Small Signs of Optimism On the Coast in September


Alabama Gulf State Park Beach, Gulf of Mexico

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Baldwin County MLS* Observations for the month of September 2010
Real Estate Statistics for the Baldwin County, Alabama Coastal Areas

September was a difficult month, but there were signs that things are beginning to return to normal. In particular, the ACRE Real Estate Confidence Index survey shows that measured sentiment (indicating future market conditions) in the coastal region has just about recovered to pre-spill levels. See the web site here for details. September dollar sales improved less than 1% to $58,489,652 from August’s $58,310,914. This is 31% below September last year at $84,253,515 (Sect A p.2). As a result, the 12 month moving average line of sales is once again trending down. The sales results varied widely by area with the several coastal areas showing some improvement.

Our chart in Section A p.18 shows the historical trends for absolute units of inventory and months of inventory for New and Used units. This chart has been showing some inventory reduction for four months which is not so much from sales as people simply not putting properties on the market. Inventories remain very high.

The 12 month moving average line of unit sales for Used homes had a pronounced upward slope through five months ago. But with the spill, it now shows a downward trend due to the size and counter cyclical nature of the sales drop. On a unit basis, sales of all houses improved to 305 vs. 288 last month, which is about even with last year’s 296.

Used house unit sales were down to 269 from 315 last month. New home unit sales improved to 31 from 29 last month (Sect A p.18). The low number of sales of new homes reflects the intense competition from existing, and an extended slowdown of new construction.

New listings for New homes increased to 38 in September from 31 in August which is in line with sales. Used houses New listings decreased to 616 this month from 685 in August.

The absolute number of Used Active homes on the market, which had a slight peak mid-summer of ‘09, has once again started to decline slightly. In September, there were 4,725 Active Used homes, a 9% reduction from 5,190 in August. The New home market which peaked in September 2006 at 2,144 Active, now sits at 405.

The Absorption rate for New homes was 14 months of inventory for September vs. 13 in August.  The Absorption rate for Used homes was 17 months of inventory for September vs. 18 in August. (Sect A p.17).

Average sales price for all homes has been trending down, but may be changing. For New units prices increased to $208,000 from $202,160 last month. Life is still very difficult for those trying to sell higher priced homes, and inventory continues to climb. (Sect A p.14). Average Used home prices increased to $218,662 from $183,386 in August.

Average Days On Market for New Sold properties in September was 231 this month vs. 230 last month. Days On Market for Used was 146 this month vs. 164 last month.

TWB 10/11/2010


2 thoughts on “Small Signs of Optimism On the Coast in September

  1. Tom Brander Post author

    While we may or may not have seen the absolute worst, I have been feeling that the time is approaching when the market is good for real bargain hunters. As you indicate, there are some very good deals from some pretty strung out sellers…


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