Birmingham Real Estate Sales Off To Slow Start In The New Year


Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for January 2011

Sales in January declined 25% to $96,431,926 from December’s $128,898,461, down 13% from last January’s $110,758,827.  This was the worst monthly showing that we have on record. But then, January has always been the weakest month of the year. So, I would not read too much into any of the numbers this month.

Total unit sales were down 26% to 636 in January from 856 in December, a decrease of 220. This is a 12% reduction from January 2010 at 723. New sales declined 30% to 78 homes this month from 112 in December, a decrease of 34 units. Used sales declined 25% to 558 homes in January from 744 last month, a decrease of 186 (Sect E p.3).

This month total inventory is virtually the same at 11,636  vs. 11,926 last year. Active New listings decreased to 1,087 in January from 1,205 in December, a decline of 118 units (Sect E p.3). The number of housing permits this month was unchanged at 35 in December for Jefferson County. Shelby County was up from 3 to 19. (See the website for details).

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 16.8 months of sales, while those priced from $200,000-$500,000 range from 5.3 to 6.3 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 January 2010 shows 10,549 Used Active listings (Sect E p.3) and 12 months of supply, the same as last year at this time (Sect E p.3). Since May 2010 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 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 228 compared to last month at 194. The Used homes DOM was 152 in January, compared with 143 last month (Sect A p.18).

Average sales price for Sold New homes decreased to $200,759 from $205,493 last month (Sect A p2). Average sales prices for Sold Used homes increased to $144,754 from $142,316 last month (Sect A p2). The twelve month moving average price line for both New and Used homes has been trending up, but now has a downward hook at the end. (Sect A p2).

TWB 2/13/11

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