Alabama Coastal Real Estate Market Vigorous in May

Baldwin County & Alabama Coastal MLS*: Observations for the Month of May 2015

Sales dollars increased 5% in May to $155,371,956 from April $147,326,266. This is 14% better than May last year at $136,834,816. (Sect A p.2).  The 12 month moving average line of sales which had continued to point up steadily for three years, except for the last part of last year and the first few months of this year, has now gotten a healthy upwards tilt due to the record setting last three months gains. Last year was the best sales year since 2005 and the last three months has been substantially above that level. The lack of new construction now seems to be depressing sales somewhat. Inventories continue trending down.

The most notable increases in sales were in the over $900,000 range, going from 12 sales last month to 16 this month.  Interesting however there was only one new home sold over $500,000, and used inventory over $400,000 remain over a year. Essentially, the market has improved on the very high end and the lower end; the middle, not so much.

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 located here expects a unit increase of 4.75% over 2014 actual. Through May cumulative sales are running 7% ahead of the projection. For the month of May sales were 3% ahead of the projection.

On a unit basis, sales of all houses were up 2% to 595 this month vs. last month at 581, which is 5% above  last year’s healthy level of 565. There is still substantial inventory available to satisfy demand.

Used Home sales decreased 1% to 510 this month vs. 517 last month, which is up 5% from last year’s 487 (Sect A p.18). New Home sales were 85 this month vs 64 last month and compared with 77 last year.

New listings for New homes decreased to 107 from 115 in April. Used homes New listings decreased to 825 from 857 in April 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 May, there were 3,647 Active Used homes, a reduction from 4,174 in April. The New home market, which peaked in May 2006 at 2,144 Active, now sits at 452.

The Absorption rate for New homes was 7 months of inventory in May vs. 9 in April. The Absorption rate for Used homes was 8 months of inventory in May vs. 9 in April. Over the last four years the drop in months of inventory for Used homes has been steady and impressive from 25 months plus in April 2008 to 7 months this May. 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 acceleration in new construction.

Average sales price for all homes has been improving modestly for the past year. For New units, prices decreased to  $248,695 from $253,059 last month. (Sect A p.14). Average Used home prices increased to $263,202 from $253,637 in April. The price trend is up for the year. Average Days On Market for New Sold properties in May was 236 vs last month of 213. Days On Market for Used was 169 compared to last month 152.

TWB 6/14/2015


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