Last year the Cass County housing market started 2021 off with a 41 percent increase in sales and a 3 percent lower average selling price for all housing types. This year sales were down 35 percent, and average selling prices were up slightly.
When we refer to all or overall housing types, we combine results for waterfront and non-waterfront houses. So in total, 31 houses were sold in January 2022 compared to 48 in January 2021. Separately, waterfront houses sales plummeted 75 percent (3 vs.12) and Non-waterfront houses decreased 22 percent (28 vs. 36).
The overall average selling price in January 2022 increased 5 percent to $217,658 from $207,011 in January 2021. The overall median selling price in January at $169,900 rose 16 percent from $145,944.
The average selling price for waterfront homes grew 56 percent to $581,633 from $374,158 in January 2021. The median selling price for waterfront homes soared 170 percent ($654,900 vs. $242,450).
In January, the average selling price for non-waterfront increased 18 percent to $178,661 from $151,295 in January 2021. The median selling price rose 26 percent to $167,450 from $133,000 in January 2021.
The median price is the price at which 50% of the homes sold were above that price, and 50% were below.
In Cass County, there were no bank-owned or foreclosed as a part of all closed transactions in January 2022. In 2021, there were two houses. The highest percentage in January previously was 35 percent in 2015 or twelve houses.
For comparison, there were no bank-owned or foreclosed homes as a percentage of all transactions in Allegan, Berrien, Cass, and the westerly 2/3 of Van Buren Counties in January. The highest percentage in January was 57 percent in 2009.
The housing market across SWMI has run at a record pace for the last five years. January 2022 started with a record low inventory of houses for sale at 514 houses for buyers in a nearly four-county area. So what could we expect the market to do in 2022?
January usually tends to be the least productive month of any given year. January 2021 ended with setting new all-time records for sales, selling prices, and total dollar volume in the year-over-year comparison that dates back to 2006.
January 2022 closed with a 23 percent drop in sales from January 2021 (210 vs. 271).
The average selling price increased just 1 percent to $301,017 from $297,517 in January 2021, the highest average selling price in the year-over-year comparison.
The January median selling price set the new record rising 6 percent from January 2021 ($210,000 vs.$198,000). The January 2021 median selling price was the previous record price.
The total dollar volume at $63,213,613 was down 22 percent from the record-setting total dollar volume of $80,627,175 collected in January 2021.
At the end of January 2022, there were just 470 houses for sale, down from 665 in January 2021. This is the number of listings for sale across Allegan, Berrien, Cass, and the westerly 2/3 of Van Buren counties. At 470 houses, the market had a 1.9-months supply of homes for sale compared to a 2.5-months supply in January 2021. The 1.9-months supply inventory level set a new low record for houses on the market.
Nationally, in January, the Freddie Mac mortgage rate was 3.55, up from 3.11 in December 2021 for a 30-year conventional mortgage..
When Selling a Home…
Technology has significantly changed the home buying process. It has increased the case for preparing and staging your home before putting it on the market and changed the expectation about the number of buyers walking through your house once on the market.
NAR Research has tracked the number of homes viewed since 1987. Homebuyers who successfully purchased a home last year only viewed a median of eight homes before purchasing, which was the lowest number tracked.
Homebuyers today can view homes online and quickly weed out what they want to see and what can be eliminated. Buyers can walk through virtual tours, view videos, see detailed photos in a way 2006 technology did not allow. Among the eight homes viewed by buyers—three were viewed only online through virtual tours, virtual video tours, or virtual open houses.
In 2006, 80% of buyers used the internet to search for homes. Today, that share is 95% of buyers. In 2006, 24% of buyers first spotted their home online, and today, that share is 51%.
When Buying a Home…
Using technology to help buy a home is wonderful, but it does have drawbacks. With a virtual home tour, a seller’s agent shows a property’s best features. It may be a 3D tour or a gallery of retouched photos of staged rooms. Regardless of the format, it shows the property groomed, enhanced, and ready for its closeup. A virtual tour can be like roses and wine and all the good things.
As a buyer, you should know that virtual property tours have limits. Space is hard to translate into a virtual tour. You can’t get a feel for home size, and you can’t get a feel for the placement of the home in relationship to a neighborhood. A drone won’t take a photo of a traffic light one house away.
Then there’s the issue of retouch magic. Photos and staging can push your emotional buttons, but you get there, and the house isn’t what you thought.
The upshot is, don’t make an offer based on a virtual tour. That’s like proposing to someone based on a photo on Match.com. Instead, use a virtual tour to decide if you want to take a closer look at a property, either in person or via a virtual showing.
To view properties that are for sale in your local area, go to www.swmar.com and click on “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 Allegan, Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren Counties. The Association can be contacted at 269-983-6375 or through their website at www.swmar.com.