Housing Market in Southwestern Michigan, January 2016 | General Press Releases

In spite of the historically low inventory of homes to sell, the number of houses sold increased 30 percent over January 2015 (187 vs. 144). Looking at sales in the month of January going back to 2006, January 2016 had the second highest number of houses sold. In January 2006, 206 houses were sold.

Housing Market in Southwestern Michigan, January 2016 | General Press Releases

The total dollar volume in January 2016 was up 23 percent over January 2015 ($37,462,744 vs $30,394,836). The total dollar volume in January 2016 was the highest recorded since 2006

The average selling price of $200,335 in January 2016 was down 5 percent from the $211,075 the average selling price in January 2015. However, both average selling prices were the highest in the eleven year comparison.

The January 2016 median selling price of $134,000 rose 28 percent over the median selling price in January 2015 of $104,645. In addition, the January 2016 median selling price landed as the top January median selling price since 2006 by nearly $10,000. In January 2006, the median selling price was $124,700.

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

Falling to a record low 6.6-months supply, the housing inventory continues to be a dilemma for buyers. The inventory at the end of January was 1830 houses for sale compared to 1937 in January 2015. We are not adding to inventory. In December 2015 there were 1850 houses for sale or a 6.7-months supply at the pace of sales. The January inventory in 2010 was 2733 and since this was one of the lowest years for sales, the inventory provided 13.6-months supply.

The number of bank-owned or foreclosed homes as a part of all closed transactions in January 2016 was 18 percent. This also set the record for the lowest percentage in the month of January since 2009. In January 2009, the percentage was 57 percent. The highest percentage of bank-owned or foreclosed homes as a part of all closed transactions occurred in February 2009 at 75 percent and the lowest percentage was set in July and October 2015 at 9 percent.

Locally, the mortgage rate decreased from 4.60 in December to 3.99 in January. Nationally, the Freddie Mac mortgage rate in January was 3.87 compared to 3.96 in December 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 Take advantage of the low inventory of houses for sale during the winter months by putting your home on the market now. If your home has been well maintained, it will be a stand out in cold, snowy weather. Draw perspective buyers into your home easier by keeping sidewalks, driveway and steps shoveled and salted. Program your thermostat to stay a nice, warm temperature throughout the day so anytime buyers enter your house, it will feel warm and cozy. Open window shades to keep the house well lighted and especially on dreary days leave a few lights on to add appeal. Make your home look comfortable with simple touches by keeping a throw over the arm of a sofa and similar ideas so buyers see themselves relaxing in the home. Appeal to buyers sense of smell with the comforting smell of fresh baked brownies. To really get a jump on the competition, ask your REALTOR® for specific or unique ideas that will make your home appealing to buyers.

When buying your home The internet is a wonderful thing. Online, you can find hundreds of calculators to use to determine if you are financially ready to be a homebuyer or to determine if you should rent or buy. And online you can look at pictures of beautiful houses where you might want to live. However, using the internet to find your dream home is like looking at adorable puppies in the window of a pet store. You know you want one but how do you know which one will be right for you and your family now and over time. There are so many steps in the home buying process requiring making life changing and financial decisions, where the internet cannot help you weigh your options. Only the knowledgeable guidance of REALTOR® can focus your efforts and give you the specific information you need make a wise investment in your future.

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.