If you’ve joined the Zillow craze lately, you’ve seen just how hot the housing market is in Alabama. We spoke to some Alabama Realtors to get the scoop on what’s going on and how buyers and sellers can navigate the whirlwind.
Hot, hot, hot!
It’s no secret that the Alabama real estate market is on fire right now. With an influx of buyers, houses are going so fast you might get whiplash. When I spoke to Coke Williams at LAH Real Estate, he mentioned that he witnessed a house close in a fast five days. I’m dizzy just thinking about that speed.
“Right now the housing market is crazy. The inventory of houses for sale has been low for a couple years now. The combination of low inventory and extremely low interest rates has made it so that people can afford a lot more house than they could before, and it has really created this perfect storm. So now, updated homes that are in good locations move very fast with lots of interest.”Coke Williams, LAH Real Estate
By the numbers
The Alabama Center for Real Estate‘s (ACRE) latest report shows that demand for houses in Alabama is up 23% in March 2021 over March 2020, following ten straight months of similar gains. The inventory of houses has dropped 46% in the same time period. Based on this data, it’s easy to see how the market favors sellers right now.
“Over the last year, we’ve seen housing prices increase tremendously, even at the start of the pandemic. Interest rates are low as well, which I believe is a factor in getting people out to actually buy houses.
Overall it has created a seller’s market, and we’ve seen some bidding wars happen as a result. I started working in real estate in 2004, and I’ve been through the ups and downs of the market, but I haven’t seen a seller’s market like this before.”Joy Everson, RealtySouth
Advice for buyers
As a seller’s market, it can be dizzying to navigate the current housing market in Alabama. Especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer, things can get a little overwhelming. Realtors are seeing many houses with multiple offers. However, there are a few tips and tricks that buyers can use to help find their next home.
- Find a Realtor who knows the area
- Do your research on the average price of houses in the area
- Come prepared to showings
- Ask plenty of questions
There are some myths flying about concerning buying a house in this market. For example, many people have heard that every house is in a bidding war and everything is going for over asking price. But, as Williams says, that’s not always the case.
“There is this folklore that all homes sell for 10% over listing price and they all have multiple offers, but that’s just not true. Certain homes do, but I want to debunk the idea that every house on the market is in that position.”Coke Williams, LAH Real Estate
Advice for sellers
As the market continues to be filled with buyers looking for houses, it can be a lot for sellers to process. But there are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare to put your house on the market.
- Keep it clean and updated
- Keep the price in line with the surrounding area
- Start looking for a new home when your house lists
According to Williams at LAH, the hottest price range on the market today is in the $300,000-$550,000 range. Another record he’s seen is one house sell for $50,000 above the asking price, but he says those situations are still very rare.
One trend Cameron Weavil, a Mobile-based broker, has seen, with regard to people selling homes, is sellers’ fear of not being able to find a house after putting theirs on the market.
“We are seeing potential sellers not listing their houses due to the fear of ‘where are we going to go next?’
We also see a lot of ‘one time show and sales’ where properties never actually go on the market. When buyers have a limited supply, they start knocking on doors of houses they like and submitting unsolicited offers.”Cameron Weavil, The Weavil Company
Overall, while the housing market is on the up and up, there are good resources for both buyers and sellers as they prepare to get into the real estate market. For buyers, getting a knowledgable agent and asking questions can do wonders to ease the process.