Birmingham January Real Estate Sales Better Than Last Year

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for January 2012

Sales in January declined 23% to $111,138,976 from December’s $144,973,823, up 7.6% from last January’s $103,296,527. The 12 month moving average line for total dollar sales remains tilted slightly upward.

Unit sales were down 22% to 753 in January from 963 in December, a decrease of 210. This is a 10% improvement from January 2010 at 684. This is 5% unfavorable to our preliminary projection of 792 sales expected for January. This error will be less as late sales are reported next month. Our full year projections will be revised when the final January 2012 unemployment rate is released in late March. New sales declined 37% to 82 homes this month from 130 in December, a decrease of 48 units. Used sales declined 19% to 671 homes in January from 833 last month, a decrease of 162 (Sect E p.3).

This month total inventory is dramatically lower at 9,812 vs. 12,183 last year and 10,414 last month. The significant drop in the current month is caused by month-end expirations which should come back on the market shortly. Active New listings decreased to 829 in January from 1,073 in December, a decline of 244 units (Sect E p.3).Housingpermits showed a decrease in Jefferson County to 64 in December from 77 in November. Shelby County was down to 6 from 19 (see website for details).

Absorption rate for New and Used homes is improving. New homes are at 7 months supply this month with a reduced sales pace, and even with last year at this time (Sect E p.3). New home supply seems to be stable. Under $100,000 New homes are at 16 months supply. The New homes in the $100,000-$500,000 price range have an almost normal inventory level in the 6-8 month range. (Sect C p.1 and Sect E p.3.)

Absorption for Used homes in January shows 10 months, three months better than 12 months last year. Used Active listings at 8,983 are lower than the 11,038 last year (Sect E p.3), (Sect E p.3).

Birmingham area Average Days on Market for New houses was 215 compared to last month at 209 . The Used homes DOM was 143 in January, compared with 141 last month (Sect A p.18). NOTE: DOM for Used Homes indicates that well priced homes are moving in less than 6 months. The high months of inventory indicates that sellers, including bank owners, are still holding out for higher prices. Again: If the home is not selling, reduce the price, particularly since we are in the slower sales season of the year.

Average sales price for Sold New homes increased to $243,501 from $237,784 last month (Sect A p2). Average sales prices for Sold Used homes decreased to $135,875 from $136,929 last month (Sect A p2). The twelve month moving average price line for Used Homes has been quite steady since mid 2009. Average Home prices, new and used, have stabilized  (Sect A p2). This is for the most part a reflection of the change of “mix” with more larger homes being sold, but the price of any specific home still remains under pressure.

TWB 2/11/12

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