Sales: According to the Athens-Limestone Association of Realtors, March residential sales in the area decreased 11.3% year-over-year (Y/Y) from 115 to 102 closed transactions. Following seasonal trends, sales increased 21.4% from February. Sales are down 9.2% year-to-date. Two more resources to review: Quarterly Report and Annual Report.
For all of the Athens (Limestone County) housing data, click here.
Inventory: March listings (114) increased 14.0% from February, and declined 18.0% from one year ago. At the current sales pace, all the active inventory on the market would sell in 1.1 months, down from 1.2 in February and down from 1.2 months in March 2021. The equilibrium point where buyers and sellers have roughly equal bargaining power is 6 months of supply.
Pricing: The area’s median sales price in March was $185,000, an increase of 15.6% from one year ago and a decrease of 0.5% from February. The differing sample size (number of residential sales of comparative months) can contribute to statistical volatility, including pricing. ACRE recommends consulting with a local real estate professional to discuss pricing, as it will vary from neighborhood to neighborhood.
Homes sold in March averaged 34 days on the market (DOM), 18 days faster than March 2021.
Forecast: March sales were 9 units, or 4.4%, above the Alabama Center for Real Estate’s (ACRE) monthly forecast. ACRE projected 202 sales, and actual sales were 211 units. ACRE forecast a total of 550 sales in the area year-to-date, while there were 527 actual sales through March, a difference of 4.1%.
Statewide Summary: Home sales declined slightly in March, falling 1.2% from one year ago. Contracts for March sales were likely finalized in January and February before mortgage rates began to rise sharply. Going forward, the housing market is likely to cool off somewhat as mortgage rates are now above 5%, with home sales in the state expected to decline by 5-10% from last year’s pace.
Home sales prices, however, continue to trend upwards but at slower rates of growth. The statewide median sales price gained 13.4% year-over-year in March, down from 18.7% in February. As demand slows, price growth is expected to moderate to the 8-10% range.
Rising home prices are largely a result of very limited inventory. Listings in the state increased 6.3% from the record low of 7,434 in February, but are down almost 20% from one year ago. Months of supply declined to 1.1, a record low, with the prior low of 1.2 reached in June 2021.
National Summary: According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing home sales declined in March, falling 2.7% from February (seasonally adjusted annual rate). Three of four regions of the country reported month-over-month declines while sales in the West were unchanged. Home sales also declined 5.8% year-over-year.
The median sales price for all housing types was $377,300, rising 15.0% year-over-year and marking 121 consecutive months of year-over-year gains. Rising home prices are largely a result of low housing inventory amid sustained demand. Existing home inventory totaled 950,000 listings at the end of March, up 11.8% from February 2021 and down 9.5% from 1.05 million listings one year ago. March’s 2.0 months of supply (MOS) increased from 1.5 during February but is down slightly from 2.1 one year ago.
Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR said, “The housing market is starting to feel the impact of sharply rising mortgage rates and higher inflation taking a hit on purchasing power. Still, homes are selling rapidly, and home price gains remain in the double-digits.”
Yun also said that he expects rates to continue rising, leading to a 10% reduction in home sales this year. Yun forecasts that home prices will readjust to 5% growth rates. He added, “Home prices have consistently moved upward as supply remains tight. However, sellers should not expect the easy-profit gains and should look for multiple offers to fade as demand continues to subside.”
Click here to view the entire monthly report.
The Athens Area (Limestone County) Monthly Residential Report is developed in conjunction with the Athens-Limestone Association of Realtors to better serve area consumers.
Editor’s Note: All information in this article reflects data provided to the Alabama Center for Real Estate for the time period March 3 – 31, 2022. Thus, the performance represented is historical and should not be used as an indicator of future results.