Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for January 2014
Dollar sales in January declined more than expected at 37% to $130,289,175 from December’s $209,282,990, off by 6% from last January’s $138,256,215. The 12 month moving average line for total dollar sales continues to move up indicating continued improving market conditions.
Unit sales were off 29% at 780 in January from 1,107 in December, a decrease of 327. This is down 11% from December at 873. I expect that weather and exceptionally strong December results have exaggerated the decline and expect that we will see more normal results as the year evolves.
New sales declined by 52 units to 85 homes this month from 137 in December and are down modestly from 94 last year. Used sales declined 28% to 695 homes in January from 970 last month, a decrease of 275, and down by 86 units from 781 last year(Sect E p.3).
This month total inventory is 8% lower at 8,572 vs. last month at 9,041 and 9,454 last year. The drop in the current month is caused by month-end expirations which will come back on the market. We are seeing a seasonal downtick in inventory which is slightly lower than prior years. Active New listings decreased to 760 in January from 1,000 in December (the highest level since September 2011), a decline of 240 units (Sect E p.3). Housing permits were down in Jefferson County to 52 in December from 53 in November. Shelby County went from 24 to 22 in December.
Absorption rate for New homes is at 6 months supply this month which is one month better than last year at this time. Last month though, shows 8 months of supply (Sect E p.3). The New homes for the most part have normal inventory levels in the 1-7 month range. The $700,000- $800,000 new inventory is at 10 months (7 homes). (Sect C p.1 and Sect E p.3.)
Absorption for Used homes in January shows 7 months, one month better than 8 months last year. Used Active listings at 7,812 are lower than the 8,609 last year (Sect E p.3). The market performance is highly area specific, so check the individual area charts. For instance, Mountain Brook has about three months of inventory except in the over $900,000 category, which has 7 months of inventory (29 homes) with three sold in that price range last month . The average days on market for that category is 154.
Birmingham area Average Days on Market for New houses is 204, compared with 213 last month. The Used homes DOM was 152 in January, compared with 135 last month (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes decreased to $260,682 from $281,441 last month (Sect A p2). Average sales price for Sold Used homes decreased to $155,585 from $176,006 last month (Sect A p2). The moving average price for all Homes has been up steadily for the last year. (Sect A p2).