When ACRE, the Alabama Center for Real Estate, released its May market numbers this past week, it only served to underscore what local realtors already knew: Tuscaloosa and Northport home markets are very busy, challenging, and – more often than not – frustrating places for home buyers.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the key numbers from the report:
- May home sales up 6 percent from 2017
- Single-family homes accounted for 80 percent of residential sales, while condos represented 10 percent and newly constructed homes accounted for 10 percent.
- May results were 28 units or 10.3 percent above the Alabama Center for Real Estate’s monthly forecast.
- Tuscaloosa’s May housing inventory totaled 803 units, a decrease of 17.7 percent from May 2017. May inventory decreased by 1.6 percent from the prior month.
- Inventory has now declined 60 percent from the May peak (2,008 units) reached in 2008.
- The Tuscaloosa median sales price in May was $177,000, an increase of 5.8 percent compared to May 2017. The median sales price was up 1.4 percent from April.
- Historical data indicates that May median sales prices on average (2013-2017) increase by 5.7 percent from April.
- Residential sales in Alabama, however, increased 16 percent from one year ago, which is impressive considering the 10 percent drop in inventory.
The key takeaways?
- Sustained interest in buying a home in the Tuscaloosa and Northport markets is very high.
- The available homes those interested parties have to choose from are dropping greatly in number.
- Homes that are new to the market, in good shape and appealing go instantly.
- Buyers who can’t find the home they want are getting tired of missing out and are taking their 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th choice homes.
- Taken together with rising interest rate trends, the data forecasts that some buyers will move up in price where there’s more selection sooner and some buyers at the lower end of the price range will be knocked out of the market.
- Potential sellers can still rest pretty easy that their return on a sale will be fast and high despite interest rate rises due to continued low inventory.
- Buyers can expect to pay more for the homes they want and must be well-qualified, pre-approved, and ready to make attractive offers on new homes to the market or lose out.
Already, these May numbers are old news now in July with buyers finding it harder each week to find what they want. I routinely can’t even get buyers into new homes before they’re under contract. Speed and agility are the hallmarks now of a successful home search – and will be for the near future.
That said, buyers and sellers should be diligent in watching the national economic news. A likely recession looms for 2019 given the country’s budget, the trade war, rising interest rates, and possible election turmoil in the Fall, so market conditions – like the weather here in Tuscaloosa – can change rapidly.
The best defense? A good agent who knows the data and can steer you no matter the weather.
Looking for an agent that gives you free paid digital advertising for your home?
I’m also an expert in selling higher-priced homes. Contact me now: