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In July, the Cass housing market stayed even with July 2017. Overall home sales were down by one house (68 vs. 69). July overall home sales dropped to 68 from 76 in June. Year-to-date, overall home sales were up 8 percent (381 vs. 354).

Waterfront home sales in July 2018 were up by two houses when compared to July 2017 (24 vs. 22). Year-to-date, waterfront home sales increased by three houses (107 vs. 104)

Non-waterfront home sales have pushed year-to-date, overall home sales up by 10 percent (274 vs. 250). However, in July, non-waterfront home sales slipped by 3 fewer houses than in July 2017 (44 vs. 47).

The overall average selling price increased by 10 percent due to the 10 percent increase in the average selling price of non-waterfront homes when comparing July 2018 to July 2017 ($224,506 vs. $203,357). Year-to-date, the overall average selling price has only grown by $529 ($197,578 vs. $196,999). The overall median selling price at $179,450 was up 15 percent over the $156,000 price in July 2017. Year-to-date, the overall median selling price was up 2 percent ($150,000 vs. $146,750).

The average selling price for waterfront homes increased to $345,650 from $329,609 in July 2017. The median selling price for waterfront homes dropped 14 percent ($305,000 vs. $355,000).

The average selling price for non-waterfront homes in July jumped 10 percent to $158,428 from $144,260 in July 2017. The median selling price was up 10 percent to $118,475 from $107,900 in July 2017.

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

In Cass County, the number of bank-owned or foreclosed homes as a part of all closed transactions in July decreased to 1.5 percent from 5 percent in June. The highest percentage in the month of July previously was 16 percent in 2016. Year-to-date the highest percentage was 16 percent in February.

For comparison the number of bank-owned or foreclosed homes as a percentage of all transactions in Berrien, Cass and the westerly 2/3 of Van Buren Counties reached a new low percentage of 4 percent; the lowest percentage for the year. The percentage was 6 percent in June. The lowest percentage in 2017 was also 4 percent in July and August. The highest percentage in July was 35 percent in 2009.

Across the area. July became a record selling month for 2018 in our year-over-year comparison for all numbers we report except for number of units sold year-to-date. The number of year-to-date houses sold at 1985 fell 2 percent behind sales in July 2017 and 2006 for 3rd place. After 2 peak years in row (2016 and 2017), the market has stayed robust for sellers with the low inventory for buyers.

The number of houses sold in July 2018 jumped 18 percent over July 2017 (390 vs. 330).

There was little change in the average and median selling prices from July 2017 to July 2018. The average selling price at $228,965 in July 2018 was 2 percent higher than $224,705 in July 2017. The median selling price grew less than 1 percent ($165,750 vs. $164,819).

Year-to-date, the average selling price increased 7 percent ($226,218 vs. $212,176) and the median selling price increased 5 percent ($160,000 vs. $152,225).

The increase in the number of houses sold in July 2018 pushed the total dollar volume up 20 percent over July 2017 ($89,296,357 vs. $74,152,768). Year-to-date, total dollar volume increased 5 percent ($449,043,822 vs. $429,445,503).

Inventory of houses for sale increased slightly to 6.29-months supply from 5.9-months supply in June. The inventory at the end of July was 1892 compared to 1798 houses at the end of June. In July 2017, the inventory was 2019 houses for sale. Which was 6 percent drop in inventory from last year to July 2018. In July 2010 the inventory of houses for sale was 3821.

Overall in SWMI, the mortgage decreased to 4.681from 4.73 in June. Last year in July, the rate was 4.063. Nationally, the Freddie Mac mortgage rate in July was 4.54 down slightly from 4.55 in June 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 a Home…

Home pricing is more of a science than an art, but many homeowners price with their heartstrings instead of cold, hard data. Smart sellers know that crunching the numbers is always the better route to an accurate home price. Here’s how they do it. The number one rule is to avoid overpricing. If you start high, yes you can always lower your price, but you take a chance at losing potential buyers because it was out of their budget and your house may remain on the market for months keeping you from moving to a new home or facing the risk of having two mortgages. The second rule is work with a REALTOR® who has access to current market data for pricing your home for sell. Do not rely on online tools to determine your home’s market value. Once on the market you will know that your house price is right or needs to be adjusted based on the number of showings and offers. Your REALTOR® is your best advisor and a good resource for feedback from potential buyers.

When Buying a Home…

Most people have deeply personal reasons for wanting to buy a home. Maybe it’s the bathroom that feels like a dreamy, modern spa. Your lender doesn’t care about what you like in a house. Their only concern is that the house you buy is worth as much as the value of your mortgage. For that reason, a home must be valued at, or above, the agreed-upon purchase price, and this has to happen before you can close on a house. After you sign a home purchase agreement the home you’re buying must pass an appraisal — an assessment of the property’s value by an unbiased third party: the appraiser. They don’t represent you or the seller; instead, this person is a contractor chosen by your lender through an appraisal management company. The home buyer is responsible for paying for the appraisal and the fee is typically wrapped into your closing costs and ranges from $300-$400. When the appraisal is finished, the appraiser issues a written report with his or her opinion of the value of the home. Whatever the outcome of the appraisal your REALTOR® will be there to offer recommendations about how to proceed. 

To view properties that are for sale in your local area go to www.michric.org and click on “Property Search”. The Southwestern Michigan Association of REALTORS®, Inc. is a professional trade association for real estate professionals who are members of the National Association of REALTORS®, 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.