Birmingham Area January 2008 Comments


Monthly Observations:

Total dollar sales declined 27% to $170,012,070 in January from $231,997,024 in December. Normally January is a down month, but this is one of the worst month to month declines we have seen. This is a 29%, deterioration from last January 2006 ($240,034,527), against 9% more active listings. (Chart section A page 4).  

Total unit sales deteriorated 23% to 911 in January from 1,189 in December a deterioration of 278 units. New sales declined to 219 homes this month from 411 in December, a deterioration of 178 units. Used sales decreased to 792 homes in January from 778 last month, a deterioration of 14 (sect E page 3).

Absorption rates for new homes improved slightly to 7.6 months from 8.3 of inventory last month. This is an increase of .7 months over last year at this time, (Section E page 3). Note that last months active count went up retroactively (since last months’ report), presumably as agents renewed listings that had lapsed at year end.

Absorption for used homes improved to 8.9 months of inventory in January from 9.0 in December. This is a 1.3 month increase from last year’s level at this time.  Against reduced sales, the reduction in month of inventory is due to reduced new listing activity, an important component to improving the oversupply situation, but keep in mind that reduced listing activity is normal at year-end, but keep an eye on the next few months.

There was a 4% decline in active listings from 13,375 active listings in December* down to 12,820 in January, a decrease of 555 units. There has now been five months of declining active listings (page E-3). There were 496 new house new listings (an increase from 337 last month). New houses new listings once again resumed the trend running well ahead of the rate of sales, unlike last month. (Section B page 1). Active New listings decreased to 3,250 in January from 3,626 in December, a decrease of 376 units (E-3). Active Used listings decreased to 9,570 this month from 9,749 last month, a decrease of 179 (page E-3).  

Average Days on Market for new houses improved to 121 days as compared to 127 days last month. Used houses deteriorated to 108 days compared to 70 days in December. (sec A page 18).  As many of you know we don’t place much credibility on Days On Market (DOM). We prefer absorption rates and months of inventory, call me for details if you need to.

Average sales prices for sold new homes increased to $260,580 from $251,434. (Chart sect A p2) Average sales prices for sold used homes decreased to $163,215 from $164,835. We are seeing an upward slope of the 12 month moving average prices for new, houses. The twelve month moving average slope of used house prices continues to slump. (Chart sect A p2)

 TWB 2/12/08

 *All references to last month (and earlier) numbers are revised, to pick up late entries (made after our prior publication date) to the MLS system.

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