Birmingham Area June Real Estate Sales Strong

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for June 2009

1st Half Total $ Sales Total Unit sales New Unit sales Used Unit sales
2008 1,503,471,483 8114 1926 6188
2009 1,021,998,734 6289 1029 5260
% difference -32% -22% -47% -9%

The 1st half numbers speak for themselves.

Sales increased from May, which always happens (except last year when the “freefall” began). Dollar sales were up 11.5% to $229,642,119 in June vs. $206,050,289 in May. That is off 17.6% from last June ($278,716,530). Keep in mind that June is usually the peak sales month of the year. The next few months will be telling as we enter into the weaker sales period. The first thing I look at every month is how the twelve month moving average line on the total dollar sales chart is looking. I’ll start feeling positive when it stops pointing down. I noticed a very slight “leveling” of the downward slope for the numbers of homes being sold (sect a p 2).

Total unit sales improved by 8% to 1,272 in June from 1,181 in May, an increase of 91. This is a 14% decline from June 2008 (1,486). New sales gained 34% to 215 homes this month from 178 in May, a gain of 55 units. Used sales improved 3.5% to 1057 homes in June from 1021 last month, an increase of 36 (sect e p 3).

A bit of good news: total inventory is down 17% from last year at this time at 13,064 vs. 15,690. Active New listings decreased to 1,865 in June from 2,262 in May, a decline of 397 units (E-3).  It seems that builders are pulling back, evidenced by low numbers of housing permits in the area (61 in May vs. 103 in the prior month for Jefferson County). The moderation is a good sign.  The trend is similar in Shelby County (see the web site for details). New inventory is reaching the1,800 or so level which reflects more normal pre-2004 levels. In light of the heavy Used inventory, and low sales levels, I would not be in a rush to build! (sect c p 1, and sect e p 3).

Absorption rates for New homes improved to 9 months from 10 months of inventory last month, and is about even with 8 months last year at this time (sect e p 3). New house inventories in the higher price ranges (above $500,000) remain excessive at over a year, but there was a modest uptick in sales in the higher price ranges.

June 2009 shows 11,139 Used active listings (sect e p 3). Absorption for Used homes is holding steady at 12 months of supply. This is about the same as last year’s level at this time (sect e p 3). As with the New  home market, the higher price ranges are doing poorly, but experienced a modest uptick in sales this month.

The primary reduction in Used homes for sale is occurring in areas such as 170 North Birmingham/Norwood, 160 Eastlake, 130 Centerpoint, while 140 Trussville, 200 Mountain Brook, and 230 Homewood are all up. The market for houses requiring “Jumbo” loans remains challenged.

Birmingham area Average Days on Market for New houses increased to 202 days as compared to 192 days last month. One way to look at DOM is that older inventory is beginning to move, so increases in this number are not all bad! Used houses increased to 112 from 110 in May (sect a p 18).

Average sales price for Sold New homes decreased to $231,934 from $234,030 last month (sect a p 2). Average sales prices for Sold Used homes increased to $170,081 from $165,137 last month (sect a p 2). The twelve month moving average price line on all categories of houses, New, Used, and Total shows a substantial downward slope (sect a p 2). It’s hard to read too much into average prices with the continued absence of higher end sales.

TWB 7/11/09


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