 million). Unsold inventory is at a 4.8?month supply at the current sales pace, down from 5.1 months in August.

?Despite persistent inventory shortages, the housing market has made great strides this year, backed by an increasing share of pent?up sellers realizing the increased equity they've gained from rising home prices and using it towards trading up or moving into a smaller home,? says Yun. ?Unfortunately, first?time buyers are still failing to generate any meaningful traction this year.?

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.