Baldwin County & Alabama Coastal MLS*: Observations for the Month of March 2014
Sales dollars improved 8% in March to $108,818,179 from February of $100,972,827. This is 5% above March last year at $103,413,548. (Sect A p.2). This is a good showing for March and the normally slower winter season. The 12 month moving average line of sales has continued to point up steadily for three years now. Inventories are trending down.
In concert with ACRE, The Alabama Center for Real Estate, we did projections for 2014 full year sales. We used the ACRE provided data for the projections, which differs slightly from the data in this report because of the way the data is processed. We projected unit sales for Baldwin county increasing by 47.7% over 2013 levels. While it seems quite incredible, the first quarter has been short of the forecast however, it will be interesting to see what happens in the high season. See projections chart on the next page.
On a unit basis, sales of all houses were up 9% to 447 this month vs. last month at 409, which is off 7% from last year’s 482. In spite of the substantially improved sales climate, it is important to point out that the inventory of homes over $400,000 while improving from really dismal levels, remains at over a 12 month supply. This suggests that even with the large projections outlined above sufficient inventory is available to satisfy demand.
Used Home sales improved 3% to 384 this month vs. 373 last month, which is off 12% from last year’s 437 (Sect A p.18). New Home sales were 63 this month vs 36 last month compared with 45 last year. Increasing year over year sales of New Homes continues to point to a recovering market.
New listings for New homes increased to 84 from 60 in February. Used homes New listings increased to 891 from 779 in February with net inventory down.
The absolute number of Used Active homes on the market, which had a slight peak mid-summer of ‘09, has once again been improving. In March, there were 3,636 Active Used homes, a reduction from 3,870 in February. The New home market, which peaked in March 2006 at 2,144 Active, now sits at 350.
The Absorption rate for New homes was 6 months of inventory in March vs. 8 in February. The Absorption rate for Used homes was 9 months of inventory for March vs. 10 in February. Over the last four years the drop in months of inventory for Used homes has been steady and impressive from 25 months plus in March 2008 to 9 months this March. As I observe above though, the inventory of homes in the higher price range remains high.
Average sales price for all homes has been improving modestly for the past year.For New units, prices decreased to $226,052 from $251,788 last month. (Sect A p.14). Average Used home prices decreased to $246,294 from $246,403 in February. The price trend is up for the year. Average Days On Market for New Sold properties in March was 214 this month vs. 216 last month. Days On Market for Used was 151 this month vs. 156 last month.