Sales: Alabama statewide home sales totaled 4,303 units during December, down 1.6 percent from 4,371 sales in the same month a year earlier. December sales were also down 6.4 percent compared to 4,598 sales in November. Results were 13.8 percent above the five-year December average of 3,780 sales. Two more resources to review: Quarterly Report and Annual Report.
For all statewide housing data, click here.
Inventory: Homes listed for sale statewide during December totaled 21,463 units, a decrease of 6.9 percent from December 2017’s 23,061 units, and a decrease of 4 percent from November 2018’s 22,361 units. December months of supply totaled 5 months, a decrease of 5.5 percent from December 2017’s 5.3 months of supply. However, December’s months of supply increased from November’s 4.9 months of supply.
Pricing: The statewide median sales price in December was $158,772, an increase of 4.7 percent from one year ago and an increase of 2.4 percent from the prior month. This direction is consistent with historical data (2013-17) indicating that the December median sales price on average increases from November by 0.2 percent. The homes selling in December spent an average of 102 days on the market (DOM), a decrease of 9.8 percent from 113 days in December 2017 and an 8.8 percent increase from 93 days in November. This indicator can fluctuate from month to month because of the sampling size of data and seasonal buying patterns.
Forecast: December sales were 26 units, or 0.6 percent, above the Alabama Center for Real Estate’s (ACRE) monthly forecast. ACRE projected 4,277 sales for the month, while actual sales were 4,303 units. ACRE forecast a total of 57,762 residential sales statewide in 2018, while there were 61,072 actual sales through December.
ACRE’s statewide perspective: After 10 consecutive months of gains, statewide residential sales in December decreased 1.6 percent year-over-year from 4,371 to 4,303 closed transactions. For the entire year, statewide residential sales increased 6.3 percent from 57,427 in 2017 to 61,062 in 2018. Home price appreciation in the state continued to climb as the median sales price in December increased 4.7 percent year-over-year from $151,667 to $158,772. The median sales price for all of 2018 was up 4.6 percent from 2017. Although nationwide inventory levels are trending upwards, Alabama’s residential inventory decreased 6.9 percent from one year ago. Low inventory levels were a major factor contributing to rising sales prices throughout 2018. With low inventory, it is not surprising to see homes selling more quickly than in previous years. Homes selling in Alabama during December spent an average of 102 days on the market, an improvement of 11 days from 2017.
NAR’s national perspective: During December, total existing-home sales nationwide declined 11.7 percent from approximately 427,000 one year ago to 377,000 currently. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, says current housing numbers are partially due to higher interest rates during most of 2018. “The housing market is obviously very sensitive to mortgage rates. Softer sales in December reflected consumer search processes and contract signing activity in previous months when mortgage rates were higher than today. Now, with mortgage rates lower, some revival in home sales is expected going into spring.”
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The Alabama Residential Monthly Report is developed in conjunction with the Alabama Association of Realtors and its local associations.