By Alabama Center for Real Estate (ACRE)
on March 01, 2013 at 6:45 AM, updated March 01, 2013 at 6:54 AM
Picking up right where the market closed in 2012, Alabama residential sales in January improved by 6.7 percent from the same period a year earlier. Across Alabama in January, sixty percent of local markets reported on par or positive sales growth compared to last January. Click here to view or print the full report.
Supply: The statewide housing inventory in January was 30,863 units, a decrease of 4.1 percent from January 2012 and 17.6 percent below the month of January’s peak in 2008 (37,470 units). There were 12.2 months of housing supply (6 months considered equilibrium) in January 2013 versus 13.4 months of supply in January 2012, a favorable decline of 9.0 percent. January inventory remained on par with the prior month. This trend is just short of historical data indicating that January inventory on average (’08-’12) traditionally decreases from the month of December by 2.7 percent. In contrast to reports of a looming lack of inventory problem at the national level, Alabama still has plenty of housing supply that has yet to be absorbed.
Demand: In December, Alabama residential sales were outperformed by the US market which showed an increase of 9.1 percent from the prior year, according to the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). NAR also reported that the South region sales were up 14.0 percent from last January. Investors accounted for 19 percent of nationwide sales while 28 percent were all-cash sales and 30 percent were first-time home buyers (40% in typical market).
January statewide residential sales dropped 11.4 percent from the prior month. This movement is lower than historical data that indicates that December sales, on average (’08-’12), decrease from the month of December by 17.3 percent. In comparison, US sales rose .4 percent from last month while the South region also improved by 1.0 percent from the prior month.
Pricing: The statewide median selling price in January was $103,342, a decrease of 10.1 percent from last January. Historical data (’08-’12) reflects that the January median selling price traditionally decreases from the month of December by 1.2 percent. Nationally, NAR states that distressed homes – foreclosures and short sales – accounted for 23 percent of January sales (14 percent were foreclosures and 9 percent were short sales), Foreclosures typically sold for an average 20 percent below market price in January, while short sales were discounted 12 percent.
Local Results: 13 out of the 25 local reporting associations (52% – this is up from 44% in December) reflect sales gains from last January. In January, sales in metro markets (up 8% from last year) outperformed both midsize markets(up 7%) and small markets (down 10%). 3 of 5 major metro areas representing 70% of Alabama sales have positive year-over-year growth rates except Mobile (down 4%) and Tuscaloosa (down 2.5%, primarily due to increased storm-related demand in 2011 & early 2012).
Real estate sales are seasonal and the sales pace slows during the winter months resulting in a higher degree of statistical volatility. With that said, seventy-two percent (18 of 25) of the local housing markets across the State experienced year-over-year sales growth in 2012 and that is welcome news for Alabama consumers as well our state’s real estate community.
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More great news for Alabama residents and Lee County citizens! Please feel free to contact me whether you are thinking of buying or selling – the time is right! I look forward to hearing from you soon!
Ashley S. Durham