Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for April 2014
As expected, April was stronger than March. Dollar sales in April improved by 12% to $252,454,462 from March’s $226,300,423, up by 8% from last April’s $234,410,879. The 12 month moving average line for total dollar sales continues to move up indicating improving market conditions. It seems that the slow start for the year due to weather is behind us, and we are seeing more normal results. Across all indicators, sales levels, average prices and inventory levels, it appears that the market has regained “normalcy” as distinguished from the crisis atmosphere of last few years.
Unit sales were up 8% to 1,357 in April from 1,265 in March, an increase of 92. This is up 1% from last April at 1,344. The greater percentage increase in dollars than units indicates an increase in average prices.
This year we are using the ACRE data and results for forecasting, which are derived in a slightly different method than this report. The time frame for the reports is now in the control of ACRE. Overall for the Birmingham market (based on the ACRE data), we expect unit sales for 2014 to be up by 8.2% over 2013. We therefore still expect some further market improvement.
New sales declined by 24 units to 129 homes this month from 153 in March and off from 136 last year. Used sales improved 10% to 1,228 homes in April from 1,112 last month, an increase of 116, and up by 17 units from 1,211 last year(Sect E p.3).
This month total inventory is 3% lower at 9,347 vs. last month at 9,647 and 10,378 last year. The drop in the current month is caused by month-end expirations which should come back on the market. Active New listings decreased to 732 in April from 993 in March, a decline of 261 units (Sect E p.3). Housing permits were up in Jefferson County to 133 in March from 101 in February. Shelby County went from 30 to 38 in March. This indicates considerable builder optimism.
Absorption rate for New homes is at 5 months supply this month which is two months better than last year at this time. Last month though, shows 7 months of supply (Sect E p.3). The New homes for the most part have normal inventory levels in the 1-7 month range. (Sect C p.1 and Sect E p.3.)
Absorption for Used homes in April shows 8 months, one month better than 9 months last year. Used Active listings at 8,615 are lower than the 9,469 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 four months of inventory except in the over $900,000 category, which has 10 months of inventory (41 homes) with five sold in that price range last month . The average days on market for that category is 46.
Birmingham area Average Days on Market for New houses is 221, compared with 231 last month. The Used homes DOM was 137 in April, compared with 137 last month (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes increased to $284,884 from $279,686 last month (Sect A p2). Average sales price for Sold Used homes increased to $175,655 from $165,115 last month (Sect A p2). The moving average price for all Homes has been up steadily for the last year. (Sect A p2).
Note the MLS has added 20 new areas #320-570, which seem to be placeholders for each county in the state. I need to think how best to handle this. This month there were a total of 64 active listings across all the new areas.