Blog Archives

Calera and Chelsea to Lose USDA Loan Coverage

If you’re thinking of buying a home in Shelby County’s Calera or Chelsea area and are planning on financing your purchase with a no-down-payment USDA loan, you better get moving with your purchase, because time may be about to run out.

As of October first, the USDA is expected to update the areas that qualify for its loans.  For Shelby Co., this means that Calera—which has long been a popular spot for home Buyers using USDA financing—will be dropped from the eligibility list.   Chelsea is also set to be dropped.

In Walker Co., Jasper will be dropped from USDA loan eligibility, as will Moody and Pell City in St. Clair Co., and Pleasant Grove in Jefferson Co.
In all, more than 90 communities will be removed from the list of qualifying areas.

The change in qualifying areas is not a 100% sure thing.  At least one U.S. Congressman—Republican Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska—is pushing to get Congress to order a one year extension of USDA’s existing eligibility zones.  Others pushing USDA to grant an extension include the National Association of Realtors, the National Association of Home Builders and the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Why does USDA plan to change the zones?  The answer lies partly with the 2010 Census.   An existing grandfathering clause allowed any community considered ‘rural’ in 1990 to continue to be eligible for USDA funding until the 2010 Census, as long as it has a population below 25,000 and met other critera.  That clause, which was first enacted in 1990 and extended in 2000, is now set to expire.

So, unless Congress takes action, many communities that currently qualify for USDA financing will lose their eligibility—and for many of those areas, USDA loans are the only source of federal housing funding.

David

Homes For Sale in Birmingham & Shelby Co. Area

As we start off May, here’s a look at current inventory for the Shelby County and Birmingham areas, as indicated by the Birmingham Multiple Listing Service:

Number of homes available:

Helena & Pelham area (Shelby Co.): 518
Helena & Pelham area (Jefferson Co.): 58
North Shelby/Hoover area (Shelby Co.): 776
Chelsea: 279
Altadena/Cahaba Heights area: 72
Liberty Park/Vestavia area: 492
Alabaster, Maylene & Saginaw area:  382

Calera, Montevallo & Wilton area:  346
Columbiana, Westover & Wilsonville area: 93

Number of homes with 3 or more bedrooms for sale:

Alabaster/Maylene/Saginaw area: 362
Chelsea area:  24

Number of homes with swimming pool for sale:

Alabaster/Maylene/Saginaw area: 116
Chelsea:  24

Bottom line:  There continues to be an excellent supply of homes in a wide variety of styles and price ranges.  The good time to buy rolls on!

David

Birmingham/Shelby Co. Homes For Sale

Here’s a look at current inventory for the Shelby County and Birmingham areas, as indicated by the Birmingham Multiple Listing Service. To help you with an idea of trends, the numbers in parentheses show the count as of March 9th, 2009 (one month ago today):

Single family, town homes and condominiums available:

Helena & Pelham area (Shelby Co.): 519 (521)
Helena & Pelham area (Jefferson Co.): 59 (58)
North Shelby/Hoover area (Shelby Co.): 739 (701)
Chelsea: 298 (324)
Altadena/Cahaba Heights area: 67 (62)
Liberty Park/Vestavia area: 492 (446)
Alabaster, Maylene & Saginaw area: 373 (372)
Calera, Montevallo & Wilton area: 360 (356)
Columbiana, Westover & Wilsonville area: 93 (89)

Number of homes for sale based on current selling price:

Alabaster, Maylene and Saginaw area:
$150,000-$200,000: 132 (131)
$200,000-$300,000: 90 (86)

Helena and Pelham areas (Shelby Co.):
$150,000-$200,000: 169 (166)
$200,000-$300,000: 127 (124)

Helena and Pelham areas (Jefferson Co.):
$150,000-$200,000: 2 (2)
$200,000-$300,000: 22 (21)

Chelsea:
$150,000-$200,000: 82 (99)
$200,000-$300,000: 118 (120)

David

Birmingham/Shelby County Homes For Sale

Here’s a look at current inventory for the Shelby County and Birmingham areas, as indicated by the Birmingham Multiple Listing Service:

Number of homes available:

Helena & Pelham area (Shelby Co.): 521
Helena & Pelham area (Jefferson Co.): 58
North Shelby/Hoover area (Shelby Co.): 701
Chelsea: 324
Altadena/Cahaba Heights area: 62
Liberty Park/Vestavia area: 446
Alabaster, Maylene & Saginaw area: 372
Calera, Montevallo & Wilton area: 356
Columbiana, Westover & Wilsonville area: 89

Number of homes for sale based on current selling price:

Alabaster, Maylene and Saginaw area:
$150,000-$200,000: 131
$200,000-$300,000: 86

Helena and Pelham areas (Shelby Co.):
$150,000-$200,000: 166
$200,000-$300,000: 124

Helena and Pelham areas (Jefferson Co.):
$150,000-$200,000:   2
$200,000-$300,000:  21

Chelsea:
$150,000-$200,000:  99
$200,000-$300,000: 120

David

Current Birmingham/Shelby Co. Homes For Sale

Here’s a quick look at some current numbers for the Birmingham and Shelby County housing market as we approach mid February, courtesy of the Birmingham Multiple Listing Service…

Number of homes available:

Helena & Pelham area (Shelby Co.): 497
Helena & Pelham area (Jefferson Co.): 60
North Shelby/Hoover area (Shelby Co.): 665
Chelsea: 320
Altadena/Cahaba Heights area: 54
Liberty Park/Vestavia area: 438
Alabaster, Maylene & Saginaw area: 374
Calera, Montevallo & Wilton area: 360
Columbiana, Westover & Wilsonville area: 88

Number of homes for sale based on current selling price:

Alabaster, Maylene and Saginaw area:
$150,000-$200,000: 120
$200,000-$300,000: 89

Helena and Pelham areas (Shelby Co.):
$150,000-$200,000: 161
$200,000-$300,000: 121

Helena and Pelham areas (Jefferson Co.):
$150,000-$200,000: 3
$200,000-$300,000: 20

Chelsea:
$150,000-$200,000: 93
$200,000-$300,000: 122

Bottom line: There are still lots of choices!

David

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.

David