Huntsville/North Alabama Area MLS: Observations Huntsville, Alabama Residential Real Estate Market January 2009:
After the modest uptick in December the Huntsville, North Alabama market had only a modest downtick in January. This is actually good news since January is normally a down month, and the lowest sales of the year. Other markets, such as Birmingham, showed much worse percentage declines. January total dollar sales were $77,485,316, 10%, lower than last month’s $86,324,637, and 32% below last year’s level of ($114,740,304) (Section A Page 4).
Total unit sales declined from 574 in December to 468 in January a decrease of 106 units.
New sales declined from 126 homes last month to 101 this month a decrease of 25.
Used sales declined from 448 homes last month to 367 this month, a decrease of 81 (Sect E Page 3).
The Used market has begun to show a slight decrease in inventory. Used homes are 9.4 months of inventory in all price ranges. The inventory situation remains challenged in the higher price ranges Used homes over $200,000 are now are over 14 months of inventory, and in some price ranges as much as 4 years of inventory. New houses over $300,000 are almost a year and in some price ranges over three years of inventory. (Page E-1). Absolute numbers of Active listings have been moderating slightly for a few months. There still remain 1,736 New homes for sale, a bit less than double what would have been normal prior to 2006 See chart Page C-1.
Total Active listings decreased by 3% this month (7,640) compared to January of 2008, (7,881) and 7% less than Decembers 8,190 (Chart section A page 4 and Page E-3). New houses New listings ran 3.6 times the rate of sales (Section B Page 1).
Active New listings decreased from 2,016 last month to 1,736 this month, down 280 (Page E-3).
Active Used listings decreased from 6,174 last month to 5,904 this month, down 270 (Page E-3).
We believe that there is an increasing amount of “shadow inventory” in both the New and Used market places i.e.; houses held off the market for various reasons, but that really are for sale. This could result in higher spring new listings and inventories as these properties come to market.
In Huntsville city we see at least 10 months worth of inventory of New homes and yet, we continue to see fairly high numbers of building permits issued. In December, for instance there were 63 single family permits issued in Huntsville city alone (up from 48 in November), compared with 50 for the same period last year. We provide a link to this free census department data on our Blog site under data sources in the right column. It is unusual to see months of supply for New houses exceeding Used supply. Given the high number of homes for sale (over 7,500), the BRAC realignment will not cure the market, particularly in light of other employment problems. I don’t get the continued new building? What banks are funding construction?
Absorption for New homes was 10.4 months of inventory in January vs. 11.7 last month. This is still a deterioration of .5 month from last year at this time. See Section E page 8. Absorption for Used homes was 9.4 months of inventory in January vs. 9.6 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 New houses was 87 days vs. 102 days last month, with Used at 123 vs. 102 last month. (See Section A Page 18).
Average sales price for Sold New homes was $250,671 vs. $229,733 last month. (Chart Sect A Page 2)
Average sales price for Sold Used homes was $143,329 vs. $128,322 last month. (Chart Sect A Page 2)
The mix of higher and lower priced homes is jumping around quite a bit so it’s hard to read too much into the average prices.
TWB 2/14/09*All references to last month numbers are revised, to pick up late entries (made after our prior publication date) to the MLS system.