Housing sales total $8.7M in 3Q

Published 2:33 am Saturday, October 14, 2017

Low inventory slows sales in county, nation

The average sales price for homes in Covington County was down slightly in the third quarter, compared to last year, but the number of homes sold is up.

Local Realtor Donna Raines of Advantage Realty provided the data from the county’s multiple listing service.

Local numbers are in contrast with national trends, which have shown declining sales trends over the last few months.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, attibutes the national slowing of the sales pace to strained supply levels, and the lasting effects of hurricanes which have impacted the South.

“Some of the South region’s decline in closings can be attributed to the devastation Hurricane Harvey caused to the greater Houston area,” Yun said. “Sales will be impacted the rest of the year in Houston, as well as in the most severely affected areas in Florida from Hurricane Irma. However, nearly all of the lost activity will likely show up in 2018.”

Locally, Raines said, there continues to be a shortage of mid-range priced homes on the market.

“We have an inventory shortage, particularly I the $80,000 to $150,000 range,” she said.

In the third quarter, local realtors closed 79 properties, compared to 67 units in the same period last year. The sales were for homes in Andalusia (31), Opp (28), Gantt/Point A (13), and in the county (nine).

The average selling price was $111,161, compared to $117,103 in the same period last year, and the homes moved much more quickly, remaining on the market an average of 192 days in 2017, compared to 245 last year.

Most of those purchasing homes paid cash, followed by conventional mortgages. Some new owners had FHA, VA, USDA financing, or depended upon owner-financing.

The national market is strained for buyers and sellers, Yun said.

“Market conditions continue to be stressful and challenging for both prospective first-time buyers and homeowners looking to trade up,” said Yun. “The ongoing rise in home prices is straining the budgets of some of these would-be buyers, and what is available for sale is moving off the market quickly because supply remains minimal in the lower- and mid-price ranges.”