Do the builders know something we don’t?
When they stick their collective fingers in the air to judge which way the wind blows do they sense economic fair weather ahead or just more of the same?
Judging by what’s happening with the market, national and regional builders are betting that better times are immediately ahead by listing some 68 new homes in Spanish Fort, Daphne and Fairhope since January 1.
Sure, some of the homes are not built, but drive through the subdivisions and you will see an outlay of cash for engineering work and utilities. These homes are going to be built.
About 19 percent of the 881 homes for sale on the Eastern Shores of the Mobile, Alabama metro area are new construction. It’s a $40 million bet that things are improving because that’s the value of the new home inventory.
The likely reasons:
n Pent-up demand for new construction after a virtual vacuum of new homes during the height of the Great Recession
n Price: The builders – many of them new – have retooled their price point and the buyers can’t help but notice that you can get a new home that’s cheaper than existing construction. (For example, a custom home with all the bells and whistles under $110/square foot.)
Currently, about 8 percent of the homes for sale are foreclosures or short sales, while in February these distressed properties accounted for almost a quarter of the sales.
In general, February was a solid month for sales, with 77 closings, little changed from the 74 sales this time last year, but up from 63 sales in January.
Here are the stats for the Eastern Shore:
Total houses for sale: 881
Homes for sale in Spanish Fort AL: 144
Homes for sale in Daphne AL: 283
Homes for sale in Fairhope AL: 454
Spanish Fort: 22
Closed sales for February 2012
Average sale price: $257,094, way up from $175,694 in January and $176,013 in December.
Median sales price: $172,900, again up from $150,000 in January and $160,000 in December.
List to sale percentage: 96.17%, a slight improvement over 96.02% in January and a big improvement over 94.66% in December
Spanish Fort: 9