Baldwin County MLS* & Alabama Coastal Areas: Observations for the month of December 2010
December was surprisingly strong with dollar sales improving 21% to $62,276,731 from November’s $51,587,206. This is 1% above December last year at $61,435,554 (Sect A p.2). As a result, the 12 month moving average line of sales is still trending down, but not by much. I suspect the sales increase was motivated by people on both sides anxious to get transactions done by the tax year-end. The sales results varied widely by area with 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 substantial inventory reduction for six months which is not so much from sales as people simply not putting properties on the market. The abnormally large drop in inventory at year end is due to expirations that have not been renewed. Inventories remain very high. Used inventory is now at 4,000, a full 2,000 below August 2008. The number of Active listings is at the lowest level since early 2006, which is positive. (more below)
The 12 month moving average line of unit sales for Used homes had a pronounced upward slope through six months ago. But with the spill, it now shows a slight downward trend due to the size and counter cyclical nature of the sales drop. On a unit basis, sales of all houses went up, in line with the dollar sales, to 301 this month vs. 268 last month, which is also better than last year’s 295
Used house unit sales were up to 285 from 244 last month. New home unit sales improved to 25 from 24 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 fell to 9 in December from 35 in November. Used houses New listings decreased to 131 this month from 499 in November.
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 December, there were 3,992 Active Used homes, a 15% reduction from 4,713 in November. The New home market, which peaked in December 2006 at 2,144 Active, now sits at 354.
The Absorption rate for New homes was 12 months of inventory for December vs. 13 in November. The Absorption rate for Used homes was 14 months of inventory for December vs. 17 in November. (Sect A p.17).
Average sales price for all homes has been trending down. But, the New home average spiked again this month. Since there are so few new homes sold lately the average prices can be quite volatile. For New units prices increased to $234,752 from $231,344 last month. Life is still very difficult for those trying to sell higher priced homes, and while there is some reduction in absolute numbers of listings, the months of inventory continues to climb. (Sect A p.14).
Average Used home price increased to $197,922 from $188,667 in November.
Average Days On Market for New Sold properties in December was 238 this month vs. 234 last month. Days On Market for Used was 183 this month vs. 191 last month.