September Birmingham Area New Home Sales Up


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Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for September 2010

Sales in September dropped 5% to $151,844,787 in September from August’s $159,840,301. This is a decline of 23% from last September, at $196,589,718. New home sales showed improvement for the second month in a row. The twelve month moving average of total dollar sales chart continues to show a downward slope.

Total unit sales were down 5% at 898 in September from 942 in August, a decrease of 44. This is a 26% reduction from September 2009 at 1,208. New sales improved 10% to 148 homes this month from 135 in August, an increase of 13 units. Used sales deteriorated 7% to 750 homes in September from 807 last month, a decrease of 57 (Sect E p.3).

This month total inventory is virtually the same as last year at 13,142 vs. 13,121. Active New listings decreased to 1,187 in September from 1,380 in August, a decline of 193 units (Sect E p.3). The number of housing permits this month has decreased to 44 in August vs. 45 in the prior month for Jefferson County. Shelby County also showed a decrease. (See the website for details).

Absorption rate for New homes at a  6.8 months supply and a reduced sales pace, is better than the 9.3 months last year at this time (Sect E p.3). While the situation is still  distressed, new homes seem to be getting sales and supply in balance. I would exercise great caution when considering building! Strangely, under $100,000 new homes are at 17.8 months of sales, while those priced from $100,000-$500,000 range from 5.3 to 6.5 months of inventory. (Sect C p.1 compare to last month and Sect E p.3.) New house inventories in higher price ranges (above $500,000) remain excessive at over a year. This situation has been grim for some time.

Inventory shows a modest decline for Used homes. Absorption for Used homes in September 2010 shows 11,955 Used Active listings (Sect E p.3) and 13.2 months of supply. This is slightly worse than the 12.8 months of supply last year at this time (Sect E p.3). The higher price ranges are doing poorly, but hopefully showing some signs of stability as New listings moderate. The market for houses requiring “Jumbo” loans remains stagnant.  It is distressing that a number of more affluent areas continue to have out-sized inventory. Homewood-Area 230, is one dramatic example, with used inventory now 362, very close to April’s all-time high of 402, a 15 month supply. Mountain Brook-Area 200, has 272 Used homes for sale, a 14 month supply.

Birmingham area Average Days on Market for New houses was 182 compared to last month at 202. The Used homes DOM was 134 in September, compared with 130 last month (Sect A p.18).
Average sales price for Sold New homes decreased to $227,961 from $236,898 last month (Sect A p2). Average sales prices for Sold Used homes decreased to $157,475 from $158,438 last month (Sect A p2). The twelve month moving average price line for both New and Used homes is heading up! This reflects a normalizing mix of home prices, with the elimination of the distortion due to sales of the lower-end being inflated by the tax incentives.  (Sect A p2). It’s still hard to read too much into average prices with the shifting mix.

TWB 10/10/10


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