Blog Archives

October Birmingham/Shelby Co. Home Sale Stats

Getting your home sold in Shelby County is taking longer in some communities and less time in others, while prices have dropped, according to October statistics from the Birmingham Multiple Listing System.

The average number of days on market increased in Alabaster and Chelsea, but fell in Helena, Pelham and Calera:

Days On Market  JUN-OCT 2009
Click here to see a larger version of the Average Days On Market graphic

Prices continued a downward trend in October, and substantially so, compared to September:

Average Prices  JUN-OCT 2009
Click here to see a larger version of the Average Sales Price graphic

How many homes are selling?

Except for Calera, the number of homes sold in October dropped from September. Chelsea saw the sharpest one month drop, while more homes sold in Calera during October than in September:

Homes Sold  - JUN-OCT 2009
Click here to see a larger version of the Number of Homes Sold graphic

Why the uptick in Calera?

Perhaps it’s the large inventory of low cost housing (both new and resale), making for some very attractive deals for first time home buyers, along with the fact that Calera qualifies for USDA financing (which means loans with no down payment required).

I think these statistics are giving us some important messages.

If you’re planning on buying a home, the market is continuing to work very much in your favor in the Birmingham and Shelby County area. Prices have dropped, inventory is in plentiful supply, and loans continue to be very affordable.

If you’re trying to sell, the message these numbers present is that it’s going to take a lot more than just putting a For Sale sign in the yard.

Marketing plays a more critical role than ever, and must be done in innovative ways if your home is to stand out among all the other properties for sale.

Pricing is no less important and will be a huge deciding factor in how quickly you sell, or if you sell, at all (believe me, we have seen examples of both!).

You may also benefit from an informed assessment of your property’s appearance and condition. With so many homes for sale right now, if your property doesn’t sparkle, Buyers will simply move on to another.

These are some very good reasons for trusting the sale of your home to an Agent who’s knowledgeable about the market here in the Shelby Co./Birmingham area and who knows how to achieve success in spite of challenging economic conditions.

David

2008 Home Sales: Facing The Challenge

The latest numbers for home sales in the Shelby county and Birmingham area confirm that 2008 saw a significant downward slide in the market.  A report by the Birmingham Association of Realtors shows home sales down by 29% for the year, compared to 2007.

Average prices slipped by 5%, and the average number of days homes stayed on the market stood at 100 for 2008, up from 96 in 2007.  Home sales for December, 2008 totaled 798, which is down by 32% compared to December, 2007.

Looking at Home Sales in Shelby County for 2009

While 2008 home sales in Birmingham and Shelby County, Alabama dropped 29% compared to the year before, inventory continues to drop, and experts say the market remains poised to make a significant improvement.

It’s interesting to compare these statistics with other markets.  While home values in Birmingham lost 5%, prices dropped closer to 11% when averaged nationally, and 32% in California.  So, as we have stated before, while our local market does wind up seeing most of the same trends that occur elsewhere in the country, the undulations in Birmingham and Shelby county home sales are typically nowhere near as extreme.  And for that, we can be thankful.

While our local market numbers aren’t what homeowners or people in the industry want to see, there is reason to be optimistic that home sales will pick back up.  As people knowledgeable about real estate market trends are well known for saying, it’s only a matter of time.

Negative news-satured owners are facing fear about selling their homes.  A good way to counter that is by obtaining expert information about whats happening with the market in your local area.

Negative news-saturated owners are facing fear about selling their homes. A good way to counter that is by obtaining expert information about what's happening with the market right here in Shelby county.

With our climate of 24-hour negative news these days, a number of homeowners who would like to think about selling are having to deal with fear.   You may be uneasy, wondering how long it will take to sell your home.  And then there’s the question of whether you might wind up with as much money in your pocket as you’ve been hoping.  And if a foreclosure pops up in your neighborhood, what then?  Would you wind up feeling even more uneasy about selling?  So, what to do?

Look carefully at homes that are selling in the area, and those that are not selling.  What’s the difference?  Price is certainly a huge consideration, but so is appearance.  A third factor—that is making more and more difference in whether a home sells these days—is how it’s marketed.  Not all homes for sale get the same exposure.

The fact that homes continue to sell—even in the middle of the constant barrage of negative news—clearly demonstrates that the local market continues to be healthier than many people realize.

Here’s another reason to feel that better times are ahead:  Inventory—the number of homes for sale—fell by 19% during 2008.  At the end of the year, there were 10,201 homes for sale, compared to 12,642 at the end of 2007.  If that trend continues, then it’s safe to conclude that the ‘Buyer’s Market’ is beginning to shift more back into balance.

If you’ve been thinking of selling your home, but are perplexed or somewhat uneasy about the current market and your prospects to sell, there’s an easy solution:  Give us a call.  We will be glad to take a close look at the history and trends of home sales, targeted to your neighborhood.  We’ll then be able to present you with a projection of how long your home might need to sell, and at what price a buyer would consider reasonable.  This could be valuable information to help you with selling during this around-the-clock negative news era.

Colleen and David

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!

David