The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

October 31, 2013

September home sales up 18% over year ago

By Budd McLaughlin

— It’s not quite a real estate boom, but September home sales in Athens-Limestone County were up nearly 5 percent over August and more than 18 percent over September 2012.

Helping was the average price of a home. It was nearly $7,000 less in September than in August and more than $13,000 from September a year ago, according to the Alabama Center for Real Estate.

The center’s monthly residential report showed 85 homes were sold in September in Athens-Limestone, compared to 81 in August for a 4.94 percent increase. In September 2012, 72 homes were sold. To date this year, 669 homes have been sold, compared to 665 over the same period a year ago.

The numbers are reflective of the state, which saw September sales up 12.1 percent over last September and 10.7 percent year-to-year.

But the local numbers from August to September ran counter to state sales, which slipped 15.7 percent.

Huntsville-Madison County residential sales were off 18.48 percent from August (552 homes sold) to September (450) and Decatur-Morgan County sales dropped 22.69 percent with 119 sales in August to 92 in September.

While sales in Huntsville-Madison County were up 12.78 percent from September 2012 to September 2013, Decatur-Morgan County was off 5.15 percent compared to the same time period last year, also known as year-over-year.

ACRE said statewide residential sales in September continued to gradually improve, up compared to the same period last year. Through September, sales are up 10.7 percent year-over-year.

But, as real estate experts expected, September statewide residential sales slipped 15.7 percent from August. The report said September sales, on average (2008-12), decreased from August by 7.9 percent.

The average price in September for a home in Athens-Limestone County was $154,109, a drop from $161,267 in August and off nearly 8 percent from $167,262 in September 2012.

Meanwhile, the median sales price of homes here edged up slightly to $148,900 in September from $148,715 in August.  However, it was down 1.39 percent from $151,000 last September. The median price is the midway point of all the sales prices. For example, if there were 101 houses sold during the month, the median price would be the price which is lower than 50 of the prices and higher than the other 50.

The statewide median selling price in September was $125,511, a decrease of .1 percent from last September. ACRE said the September median selling price traditionally decreases from August by 2.5 percent.

While sales were up locally, houses are on the market longer. In September, houses were on the market 138 days, up from 112 in August and 105 days in September 2012. The average for the year is 133 days. The statewide average for the year is 161 days on the market.