Archived Story

February housing sales up, prices slip since 2011

Published 6:56am Tuesday, March 27, 2012

ST. JOSEPH — The area housing market has seen a steady growth in the number of homes sold since February 2009, according to the Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors.

“In February, we sold 22 percent more houses than we did a year ago, but the average selling price dropped 14 percent and the median selling price dropped 5 percent,” according to  Gary Walter, of the Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors.

“Last year,” Walter said, the market in February set record increases in selling prices. For example, the February 2011 average selling price of $156,699 rocketed past the $105,824 average selling price in 2010 by 48 percent while selling almost the same number of homes.”

The increase in home sales (168 vs. 138) in February 2012 lowered the average selling price to $134,023 from $156,699 and the median selling price to $85,485 from $90,068 last year.

Selling more houses in February increased the total dollar volume by 4 percent over the past year. Year-to-date, the total number of houses sold was also up 22 percent (327 vs. 267).

The total dollar volume ($48,357,956 vs. $42,785,058) increased 13 percent over last year.

The average selling price ($147,884 vs. $160,244) is down 8 percent. The year-to-date median selling price is down 13 percent ($82,750 vs. $94,900). The median price is the price at which 50 percent of homes sold were above that price and 50 percent were below.

Nationally, existing-home sales in February declined from an upwardly revised January pace but are well above a year ago, while the median price posted a slight gain, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales were up in the Midwest and South,  offset by declines in the Northeast and West.

In southwest Michigan, the percentage of bank-owned or foreclosed home transactions was almost the same for both years — at 42 percent this year and 41 percent in February 2011. In February 2009, the percentage peaked at 75 percent.

The percentage did decline from the 46 percent of transactions in January.

In southwest Michigan, Walter reported, “With the steady growth of unit sales in our market, our inventory has been shrinking. On Feb. 29, we had 2,504 houses listed for sale,  which is down 6 percent from last year. At this inventory level, based on the last 12-month’s sales, we have a 12.6-month supply of homes for sale. Last year in February the inventory level was at 13.2 months and 13.9-months supply in 2010. In February 2009, the inventory of homes for sale was at 3,099.”

The numbers reported for local sales include residential property in Berrien and the western half of Van Buren and Cass counties. All three counties are included in numbers and percentages and do not reflect differences in any individual areas.

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