Baldwin County & Alabama Coastal MLS*: Observations for the Month of March 2014
Sales dollars increased 29% in March to $133,160,474 from February of $103,171,501. This is 17% better than March last year at $113,720,479. (Sect A p.2). This is the 1st month of the year with a substantial increase year over year and could be an indicator for a robust sales season. The 12 month moving average line of sales which had continued to point up steadily for three years is still best described as “squiggly”. Last year was the best sales year since 2005 so this monthly performance stands out. The lack of new construction now seems to be depressing sales somewhat. Inventories continue trending down.
The biggest increases in sales were in the lower price ranges (below $300,000 ) and in the Daphne/Montrose area, which saw sales go from 43 last month to 80 this month (Sec D P4). Looking in section E pages 2-5 one can see the subdivisions accounting for the largest gains, among others, Lake Forest and Oldfield show large gains.
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 the oil spill and weather. The projection for 2015 expects a unit increase of 4.75% over 2014 actual.
On a unit basis, sales of all houses were up 36% to 574 this month vs. last month at 422, which is 25% above last year’s healthy level of 459. There is still substantial inventory available to satisfy demand.
Used Home sales increased 34% to 489 this month vs. 364 last month, which is up 24% from last year’s 394 (Sect A p.18). New Home sales were 85 this month vs 58 last month and compared with 65 last year.
New listings for New homes increased to 142 from 68 in February. Used homes New listings increased to 944 from 835 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 3,528 Active Used homes, a reduction from 4,021 in February. The New home market, which peaked in March 2006 at 2,144 Active, now sits at 419.
The Absorption rate for New homes was 7 months of inventory in March vs. 9 in February. The Absorption rate for Used homes was 8 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 February 2008 to 7 months this March. 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 increased to $240,859 from $233,054 last month. (Sect A p.14). Average Used home prices decreased to $230,445 from $24,303 in February. The price trend is up for the year. Average Days On Market for New Sold properties in March was 186 vs last month of 209. Days On Market for Used was 162 compared with last month of 162.