Huntsville/North Alabama Area MLS (click to enlarge charts) Observations Huntsville, Alabama Residential Real Estate Market April 2008: April total dollar sales in the Huntsville, Alabama area were $134,536,993, 10% lower than last month’s $149,885,827, and 25% below last year’s level; this now represents five consecutive months of lower year to year comparisons. (Graph at right).The Huntsville, Alabama area is joining the rest of the country in experiencing a slowdown in sales as exemplified by the downward curve shown by the 12 month moving average of total dollar sales. This month showed a decrease in dollar sales that was in contrast to the increases seen in April for the last several years.
We do see inventory build-up, now at the highest level of months of inventory for both new (9.6 months) and used houses (7.9 months) since 2005 in 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). There are 22% more houses active than in April of 2007 against the lower dollar sales cited above. (Chart section A page 4). Inventory continues to build in all price ranges and both new and used houses.
The builders in the Huntsville area are not doing a good job of reacting to the market conditions and constraining supply. It is unusual to see months of supply for new houses exceeding used house months of supply. Consumers, sellers of existing houses are having a harder time as the supply increases. The absolute level of used houses for sale is at an all time record. The build up of existing housing supply will continue to impact the new housing market. See this graph which shows inventory and absorption for both new and used houses: (click to enlarge)
Total active listings increased from 7,985 in March* to 8,152 in April an increase of 167 or 2%. (See Page E-3). There were 331 new house new listings (an increase from 329 last month), while sales of new houses decreased to 164 for the month from 190 in March. New houses new listings ran over 2 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 $500,000 range and fairly widely dispersed geographically (Section A Page 18).
Active New listings decreased from 2,168 last month to 2,132 this month, a decrease of 36 (Page E-3).
Active Used listings increased from 5,817 last month to 6,017 this month, an increase of 200 (Page E-3).
Total unit sales declined from 833 in March to 814 in April a decrease of 7 units.
New sales declined from 190 homes last month to 164 this month, a decrease of 26.
Used sales improved from 643 homes last month to 650 this month, an increase of 7 (Sect E Page 3). This further illustrates the impact of the used inventory build up on the new housing market.
Absorption for new homes was 9.6 months of inventory in April vs. 9.5 last month. This is still an increase of .9 months over last year at this time, see Section E page 8. Absorption for used homes was 7.9 months of inventory in April vs. 7.5 last month. This is a deterioration of 2.5 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 158 days vs. 154 days last month, with used at 103 vs. 102 last month. (See Section A Page 18).
Average sales price for sold new homes was $250,110 vs. $257,432 last month. (Chart Sect A Page 2)
Average sales price for sold used homes was $138,709 vs. $149,192 last month. (Chart Sect A Page 2)
*All references to last month numbers are revised, to pick up late entries (made after our prior publication date) to the MLS system.