Sales: According to the ValleyMLS.com, Athens/Limestone County residential sales totaled 143 units during December, up 8.3 percent from 132 sales in the same month a year earlier. December sales were down 11.7 percent compared to 162 sales in November. Results were 42.4 percent above the five-year December average of 100 sales. Two more resources to review: Quarterly Report and Annual Report.
For all Athens/Limestone County area housing data, click here.
Inventory: Homes listed for sale in the Athens area in December totaled 422 units, a decrease of 24 percent from December 2017’s 555 units and a decrease of 7.7 percent from November 2018’s 457 units. December months of supply totaled 3 months, a decrease of 29.8 percent from December 2017’s 4.2 months of supply. December’s months of supply increased 4.6 percent from November’s 2.8 months of supply.
Pricing: The Athens median sales price in December was $212,520, a decrease of 2.9 percent from one year ago and a decrease of 2.1 percent from the prior month. This direction is consistent with historical data (2013-17) indicating that the December median sales price on average decreases from November by 0.3 percent. The differing sample size (number of residential sales of comparative months) can contribute to statistical volatility, including pricing. ACRE highly recommends consulting with a local real estate professional to discuss pricing trends, as they will vary from neighborhood to neighborhood. The homes selling in December spent an average of 43 days on the market (DOM), a decrease of 29.5 percent from 61 days in December 2017 and a decrease of 15.7 percent from 51 days in November.
Forecast: December sales were 11 units, or 7.1 percent, below the Alabama Center for Real Estate’s (ACRE) monthly forecast. ACRE projected 154 sales for the month, while actual sales were 143 units. ACRE forecast a total of 1,931 residential sales in the Athens area during 2018, while there were 1,870 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.”