Monthly Archives: March 2012

February Real Estate Sales Soft In Huntsville

Huntsville/North Alabama Area MLS Observations: Real Estate Market February 2012

February sales improved 10% to $87,702,197 vs. January at $80,004,946. This was 6% below last year’s $93,076,486. The twelve month moving average line on the total dollar sales chart is flat.

Total unit sales increased to 610 in February vs. 536 in January, an increase of 74. This was favorable to last year at 585.

Note that our projection for February was 607 so the actual results were .5% favorable. This will probably increase as late sales are reported. We will be revising the full year projections now that the final un-employment statistics for January are available, but I did not want to delay this report. But based on the close results I think we are onto something!

New sales remained at 110 this month vs.110 last month.

Used sales increased to 500 this month vs. 426 last month, increasing 74 (Sect E p.3).

Used inventory levels remain high this month at 12 months (see the chart Sect C p.1), with the situation particularly challenged in the higher price ranges. Used homes over $100,000 are still over 12 months of inventory and over $400,000 have two or more years of inventory.

New home absorption is 8 months of inventory overall, (with last month at 10 months), (E-1). The New Home inventory level in the $300,000-$400,000 is approximately 5 months (not bad).

There continue to be a large number of housingpermits issued in Huntsville city, given the market conditions. January increased to 74 vs. 56 in December (chart on the web site).

Total Active listings decreased this month to 7,959 compared to last month’s 8,512, which is below last year at this time at 8,958 with the reduction exaggerated due to month-end expirations. (Sect A p.4 and Sect E p.3). The reduction, even if due to discouraged sellers, is a good thing.

Active New listings decreased from 1,479 last month to 1,216 in February, down 263. (Sect E p.3). Active Used listings decreased from 7,033 last month to 6,734 this month, down 299 and below last year’s amount at this time of 7,619. (Sect E p.3)

Average Days on Market for Sold New homes was 186 vs.163 days last month, with Used at 166 in February compared with 167 in January (Sect A p.18). Days on Market at or below 6 months, while the inventory numbers are way higher, indicates well priced homes are selling. Sellers, including bank owners, who do not adjust to the new price reality contribute to the buildup of inventory.

Average sales price for Sold New homes was $208,768 vs. $229,095 last month. (Sect A p.2)

Average sales price for Sold Used homes was $129,475 vs. $128,649 last month. (Sect A p.2)

The Average price lines for Used homes, which was on a upwards slope for a while, is now on a downward trend. New homes average price seems to be showing some positive direction. Prices for individual properties remain under pressure.

TWB 3/18/12

Posted in Absorption, Building Permit, Forecast, Home values, Huntsville, Monthly comments, North Alabama, real estate | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a reply

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Coastal Real Estate Sales Off to A Slow Start in 2012

Baldwin County & Alabama Coastal MLS*: Observations for the Month of February 2012

Sales Dollars increased 34% in February to $64,295,045 from January’s $48,065,756. This is 7% below February last year at $69,394,255. (Sect A p.2). The 12 month moving average line of sales is headed down once again. Inventories are continuing to come down quite dramatically. Sales for the last three months have been disappointingly below the comparable prior year. It is hard to read too much into comparable sales in these slow months, but it is worrisome and a contrast with what we are seeing in other markets.

On a unit basis, sales of all houses improved 11% to 304 this month vs. 273 last month, which is 8% down from last year’s 330.

Used Home sales improved 11% to 268 this month vs. 241 last month, which is down 14% from last year’s 312 (Sect A p.18). New Home sales were 36 this month vs 32 last month. Low sales of New homes reflects intense competition from existing, and the shutdown of new construction.

New listings for New homes increased to 53 from 48 in January. Used houses New listings decreased to 626 from 700 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 3,528 Active Used homes, a reduction from 3,755 in January. The New home market, which peaked in February 2006 at 2,144 Active, now sits at 327.

The Absorption rate for New homes was 12 months of inventory for February vs. 12 in January. The Absorption rate for Used homes was 11 months of inventory for February vs. 12 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 February 2008 to 11 months this February.

Average sales price for all homes has been stable for the past year. For New units, prices decreased to $184,142 from $190,503 last month. (Sect A p.14). Average Used home prices increased to $215,171 from $174,148 in January.

Average Days On Market for New Sold properties in February was 176 this month vs. 229 last month. Days On Market for Used was 196 this month vs.161 last month.

While we have developed some interesting projections for the real estate market in the statewide, Birmingham and Huntsville markets, the numerous events on the coast such as the oil spill and several tropical storms, make the methods we used in the other markets unsuitable for the coast, but we are thinking about the problem!

TWB 3/18/2012

Posted in Absorption, Alabama Coast, Baldwin, Home values, Inventory | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a reply

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Huntsville AL Market Trends – January 2012

By: Huntsville Real Estate Expert Mike Manosky On March 2012

2012 is off to an encouraging start. Mortgage rates have remained under 4% for nearly two months. Home sales are strengthening and pending home sales, a measure to gauge future sales, are at their highest levels since March 2010.

Job growth increased during most of 2011, with unemployment dropping to 8.4%. As more people are getting jobs, consumer confidence has also been increasing. However, underemployment with a rate of 18.1% continues to be a problem for a stronger recovery. There are still a significant number of people working part time, who would like to have full-time work.

Even with substantial national improvements, the recovery is spotty. Payroll jobs were up in 25 states, but down in 24, demonstrating the delicate state of the U.S. economy. Global factors such as the European debt crisis are also complicating a more robust recovery.

What does the recovery look like in our local real estate market? Take a look at January figures.

Madison County/Huntsville AL Real Estate Sales Statistics

Huntsville AL and Madison County saw an decrease of 29% in sold listings in January 2012 when compared to December 2011. It is not uncommon to see a drop in January closings due to many buyers taking time to enjoy the holidays instead of house shopping in December. The average list price decreased 2% to $191,199 and the average sales price decreased by 2% to $185,514. The average price per square foot remained consistent to December 2011, while market times increased by 12 days.

Date Sold Listings Average List Price Average Sale Price Percent SP/LP Average DOM Average Price Sqft
January 2012 258 $191,199 $185,514 96.26% 107 $79
December 2011 365 $195,544 $189,818 97.25% 95 $79

For more information about Huntsville AL real estate, please visit or call me at 256-508-0211.

To begin searching Huntsville AL homes, please use my complimentary MLS search.

Statistics are based on information for the North Alabama Association of Realtors and are deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

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Tags: Huntsville AL Real Estate, madison county, market trends, mike manosky

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How to Become an ‘Expert’ Real Estate Agent: Part I

People value and pay more attention to experts in their respective fields. That’s true of most professions, including doctors, lawyers and, of course, Realtors. Experts usually earn more money, too!

coins image via shutterstock

Would you trust a mechanic who claims to be able to fix every make of transport, be it plane, car, boat or bike?

Of course not! Nor should a real estate agent claim to know everything about everywhere.

Consumers spend six or even 18 months researching towns, neighborhoods and home types, using sites like Zillow and Trulia, usually without ever speaking to a real estate agent.

Having done their research, consumers are looking for advice and interpretation of local market conditions. They are often more knowledgeable than the average agent is about localized data.

When you meet one of these educated consumers, you had better know what you are talking about, or they will dump you and quickly find an agent who does.

The very first step to expert status? Creating your own niche!

Once you focus on a niche, you differentiate yourself from the thousands of other Realtors in your market, but it has to be something that you are (or can be) passionate about.

A niche can be any of these, or even combinations:

-a price range or property type;

-a particular demographic — first-time buyers or single women;

-a geographical location;

-hobbies/interests such as horses;

-a profession such as attorney or engineer;

-a subdivision or tract.

portland sign via shutterstock

Using Portland, Ore., as an example …

… It would be a stretch to claim you cover the whole city of more than half a million people.

If your home is located on the edge of the city, perhaps Cedar Mill, even if your office is located some miles away, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to concentrate there, and the neighborhoods that are close by?

Neighborhoods that you can get to know really well and get excited about?

Page 2 of the search results pages just does not cut it for lead generation.

When I checked, there wasn’t a single agent on the first page of Google for the search term Cedar Mill real estate, and only one for Cedar Mill homes. The results are dominated by the aggregators: Trulia and sites.

A well-optimized WordPress site concentrating just on Cedar Mill and a couple of adjacent neighborhoods such as Oak Hills and Bonny Slope, with tons of localized content, would surely make the first page for both search terms along with other long-tail results for other specific neighborhoods.

The next step: You must be sure that your chosen niche is worth the trouble.

Before you jump in and fully commit to your target niche, ask yourself this crucial question: “Is there enough business to go around?”

Look at the demographics. Cedar Mill has a population of a little more than 12,000, with just under 5,000 households and around 130 homes currently listed.

Run multiple listing service reports to list the homes that have sold over the past five years (10 would be better) in your proposed niche. Compare these sales, year by year, to see if there is a trend up or down.

Work out the commission volume.

Evaluate the competition. If you will be targeting listings, is there a dominant agent who does most of the business, or are there many agents involved? Personally, I would prefer the latter.

The last step: your elevator pitch!

elevators via shutterstock

Now that you have chosen your niche, it’s time to perfect your response to the question people will ask you: “What do you do for a living?”

This, in essence, can be better described as your elevator pitch, because that’s exactly what it is.

From this point forward you can stop responding with “I’m a Realtor” because that’s never, ever going to start a meaningful conversation.

Wouldn’t a phrase like this — “I love helping people find really nice homes in Cedar Mill” be more appealing and appropriate?

This article is the first in a five-part series during the course of this week. Tomorrow we will be exploring how to do your homework and research your market, because you need to know more about your niche than either your competitors or your clients.

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