SW Michigan Home Sales March Downward While Prices Rise Again

Like two sides of a playground seesaw, the housing market in Michigan’s Great Southwest continued to showcase falling sales even in the face of rising prices, and inventory levels continue to languish, further exacerbating the issue for Realtors across the tri-county marketplace.

Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors Executive Alan Jeffries tells us that home sales dropped not only in July, but for the seventh consecutive month this year. Jeffries reports, “With housing sales and prices, year-to-date, having peaked in June, sales in July dropped 5-percent from the previous month of June (268 vs. 283).” He adds, “While selling prices were also lower in July than in June — in fact sales were down for the seventh consecutive month when compared to 2022 — the average and median selling prices in July set records in the year-over-year comparison.”

The average selling price last month, July of 2023, increased 6-percent to $345,364 when compared to the average sale of $324,567 a year ago in July of 2022.  Additionally, year-to-date, in July of 2023, the average selling price rose 5-percent to $347,724 from the average of $331,644 set in July of 2022.  The median selling price in July of 2023 at $260,250 grew 4-percent from the $249,750 median observed a year ago in July of 2022. Year-to-date, the median selling price has now increased by $7,000 to a median of $250,000, as compared to last year’s $243,000 at this point in the year. The median price is the price at which 50% of the homes sold were above that price and 50% were below.

The total dollar volume in July of 2023 stumbled 11-percent compared to July of 2022 to a total of $92,649,098 as compared to $103,661,719 last year. The year-to-date total dollar volume has also fallen by 11-percent from $607,081,792 to this years total volume of $537,626,542.

Last month Realtors found July house sales down 17-percent from July of 2022, showing 268 transactions as compared to last year’s 322 sales. Year-to-date in July, a total of 1,546 houses have been sold, as compared to the 1,845 houses sold to this point in the year in July of 2022, for a 16-percent decline in sales.

Further hampering the market, the inventory of houses for sale fell 8-percent below the level available a year ago, to 800 on the market as compared to 873 a year ago. With the lower sales volume, the months-supply level increased slightly to 4.6 months from a 3.9-months supply from a year ago for homebuyers. For historical comparisons, in July of 2010, there were 3,821 houses for sale for an 18.1-months supply of houses at that time.

The number of bank-owned or foreclosed homes as a percentage of all transactions dropped to 1-percent from 2-percent in June. It was also at 1-percent in July of 2022. The previous lowest percentage was 0-percent in July of 2021, and the highest percentage in a month of July was 34-percent witnessed back in 2009.

The Freddie Mac mortgage rate in July was 6.81, up from 6.71 in June for a 30-year conventional mortgage. In July of 2022, the rate was 5.7; in July of 2021, the rate was 3.088.

Jeffries says the data in his report reflects home sales across Allegan, Berrien, Cass, and the westerly 2/3rds of Van Buren Counties and cautions that it should not be used to determine the market value of any individual property, suggesting, “If you want to know the market value of your property, please contact your local Realtor.”

Jeffries also offers advice to both buyers and sellers in the current market:

When Selling a Home…

“Every seller, at one time or another, thinks about selling their house themselves and pocketing the Realtor’s commission. Who doesn’t want to maximize their return on their investment? While the dollar signs are floating around in your head, you need to think about the real cost of this adventure.”

“Realtors know their market and how to set the price to make your house competitive in the market. They incur all the marketing costs and provide access to a large audience of buyers and other Realtors.  Additionally, Realtors are skillful at showing the features of your house and overcoming buyer objections. Realtors routinely negotiate contracts and have key contacts with mortgage lenders helping to get your house sold and closed quickly. Do you really want to bypass everything a Realtor offers to get you top dollar for your house to save a few bucks? Realtors do make the difference.”

When buying a home…

“You want to get your new home at the best price and close the deal quickly. The best way to do this is to work with a Realtor. And by making sure that you are financially ready. This is true for first-time buyers and current homeowners.”

“You need to look at all your credit bills and get a copy of your credit report. The mortgage rate you will be offered is based on the amount of credit debt that you have and whether you have a clean credit history. Ask your Realtor to recommend lenders who will help you get prequalified for a loan amount.”

“When you find your dream house, determine your negotiating strategy with your Realtor to help you get through it smoothly while watching out for your best interest. With a signed contract in hand, your Realtor will guide you through the closing steps as swiftly as possible.”

“Being financially ready and teaming with a Realtor will have a huge impact throughout your home-buying experience.”

To view properties that are for sale in the local area, go to http://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 as noted above.


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