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Home sales up in state as prices fall

Foreclosure filings were made on three homes in Butler County during the month of December, according to Realtytrac, a national website that tracks monthly foreclosures across the country.

The data places Butler County in the “high” range, according to Realtytrac with one foreclosure filing per 3,437 homes. The housing number is an estimate based on 2007 U.S. Census data.

Tess Ramage, from the University of Alabama Center for Real Estate, said local markets and state markets are all suffering because of a lack of buyers.

“One of the main problems is people are just not buying houses right now,” Ramage said.

The ACRE indicates the average selling price for a home in Alabama during December 2008 was $138,110, down 3.5 percent from November and 6.9 percent since last year. Last year the average home sold for $148,279.

Home sales did rise in the final month of the year, up from 2,246 units sold to 2,721 units sold in December. Falling prices have made existing homes more affordable.

The construction sector of the housing market, meanwhile, is still taking a beating in Alabama.

There were 579 building permits issued in the state last month, down 35 percent from December 2007.

The ACRE projects that “recent monthly declines in permit issuance should continue in the foreseeable future as homebuilders continue to yield to current market conditions.”

Metro-Markets and Midsize Markets saw a 22 percent and 26 percent increase in homes sold during December, according to ACRE.

Rural markets still struggled, though, as sales dropped five percent in December.

- Contributing, The Alex City Outlook