February Birmingham Real Estate Sales a Good Harbinger For Spring

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for February 2012

It is shaping up to be good spring! Sales in February improved 20% to $136,263,984 from January’s $113,514,352, up 18% from last February’s $115,791,214. The 12 month moving average line for total dollar sales is tilted increasingly upward.

Unit sales were up 18% to 906 in February from 771 in January, an increase of 135. This is a 17% improvement from February 2010 at 773. This is 2.7% unfavorable to our preliminary projection of 930 sales expected for February. Our full year projections will be revised up due to the final January 2012 unemployment rate being better than expected. (I did not want to hold this report up any more to wait on that). New sales improved 29% to 111 homes this month from 86 in January, an increase of 25 units. Used sales improved  16% to 795 homes in February from 685 last month, an increase of 110 (Sect E p.3).

This month total inventory is dramatically lower at 9,756 vs. 12,483 last year and 10,519 last month. The drop in the current month is caused by month-end expirations which should come back on the market shortly. Active New listings decreased to 807 in February from 1,076 in January, a decline of 269 units (Sect E p.3).Housingpermits showed an increase in Jefferson County to 79 in January from 64 in December. Shelby County was up to 20 from 6 (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 about even with last year at this time at 8 months (Sect E p.3). New home supply seems to be stable. Under $100,000 New homes are at 18 months supply. The New homes in the $100,000-$400,000 price range have an almost normal inventory level in the 6-7 month range. (Sect C p.1 and Sect E p.3.)

Absorption for Used homes in February shows 10 months, three months better than 13 months last year. Used Active listings at 8,949 are lower than the 11,320 last year (Sect E p.3), (Sect E p.3).

Birmingham area Average Days on Market for New houses was 208 compared to last month at 215 . The Used homes DOM was 153 in February, compared with 143 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 entering the more active sales season of the year.

Average sales price for Sold New homes decreased to $240,076 from $242,347 last month (Sect A p2). Average sales prices for Sold Used homes increased to $137,881 from $135,288 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). The price of any specific home still remains under pressure.

TWB 3/16/12


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