Real Estate statistics for the Baldwin County, Alabama coastal areas for October:
October dollar sales increased 7% to $72,927,719 from $68,104,394 in September; we normally see a modest decline from September to October so this improvement was a real surprise. (see page A-2). Upon further examination fully 33% of the dollar sales (approx $48mm) were accounted for by the opening of a largely pre-sold condo development, Phoenix West. Absent these sales, the month was as bad as anything we have seen. Nonetheless the sales do show that buyers are still out there for excellent properties and values. There was also significant sales activity in the Foley and Daphne/Montrose areas for new homes in the $100,000-$300,000 price range.
On a unit basis, sales of used houses declined by 20% to 185 vs. 232 last month. New house unit sales improved 92% to 81 from 42 last month. The bulk of the increase was in the Phoenix West Complex, followed by the activity in Foley and Daphne/Montrose (Sect A P. 18).
For several months I have been writing and hoping that we were seeing the signs of a bottom in the real estate markets. With this month’s statistics and the negative capital market situation, it’s going to be a while yet, even though some individual projects have been successful.
As I wrote last month:
“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.”
New listings for new houses decreased in October to 82 from 99 in September. 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, a better rate than in past months. (Chart Section C Page 1 And Table Sect A P18). Used houses new listings increased substantially to 745 this month from 713 in September. Net active listings were down and are trending down for both new and used houses. (See below).
Average sales price for new units increased to $413,658 from $344,509 last month with the big jump due to the high average price of the Phoenix properties. Thirteen of the used over $500,000 houses sold. So some high end bargain seekers are entering the market. (See Page A-14). The average used house price increased to $274,164 from $248,556 in September. For several months in a row, against a dour backdrop, 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 6,284 in June 2007, now at 5,268. The new house market peaked out in October 2006 at 2,145 active and now sits at 766. There were 5,268 used houses active in October, a slight decrease from a 5,524 in September. There were 766 new houses active in October, a decrease from 857 in September. The Absorption rate for new houses was 14.2 months of inventory for October vs. 16.2 in September. The Absorption rate for used houses was 22.8 months of inventory for October vs. 23.5 in September. (See Section A Page 17).