Birmingham Area MLS*Monthly Observations:
Important note: Last month Birmingham Area MLS merged the Calhoun county (Anniston area) MLS into its’ database, this report includes those areas (152, 154, 156 and 158) and history going back to 2005. It has minimal effect on the data we are presenting. But note that last months report does not track to this months but the history is now incorporated in this report making comparisons within this report valid.
After wondering for months if we would ever see the bottom of the market decline, this month showed some sign that the bottom may be in sight. It is certainly too early to declare a bottom and we have no idea of how long the malaise may last, but in all of the Alabama markets we monitor, we saw the first possible signs of a bottom. After 7 straight months of dollar sales declines we had a minor uptick this month. This was accompanied by a small reduction in housing inventories both in absolute numbers and “months of inventory”.
Total dollar sales improved 5% to $195,371,951 in February from $186,642,862 in January. Normally February is a bit up from January, and this increase looks a bit weak, but against the prior months decline and national background, we’ll take it! (Chart section A page 4).
Total unit sales improved 12% to 1,150 in February from 1,029 in January an improvement of 121 units. New sales improved to 282 homes this month from 240 in January, an improvement of 42 units. Used sales improved to 868 homes in February from 789 last month, an inprovement of 79 (sect E page 3).
Absorption rates for new homes improved to 7.3 months from 8.4 of inventory last month. This almost identical to last year at this time, (Section E page 3).
Absorption for used homes remained at 9.3 months of inventory in February. This is a 1.5 month increase from last year’s level at this time. Keep in mind that reduced listing activity is normal at year-end, but keep an eye on the next few months.
***There was a 5.3% decline in active listings from 14,634 active listings in January* down to 13,864 in February, a decrease of 770 units. There has now been six months of declining active listings (page E-3). There were 379 new house new listings (an decrease from 555 last month). Active New listings decreased to 3,135 in February from 3,672 in January, a decrease of 537 units (E-3). Active Used listings decreased to 10,729 this month from 10,962 last month, a decrease of 233 (page E-3).
Average Days on Market for new houses deteriorated to 138 days as compared to 121 days last month. Used houses remained even at 107 days compared to 108 days in January. (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 decreased quite dramatically to $222,464 from $256,560. (Chart sect A p2) Average sales prices for sold used homes decreased to $152,808 from $158,515. (Chart sect A p2)
*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.