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Since February, we have seen average and median selling prices climb month over month.? In July, the average selling price dropped 6 percent and the median selling price dropped 10 percent below selling prices in June.? The number of houses sold was nearly the same; in July 344 and in June 342 houses were sold. Historically, the market has seen the number of homes sold in July dip but the selling prices remain nearly the same.?

Comparing to July 2014, the number of houses sold in July 2015 increased 18 percent (344 vs. 291).? Year-to-date, the number of houses sold has increased 11 percent over last year (1784 vs. 1606).? The number of houses sold in July this year equaled that sold in 2006 which was the peak year in our market. Year-to-date, we are the second best year for the number of houses sold.

The increase in the number houses sold resulted in the total dollar volume increasing by 12 percent over last year ($65,536,372 vs. $58,279,404).? Year-to-date, the total dollar volume was up 11 percent.? Looking back over time at just total dollar volume in the month of July, the amount for July 2015 was the highest recorded since 2006.

Comparing July 2015 average selling price to July 2014 there was a 5 percent decline ($190,513 vs. $200,273).? Year-to-date, the average selling price was within $223 ($188,814 vs. $188,591).

The median selling price fell $9,250 in July 2015 ($135,000) versus July 2014 ($144,250).? The stronger selling prices earlier in the year kept the year-to-date median selling price 2 percent higher than last year ($131,000 vs. $128,950).? The year-to-date median price in July was the highest recorded since the peak market year, 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 set a record low for the year at 9 percent. There were only 32 homes that were bank-owned or foreclosed out of 344 transactions. This was especially noteworthy when you consider the transactions occurred in nearly a three county area.? We have come a long way from February 2009 when 75 percent of all transactions involved bank-owned or foreclosed homes.?

Locally, the mortgage rate held even with the June rate of 4.18.? In July the mortgage rate was 4.19.? Nationally, the Freddie Mac mortgage rate in July increase to 4.05 from 3.98 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 have recently renovated areas within your home or are thinking about doing so before you sell, you should read U.S. News article ?6 Home Renovations That May Hurt Your Home?s Selling Price?.? You can find the article on their website usnews.com.? In the article, U.S. News included Remodeling Magazine?s Cost vs. Value report on the home renovations that bring the greatest return when you sell.? First was a new entry door (which may bring you 101.8 percent of what you spend based on the national average), the application of manufactured stone veneer (92.2 percent) and a garage door replacement (88.4 percent). Theones with the smallest return were a sunroom addition (48.5 percent), a home office remodel (48.7 percent) and a bathroom addition (57.8 percent).? Of course, the value of any project should be discussed with your REALTOR?. ?Knowing buyer?s expectations in your market and the competition your home will face when on the market will help you make any adjustments to past renovations and decisions on future plans.

When buying a home ? You want to buy your dream home.? But to be a dream home it has to first be financially right for you starting with your down payment, monthly payment, and having cash flow to cover property taxes, insurance and maintenance items each month.? To keep your dream home from becoming a nightmare, ask your REALTOR? to help you estimate these costs for homes you are considering.? Even if your dream home is within your price range, other factors may not fit in your budget.? Working with a REALTOR and accepting his or her advice will help you to keep focused and take a practical approach to buying a home.? Buying a home is a big financial investment and you want to get it right with no regrets.

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.