ST. JOSEPH — Sales slipped in the Southwest Michigan housing market in September.

According to Alan Jeffries, association executive of Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors, home sales in September dropped 12 percent from August sales.

When compared to September 2018, the number of houses sold slipped 3 percent, to 348 from 360 houses. Jeffries said this was the lowest number of homes sold in the month of September since 2015.

In addition to sales, the housing inventory is plummeting.

“The inventory of houses for sale dropped 4 percent below that in September 2018,” Jeffries said. “At 1,820 houses, the market had a 7.3-month supply of homes for sale. In September 2010, the market had a 17.3-month supply with 3,574 houses for sale.”

Year-to-date sales varied by one house at the end of September 2019 versus September 2018. Both year-to-date sales fell short of the peak year sales in September 2017.

The average selling price in September 2019 for houses sold in Southwest Michigan dropped 2 percent to $241,620, from $245,447 in September 2018. Year-to-date, the average selling price increased by 3 percent.

The median selling price jumped 13 percent to $193,500 in September 2019, from $172,000 in September 2018. Year-to-date, the median selling price rose 10 percent.

The total dollar volume in September 2019 decreased 5 percent from September 2018. Year-to-date, the total dollar volume rose 3 percent over September 2018.

Locally, the mortgage rate increased to 3.78 from 3.69 in August. Last year in September, the rate was 4.82. Nationally, the Freddie Mac mortgage rate in September rose to 3.65 from 3.58 in August for a 30-year conventional mortgage.

Across the country

According to the National Association of Realtors, existing-home sales receded in September following two consecutive months of increases.

Each of the four major regions witnessed sales drop off last month, with the Midwest absorbing the brunt of those declines.

Total existing-home sales fell 2.2 percent from August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.38 million in September. Despite the decline, overall sales are up 3.9 percent from a year ago.

NAR’s chief economist Lawrence Yun said despite historically low mortgage rates, sales have not increased, in part due to a low level of new housing options.

“We must continue to beat the drum for more inventory,” Yun said. “Home prices are rising too rapidly because of the housing shortage, and this lack of inventory is preventing home sales growth potential.”

The median existing-home price for all housing types in September was $272,100, up 5.9 percent from September 2018, as prices rose in all regions.

September’s price increase marks 91 straight months of year-over-year gains.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Midwest dropped 3.1 percent to an annual rate of 1.27 million, which is nearly equal to August 2018. The median price in the Midwest was $213,500, a 7.2 percent jump from a year ago.

Nationally, the total housing inventory at the end of September sat at 1.83 million, a 2.7 percent decrease from 1.88 million from a year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 4.1-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 4.0 months in August and down from the 4.4-month figure recorded in September 2018.

Contact: twittkowski@TheHP.com, 932-0358, Twitter: @TonyWittkowski