Huntsville/North Alabama Area MLS February 2008 Comments

Huntsville/North Alabama Area MLSObservations:

The Huntsville area still appears to be somewhat immune to the malaise in the rest of the country. This month showed a good seasonal increase in sales. This is consistent with what we have seen in each of the areas we cover.  It is too early to declare a bottom, and we don’t know how long a recovery will take but the signs are beginning to be encouraging. However the sales in the last three months have underperformed 2007, exactly tracking 2006 levels. (Section a page 4). Total dollar sales in February were $132,406,315, 18.6% higher than last month’s $111,624,877 and 7% below last years’ level; this now represents three consecutive months of  lower year to year comparisons. But keep in mind that February is typically a slow month. That’s why we do the month over month graph. (Section A page 4).

There are 24% more houses active than in February of 2007 against the lower dollar sales cited above. (Chart section A page 4). Inventory continues to build but mostly in the higher price ranges. The “rolling over ” of the 12 month moving average on the overall sales graph is a concern (section a page 1).

We do see inventory build-up for all price ranges with the situation being quite acute for higher priced houses for new and used houses over $300,000 we see fairly rapidly rising inventory levels of over a year. (Page E-1). This month we began to see a moderation of this trend.

Total active listings decreased from 7,758 in January* to 7,588 in February a decrease of 170 or 2.2%. See page E-3. There were 307 new house new listings (a decrease from 405 last month), while sales of new houses increased to 185 for the month from 158 in January. New houses new listings ran to 1.6 times the rate of sales (section B page 1). The bulk of the increase in new house new listings continued to be in the $100,000 to $300,000 range and fairly widely dispersed geographically (section A page 18).

Active New listings decreased from 2,273 last month to 2,134 this month, a decrease of 139 (page E-3).

Active Used listings increased from 5,485 last month to 5,454 this month, an increase of 31 (page E-3).

Total unit sales improved from 675 in January to 794 in February an increase of 119 units.

New sales improved from 158 homes last month to 185 this month, an increase of 27.

Used sales improved from 517 homes last month to 609 this month, an increase of 92 (sect E page 3).

Absorption for new homes was 9.3 months of inventory in February vs. 9.8 last month. This is still an increase of 1.5 months over last year at this time, see Section E page 8. Absorption for used homes was 6.9 months of inventory in February vs. 6.8 last month. This is a deterioration of 1.9 months from last year’s level at this time see Section E pg 8.

Average Days on Market for sold houses for new houses was 142 days vs. 144 days last month, used was 106 vs. 109 last month. See section A page 18.

Average sales prices for sold new homes were $238,945 vs. $220,669 last month. (Chart sect A p2)

Average sales prices for sold used homes were $139,465 vs. $147,611 last month. (Chart sect A p2)

I continue to be impressed by the dramatic increase in over $500,000 new houses listed. Inventory in all those price categories is over two year’s supply. Used houses show over 1 year of inventory going up to 4 years worth of inventory in the over $900,000 category. New listings have begun to moderate slightly for new houses in the higher price ranges and for the used houses in most price ranges.

TWB 3/16/08

*All references to last month numbers are revised, to pick up late entries (made after our prior publication date) to the MLS system.


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