Huntsville/North Alabama Slow Start to Spring Sales

Huntsville/North Alabama Area MLS Observations: Residential Real Estate Market March 2011

March sales increased 13% to $105,233,577 vs. February at $93,078,986. This was 13% below last year of $120,903,000. Keep in mind that last year we were seeing the impact of the tax credit. The month to month increase was somewhat lackluster given the normally strong seasonal trend.The twelve month moving average line on the total dollar sales chart is pretty flat, which is an encouraging sign for the future.

Total unit sales increased from 581 in February to 663 in March, an increase of 82.

New sales decreased from 129 homes last month to 125 this month, a decrease of 4.

Used sales increased from 452 homes last month to 538 this month, an increase of 86 (Sect E  p.3).

Used inventory levels remain high at 14 months with the situation particularly challenged in the higher price ranges. Used homes over $100,000 are still over a year of inventory. Prices continue to be pressured, although average prices seem to have stabilized somewhat.

New homes are at 8 months of inventory overall, and homes priced under $100,000, are at 17 months of inventory. Greater than $500,000 are about two year’s worth of inventory. In the $100,000-$500,000 range inventories are fairly normal, ranging from 5-8 months(E-1).

There continue to be a large number of housing permits issued in Huntsville city, given the market conditions. February showed 86 vs. 65 in January.

Total Active listings decreased by 3% this month to 8,818 compared to last month’s 9,110, which is 1% below than last year at this time, at 8,896 (Sect A p.4 and Sect E p.3). New Homes New Listings are more than 2 times New home Sales. (Sect B p.1). Active New listings decreased from 1,465 last month to 1,260 in March, down 205. (Sect E p.3). Active Used listings decreased from 7,646 last month to 7,558 this month, down 88. This is below last year’s amount at this time of 7,479. (Sect E p.3). We have not yet seen an expected surge in spring listings.

Absorption for New homes was 8 months of inventory in March. This is better than 9 months in February and 9 months last year at this time (Sect E p.8). Absorption for Used homes was 14 months of inventory in March, which is even with last month at 13, and last year at 14 months (Sect E  p.8).

Average Days on Market for Sold New homes was 183 vs. 200 days last month, with Used at 164 in March compared with 177 in February (Sect A p.18). The fact that the Days on Market is below 6 months while the inventory numbers are higher indicates that well priced homes will sell. Sellers, including bank owners, are having a hard time adjusting to the new price reality which contributes to the inventory build-up.

Average sales price for Sold New homes was $240,260 vs. $224,265 last month. (Sect A p.2)

Average sales price for Sold Used homes was $139,779 vs. $141,922 last month. (Sect A p.2)

The Average price lines have had a generally upwards slope for a while now but that is mostly due to a changing mix of home sales with some more higher priced homes beginning to move as a proportion of the total market; prices for individual properties remain under pressure.

Please see the next page for an important error explanation which impacted reporting by area, and some inventory levels over the last few months.

TWB 4/10/11


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