Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for January 2015
Dollar sales in January experienced an expected seasonal decline of 35% to $154,737,263 from December’s $236,286,564, up by 12% over last January’s $138,585,163. The 12 month moving average line for total dollar sales is continuing to show a very steady upward trend indicating modest and consistent growth.
Total Unit sales were down 25% to 873 in January from 1,157 in December, a decrease of 284. This is up 4% from last January at 840. New sales decreased by 86 units to 89 homes this month from 175 in December and off from 91 last year. Used sales were 784 homes in January, off 20% from 982 last month, a decrease of 198, and up by 5% or 35 units from 749 last year(Sect E p.3).
Keep in mind the ACRE numbers are slightly different from those we report. With Acre, we released our 2015 forecast which can be seen here. We expect the Birmingham area to be 6% above 2014 levels. So this month’s unit increase of 4% is slightly worse than the projection. Based on what I see I expect pretty healthy market gains. I also expect to see a healthy increase in new construction, the beginnings of which we can see from the year over year gains in permits, below.
This month total inventory is 1% lower at 9,101 vs. last month at 9,195 and 9,347 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 912 in January from 1,058 in December, a decline of 146 units (Sect E p.3).
Housing permits were up in Jefferson County to 93 in December from 72 in November. Shelby County went from 10 to 41 in December. It seems that builders are anticipating a strong spring market. I think they are right. In addition, we are seeing a more significant number of Multi-family construction units (which we do not formally track or report) in most markets.
Absorption rate for New homes is at 6.5 months supply this month which is even with 6.4 months 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 depending on area and price range. (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 8,189 are lower than the 8,495 last year (Sect E p.3). 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 6 months of inventory (31 homes) with three sold in that price range last month . The average days on market for that category is 84. There are a number of MLS areas showing similarly low levels of inventory, including Homewood and Centerpoint.
Birmingham area Average Days on Market for New houses is 212 compared with last month at 189. The Used homes DOM was 130 in January vs 134 last month, (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes decreased to $295,257 from $310,600 last month (Sect A p2). Average sales price for Sold Used homes decreased to $163,851 from $185,266 last month (Sect A p2). The moving average price for all homes has been up steadily for the past year. (Sect A p2).