Here’s a look at how many homes are for sale in some of the Birmingham area’s more desired neighborhoods, followed by lowest to highest asking price (data is provided by the Greater Alabama MLS, Inc.):
Shoal Creek … 13 ($579,9K – $13,900,000)
Mt. Laurel … 14 ($240K – $699,9K)
Greystone … 112 ($149,9K – $6,900,000)
Greystone Ridge … 2 ($149,9K – $189K)
Greystone Legacy … 34 ($404,9K – $1,699,000)
Greystone Village … 1 ($259,9K)
Greystone Cove … 5 ($449K – $1,140,000)
Highland Lakes … 52 ($287,9K – $1,097,900)
Eagle Point … 11 ($184,9K – $675K)
Trace Crossings … 43 ($239,9K – $899K)
Lake Crest … 6 ($327,9K – $499,9)
Ballantrae … 46 ($179,9K – $899,9K)
High Hampton … 1 ($325K)
Mallard Pointe … 3 ($198,5K – $209,9K)
Riverwoods … 8 ($229K – $400K)
Hillsboro … 4 ($193,9K – $264,9K)
Sterling Gate … 4 ($129,7K – $214,9K)
Cedar Grove … 3 ($134,9K – $279,9K)
Grande View … 11 ($152,9K – $304,4K)
Wynlake … 2 ($199,9K – $379,9K)
Lake Forest … 7 ($152,K – $294,9K)
Kentwood … 1 ($199,9K)
Weatherly … 10 ($109,9K – $204,9K)
Birmingham area homes for sale by general area…
Liberty Park/Vestavia … 342
Homewood … 216
Bluff Park/Hoover/Riverchase … 108
No. Shelby/Hoover … 498
Chelsea … 259
Helena/Pelham … 323
Alabaster/Maylene/Saginaw … 179
Calera/Montevallo/Wilton … 264
In many communities around the greater Birmingham area, the number of homes for sale is down significantly, compared to previous years. This is creating more pressure on people looking to buy a home than in the past, since there are fewer homes to choose from.
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.
New home prices are getting more attractive all the time. If you doubt that, consider this: In the Shelby Co./Birmingham area, you can have a new home built and pay in the 120s.
For some folks, those prices—coupled with interest rates continuing near all time lows—are just too good to pass up.
Colleen and I thought you’d like a behind-the-scenes look at a new home being built in the Montevallo/Alabaster area.
It’s a good chance to see what your money can buy for you. So, we fired up the video camera and invite you to tag along:
Whether you’re thinking of buying for the first time, or if you’re considering moving, pricing and inventory remain very attractive.
Got questions? Feel free to contact us at 205.677.8696.
Buying a home—whether new or existing—is a big decision, and we certainly recognize that.
Your best decision is always made when you have as much information as possible. We’re happy to help with any questions you have…
With summer behind us, here’s a look at home sales trends in the Alabaster, Maylene and Saginaw areas (stats from the Birmingham MLS):
After taking a dip in June, average sales prices are holding fairly steady:
How long does it take to get a home sold in these areas? According to the MLS, the time needed is just a little over two months (the shortest it has been all year):
Right now, 354 conventional single family houses and townhomes are for sale in the Alabaster, Maylene and Saginaw areas. Of those:
289 are priced at or below $250,000;
127 are priced at or below $150,000;
22 are priced at or below $100,000;
338 have 3 or more bedrooms;
170 have 4 or more bedrooms;
29 have 5 or more bedrooms;
113 have pools or access to pools;
5 have 4 or more acres…
Need a loan to buy? Rates right now continue to be among the lowest in history. Qualified borrowers can get a 30-year fixed rate loan for as low as around 4.25%; 15-year fixed rate loans can be found by some borrowers as low as 3.75%. Colleen and I have been able to help a number of first time Buyers say ‘adios’ to renting and move into their first homes with some excellent loans at very low rates.
Needless to say, this continues to be a tremendous time to buy a home … let us know if we can help!
More folks want homes!
The number of properties sold in Alabaster and Helena rose sharply in March, compared to February, according to the Birmingham Multiple Listing System. In Helena, March sales were double those for February:
Meanwhile, home sales in the Alabaster, Maylene and Saginaw areas were up sharply during March, as well.
Why the big rise in sales?
Last but certainly not least, the return of spring has no doubt been a welcome change from the extended bitterly cold winter Alabamians had to endure. Most people found going out looking for homes—only to be blasted in the face by freezing wind—to be less than fun.
For more reasons than one, we’re glad Spring is here!
I asked a group of Realtors who sell homes in the Birmingham and Shelby Co. area recently what their thoughts are of 2009, now that it’s ‘in the rear view mirror.’
While a few Agents reported a strong year last year, most told me they weren’t sad to see ’09 become history.
We hear conflicting information in the media a lot these days about home sales, and this can even happen when you’re looking at sales in a small, targeted area.
Here are a few statistics from the Birmingham MLS that show trends in 2009, compared to 2007 and 2008. Clearly, the local market was a difficult one for many:
Here’s a look at average sold prices for homes in the area:
And, finally, how long did it take to get a home sold? Here’s a look at that:
While these numbers show a challenging market, people with a lot of years in the real estate business under their belt continue to believe that the market will undergo a gradual change, back to more balanced conditions.
No one knows exactly when that will happen, or how quickly it will occur, but most are confident it will. Some think it’s already starting.
Perhaps 2010 will be the year…
You can have fun and help people at the same time.
That’s what the Oak Mountain Real Estate Network’s annual Christmas Auction, held November 18th in Pelham, is all about:
Despite a tough economy, we had a lot of Agents and people working in affiliated fields participate. When it was all over, the Network had raised nearly $2,200. The Network supports two very worthy causes here in Shelby County: SafeHouse and Family Connection.
Congress has taken a step many people were watching for, and has extended the $8,000 tax credit for people buying a home for the first time. But the extension also carries a big change that could affect you if you own a home right now and want to buy again.
The credit, which was originally set to expire November 30th, now applies to Sales Contracts in place by April 30th, 2010. Homeowners have an additional 60 days beyond then to actually close the sale.
If you currently own your home and have lived in it for five consecutive years, the extension provides for a $6,500 credit if you buy another property by the new deadline. In the current market where so many homes have lost value, this may help Sellers frustrated over not being able to get an Offer for as much as they’ve wanted.
So … either way, the extension is intended to make buying a home more enticing to a larger group of people. That’s exactly why Congress passed the bill, in a continuing desire to stimulate the housing market.
Another point many buyers are not aware of is the fact that you can still qualify for the credit even if you owned a home previously. The government defines a first time buyer as someone who has not owned a home during the previous three years. So, if you owned a home in, say, 2004, but have not owned your residence since then, you would qualify for the first time buyer’s credit.
The tax credit’s extension and expansion, coupled with such affordable deals and financing on homes in the Birmingham and Shelby Co. area really do suggest that—unless you plan to move again soon—you’re much better off owning, rather than renting, and—if you qualify as an existing owner and have been wanting to move—now’s the time.
Here’s yet another reason to show why Shelby county is such a good place to live…
Money Magazine has placed Alabaster,Â Calera and Helena in its top 100 Best Places to Live for 2009.
Alabaster’s steady construction and housing markets were noted by the magazine, while Helena gets praise for its housing market, along with cultural activities, scenery, and historical charm.
Calera was cited for its low crime rate and strong community values…
Of course, folks who live in these communities already know what a good place Shelby county is to live.Â Slowly, but surely, the word is getting out.
Housing inventory is plentiful right now:Â There are 366 properties presently available for sale in the Alabaster, Maylene and Saginaw areas, while 524 are for sale in Helena and Pelham (Shelby Co.).
Add interest rates for 30-year fixed loans around the 5.125% range, and it all spells a great opportunity to buy a home in the Shelby county and Birmingham market…
Money seems to be changing hands without too much difficulty at Alabaster’s Colonial Promenade. With the AmStar movie theaters, four restaurants and two ice cream places within walking distance of where I took this picture, parking spaces wind up at a premium some times.
The week before, Colleen and I found waits of over an hour at a couple of restaurants at the Promenade. We finally had to drive north into Hoover. With scenes like these, I’d have to say that central Alabama’s economy could be in a lot worse shape!