The Cass County housing market continued to increase in sales and at 10 percent overall average selling price for all housing types in April.
Sales of overall housing types, including waterfront and non-waterfront houses, rose 11 percent in April 2021 compared to April 2020(40 vs.36). Separately, waterfront house sales soared 150 percent from 4 in April 2020 to 10 in April 2021. Non-waterfront houses declined 6 percent (30 vs. 32).
The overall average selling price in April 2021 decreased 17 percent to $220,633 from $266,264 in March 2020. The overall median selling price in March at $159,000 grew 3 percent from $155,000.
The average selling price for waterfront homes increased 10 percent to $212,508 from $193,501in April 2020. In March 2021, the average overall selling price was $220,633. The median selling price for waterfront homes fell 46 percent ($327,500 vs. $605,000).
In April, the average selling price for non-waterfront increased 4 percent to $154,689 from $147,689 in April 2020. The median selling price rose 6 percent to $136,000 from $128,500 in April 2020.
The median price is the price at which 50% of the homes sold were above that price, and 50% were below.
In South Haven zip code 49090, no houses were bank-owned or foreclosed as a part of all closed transactions in April. This has not happened since August of 2020. In April 2020, there were two houses. The highest percentage in April previously was 21 percent in 2015.
For comparison, the number of bank-owned or foreclosed homes as a percentage of all transactions in Allegan, Berrien, Cass, and the westerly 2/3 of Van Buren Counties dropped to 2 percent in April from 3 percent in March and February. The previous low percentage was 3 percent in April 2019. The highest percentage in April was 54 percent in 2009.
A year and a month after COVID-19 set in, destroying many markets, the housing market across SWMI, continues to post gains. Each month, new record prices were set when compared to the same month in previous years, and homebuyers face dwindling numbers of houses for sale as homeowners receive multiple offers.
The average selling price from March 2021 to April 2021increased 25 percent from $265,892 to $335,767. The number of houses sold in March was 278, and in April, 296 houses were sold for a 7 percent increase from one month to the next month.
In April, the number of houses sold soared to 296 from 194 sold in April 2020, for a 53 percent increase. At the end of April 2021, 1044 houses have been sold, a new sales record. The previous record was 965 houses in April 2018.
The inventory of houses for sale dropped 39 percent from a year ago (680 vs. 1115), bringing the inventory of houses for sale down to 2.5-months supply of inventory available for buyers. At the end of April 2020, the Market had a 4.5-months supply of houses for sale. For comparison, in April 2009, there were 3452 houses for sale and 15.6-month’s supply of inventory.
Selling prices continue to set new record levels each month in 2021. The average selling price in April 2021 was $332,767 compared to $220,208 in April 2020. for a 51 percent increase. The average selling price in March 2021 was also up 51 percent over March 2020. Year-to-date selling prices at the end of April also set records in the year-over-year comparison. The year-to-date average selling price in April 2021 rose 41 percent over April 2020 ($311,297 vs. $221,437).
The median selling price in April 2021 increased 12 percent to $242,500 from $186,000 in April 2020. Year-to-date, the median selling price climbed 13 percent ($209,000 vs. $177,000). The median selling price and year-to-date median selling price also set new record prices in the month of April in the year-over-year comparison.
Even with fewer houses sold, the record-setting selling prices pushed the total dollar volume up 72 percent in March 2021 ($93,314,197 vs. $54,103,134). The monthly and year-to-date total dollar volume set new records for the dollar volume at the end of the first quarter ($227,114,925 vs. $136,422,547).
The total dollar volume grew 131 percent in April 2021 ($98,499,197 vs. $42,720,427). The monthly, and year-to-date total dollar volume set new records for the dollar volume at the end of April ($324,994,599 vs. $179,142,974).
Overall in SWMI, the mortgage rate was 3.114, down from 3.146 in March. Last year in April, the rate at3.213 was slightly higher. Nationally, the Freddie Mac mortgage rate in April was 2.98, down slightly from 3.18 in March for a 30-year conventional mortgage.
This data reflects home sales across Allegan, 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…
TV design shows are increasingly influencing home buyers’ perceptions of what they expect to find on the market. Those are high standards. Sixty-eight percent of REALTORS® recently surveyed say their clients were disappointed by how homes appeared in real life versus on TV, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2021 Profile of Home Staging.
Sixty-three percent of REALTORS® say their buyers requested to view homes comparable to those they’ve seen on TV. As a result, 35% of REALTORS® say they have patterned their staging after TV design shows—homes that are uncluttered and showcase dramatic design.
Selling agents are using both physical and virtual staging to help buyers envision all the possibilities in a space. Forty-four percent of buyer’s agents say staging had an effect on their clients, helping them better visualize a property as their future home and making them more willing to do a walkthrough.
When you are selling the home you have lived in for an extended period of time, it can be difficult to see it the way buyers will as their first impression. Ask you REALTOR® about the advantages of staging.
When Buying a Home…
Your offer marks the beginning of a back-and-forth between you and the seller, typically with real estate agents advising. The more intentional you are about your offer, the better your chances of making a successful bid. Do your homework. The following are key areas to discuss with your REALTOR®.
#1 Know Your Limits Your REALTOR® will help you craft a winning offer. You can trust your REALTOR’s® advice on price, contingencies, and other terms of the deal: It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. The more collaborative you are with your REALTOR®, the more quickly you’ll be able to move.
#2 Learn to Speak “Contract”. Essentially, an offer is a contract. Take time to review sample offer forms before you find a house.
#3 Set Your Price. Homes always have a listing price. Think of it as the seller’s opening bid in your negotiation to buy a home.
#4 Figure Out Your Down Payment To get a mortgage, you have to make a down payment on your loan. For conventional loans (as opposed to government loans), making a 20% down payment enables borrowers to avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI).
#5 Be prepared to make a deposit. An earnest money deposit is the sum of money you put down as evidence to the seller that you’re serious about buying the house. If the seller accepts your offer, the earnest money will go toward your down payment at closing. However, if you try to back out of the deal, you might have to forfeit the cash to the seller.
#6 Read the Fine Print About the Property. The sales contract states key information about the property, such as the address, tax ID, and the types of utilities: public water or private well, gas or electric heating, and so on. It also includes a section that specifies what personal property and fixtures the seller agrees to leave behind, like appliances, lighting fixtures, and window shades. This can be another area of negotiation.
#7 Brace Yourself for a Counteroffer. If you’re making a lowball bid or going up against multiple offers, the seller may decide to make you a counteroffer — a purchase agreement with new terms, such as a higher sales price or fewer contingencies.
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.