In September, sales in the Cass housing market slipped 11 percent for overall housing types, and individually for waterfront and non-waterfront houses. All average selling prices showed major increases, especially for non-waterfront houses.
Last month 67 houses were sold compared to 75 in September 2021. Waterfront house sales were down 11 percent compared to September 2021 (17 vs. 19), and non-waterfront house sales fell 11 percent (50 vs. 56).
Year-to-date, the overall housing market sales were down 13 percent (455 vs. 523). Waterfront house sales decreased 7 percent (122 vs. 131), and non-waterfront houses declined 15 percent (333 vs. 392).
The overall average selling price in September increased 29 percent based on the selling prices of non-waterfront houses compared to September 2021 ($381,351 vs. $294,638). The overall median selling price in September at $292,000 increased 50 percent from $195,000 in September 2021.
The average selling price for waterfront homes rose 13 percent to $711,870 from $628,474 in September 2021. The median selling price for waterfront homes increased 57 percent to $660,000 from $420,000 in September 2021.
The average selling price for non-waterfront increased 48 percent to $268,975 from $181,372 in September 2021. The median selling price soared 29 percent to $233,750 from $150,500 in September 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 homes as a part of all closed transactions in September. The highest percentage in September previously was 14 percent in 2016.
In all of SWMI housing market that, includes home sales across Allegan, Berrien, Cass, and the westerly 2/3 of Van Buren Counties, the number of bank-owned or foreclosed homes as a percentage of all transactions, there was only one house that was bank-owned or foreclosed which took the percentage back to 0 percent after five months at 1 percent. In January, the rate was 0 percent. The previous lowest percentage in September was 1 percent in 2021. The highest percentage in September was 37 percent in 2009.
At the end of the third quarter of 2022, the SWMI local housing market lost ground in sales while selling prices set records each month. The housing inventory at 4.1-months supply reached the highest level for the year. We started the year with 470 houses for sale across Allegan, Berrien, Cass, and the westerly 2/3 of Van Buren Counties and at the end of September had 895 houses for sale.
In September, the number of houses sold fell to 339 from 398 in September 2021, for a 15 percent drop in sales. Year-to-date sales were down 13 percent from 2021 (2524 vs. 2895).
The average and median selling prices in September and the year-to-date selling prices set records in the year-over-year comparison, which dates back to 2006.
The average selling price rose 5 percent from that in September 2021 ($340,600 vs. $324,171). The year-to-date average selling price of $336,160 was 5 percent higher than the $319,758 price in September 2021.
The median selling price increased 10 percent to $252,000 from $230,000 in September 2021. Year-to-date, the median selling price rose 9 percent ($245,000 vs. $225,000).
The total dollar volume fell 11 percent in September 2022 ($115,463,412 vs. $129,020,263). Year-to-date total dollar volume at the end of September 2022 dropped 8 percent ($848,468,979 vs. $924,741,988).
The inventory of houses for sale dropped 3 percent from September 2021 (895 vs. 922). With fewer houses selling, the inventory of houses for sale increased to a 4.1-months supply of inventory available for buyers, up from the 4.0-months supply in August 2022. For comparison, in September 2010, there were 3574 houses for sale and a 17.3-months supply of inventory.
Nationally, the Freddie Mac mortgage rate in September was 6.70, up from 5.50 in August for a 30-year conventional mortgage. A year ago, the rate was 3.01.
When Selling a Home…
This is the time of the year when you may need to hire contractors to help with fall cleanup or to take on maintenance projects to keep your home in top shape. While the majority of contractors are honest professionals, it is still important for homeowners to be aware of scammers. Consumers should be wary of contractors who ask for money upfront. According to the Better Business Bureau, contractors who say they need a significant percentage of the project price in advance are more likely to disappear with the money or do sub-par work with the impression they can’t be fired as they are already in possession of most of their payment. Ten percent of the job total, or $1,000, whichever is less, is enough to establish someone as a serious customer and have the contractor work them into their schedule.
In addition, homeowners should never take the word of a contractor: get everything in a legal contract. Details on specifications, upgrades, and extra touches should all be included in the contract; otherwise, the contractor is under no legal obligation to include them in the finished project.
When Buying a Home…
The journey to finding your dream house should start by finding a REALTOR that you think knows your community well, and you can trust the advice he or she will give. Your REALTOR® can advise you about getting pre-approved for a mortgage, the second most crucial step to getting your dream house. Your REALTOR® will have experience with local lenders and can explain the differences between the types of lenders.
The following are other tips for making your home-buying experience easier.
1. Don’t overwhelm yourself by seeing every lender in town. Select a few options to
compare so you can process and assimilate the differences.
2. Get a Fees Worksheet so you will have each lender’s direct fees for comparison.
3. The numbers on the worksheet are estimates and not locked in. Interest rates are fluid and change daily or even more often. After you have a contract with a seller, the loan estimate and loan application are where the information is binding, barring structural changes to the loan. Make sure the information reflects previous discussions with and disclosures by the loan officer.
4. Third-party fee estimates are included on the worksheet. Two lenders could each produce different estimates for the title, escrow, or appraisal fees. But not all are negotiable. For instance, the seller chooses the title company, so the lender doesn’t control the choice or the fees. The lender could be choosing the high or low end of a range, but it’s only an estimate.
5. Make sure lenders use the same time frame for locking in pricing and that it will extend through the closing. A lender might offer a rate that’s a lock for three weeks, but if you anticipate or know your closing date will be five or six weeks out, that could be a problem.
6. Consider applying for a loan approval before finding a property. Many lenders will not do this. But some will allow borrowers to go through the formal underwriting process – not just pre-approval – without having a property. The borrowers can get a bona fide mortgage commitment with all of the main buyer financials truly underwritten at that point. Then when borrowers make an offer, they can close more quickly.
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.