Our market spotlight for April focuses on the Athens area. Athens was also listed as one of the top five markets to watch in 2019. Through the first quarter of the year, Athens has lived up to being just that.
In March, the Athens area real estate market saw improvements across the board. Total sales increased 16.1 percent year-over-year (y/y), from 143 units to 166 units. Over 40 percent of the total sales were from new construction homes. The 166 units sold is the highest total of March sales over the past 10 years. Over a five-year period, sales are 47.4 percent above the average of 113 transactions. The median sales price saw a slight increase of 1.1 percent, from $209,900 to $212,262. Although the y/y increase was small, median sales prices were still 22.4 percent above the five-year average of $173,406. The Athens area average sales price grew 7.2 percent to $240,659. Days on market, total units listed, and months of supply were all trending downwards. Days on market (DOM) improved 3 days y/y from 73 to 70. The Athens area’s DOM is 33.7 percent below the five-year average. Total units listed decreased 26.1 percent y/y, from 460 to 340 listings, extending the streak to 32 straight months of inventory declines. Lastly, months of supply declined 32.3 percent, dropping from 3.2 months to 2.0 months indicating elevated bargaining power for sellers.
The Athens area’s Q1 real estate statistics were also very strong. Q1 sales increased 14 percent YoY, increasing from 379 units to 432. Median sales price in Q1 increased 11.4 percent YoY, improving from $196,600 to $219,028. The Q1 median sales price was also 30.4 percent above the five-year average sales price of $168,006. Similar to the March statistics, DOM, total units listed, and months of supply also trended downwards. DOM improved from 76 to 59 days, a decrease of 21.9 percent. Similarly, total units listed decreased 25.4 percent YoY and months of supply improved from 4.0 months to 2.6, a decrease of 34.7 percent.
Besides the strong real estate market, Athens has been a center for economic development. Recently, Toyota announced a plan to build a $50 million facility and create 400 new jobs. Limestone County also topped all counties in Alabama in new investments and job creation in 2018. With the strong start in 2019, it will be interesting to see if the real estate success continues or if any more business plans are announced in the near future.