Birmingham Area Real Estate Sales in August Very Strong

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for August 2012

Sales in August improved 12% to $252,563,959 from July’s $226,145,943, up 25%!! from last August’s $202,434,570. The 12 month moving average line for total dollar sales continues to be tilted upward. The last time we have seen a sales increase from July to August was in 2005 and 2006.

Unit sales were up 16% to 1,376 in August from 1,190 in July, an increase of 186. This is up 12% from August 2011 at 1,227. This is about .5% unfavorable to our projection of 1,384 sales expected for August and 8% unfavorable year to date. The complete monthly projections from ABRE, (a joint project between ACRE and Brander Real Estate) ,can be found here along with the worksheets that show the methodology. New sales improved 14% to 136 homes this month from 119 in July, an increase of 17 units. Used sales improved 19% to 1,240 homes in August from 1,071 last month, an increase of 169 (Sect E p.3).

This month total inventory is 20% lower at 9,835 vs. 12,225 last year and 10,964 last month. The drop in the current month is caused by month-end expirations which should come back on the market shortly. It is the 1st time in quite a while that total inventory is below 10,000. Active New listings decreased to 727 in August from 1,018 in July, a decline of 291 units (Sect E p.3). Note though, that new homes reached a low of 875 for sale in December and a high of 1,018 last month.  Housing permits went up for Jefferson County to 99 for July from 90 in June. Shelby County permits declined to 13 from 25 (see website for details).

Absorption rate for New and Used homes is deteriorating slightly. New homes are at 6 months supply this month with an improving sales pace, and better than last year at this time at 9 months (Sect E p.3). New home supply last month shows 8 months. Under $100,000 New homes are at 14 months supply and deteriorating. The New homes in the $100,000-$700,000 price range have normal inventory levels in the 4-6 month range. Higher price ranges ranges are one to two years of supply (Sect C p.1 and Sect E p.3.)

Absorption for Used homes in August shows 9 months, four months better than the 13 months last year. Used Active listings at 9,108 are lower than the 11,222 last year (Sect E p.3), (Sect E p.3). Interestingly, the under $100,000 market with an average list price of $47,000, which makes up 31% of all listings, is at 7 months of inventory, which drags the overall months of inventory down for all homes.

Birmingham area Average Days on Market for New houses was 204 compared to last month at 212. The Used homes DOM was 138 in August, 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. If the home is not selling, reduce the price, particularly since we are moving into the slower sales season of the year.

Average sales price for Sold New homes decreased to $258,495 from $262,178 last month (Sect A p2). Average sales prices for Sold Used homes decreased to $175,330 from $182,023 last month (Sect A p2). The average price for Used Homes has been moving up steadily since the beginning of the year. The 12 month moving average line for New home prices has also been heading up quite nicely since the beginning of the year. Average Home prices, new and used, are improving  (Sect A p2). The price of any specific home still remains under pressure. Just a note: the Average prices are up slightly from 2007 levels.

The differences between our numbers and the Board of MLS numbers are  due to our taking in all the data in the MLS system while they report on a more concentrated area picked from the whole; therefore we have more of the surrounding rural areas, which are not showing robust growth.

By: Tom Brander  9/15/12

4 thoughts on “Birmingham Area Real Estate Sales in August Very Strong


    Tom, what happened to all the shadow inventory that we were told would last for years? Has it just disappeared? Do you think if it is still around that the introduction of it into the market in the near future will adversely affect future positive sales figures? Thanks for providing such good sales stats.

    1. Tom Brander Post author

      Interesting question, I suspect a lot of the anxiety has subsided,, and that was some of the pressure. The improved market in turn has dramatically reduced the percentage of homes underwater. Next spring will tell a lot. As you know my current forecasts are based entirely on the -un-employment rate. While there are issues with this single measure, it is proving highly accurate.. so as long as that one stat continues to improve we are likely to see continued improvement in the Housing market.

      All that being said,, it is still somewhat baffling how fast the inventory has come down and the lack of shadow inventory effects.. It could be that we have worked through the bulk of it,, it has been a few years now..


    I think initial reports on the level of shadow inventory were probably overstated. Some of the inventory has already been absorbed into the market, but I still believe that there is some “hidden” inventory that will evetually hit the market. There are scattered areas across the country that are experiencing spikes in prices due to low inventory. If they introduce the “hidden” inventory back into the market I think that could bring those prices back down. It all depends how they handle that. I read yesterday that FannieMae sold a large bulk of properties…to itself, so it seems like there is some market manipulation going on, not sure. We will just have to see how things pan out.


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