By: ACRE Research

Sales: According to the Lake Martin Association of Realtors, waterfront-area residential sales totaled 22 units during October, down 8.3 percent from 24 sales in the same month a year earlier. Results were 8.3 percent below the five-year October average of 24 sales.

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

Inventory: Homes listed for sale in the waterfront area during October totaled 253 units, an increase of 21.1 percent from October 2017’s 209 units and a decrease of 10.9 percent from September 2018’s 284 units.

Pricing: The Lake Martin waterfront median sales price in October was $485,000, an increase of 21.3 percent from one year ago and an increase of .7 percent from the prior month. This direction is inconsistent with historical data (2013-17) indicating that the October median sales price on average decreases from September by 11 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 October was 145 days, a decrease of 19 percent from 179 days in October 2017, and an increase of 9.8 percent from 132 days in September.

Forecast: October sales were five units, or 18.5 percent, below the Alabama Center for Real Estate’s (ACRE) monthly forecast. ACRE projected 27 sales for the month, while actual sales were 22 units. ACRE forecast a total of 310 residential sales in the waterfront area year-to-date, while there were 264 actual sales through October.

ACRE’s statewide perspective: While nationwide sales declined during September, residential sales in Alabama continued to grow during the early fall of 2018. Total residential sales in Alabama increased 8.5 percent year-over-year from 4,678 to 5,074 closed transactions. Year-to-date through September, statewide residential sales are up 6.8 percent from 44,272 one year ago to 47,283 currently. Home price appreciation in the state grew but at a slower pace than in previous months. The median sales price in September increased 0.6 percent from $161,480 to $162,482 while the year-to-date median sales price is up 4.4 percent from 2017. Although nationwide inventory levels are starting to stabilize, Alabama’s residential inventory decreased 8.9 percent from one year ago. Low inventory levels were a major 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 September spent an average of 90 days on the market, an improvement of 18 days from 2017.

NAR’s national perspective: During September, nationwide sales volume for existing homes decreased 9.1 percent year-over-year from 462,000 to 420,000 closed transactions. According to Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, rising interest rates played a significant role in September sales declines in markets across the nation. “This is the lowest existing home sales level since November 2015,” he said. “A decade’s high mortgage rates are preventing consumers from making quick decisions on home purchases. All the while, affordable home listings remain low, continuing to spur underperforming sales activity across the country.”