Birmingham December Real Estate Sales: Slow End To A Slow Year

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for December 2010

Sales in December declined 3% to $125,201,766 from November’s $129,571,306 down 23% from last December’s $162,711,899.  For 2010, dollar sales were $2,119,566,266 down 10% from $2,344,766,833 in 2009. The housing market continues to be distressed with the twelve month moving average of total dollar sales chart still to showing a downward slope.


Birmingham Dollar Sales

Birmingham Dollar Sales

Total unit sales were up 3% to 813 in December from 789 in November, an increase of 24. This is a 14% reduction from December 2009 at 941. New sales improved 8% to 110 homes this month from 102 in November, an increase of 8 units. Used sales improved 2% to 703 homes in December from 687 last month, an increase of 16 (Sect E p.3). For 2010 there were 13,140 homes sold, an 8% reduction from  the 14,275 in 2009.

This month total inventory is virtually the same at 11,431  vs. 11,922 last year. Active New listings decreased to 1,078 in December from 1,262 in November, a decline of 215 units (Sect E p.3). The number of housing permits this month was up to 35 in November vs. 24 in the prior month for Jefferson County. Shelby County was down to only 3. (See the website for details).


Birmingham Inventory and Absorption

Birmingham Inventory and Absorption

Absorption rate for New homes at a 7 months supply and a reduced sales pace, is better than the 8 months last year at this time (Sect E p.3). While the situation is still  distressed, New homes seem to be selling, and supply is keeping in balance. Strangely, under $100,000 New homes are at 16.4 months of sales, while those priced from $200,000-$500,000 range from 5.3 to 6.5 months of inventory, a pretty “normal” situation in such abnormal times.. (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.


Inventory shows a modest continuing seasonal decline for Used homes. Absorption for Used homes in December 2010 shows 10,353 Used Active listings (Sect E p.3) and 12 months of supply. This is slightly worse than the 11 months of supply last year at this time (Sect E p.3).


Since May the number of Used Active listings has dropped by almost 2,000!Unfortunately, the drop has been due more to cancellations than sales, but it is still somewhat positive news. It is also important to note that much of the decline is seasonal as sellers wait out the slow winter months. The higher price ranges are troubled, but hopefully showing some signs of stability as New listings moderate.


Birmingham area Average Days on Market for New houses was 194 compared to last month at 193. The Used homes DOM was 143 in December, compared with 133 last month (Sect A p.18).


Average sales price for Sold New homes decreased to $206,568 from $219,381 last month (Sect A p2). Average sales prices for Sold Used homes decreased to $145,774 from $156,032 last month (Sect A p2).


The twelve month moving average price line for both New and Used homes was heading up, but now has a downward hook at the end. (Sect A p2).

TWB 1/9/11


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