Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for March 2015
Dollar sales in March experienced a better than expected seasonal improvement of 27% to $266,141,196 from February’s $210,080,211, up by 17% over last March’s of $227,902,558. The increase over last year in the last three months indicates the beginning of a strong spring season. The 12 month moving average line for total dollar sales is continuing to show a very steady upward trend indicating consistent growth.
Total Unit sales were up 21% to 1,348 in March from 1,113 in February, an increase of 235. This is up 10% from last March at 1227. New sales increased by 26 units to 138 homes this month from 112 in February and off from 154 last year. Used sales were 1,210 homes in March, up 21% from 1,001 last month, an increase of 209, and up by 8% or 87 units from 1,123 last year(Sect E p.3).
Keeping 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 10% is ahead of the projection. Based on what I am seeing, I expect substantial 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% higher at 9,740 vs. last month at 9,607 and 3% less than the 10,028 last year. Active New listings decreased to 951 in March from 1,209 in February, a decline of 258 units (Sect E p.3).
Housing permits were down in Jefferson County to 98 in February from 101 in December, which is down from 101 last year. Shelby County went from 39 to 45 in February, up from 30 last year.I expect this pace of building to pick-up. 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 6.8 months supply this month, which is up slightly from 6.1 months last year at this time. Last month though, shows 8.5 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 March shows 7 months, one month better than the 8 months last year. Used Active listings at 8,789 are up slightly from last month at 8,398 and lower than the 9,196 last year (Sect E p.3). Market performance is highly area specific, so check the individual area charts. For instance, Mountain Brook has about five months of inventory except in the over $900,000 category, which has 8 months of inventory (44 homes), with six sold in that price range last month . The average days on market for that category is 121. 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 210 compared with last month at 209. The Used homes DOM was 130 in March vs 131 last month, (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes decreased to $294,485 from $299,312 last month (Sect A p2). Average sales price for Sold Used homes increased to $186,366 from $176,381 last month (Sect A p2). The moving average price for all homes has been up steadily for the past year. (Sect A p2).