Monthly Archives: December 2008

Birmingham & Shelby County Home Sales Update

Here’s hoping you had a Merry Christmas!

As we wind down the last few days of 2008, here’s a look at how many homes are for sale in the Birmingham, Alabaster and Shelby county areas. We did an update like this in November, and it’s interesting to see that—in nearly every case—inventory has dropped from the earlier update. The numbers in parentheses are how many homes were for sale as of the November update:

Alabaster – 372 (389)
Altadena/Cahaba Heights – 33 (50)
Calera – 297 (297)
Clanton – 171 (179)
Columbiana – 44 (52)
Chelsea – 249 (255)
Helena – 245 (269)
Hoover – 939 (982)
Indian Springs – 10 (32)
Inverness – 55 (56)
Liberty Park/Vestavia – 409 (452)
Meadow Brook – 7 (13)
Montevallo – 96 (100)
Pelham – 298 (333)
Vincent – 26 (27)

Source: Birmingham Area Multiple Listing Service

I suppose people are finally deciding that the opportunities to buy a home really are as good as they’re being told. And there’s no doubt about it: As the New Year gets underway, home prices and inventory will continue to offer buyers some of the best deals that have occurred in many years.


Is The Birmingham “Buyer’s Market” Shifting?

Could the “Buyer’s Market” in the Birmingham and Shelby county area be starting to shift toward becoming more balanced?  That might be happening, based on November 2008 home sales statistics released by the Birmingham Association of Realtors. And we are seeing encouraging developments about home sales in other parts of the country, too.

Locally, the number of homes for sale in November 2008 stood at 10,994, which is about 15% below one year earlier.

November, 2008 sales totaled 603, which is down about 49% from November, 2007.  November 2008 sales prices in the Birmingham and Shelby county markets dropped about 7% from a year earlier.  For year-to-date, the average price is about 4.5% behind 2007, according to BAR.

The average number of days for a home to stay on the market in November, 2008, stood at 92, compared to 103 for the same month a year earlier (this figure excludes new home sales).

When you watch TV and read the headlines, you’ll no doubt see that 49% sales drop prominently mentioned.  So, is all the news bad?  We think several of the market indications in central Alabama are actually positive, believe it or not, and there are continuing indications that other real estate markets in the country are becoming more balanced, too.

First, there are not quite as many homes for sale as there have been, and that’s a good thing for people thinking of selling.  Buyers, meanwhile, still have boatloads of choices, so it’s certainly not as if their selections are drying up.  Second, the seven percent drop in prices helps show something we’ve mentioned before about the Birmingham and Shelby county housing market:  Fluctuations in values here do not swing as wildly, and to such extremes as they do in many other cities.  So, while values have plunged much farther in some other real estate markets, our area has remained a lot more stable.

We received a message from a lender this week, advising that interest rates on 30-year fixed loans some buyers will be eligible to get have now fallen to 5.0%, and 15-year fixed loans have now fallen to below 5%.  All I can say is ‘wow,’ the close of 2008 and start of 2009 have to go down in the record books as one of the best times to buy a home in Birmingham and Shelby county in years.

Clearly, the negative economic news saturating the media has caused some buyers to hold off, despite some of the most attractive pricing and interest rates ever.  But indications are starting to suggest that continuing to wait before buying may be getting riskier.  Why? 

Nationally, home sales are starting to pick up, while inventory is declining.  That means investors and others are jumping on the really good deals, so others may miss out if they wait too long.  You can get a very interesting perspective on where real estate markets appear to be heading, by clicking below to watch the November, 2008, housing report, produced by Keller Williams Realty:

‘Tis the season to buy!