Sales off; Inventory climbing on the Alabama coast, July 2009

Baldwin County MLS* Observations for the month of July 2009: Real Estate Statistics for the Baldwin County, Alabama Coastal Areas:

Sales in July declined by 14% to $74,224,644 from June’s $85,996,827 (Sect A p.2). We had previously seen five months of increasing activity, a sign of a bottom. Since this pattern of increases and this month’s decline is largely seasonal, it is certainly too early to declare a bottom, but there are signs. In particular, the 12 month moving average line of total dollar sales has “flattened” out and is no longer pointing straight down. Of the three areas we cover the coast is the only one to show this “flattening” of the downward curve.  The total number of active home listings has stopped climbing rapidly. Although inventory of used homes is still generally headed up and remains at a high level.  New construction has slowed dramatically, and is no longer adding to the glut. There are still big risks ahead; but, there is also the possibility that things won’t be getting a lot worse from here.

Daphne/Montrose area and Orange beach have been showing nice increases in unit sales. The 12 month moving average line of unit sales for used homes overall actually has a slight upward slope. This is far better that the bottomless drop which has been the case for a while. On a unit basis, sales of all houses dropped by 4% to 338 vs. 353 last month. Used house unit sales were down, 306 vs. 317 last month. New house unit sales decreased to 32 from 36 last month (Sect A p.18).

New listings for new houses remained at 73 in July roughly equal to 74 in June. Used houses New listings decreased to 730 this month from 824 in June. Sellers are frustrated and are possibly relisting their homes with new agents. (See below).

Somewhat disturbing the, the absolute number of Used Active homes on the market which had generally declined since peaking at 6,284 in July 2007 has actually started to level out or even trend up again. In July, there were 5,046 Active used homes. The new house market which peaked out in September 2006 at 2,144 active, now sits at 488. There were 5,046 Used Active houses in July, a 6% decrease from 5,481 in June.

The Absorption rate for new houses was 10 months of inventory for July vs. 10 in June.  The Absorption rate for used houses was 21 months of inventory for July vs. 23 in June. (Sect A p.17).

Average sales price for new units decreased to $213,854 from $268,439 last month. Life is still very difficult for those trying to sell higher priced homes, and inventory continues to climb. See the tables for details. (Sect A p.14). The average used house price decreased to $220,200 from $240,798 in June.

TWB 8/15/2009


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