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Old 09-06-2012, 08:03 PM
Location: Haymarket, VA
179 posts, read 426,774 times
Reputation: 89



My husband is contemplating a position in Huntsville so I've begun to look at real estate on line...and I'm drooling! We have moved around the country a great deal and I've never seen so many beautiful homes for sale in a prospective new home town in any of our prior searches! One is more lovely than the next, but does anyone here know why there ate so many beauties for sale or is this just business as usual in your area? Our budget is up to $650 but there are plenty of wonderful homes well below that price point. My hesitation is around having to sell the home in a few years as hubby is in aerospace and we never seem to stay anywhere more than 3-4 years. It seems to me, at least at first blush, that you have a buyer's market what with so many truly beautiful homes from which to choose, so reselling may be a challenge?

Any insights you can lend are greatly appreciated. And in case you don't know it already, Huntsville sure looks like a great place to live!

Oh, one more question: are there any 55+ communities we should consider (we are child free and circling the big 5-0)? Here in northern Virginia 55+ communities seem to hold their value better than more young family oriented communities so I'm wondering if this is the case in the Huntsville area?

Thank you in advance for any insight you can lend.
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:41 PM
Location: Huntsville
468 posts, read 847,668 times
Reputation: 295
Look for LCTMadison or Elizabeth in these threads.

Send either one a private message.
They can help you out directly.

They are both very knowledgeable - and will help you through this process.
The boards can get very confusing real fast!

BTW - Carlsbad is beyond compare! We used to visit that area multiple times when we used to live in CA.
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:11 PM
482 posts, read 928,603 times
Reputation: 195
Anything over $500K is a bit of a tough sell right now. First, you have a lot of local mortgage companies that are reluctant to lend on a jumbo loan (over $417K). Second, the ones that are lending for that have some pretty stringent (even by today's standards) requirements that are making it really tough for the high-end crowd to get money.

Who knows, 3 years down the road, we could live in a different world where it's easier to sell something like that. It's not really easy at the moment. You're probably looking at a ~20% chance of selling something in that price range right now. I haven't put pen to paper to get that number, but I think it would be in the ballpark.
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:25 PM
Location: Madison, AL
3,298 posts, read 5,745,945 times
Reputation: 2665
You are going to be better off...for future resale...staying below that $650k mark. Right now, the market up to $500k is pretty good, and getting pretty competitive. Now, that is going to have variations depending on what PART of HSV you are in...as we have several "micro" markets and in some the homes over $300k struggle to sell. We live in a town dominated by engineers, and "luxury" homes can be a tough sell for a frugal engineer But, from where you are coming from, you will find homes are MUCH more affordable in our area so you many not need to spend what you think you might.

About 85% of our buyers in the area look first to the SCHOOLS as to where to begin their search. The schools heavily drive our market (as is typical in most) so you might want to check out GreatSchools - Public and Private School Ratings, Reviews and Parent Community to see the school's scores, or I am sure others on here can give their personal input on schools. Madison City and SE HSV are the hottest real estate markets right now and have been for a LONG time, due to Bob Jones/James Clemens and Grissom, which have very high performance scores and both are nationally ranked.

We have very few 55+ communities here, and for that reason they do sell fairly well (supply/demand) but most are going to be a condo community. Single family homes sell best here.

We are still in a buyer's market...however, in many price ranges inventory is dwindling down mainly due to a resurgence of market activity this year brought on (more than likely...at least motivation from many of my clients) by the historically low interest rates, currently still UNDER 4% and lingering around 3.5% on a 30 and close to 3% on a 15
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Old 09-06-2012, 10:17 PM
7,524 posts, read 10,908,343 times
Reputation: 8126
Can we be a little honest with the OP, our two esteem Realtors on this board?

OP, the house appreciation rate in this area is nothing like you experienced on NoVA or in So. Cal. Historically, this area averages 2-3% appreciation a year IN THE GOOD TIME! We have been in a down market for several years now and it will be a few more years before the market pick up. If you only plan to live here 3-4 years, you'd better off renting. Do the math, the selling commission alone will cost you 6%, then you add the closing cost when you buy and when you see, that's another 6% (3% closing each time). Only buy here if you have a 10+ year outlook to stay in your new home.

We don't get that "ground swell" of price appreciation around here like in NoVA and So. Cal. I know what I am talking about, I lived in So Cal since 1985 and I've seen that cycle a few times. Yes I benefited from that "ground swell" and was able to buy a house in Westlake Village, and a few years later in Huntington Beach before we moved here in 2008. You lived in Calabasas so you would know about WLV's property value. I've also been visiting Huntsville on business trip since 1996 and know the housing prices here. The friends I've known since 1996, their properties have not appreciated that much, not what you would expect if you are in NoVA or So Cal. Buy here because you plan to stick around for a while. Otherwise just rent an Executive Mansion!
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Old 09-06-2012, 11:12 PM
Location: Haymarket, VA
179 posts, read 426,774 times
Reputation: 89
Thank you RatSnake...and yes, Carlsbad is a wonderful little town. We will visit in February and it will be my first trip back in five years. I'm bracing myself for the potential waves of homesickness!

Thank you for your direction
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Old 09-06-2012, 11:39 PM
Location: Haymarket, VA
179 posts, read 426,774 times
Reputation: 89
Ooops! My iPad didn't refresh to reveal the responses from Seth Parker, LCTMadison, or HB2HSV! Wow, you guys are terrific! I soooo appreciate all of the great information here!

Seth, we are experiencing the same lending constraints here that you are there but I hadn't really factored that until you mentioned it (big miss on my part) so thank you for bringing that to the fore. It's an excellent point!

LCTMADISON, I hear what you're saying about interest rates. In fact, we just refinanced our home here for the second time in three years. We bought at the bottom or near bottom in 08 and have cut our payment by 800 a month since we bought it. So by NOVA standards we are living on the cheap here in a big way. Our equity position and the fact that we are renting out our home in Colorado (because the market tanked as we were transitioning to Virginia) give us pause as we consider another move to another market. It's disappointing to hear that there aren't many options for 55+ communities for single family homes but I do appreciate knowing that in advance.

HB2HSV...thank you for your candor on the rental suggestion. We have never done that but the points you make combined with Seth's valid reality check about lending issues are important to weigh. The rub here is that hubby is an engineer with a war chest of tools and machinery and he needs a shop...and I have a sprawling machine embroidery business that I run out of our upstairs loft and I'm bursting at the seams (pun intended!). It amazes a lot of folks that two people need as much space as we do! We are big DIYers and have lots of gear...that might be asking quite a lot of a rental property...or would something like that be available? We have 5300 total square feet here and we do utilize most of it. It probably sounds nutty. And I suppose we could downsize if we needed to rent.

Really, you have all offered great insight and perspective I couldn't otherwise obtain. The stability of your market is another point of pause as you're quite right about the appreciation rates we have experienced out west and here in NOVA...Denver is probably on par with your market relative to appreciation which is why we are still holding that house. Thank you all, sincerely, for your time and collective candor. It is very helpful.

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Old 08-23-2014, 01:07 AM
442 posts, read 594,538 times
Reputation: 218
Default Huntsville/Madison County Residential Quarterly Report: "2nd quarter median sales price establishes new peak"

This thread is two years old but this recent AL.com article seems appropriate for it:

Huntsville/Madison County Residential Quarterly Report: "2nd quarter median sales price establishes new peak" | AL.com

According to the North Alabama Multiple Listing Service (MLS), the median sales price in the Huntsville/Madison County reached a new peak during the 2nd quarter at $175,633 which is also 8.0 percent from the same quarter in 2013. Historical data indicates that second quarter median price in 2014 increased by 4.9 percent from the most recent 3-year average and 4.0 percent from the 5-year quarterly average ('09-'13).

Supply: The housing inventory average during the second quarter was 3,215 units, an increase of 4.8 percent from the same period in 2013 and .8 percent below the second quarter peak in 2010 (3,240 units). There was 7.1 months of housing supply (6 months considered equilibrium during 2nd quarter) in the second quarter 2014 versus 6.6 months of supply last year, an increase of 7.1 percent. Historical data indicates that the second quarter inventory-to-sales ratio in 2014 decreased 1.4 percent from the 5-year average (7.2 months - best market performance in Alabama during this window) and decreased 2.8 percent from the 3-year average.

Demand: Residential sales during the second quarter by Huntsville standards can only be described as sluggish, a small slip of 2.4 percent compared to the same period a year earlier. The second quarter sales remain 28.7 percent off the peak experienced in 2003 when 1,912 units were sold. Historical data indicates that second quarter sales in 2014 increased by 6.6 percent from the most recent 3-year average ('11-'13) and 5.5 percent from the 5-year quarterly average ('09-'13).

The Huntsville/Madison Residential Quarterly Report is provided compliments of the ACRE Corporate Cabinet.

The Huntsville/Madison County Residential Quarterly Report is work product developed in conjunction with the Huntsville Area Association of REALTORS to better serve North Alabama consumers. The ACRE quarterly report is provided to illustrate the "general" market direction & trends when comparing prior periods with the most current available data. Real estate is local and statistics will fluctuate between areas within a city including subdivisions. ACRE recommends that you consult a local real estate professional for "specific" advice associated with your market.

About ACRE. ACRE was founded in 1996 by the Alabama Real Estate Commission, the Alabama Association of REALTORS and the Office of the Dean, UA Culverhouse College of Commerce. ACRE is not a state-funded entity, rather its operates in part because of the goodwill & generosity of our statewide ACRE Partners.
There is additional information at the link that I did not quote: Huntsville/Madison County Residential Quarterly Report: "2nd quarter median sales price establishes new peak" | AL.com

Seems like good news for the Huntsville area to me!
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