We were pleased to contribute to this article in the Huntsville Times. (click the link for the full story). In particular it was nice to mention that we saw it coming. not that that is all that special, give the massive issues we are now facing.
Thursday, December 04, 2008 By GINA HANNAH Times Business Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Larger inventory, tight credit contribute to fall
After months of maintaining a somewhat even keel, Huntsville’s housing market now appears to be on track with national trends, with home sales plunging nearly 40 percent from last year.
The Huntsville Area Association of Realtors reported 276 homes sold in Madison County in November, down from 460 in the same month last year and down 25 percent from October.
Saw it coming
For months, the Huntsville market has seen only slight declines in sales – between 13 percent and 16 percent – compared with other parts of the country. Tom Brander of Birmingham-based Rudulph/Brander Real Estate Statistical Reports said sales data he observed in October led him to believe Huntsville’s relatively healthy market could be changing.
Rudulph/Brander collects data from multiple-listing services for the Huntsville, Birmingham and coastal Alabama markets, which it provides to large banks, developers and brokers. Brander said when he calculated October aggregate sales in the Huntsville metropolitan area, which includes Limestone, Morgan, Marshall and Jackson counties and Athens and Gadsden, he noticed a drop of 21 percent from September’s total sales, from $142 million to $112 million, and a 31 percent drop from October 2007.
“Huntsville no longer appears to be doing better, and the trends are ominous,” Brander said in a report last month. He said he believes Huntsville-area sales could drop to 2002-2004 levels before recovering because of increases in inventory, particularly in the higher price ranges.
“New houses over $400,000 are over a year (in inventory) and some price ranges are approaching three years of inventory,” he said.
Inventory is calculated by dividing the number of homes listed for sale in a month by the number sold that month. The result shows, at the present rate, how long it would take to sell every listed home.
“It’s probably going to get worse because the newer houses are skewed toward the higher price ranges.”
Homes under $300,000 have been selling more quickly than more expensive homes, he said, and the competition between new homes and existing but fairly new homes with motivated buyers is fierce.
“The used home (inventory) impacts the new, because builders have fixed costs, but owners have to sell their homes,” he said. “You can get very good deals on used houses.”