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

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