Huntsville/North Alabama Area MLS Observations Huntsville, Alabama Residential Real Estate Market March 2009:
After a modest start to the spring selling season in February the Huntsville, North Alabama market had a poor March. This concern continues since March normally shows a pronounced increase. March total dollar sales were $102,475,142, 9%, higher than last month’s $94,227,790, and 32% below last year’s level of $151,582,339 (Section A Page 4).
Total unit sales increased from 591 in February to 662 in March, an increase of 71.
New sales decreased from 124 homes last month to 115 this month, an increase of 9.
Used sales increased from 467 homes last month to 547 this month, an increase of 80 (Sect E Page 3).
The Used market has begun to show a slight decrease in inventory (absolute numbers). Used homes are 10 months of inventory in all price ranges, which is equal to last month’s. The inventory situation remains challenged in the higher price ranges. Used homes over $200,000 are now at over 15.5 months of inventory, and in some price ranges as much as 4 years of inventory. This situation has gotten somewhat worse over the last few months. 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 1,696 New homes for sale, slightly less than double what would have been normal prior to 2006 (See chart Page C-1). I have noted on the web site what seems to be a large number of housing permits issued, given the market conditions.
Total Active listings decreased by 4% this month at 7,906 compared to last month at 8,208 and 1% less than March 2008, 7,996 (against the 32% reduction in sales)(Chart section A page 4 and Page E-3). New houses New listings ran almost 3 times the rate of sales (Section B Page 1).
Active New listings decreased from 1,900 last month to 1,696 this month, down 204 (Page E-3).
Active Used listings decreased from 6,308 last month to 6,210 this month, down 98 (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.
As mentioned above, we provide a link to free census department data on our blog site. Look under data sources in the right column. The high number of building permits relative to sales and inventory is highlighted. It is unusual in any market to see months of supply for New houses exceeding Used supply. Huntsville city shows 90 permits for the month of February up from 44 in January!! 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 construction? What banks are funding construction?
Absorption for New homes improved slightly at 11 months of inventory in March vs. 12 last month. This is still a deterioration of 1 month from last year at this time. See Section E page 8. Absorption for Used homes was 10 months of inventory in March same as last month. This is a deterioration of 3 months from last year’s level at this time see Section E pg 8.
Average Days on Market for Sold New houses was 113 days vs. 120 days last month, with Used at 122 vs. 124 last month. (See Section A Page 18).
Average sales price for Sold New homes was $231,561 vs. $237,735 last month. (Chart Sect A Page 2)
Average sales price for Sold Used homes was $138,657 vs. $138,657 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 average prices.
TWB 4/12/09*All references to last month numbers are revised, to pick up late entries (made after our prior publication date) to the MLS system.