Sales: Alabama statewide home sales totaled 5,342 units during March, up slightly from 5,341 sales in the same month a year earlier. March sales were up 26.5 percent compared to 4,222 sales in February. Results were 16.1 percent above the five-year March average of 4,603 sales. Two more resources to review: Quarterly Report and Annual Report.
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Inventory: Homes listed for sale statewide during March totaled 21,053 units, a decrease of 11.3 percent from March 2018’s 23,736 units, but an increase of 1.3 percent from February 2019’s 20,782 units. March’s months of supply totaled 3.9 months, a decrease of 11.3 percent from March 2018’s 4.4 months of supply. March’s months of supply also decreased from February’s 4.9 months of supply.
Pricing: The statewide median sales price in March was $162,759, an increase of 2.6 percent from one year ago and an increase of 3.5 percent from the prior month. This direction is consistent with historical data (2014-18) indicating that the March median sales price on average increases from February by 2.5 percent. The homes selling in March spent an average of 99 days on the market (DOM), a decrease of 16.4 percent from 118 days in March 2018. The statewide DOM average was unchanged from the prior month. This indicator can fluctuate from month to month because of the sampling size of data and seasonal buying patterns.
Forecast: March sales were 105 units, or 2 percent, above the Alabama Center for Real Estate’s (ACRE) monthly forecast. ACRE projected 5,237 sales for the month, while actual sales were 5,342 units. ACRE forecast a total of 12,813 residential sales year-to-date in 2019, while there were 12,922 actual sales through March, a difference of 0.9 percent.
ACRE’s statewide perspective: While nationwide residential sales dropped 8 percent in March, demand for housing in Alabama remained strong. Statewide residential sales increased slightly (0.02 percent) from 5,341 closed transactions in March 2018 to 5,342 in March 2019. Year-to-date, sales increased 3.6 percent from 2018. Home price appreciation in the state continued to climb but at a slower pace as the median sales price in March increased 2.6 percent year-over-year from $158,617 to $162,759. The statewide median sales price is also up 3.6 percent year-to-date. Although nationwide inventory levels are trending upward, Alabama’s residential listings decreased 11.3 percent from one year ago. Low inventory levels were a significant factor contributing to rising sales prices throughout 2018 and in the spring buying season of 2019. With low inventory levels, it is not surprising to see homes selling more quickly than in previous years. Homes selling in Alabama during March spent an average of 99 days on the market, an improvement of 19 days from March 2018.
NAR’s national perspective: During March, total existing-home sales nationwide declined 7.8 percent from approximately 434,000 closed transactions one year ago to 400,000 currently. The nationwide median existing-home price increased 3.8 percent in March, marking 85 consecutive months of year-over-year gains. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, said, “It is not surprising to see a retreat after a powerful surge in sales in the prior month. Still, current sales activity is underperforming in relation to the strength in the jobs markets. The impact of lower mortgage rates has not yet been fully realized.”
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