Looking for a house in Alabama? Good luck.
Alabama, as other parts of the U.S., is currently experiencing a combination of pent-up pandemic demand along with a dearth of homes to choose from.
And while the amount of existing inventory on the market hasn’t increased much this year, experts expect the amount available to remain stable.
Analysts say about six months of inventory – or available housing – is considered a balanced market, giving equal power to the buyer and seller.
More than that, and you’ve got a buyer’s market. Less, and the power reverts to the seller.
According to the Alabama Center for Real Estate at the University of Alabama, the state in August recorded 1.6 months of inventory, reflecting more than 11,000 houses on the market. And that’s actually an improvement.
Stuart Norton, data analytics coordinator at the Alabama Center for Real Estate (ACRE), said the level of available housing back in May was below 9,400 homes, the lowest on record.
ACRE reported a slight improvement in inventory between July and August.
Real estate website Zillow on Tuesday said a survey of real estate experts nationwide expect about 40% of inventory over the next year will come from homeowners selling existing housing.
Inventory was already low before the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and trended downward afterward.
Pandemic buyers, spurred by low interest rates and a year of some working from home, began shopping for new homes, causing a rise in prices.
In August, the statewide median sales price increased 6.6% year-over-year, from $203,049 to $216,396.
Norton said inventory is hard to predict, but one effect of the pandemic is that segments of older homeowners, who might be expected to downsize to smaller housing, have stayed put.
“Maybe they’re working from home, maybe their kids have moved back in with them,” Norton said. “It would make sense that we would see them gradually put their homes on the market in response to higher prices.”
The pinch in inventory is seen the most here, in these extremely tight markets, according to figures from ACRE:
- Calhoun County – 2.5 months
- Gadsden – 1.8 months
- Jackson County – 1.8 months
- Baldwin County – 1.7 months
- Lee County – 1.7 months
- Birmingham – 1.7 months
- Tuscaloosa – 1.4 months
- Marshall County – 1.3 months
- Montgomery – 1.3 months
- Mobile – 1.3 months
- Phenix City – 1 month
- Decatur – .9 months
- The Shoals – .8 months
- Athens – .8 months
- Huntsville – .8 months