Forecast: April sales were 3.5 percent or 165 units above the Alabama Center for Real Estate‘s (ACRE) monthly forecast. ACRE’s 2017 sales forecast through April projected 16,040 closed transactions, while the actual sales were 16,991 units.
Supply: The statewide housing inventory during April was 29,462 units, an increase of 0.2 percent from April 2016 and 31 percent below the April peak in 2008 (42,675 units). There were 6.1 months of housing supply in April (6 months is considered equilibrium), which represents a favorable drop of 2.6 percent from April 2016 (6.3 months).
April inventory increased from March by 2 percent. This direction is consistent with historical data that indicate April inventory on average (2012-16) increases from March by 5.3 percent.
Demand: April residential sales decreased 8 percent from March. This direction contrasts with historical statewide data indicating that April sales on average (2012-16) increase from March by 4.3 percent. The average days on the market until a listing sold was 135 days, down 8 percent from last year. According to the National Association of Realtors March Existing Home Sales Report, April home sales were 1.6 percent higher than home sales during the same month in 2016, the fourth-highest pace over the past year nationwide. See how Alabama compares with the U.S. residential market by clicking here.
Pricing: The April median sales price increased 10 percent from the same period last year to $149,512. During April, 72 percent of Alabama markets experienced price gains from April 2016. This indicator can fluctuate from month to month due to sampling size of data and seasonal buying patterns. The April median sales price increased 7 percent from March. This direction is consistent with historical data averages (2012-16) reflecting that the April median sales price increases 3 percent from March.
Seeking balance: The metro markets in Alabama representing 70 percent of all sales continued to trend toward greater seller bargaining power with 4.9 months of supply. Outside the metro markets, Alabama’s midsized markets are reporting 6.1 months of supply, while rural areas are reporting 13.6 months of supply. There have been significant improvements from inventory peaks experienced during the recession. The supply of quality inventory in the past has affected sales, according to some boots-on-the-ground professionals.
Industry perspective: “The Home Purchase Sentiment Index returned to its longer-term trend line after reclaiming ground lost last month. This is aligned with our market forecast of about 3 percent sales growth in 2017,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “Historically strong inflation-adjusted house price gains are tempering consumer sentiment, whereas consumer optimism regarding the ease of getting a mortgage reached a survey high. On balance, housing continues on a gradual growth track.”
Click here to generate more graphs from the Alabama April Housing Report, including Total Sales, Average Sales Price, Days on the Market, Total Inventory and Months of Supply.