Birmingham Spring Real Estate Season Off to Slow Start

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for April 2011

Sales in April declined 5% to $153,269,290 from March’s $161,546,070 down 31% from last April’s $220,966,609.  April historically shows substantial improvement over March. This month to month decline is very disappointing. We are seeing a very slow ramp up in spring sales. The tax credits last year will continue to make comparisons problematic.

Total unit sales were down 7% to 982 in April from 1,056 in March, a decrease of 74. This is a 29% reduction from April 2010 at 1,387. New sales declined 15% to 96 homes this month from 113 in March, a decrease of 17 units. (For what it is worth, this is less than half of last year’s new sales in April which were 202). Used sales declined 6% to 886 homes in April from 943 last month, a decrease of 57 (Sect E p.3).

This month Total Inventory is somewhat lower at 12,366 vs. 13,691 last year. Active New listings decreased to 1,044 in April from 1,266 in March, a decline of 222 units (Sect E p.3).  Housing Permits showed a slight increase in Jefferson County from 51 in February to 62 in March..

Absorption rate for New homes at a 8 months supply and a reduced sales pace, is about the same as 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 months of sales, while those priced from $100,000-$400,000 range from 6 to 9 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 (with a notable exception in the $800,000 to $900,000 range at 8 months) excessive at over a year.

Absorption for Used homes in April 2011 shows 11,322 Used Active listings as a lower number than 12,246 last year, (Sect E p.3) which is still 14 months of supply, a bit worse than 13 last year at this time due to reduced sales levels (Sect E p.3). There are some signs of increased listing activity, and a trend to higher inventories as spring approaches.

Birmingham area Average Days on Market for New houses was 221 compared to last month at 223. The Used homes DOM was 142 in April, compared with 139 last month (Sect A p.18). An interesting side note is that the DOM for used homes under $600,000 is 180 days or less which indicates that well priced homes are moving in less than 6 months. The high months of inventory indicates that sellers, including bank owners, may still be holding out too much for higher prices .

Average sales price for Sold New homes increased to $207,022 from $199,758 last month (Sect A p2). Average sales prices for Sold Used homes increased to $150,560 from $147,374 last month and decreased from $152,211 last year(Sect A p2). The twelve month moving average price line for Used homes has been quite steady since mid 2009. New homes prices continue to drift downward (Sect A p2).

TWB 5/14/11


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