Area housing market sluggish in January
by Patrick McCreless
Mar 03, 2013 | 3822 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This foreclosed home was for sale in Golden Springs in October. (File photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
This foreclosed home was for sale in Golden Springs in October. (File photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
Calhoun County home sales grew little while average prices declined in January, according to figures released Friday.

Some real estate professionals say a preponderance of cheap foreclosed homes and rainy weather slowed the local market’s growth.

According to the Multiple Listing Service, just two more homes were sold in the county in January than during the same month last year. Meanwhile, the average home sales price for January was $4,712 less than it was in the same month last year.

The MLS figures showed 48 homes sold in the county in January, a slight increase from the 46 homes sold during the same month in 2012. At the same time, the average home sales price was $94,065 in January, a decrease from the $98,777 average sales price in January last year.

Everett King of ERA King Real Estate in Anniston said bad weather kept homes sales down.

“It’s no more complicated than rain, rain and more rain,” King said.

According to the National Weather Service in Calera, Anniston received 7.98 total inches of rain in January, 3.46 inches more than the average for the month. Also, January had 26 total days of rain, including three days of heavy rain, 16 days of light rain and seven days of average rainfall.

Joey Crews of Keller Williams Realty in Anniston, said sales of foreclosed homes caused the county’s average sales price in January to drop.

“The average price did go down, but I think that is a reflection of the lower prices of the foreclosures sold,” Crews said.

The statistics from the MLS show that 25 percent of the Calhoun County homes sold in January were foreclosures — sold at an average price of $36,450. The average price of county houses not owned by a bank was $113,271, however.

After the recession hit in 2008, many residents lost their jobs, resulting in a spike in foreclosed homes, driving down prices overall in the housing market. The market has not yet recovered.

The rest of the state fared better in January.

According to the Alabama Center for Real Estate, average state home sales increased 6.7 percent in January compared to the same month last year. Still, the statewide average sales price declined to $131,753 in January compared to $135,094 in January last year.

Keivan Deravi, an economist at Auburn University Montgomery, said the statewide housing figures indicate growing activity in Alabama’s housing market.

“Homes below the median prices are moving … being used for rental property … those that are more moderately priced are easier to move,” Deravi said. “It’s all speculative moves … it’s basically a good indication the market is beginning to percolate.”

Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star.

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