Birmingham Real Estate Sales Show Positive Trends in February

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for February 2013

Dollar sales in February improved by 15% to $156,249,103 from January’s $136,050,964, up a healthy 11% from last February’s $141,182,366. The 12 month moving average line for total dollar sales continues to move up indicating improving market conditions. We are still in the slowest three months of the sales season, so it is best not to try to read too much into these results, although the year over year gains are meaningful.

Unit sales were up 7% to 920 in February from 857 in January, an increase of 139. This is down 2% from February 2012 at 936.BhamFebUnits Our ABRE/ACRE Projections for 2013 projected 1020 sales for February and of course the reported number will increase as late sales are reported. For now, the projections indicated 10% higher than achieved for the month and 6% for the year. Please see here for a summary of the projections and here is the spreadsheet with details and month by month projections by area (see the tabs on the bottom).  New sales improved by 8 units to 99 homes this month from 91 in January and are off from 116 last year. Used sales improved 7% to 821 homes in February from 766 last month, an increase of 55,  and up 1 from 820 last year(Sect E p.3).

This month total inventory is 14% lower at 9,028 vs. 10,458 last year and 9,410 last month. The drop in the current month is caused by month-end expirations which should come back on the market shortly. It is encouraging to see total inventory remaining below 10,000. Active New listings decreased to 765 in February from 1016 in January, a decline of 251 units (Sect E p.3).  Housing permits went way up in Jefferson County to 96 for January from 62 in December. Shelby County permits went down to 16 from 17 (see website for details).

Absorption rate for New and Used homes is fairly steady. New homes are at 6 months supply this month which is  better than last year at this time at 8 months (Sect E p.3). New home supply last month shows 8 months. Under $100,000 New homes is at 11 months supply. The New homes in the $100,000-$700,000 price range have normal inventory levels in the 5-8 month range. Higher price ranges are one to two years of supply, although over $900,000 the new inventory is at 3 months (only one home). (Sect C p.1 and Sect E p.3.)

Absorption for Used homes in February shows 8 months, two months better than the 10 months last year. Used Active listings at 7,999 are lower than the 9,487 last year (Sect E p.3). Interestingly, the under $100,000 market with an average list price of $59,571, which makes up 33% of all listings, is at 7 months of inventory which drags down the overall months of inventory for all homes. The number of homes in the over $900,000 price range is beginning to climb from a low level but the months of inventory is still high  (14 months) due to reduced sales levels.

Birmingham area Average Days on Market for New houses is 197 compared to last month at 201. The Used homes DOM was 147 in February, compared with 146 last month (Sect A p.18). NOTE: DOM for Used homes indicates that well priced homes are moving in less than 6 months.

Average sales price for Sold New homes increased to $266,885 from $225,344 last month (Sect A p2). Average sales price for Sold Used homes increased to $158,133 from $150,842 last month (Sect A p2). The moving 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.

TWB 3/9/13


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