Since June, we have used many descriptive words to describe the SWMI housing market. June, after a disappointing slow start, lifted the market back up. July was astonishing. August was continued frantic pace, and September was jaw-dropping. October’s numbers crushed it. The number of houses sold, selling prices, and total dollar volume rolled over results set in October 2019. October 2020 became the new peak month in our year-over-year comparison dating back to 2006.
While not able to match September’s all-time record of 518 number of houses sold, October had 477 houses sold, keeping sales above 450 for four straight months. In October 2020, sales were 38 percent higher than in October 2019 (345). Year-to-date, the number of houses sold was up to 3198 from 3076 sold in October 2019.
The average selling price at $358,144 was 36 percent higher than the $262,720 average selling price in October 2019. The year-to-date, average selling price increased 24 percent ($297,786 vs. $240,229).
The median selling price jumped to $245,660 from $190,000 in October 2019 for a 30 percent increase. Year-to-date, the median selling price rose 19 percent ($215,000 vs. $179,950).
Compared to September selling prices, the October average selling price was 13 percent higher ($358,144 vs. $316,525). and the median selling price was 12 percent higher ($245,660 vs. $220,000).
The median price is the price at which 50% of the homes sold were above that price, and 50% were below.
With the number of sales at 30-plus percent higher selling prices, the total dollar volume soared 88 percent in October ($170,834,881 vs. $90,638,587). The year-to-date total dollar volume increased 29 percent ($952,320,913 vs. $738,947,310).
The inventory of houses for sale has dropped over 30 percent each month for the last three months. At the end of October the local market had 1034 houses for sale, which was a 38 percent decline from 1675 houses in October 2019. This gave the market a 4.3-months supply of houses for potential homebuyers. For comparison, in October 2010, there were 3385 houses for sale. The number of listings for sale includes homes for sale across Allegan, Berrien, Cass, and the westerly 2/3 of Van Buren counties.
Since June, the number of bank-owned or foreclosed homes as a percentage of all transactions has held steady at 1 percent. In October, the percentage was 2 percent, which was the same percentage in October 2019. The highest percentage in previously in October was 37 percent in 2009.
Locally, the mortgage rate was 3.021, down slightly from 3.113 in September. Last year in October, the rate was 3.871. Nationally, the Freddie Mac mortgage rate in October was 2.81 down from 2.88 in September 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…
Your listing REALTOR® has your back when it comes to the financials, like setting a listing price and marketing, staging, and making repairs to your house. He or she can also help you navigate more personal issues, such as your timeline and what you’re hoping to achieve with the sale.
For all of those reasons, it’s important to find an expert who is right for you and your specific situation and who can help you get what you want.
Start with a clear sense of what you want to get out of the selling process. When so much money is on the table, it’s crucial to know what your goals are so that you can find a REALTOR® who will understand your needs.
Your listing REALTOR® will:
- Work with you to price your home
- Market your home (we’re talking pretty pictures, social media promo, cute staging — the works)
- Negotiate with home buyers
- Usher the home sale through inspection and closing
To find prospective agents, start by asking friends, relatives, and colleagues for recommendations. Word-of-mouth endorsements, as always, can be priceless.
You can also turn to property websites such as realtor.com® that have directories for agents in your area. These databases can clue you into important details, such as an agent’s years of experience, number of homes sold, and past client reviews.
When Buying a Home…
How do you know how to select a mortgage lender? This step in the buying process is a very serious task and will impact your financial future. So spending time researching and seeking advice should be a priority.
Start by asking your REALTOR® for their opinion. First of all, your REALTOR is a trusted member of your team, and he or she has experience with reputable lenders, particularly in your city or town. Next, ask your family, friends, and co-workers. Everyone has a story that will give you insights.
Research the types of lenders in your area – retail banks, credit unions, and mortgage banks as well as mortgage brokers. Each of the first three will assign you to work with a loan officer who will receive a commission or bonus for writing your loan.
Retail banks do their own underwriting (investigating your finances), so retail banks, especially the smaller ones, can sometimes offer lower fees and less-stringent credit requirements.
Credit unions are not-for-profit and customer-owned, so they typically offer more personal service and lower fees. To apply for a loan, you must be a member.
Mortgage banks only offer home loans. An online lender is going to offer less hand-holding.
Mortgage brokers are essentially personal home loan shoppers — they act as liaisons between home buyers and mortgage lenders to help people find the lowest rates and the best mortgage terms.
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.