The University of South Alabama Center for Real Estate and Economic Development (CREED) released its latest economic snapshot for Mobile and Baldwin counties this morning, indicating a strong housing market in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic uncertainty.
The second quarter data, which includes sales and performance measures through June 2020, shows sales of existing homes falling short of 2019 levels for the early period of the pandemic, but rebounding last month to exceed last year’s volume by 13.2 percent in Baldwin County and 170.2 percent in Mobile County. Still, year-to-date volume of residential real estate transactions is down 2.1 percent in Baldwin County and 2.5 percent in Mobile.
Sales of new homes have met or exceeded 2019 levels in Baldwin County each month this year and in June reached a 19-year high of 232 units sold. June also recorded the second-highest number of single family homes sold in Baldwin County in 19 years, with a total of 805 units. The highest number was 853 homes sold in June 2005. The data shows the local real estate market is typically cyclical, with sales peaking during the summer months.
Bo Nichols of Nichols Real Estate told CREED business slowed for the first three to five weeks of the pandemic while the state was under a “stay at home” order, “but now I think that actually pushed what is our normal selling season back a couple months. Now I am seeing people scramble trying to get in a home before school starts.”
The median price of a home in Baldwin County is at its highest ever, rising 4.1 percent over 2019 to $241,400 in June 2020. Similarly, Mobile County’s median price of $145,000 represents a 1.2 percent increase over 2019 and its second highest median price ever. Still, those remain lower than the median sales price of homes nationwide, which was $313,200 in the second quarter of 2020, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
Michelle Talbott Rogers of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Cooper & Company noted that “despite the fact that pricing is increasing, home prices in our area are still extremely low.”
For the first two quarters of 2020, a total of 2,515 existing single-family homes changed hands in Baldwin County, with transaction volume totaling $666.7 million, according to the CREED report. In Mobile County, 3,011 existing single-family homes sold during the first two quarters of 2020, for a total transaction volume of $457.7 million.
Mary Cane of Courtney & Morris Real Estate suggested many out-of-state buyers with financial resources are relocating to coastal Alabama from larger metropolitan areas or either looking for a second home in a retreat community.
“Our region can offer all someone is looking for: resort areas such as Orange Beach; small-town atmosphere such as in Fairhope or Springhill; central downtown area for shopping and restaurants such as in Mobile, Daphne, or Fairhope,” Cane reported.
According to other realtors who provided feedback for the monthly report, the market has been sustained by low inventory, high demand, and historically low interest rates. The full economic snapshot can be seen here: https://www.southalabama.edu/colleges/mcob/creed/economicsnapshot.html
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