Sales: According to the North Alabama Multiple Listing Service, Athens/Limestone County residential sales totaled 155 units during October, an increase of 28.1 percent above the same month in 2016, when sales totaled 121 units. Year-to-date sales through November were up 22.6 percent from the same period of 2016. Two more resources to review: Quarterly Report and Annual Report.
For all Athens/Limestone County area housing data, click here.
Forecast: November sales were 23 percent or 29 units above the Alabama Center for Real Estate’s monthly forecast. ACRE’s 2017 sales forecast through November projected 1,431 closed transactions, while the actual sales were 1,568 units.
Supply: Athens/Limestone County housing inventory totaled 587 units, a decrease of 14.4 percent from November 2016. November inventory was 3.1 percent below the prior month. This direction is consistent with historical data indicating that November inventory on average (2012-16) decreases from October.
The inventory-to-sales ratio in November was 3.8 months of housing supply. Restated, at the November sales pace, it would take 3.8 months to absorb the current inventory for sale. This is a decrease of 83 percent from 5.7 months of supply in November 2016. The market equilibrium (balance between supply and demand) is considered to be approximately 6 months.
Demand: November residential sales were 14 percent above sales for the prior month. New construction for residential sales has dropped from 33 percent to 27 percent of total sales over the past year.
Pricing: The Athens/Limestone County area median sales price in November was $174,000, an increase of 0.9 percent from the previous November and a decrease of 5.9 percent from October. Pricing can fluctuate from month to month as the sample size of data (closed transactions) is subject to seasonal buying patterns. ACRE recommends consulting a local real estate professional.
Industry perspective: “The economy and real estate markets continue to show they are resilient. Regardless of the economic metric — GDP, monthly jobs or home prices — the dashboard registers an ‘all-systems-go’ economy,” said KC Conway, director of research and corporate engagement at the Alabama Center for Real Estate. “GDP started the year off with its best Q1 reading in several years and followed it up with above 3 percent readings for Q2 and Q3. (This year) will be the first year since the financial crisis that the economy registered an annual GDP greater than 2 percent. It was just plus 1.6 percent for 2016.
“Job growth is healthy as well. The first week of December the market received solid monthly jobs reports from both ADP (which measures private industry job formation) and the BLS (the government’s monthly jobs report produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics). ADP reported a healthy new 190,000 private-sector jobs for November and a monthly average of 210,000 jobs over the prior 12 months. The BLS reported November jobs at a higher-than-expected level of 228,000 jobs – and its year-to-date monthly average is 174,000. Unemployment remains low at 4.1 percent, and inflation was just reported on December 13th at 1.7 percent for the “core rate” (which excludes the more volatile food and energy components) and 2.2 percent overall annualized due to higher energy prices.
“The Federal Reserve is taking note of the expanding economy and followed up its prior two rate hikes earlier in 2017 with a 0.25 percent rate increase at its December 13th meeting. Housing conditions remain conducive to growth in new supply and more transaction activity. Single-family home inventories are below demand levels across the nation, Southeast and most Alabama markets. The national rate of appreciation is running above 6 percent on the heels of 5-plus percent in 2016. This is leading builders and lenders to be more receptive to adding inventory. New housing starts and permits will likely end 2017 at or above the 1.3 million units level, split 30 percent multifamily and 70 percent single-family. The outlook heading into 2018 is the best we have seen in a decade.”
Click here to generate more graphs from the Athens/Limestone November Housing Report, including Total Sales, Average Sales Price, Days on the Market, Total Inventory and Months of Supply.
The Athens/Limestone County Residential Monthly Report is developed in conjunction with the Athens/Limestone County Association of Realtors to better serve North Alabama consumers.