Alabama’s Fastest Selling Markets (July 2019)

Alabama’s Fastest Selling Markets (July 2019)

Topics: Research, Residential Real Estate

Markets: Athens (Limestone County), Birmingham Metro, Huntsville-Madison County, Morgan County (Decatur), Statewide, Tuscaloosa Area

The Alabama Center for Real Estate created the following rankings based on average days on market (DOM) for closed transactions during July. 

  1. 1. Birmingham - 34 days
  2. 2. Huntsville - 36 days
  3. 3. Athens - 38 days
  4. 4. Tuscaloosa - 54 days
  5. 5. Decatur - 55 days

 

Statewide Average - 89 days

National Average -  58 days

 

Birmingham- While properties in the Birmingham area sold a record pace in June, that momentum carried forward into July as the area was Alabama’s fastest selling market (34 days). Residential markets in the Birmingham area now have 32 consecutive months of Y/Y improvement in average DOM, an impressive streak that started in December 2016. Mirroring statewide trends but to a lesser degree, inventory was tight during July as listings were down 4.6% from one year ago. The market, however, is slowly adding inventory, with inventory gains remaining possible by year’s end. For comparison’s sake, the market is quite different from the Huntsville area, where 20-30% inventory declines are the new normal. On the demand side, total residential sales in the Birmingham area increased an impressive 9.1% Y/Y, building upon the growth seen in 2018, a record year for residential sales activity in the state. After a strong July, sales are now up 1.7 year-to-date (YTD). Home price appreciation moderated somewhat as the median sales price in the Birmingham area during July increased 0.7% Y/Y, but the market is up 6.4% YTD. With 3.5 months of supply, Birmingham is a strong seller’s market, a factor contributing to rising home prices. Dollar volume is on the rise as it increased 13.4% in July from $355.6 million one year ago to $403.2 million currently.  

 

Huntsville- Residential properties selling in July averaged 36 days on the market, an improvement of 7 days from one year ago. The area’s YTD DOM average improved from 63 in 2018 to 48 in 2019, making it the second fastest selling market in the state YTD behind Birmingham. With July’s improvement, the Huntsville area now has 35 consecutive months of Y/Y improvements in average DOM, a streak that began in September 2016. Mirroring statewide trends but to a greater degree, residential listings in the Huntsville metro area during July were down 28.8% from one year ago. Demand for housing was especially strong as sales increased 14.6% Y/Y from 753 to 863 closed transactions. While the area has, arguably, the tightest inventory in the state, and continued sales growth (up 7.6% YTD), it was not surprising to see home price appreciation in the area continue to trend upwards. Huntsville’s median sales price increased 5.5% Y/Y during July, slightly ahead of the statewide average of 4.6%. Dollar volume is rising fast as it increased 19% Y/Y from $181.8 million in July 2018 to $216.4 million in July 2019, making it the single largest month for sales activity in the Huntsville area in ACRE’s database.    

 

Athens- Driven in part by a strong new construction market, Athens was Alabama’s third fastest selling market in July with a DOM average of 38 days. Properties selling in July closed 7 days faster than one year ago, while the area’s year-to-date DOM average declined from 69 in 2018 to 51 in 2019. Average DOM in the Athens area has improved Y/Y for 21 consecutive months, a streak that began in November 2017. Mirroring trends seen across the north Alabama region, inventory declined 31.7% Y/Y, extending the streak of Y/Y inventory declines to 48 months. Similar to nearby Huntsville, demand for housing in the area remained especially strong as July sales increased 18.9% from one year ago. Sales are now up 8.3% YTD, the second strongest sales growth thus far in 2019 behind the Phenix City Area. With tight inventory and growing demand for housing in the area, it was surprising to see the area’s median sales price drop 3.9% Y/Y. Price appreciation, however, remains strong as the median sales price is up 8.3% YTD. Dollar volume was up an impressive 21.8% from $36.6 million one year ago to $44.6 million during July, extending the streak of Y/Y dollar volume gains to 43 months, a streak that began in January 2016. 

 

Tuscaloosa- Alabama’s fourth fastest selling market averaged 54 days on the market during July, an increase of 6 days from one year ago. Year-to-date, properties in the area are selling six days faster than in 2018. After 4 months of slight inventory gains, the Tuscaloosa area’s residential listings decreased 4.9% Y/Y, about half the statewide average of 9.9%. Of Alabama’s 14 metro areas*, only one experienced an inventory gain in July (Lee County, 11.2%). On the demand side, sales rebounded in July by posting a significant gain of 17.7% Y/Y. Even with the surge of sales activity, sales are still down on the year as they declined 1% from 2018. The area’s median sales price increased 5.3% from $170,800 to $179,900, while the YTD median sales price is up 5.3% from last year. Dollar volume rebounded with an increase of 15.1% from $52.9 million one year ago to $60.9 million currently. 


Decatur- Residential properties selling in July averaged 55 days on the market, an improvement of 1 day from one year ago. Year-to-date, properties in the Decatur area are selling 21 days, or 24.2%, faster than one year ago. Mirroring regional trends, inventory is also short in the area as listings declined 21% Y/Y. While total residential sales decreased in July (down 9.6% Y/Y), the market is now down slightly on the year (-0.2% YTD). Even with slowing sales activity, the area’s median sales price increased 8.2% Y/Y, well ahead of the statewide average of 4.6%. Dollar volume decreased 7.1% Y/Y from $27.7 million in July 2018 to $25.8 million in July 2019.  
 

 
**Includes Phenix City as a part of the Columbus, GA metropolitan statistical area. Includes Athens as a sub market of the larger Huntsville metropolitan statistical area.