Alabama Coastal March Sales Reach Record Levels

Baldwin County & Alabama Coastal MLS*: Observations for the Month of March 2017

Mar17BALDWINSales dollars increased a remarkable 82% in March to $205,223,539 from February $112,736,967. This is up 49% from last year’s record of $137,834,831. (Sect A p.2). The 12 month moving average line of sales, has been heading up substantially. When I saw the outstanding results I immediately went to look for problems in the data. The increase was, however, across a number of areas and price ranges and I found no obvious problems.

Sales in most price categories show consistent improvement as do inventories. Check out the chart on page A-17 to fully appreciate the inventory trends. Note that price ranges in inventories over a year are fewer. Now only the $600,000 and over categories have over a year of inventory.

In concert with ACRE, The Alabama Center for Real Estate, we have projected expectations for 2017. We use the ACRE provided data for the projections, which differs slightly from the data in this report. The projection for 2017 located here expected projected home sales in 2017 of 6,276, which is a 12.65% difference from 2016 actual of  5,571. This year through March actual sales are 4% above expectations. 1,415 sales were recorded so far this year which is ahead of the projection of 1,359.  

On a unit basis, sales of all houses were up at 763 this month vs. last month at 438, which is well above last year’s healthy level of 446. Used Home sales decreased to 358 this month vs. 364 last month, which is off from last year’s 592 (Sect A p.18). New Home sales were 150 this month vs 77 last month and compared with 105 last year. New listings for New homes increased to 185 from 184 in February. Used homes New listings decreased to 874 from 720 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 been consistently improving. In March, there were 2,719 Active Used homes, a reduction from 3,309 in February and a new multi year low. New homes, which peaked in March 2006 at 2,144 Active, now sit at 697.

The Absorption rate for New homes was 7 months of inventory in March vs. 9 in February. The Absorption rate for Used homes was 6 months of inventory in March vs. 7 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 6 months this March. I had been expecting construction to begin to pick-up in the under $400,000 range, and this has happened. Sales have been keeping up, so we have not seen an increase in inventory.

Average sales price for all homes has begun to show an upwards trend. For New units, average price decreased to  $247,000 from $268,697 last month. (Sect A p.14). Average Used home prices were up this month, to $274,345 from $254,979 in February. Average Days On Market for New Sold properties in March was 176 vs last month of 196. Days On Market for Used was 144 vs. last month 162. With this very impressive month, it will be interesting to see if the momentum continues through the peak summer selling season.
TWB 4/12/2017

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