By: ACRE Research

Sales: According to the Lake Martin Association of Realtors, waterfront-area residential sales totaled 11 units during January, down 15.4 percent from 13 sales in the same month a year earlier. Results were two sales below the five-year January average of 13 sales.

For all waterfront-area home sales data, click here.

Inventory: Homes listed for sale in the waterfront area during January totaled 223 units, an increase of 27.4 percent from January 2018’s 175 units and an increase of 17.4 percent from December 2018’s 190 units.

Pricing: The Lake Martin waterfront median sales price in January was $410,000, a decrease of 1.2 percent from one year ago and a decrease of 41.8 percent from the prior month. This direction is inconsistent with historical data (2014-18) indicating that the January median sales price on average increases from December by 1.1 percent. 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. The average number of days spent on the market (DOM) by waterfront homes that sold during January was 208 days, a decrease of 6.7 percent from 223 days in January 2018, and a decrease of 1.4 percent from 211 days in December.

Forecast: January sales were one unit, or 8.3 percent, below the Alabama Center for Real Estate’s (ACRE) monthly forecast. ACRE projected 12 sales for the month and actual sales were 11 units. ACRE forecast a total of 288 residential sales in the waterfront area in 2019, while there were 346 sales in 2018.

ACRE’s statewide perspective: After a strong 2018, statewide residential sales in January increased 1.1 percent year-over-year from 3,320 to 3,358 closed transactions. Home price appreciation in the state continued to climb as the median sales price in January increased 5.5 percent year-over-year from $143,152 to $151,015. Although nationwide inventory levels are trending upward, Alabama’s residential listings decreased 7.4 percent from one year ago. Low inventory levels were a significant factor contributing to rising sales prices throughout 2018. With low inventory levels, it is not surprising to see homes selling more quickly than in previous years. Homes selling in Alabama during January spent an average of 106 days on the market, an improvement of 10 days from 2018.

NAR’s national perspective: During January, total existing-home sales nationwide declined 9 percent from approximately 313,000 closed transactions one year ago to 285,000 currently. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, said, “Existing home sales in January were weak compared to historical norms; however, they are likely to have reached a cyclical low. Moderating home prices combined with gains in household income will boost housing affordability, bringing more buyers to the market in the coming months.”