Huntsville, North Alabama January Sales Slump


Huntsville/North Alabama Area MLS Observations Huntsville, Alabama Residential Real Estate Market January 2010:

Sales dropped a disappointing 34% in January ($70,389,159) vs. December ($104,444,994) after a 26% drop in the prior month. Actually I think slump may be a bit mild for this sort of drop? This was 13% lower than last year ($81,190,291). The twelve month moving average line on the total dollar sales chart shows a highly unusual “squiggle”. What this portends is anyone’s guess. However for the last ten years February has always been better than January so it is likely that will hold true again this year.

Total unit sales decreased from 670 in December to 451 in January, a drop of 219.

New sales decreased from 146 homes last month to 80 this month, a drop of 66.

Used sales decreased from 624 homes last month to 371 this month, a drop of 153 (Sect E  p.3).

Used inventory has shown modest drops over the last four months. Still, Used inventory levels remain high. Used homes are 11 months of inventory in all price ranges. The inventory situation remains even more challenged in the higher price ranges. Used homes over $200,000 are now at over 15 months of inventory, and in some price ranges as much as 9 years of inventory. Prices continue to be under pressure.

New houses are at 9 months of inventory, and homes priced greater than $400,000 are over a year’s worth of inventory, and in some price ranges over 10 years of inventory. (E-1).

I have noted on the web site what seems to be a large number of housing permits issued, given the market conditions. There were 77 new single family housing permits issued (December), down from 94 in November in Huntsville City, according to the Census department. This permit level is above the sales level for the comparable area.

Total Active listings decreased by 3% this month at 7,902, compared to last month at 8,184 (Sect A p.4 and Sect E p.3). (I expect this will increase when reported next month.) New houses New listings ran 2.8 times the rate of sales (Sect B p.1). Active New listings decreased from 1,649 last month to 1,394 this month, down 255 (Sect E p.3). Active Used listings decreased from 6,535 last month to 6,508 this month, down 27 (Sect E p.3).

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. What banks are funding construction?

Absorption for New homes was at 9 months of inventory in January. This is better than 11 months, last year at this time (Sect E p.8). Absorption for Used homes was 11 months of inventory in January which is even with last month. This is a deterioration of 1 month from last year’s level at this time (Sect E  p.8).

Average Days on Market for Sold New houses was 129 days vs. 119 days last month, with Used at 123 vs. 119 last month. (Sect A p.18).

Average sales price for Sold New homes was $219,715 vs. $234,960 last month. (Sect A p.2)

Average sales price for Sold Used homes was $142,350 vs. $133,856 last month. (Sect A p.2)

The twelve month moving average line of prices for new homes has a decidedly negative slope, indicating that prices are truly coming down. Used prices seem to have leveled off a bit, which is encouraging. 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 2/14/10

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