Baldwin County MLS, Observations August 2008: An extract from our 100+ page monthly report: See http://Tombrander.com for details. Real Estate statistics for the Baldwin County, Alabama coastal areas for August:
Read carefully! we report some small, early, signs of improvement.
August sales decreased 11% To $86,970,050 from $97,319,711 in July, We normally see a decline of this magnitude from July to August so this is “normal”. This reduction is 12% below last year (see page A-1). We keep reporting year ago figures, but they are increasingly meaningless. Ok we are about 20-30% lower that last year. How are we doing now, on a month to month basis, and are we seeing “normal” sales fluctuations, as opposed to consistently worse drops? I think that is beginning to happen.
The sales levels this month were slightly below the 2003 levels, and I’d be surprised to see them move outside the 2002-2004 range for the next year. This does not mean a rebound, but perhaps a halt in the freefall. We see encouraging signs and hope that we will be able to continue to report on better trend in the next months, in spite of the seasonality that will bring a further slowdown. Check my article “Caution Rough Time Ahead” On a unit basis, sales of used houses declined by 9% to 259 vs. 286 last month. New house unit sales declined 5% to 58 from 61 last month (Sect A P 17).
New listings for new houses decreased in August to 96 from 122 in July. Reflecting the long lead time for some developments, (and withdrawn and relisting by frustrated sellers) new listings are running at 1.6 times the rate of sales of new houses, better than in past months. (Chart Section C Page 1 And Table Sect A P18). Used houses new listings decreased substantially to 659 this month from 833 in July. Net active listings were down for both new and used houses. (See below).
Average sales price for new units increased to $286,104 from $259,974 last month. There were 8 New houses sold over $500,000 in August which is more than the last four months Four of the 85 new over $900,000 new houses sold. The largest number since last April. Nine of the used over $900,000 hoses sold. The largest number since December 2007!. (See Page A-14). The average Used house price decreased to $271,722 from $284,615 in July. It appears that there is some life returning to the higher priced used segment of the market.
Interestingly, and encouraging, the absolute number of used houses active on the market has generally declined since peaking at 6,280 in June 2007, now at 5,473. The new house market peaked out in August 2006 at 2,141 active and now sits at 855. There were 5,473 used houses active in August, a slight decrease from a 5,876 in July. There were 855 new houses active in August, a decrease from 959 in July. The Absorption rate for new houses was 15.5 months of inventory for August vs. 16.4 in July. The Absorption rate for used houses was 23.5 months of inventory for August vs. 23.9 in July. (See Section A Page 17).
*All references to last month numbers are revised, to pick up late entries (made after our prior publication date) to the MLS system.