Baldwin County MLS Observations for the month of September 2008:
Real Estate statistics for the Baldwin County, Alabama coastal areas for September:
September sales decreased 27% to $64,992,671 from $89,435,050 in August, We normally see a decline from August to September but this was sharper than we would have expected (or hoped). This reduction is 16% below last year (see page A-1). On a unit basis, sales of used houses declined by 14% to 225 vs. 263 last month. New house unit sales declined 32% to 41 from 60 last month (Sect A P 17).
We keep reporting year ago figures, which are increasingly meaningless. How are we doing now on a month to month basis? We are beginning to see “normal” sales fluctuations, as opposed to continued deterioration. We see normal as a 3% annual increase in transaction volume, after adjusting for the coming fall/winter sales slump. A 3% growth would approximate our historic growth rate. See the Caution Rough Times Ahead , on the web. I’d be surprised to see sales move outside the 2002-2004 range but, the current extreme disruption in the capital markets and the effect on consumer budgets and psyches will have a decidedly negative effect on the outlook. Unfortunately, we may be looking at further deterioration just as the local real estate market was beginning to stabilize. Note that as of October 10 the stock market averages are now in the 2003 range. We see that in the transaction levels in our real estate market but not yet in the price levels. I have posted an article on the web, Manage Real Estate Owned: Sell That House! , I will be posting an article with more crisis related material in the next few days. See https://tbrander.wordpress.com. (You can subscribe for free by e-mail see the links on that page top right).
New listings for new houses decreased in September to 81 from 98 in August. A somewhat positive sign is that the new listing rate seems to be declining; new listings are running much closer to 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 increased substantially to 705 this month from 666 in August after dropping last month. Net active listings were down for both new and used houses. (See below).
Average sales price for new units increased to $324,863 from $297,900 last month. There were only 3 new houses sold over $500,000 in September all of them were in the over $900,000 category. Nineteen of the used over $500,000 houses sold. So some high end bargain seekers are coming in. (See Page A-14). The average Used house price decreased to $229,659 from $272,095 in August. 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 6,283 in June 2007, now at 5,329. The new house market peaked out in September 2006 at 2,141 active and now sits at 804. There were 5,329 used houses active in September, a slight decrease from a 5,716 in August. There were 804 new houses active in September, a decrease from 882 in August. The Absorption rate for new houses was 15.2 months of inventory for September vs. 15.9 in August. The Absorption rate for used houses was 22.7 months of inventory for September vs. 24.5 in August. (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.