February Alabama Coastal Real Estate Shows Signs of Improvement

Baldwin County MLS* & Alabama Coastal Areas: Observations for the Month of February 2011

This year dollar sales improved 23% to $65,950,199 from January’s $53,791,721. This is 28% above February last year which was $51,420,802. This is quite encouraging (Sect A p.2). As a result, the 12 month moving average line of sales is flat with a slight upward bias. For three months running the sales level has been above corresponding months for the prior two years.

The chart in Section A p.18 has been showing substantial inventory reduction for nine months, but not so much from sales as people not putting properties on the market. The abnormally large drop in inventory at year end, (noted last month), is due to expired listings which have not been renewed. The reduction in Active listings, will probably help the market somewhat. Inventories remain very high. Used inventory is now below 4,000, a full 2,000 below August 2008, but the sales level has also shrunk dramatically. 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 had been showing a slight downward trend due to the size and counter cyclical nature of the sales drop. For the last several months, the line has begun to point up. On a unit basis, sales of all houses improved, in line with the dollar sales, up 13% to 312 this month vs. 275 last month, which is 18% better than last year’s 264.

Used house unit sales were up to 295 from 252 last month. New home unit sales declined to 17 from 23 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 remained at 36 in February. Used houses New listings increased to 682 this month from 618 in January (net inventory was still down). This could be a concern going forward.

The absolute number of Used Active homes on the market, which had a slight peak mid-summer of ‘09, has once again started to improve slightly. In February, there were 3,930 Active Used homes, a 4% reduction from 4,094 in January. The New home market, which peaked in February 2006 at 2,144 Active, now sits at 332.

The Absorption rate for New homes was 11 months of inventory for February vs. 11 in January. The Absorption rate for Used homes was 13 months of inventory for February vs. 14 in January. (Sect A p.17).

Average sales price for all homes had been trending down, but now is showing some signs of stability. For New units, prices increased to $214,809 from $208,313 last month. (Sect A p.14). Average Used home price increased to $211,181 from $194,447 in January. Six Used homes in the over $900,000 price range sold, which is a notable positive change. It seems that word is out though, and there were 16 new listings. Average Days On Market for New Sold properties in February was 254 this month vs. 322 last month. Days On Market for Used was 204 this month vs. 212 last month.

TWB 3/06/2011


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