Baldwin County & Alabama Coastal MLS*: Observations for the Month of February 2014
Sales dollars increased 19% in February to $101,572,601 from January of $85,561,282. This is about even with February last year at $102,008,927. (Sect A p.2). The 12 month moving average line of sales which had continued to point up steadily for three years can now best be described as “squiggly.” I would characterize the market activity as flat. The monthly sales total in dollars was almost the same as last year and last year was the best sales year since 2005. The lack of new construction now seems to be depressing sales somewhat. Inventories continue trending down.
In concert with ACRE, The Alabama Center for Real Estate, has projected expectations for 2015. We use the ACRE provided data for the projections, which differs slightly from the data in this report. While the projection last year was not very accurate, I believe that this year will be much better as we now have more ”normal “data not distorted by oil spill and weather. The projection for 2015 expects a unit increase of 4.75% over 2014 actual, which is close to the 6.6% increase we see year to date.
On a unit basis, sales of all houses were up 10% to 413 this month vs. last month at 374, which is about even with last year’s 411. There is still substantial inventory available to satisfy demand.
Used Home sales increased 5% to 355 this month vs. 337 last month, which is down 5% from last year’s 375 (Sect A p.18). New Home sales were 58 this month vs 37 last month and compared with 36 last year. Interestingly, there was a big drop in sales of under $100,000 properties from a monthly average of between 60 and 80 down to 45 this month.
New listings for New homes decreased to 66 from 83 in January. Used homes New listings decreased to 776 from 790 in January 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 February, there were 3,440 Active Used homes, a reduction from 3,686 in January. The New home market, which peaked in February 2006 at 2,144 Active, now sits at 400.
The Absorption rate for New homes was 7 months of inventory in February vs. 9 in January. The Absorption rate for Used homes was 8 months of inventory for February vs. 9 in January. Over the last four years the drop in months of inventory for Used homes has been steady and impressive from 25 months plus in January 2008 to 7 months this February. The inventory of homes in the upper price range remains high with homes over $400,000 at over a year’s supply. Even here we are seeing improvement, which may set the stage for some acceleration in new construction.
Average sales price for all homes has been improving modestly for the past year. For New units, prices decreased to $233,054 from $240,688 last month. (Sect A p.14). Average Used home prices increased to $248,048 from $227,465 in January. The price trend is up for the year. Average Days On Market for New Sold properties in February was 209 vs last month of 202. Days On Market for Used was 162 compared with last month of 160.