The Housing Market in Southwestern Michigan, December 2015 | General Press Releases

The housing market in December certainly saw no freeze in the overall process. The number of houses sold, total dollar volume, and selling prices were up double digits over December 2014. All of 2015 showed a nice increase over 2014 making buyers and sellers happy. If there is a negative, it is the low housing inventory which continued to decline though out 2015.


The Housing Market in Southwestern Michigan, December 2015 | General Press Releases

In December 2015, 252 houses were sold compared to 229 in December 2014; which was a 10 percent increase. This also made December 2015 the highest selling December since 2005. The year-to-date total number of houses sold through December 31, 2015 was also 10 percent higher than in 2014 (3302 vs 3004).

The total dollar volume in December was boosted 30 percent by the increase in the number of homes sold ($52,058,013 vs. $40,116,596). This was also the highest total dollar volume in December since December 2005. Year-to-date, the total dollar volume was up 15 percent over last year ($643,226,393 vs. $561, 007,201).

The average selling price in December increased 18 percent from December 2014 ($206, 579 vs. $175, 182) and also set the record for the highest average selling price since December 2005. The average selling price in December rose 11 percent from the average selling price in November of $185,992. Year-to-date, the average selling price stepped up 4 percent from 2014 ($194, 799 vs. $186, 753).

At $130,000, the median selling price in December 2015 increased 12 percent from December 2014 when the median selling price was $116,000. In November, the median selling price was $120,000. Year-to-date, the median selling price was up 3 percent over 2014 ($133, 000 vs. $129, 000). The year-to-date median selling price was the highest set over the last 10 years.

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

The continuing drop in the housing market inventory was an issue all of 2015. In December, the number of houses for sale dropped 8 percent from December 2014. At the current level of 1850 houses we have a 6.7-months supply of homes for buyers at the current pace of sales. This was the lowest level for the year with the inventory peaking in July to a 10.2-months supply. By comparison, in December 2011 there were 2461 houses for sale which was a 12.7-months supply.

The number of bank-owned or foreclosed homes as a part of all closed transactions decreased to 13 percent from 18 percent in November. The 9 percent reached in July and October this year was the lowest reached since 2009. In February 2009, 75 percent of all transactions were bank-owned or foreclosed homes.

Locally, the mortgage rate increased from 4.10 in November to 4.6 in December. Nationally, the Freddie Mac mortgage rate in December was 3.96 compared to 3.94 in November 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 If you are considering doing some remodeling projects before putting your house on the market, you should contact your Realtor first. He or she will know what home buyers are seeking and what projects will make your home more competitive with houses that are currently on the market. According to a new study by the National Association of REALTORS®, the type of project you should consider depends on just that whether you plan to enjoy the finished product yourself or make it more appealing to buyers. For example, REALTORS® ranked the addition of a bathroom, a complete kitchen renovation, a new master suite, new fiber-cement siding, a new front door, and new roofing as projects that brought the most personal joy to homeowners. Yet projects with the highest cost recovered upon selling were hardwood flooring refinish, an insulation upgrade, new wood flooring, new roofing, a new garage door and new vinyl siding. The closer you are to selling your house the more you should look at your return on investment.

When buying your home  Jumping into the buying process without a REALTOR® may seem like a great money saving idea and may appeal to a drive to tackling projects by yourself, but unless you are willing to put your life on hold, it can be a foolish trail to blaze. Attending open houses may be fun but how will you know all the right questions you should ask and know if the seller is answering your questions truthfully? Every seller lives in a great neighborhood with great schools. You will have to do the homework to learn is the area is right for your family. Why would you want to make a life changing financial investment blindfolded? A Realtor® is always working for you. He or she will help to guide you through the financing process, provide answers about the property and the neighborhood, tackle the mountain of paperwork, and negotiate the purchase in your behalf. Call a REALTOR® today and you will quickly learn all the advantages to not making home buying a DIY project.

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.