Birmingham Residential Real Estate Sales Strong in May

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for May 2015

Dollar sales in May experienced a seasonal improvement of 6% to $323,274,789 from April’s $305,091,148, up by 12% over last May’s of $289,612,036. The increase over last year confirms 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 3% to 1,551 in May from 1,505 in April, an increase of 46. This is up 4% from last May at 1495. The larger rise in dollar sales than unit sales indicates improving pricing, and suggests the lower inventory levels are making it more of a seller’s market. New sales decreased by 3 units to 140 homes this month from 143 in April and off from 134 last year. The price pressure and low inventory levels of new homes suggests a good environment for builders. Used sales were 1,411 homes in May, up 4% from 1,362 last month, an increase of 49, and up by 4% or 50 units from 1,361 last year (Sect E p.3).

ACRE numbers are slightly different from those we report. With ACRE, we released our 2015 forecast which can be seen here. ACRE reported: “Forecast: May sales were .8 percent or 1 unit above of our monthly forecast. ACRE’s year-to-date sales forecast through May projected 5,282 closed transactions while the actual sales were 5,260 units, a cumulative variance of .4 percent.” I also expect to see a healthy increase in new construction, which has been quite modest so far..

Total inventory is 1% lower at 10,338 vs. last month at 10,420 and 1% more than the 10,274 last year. Active New listings decreased to 937 in May from 1,274 in April, a decline of 337 units (Sect E p.3).  

Housing permits were down in Jefferson County to 117 in April from 125 in February, which is down from 119 last year. Shelby County went from 50 to 52 in April, up from 45 last year. I expect this pace 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 6.6 months supply this month, which is up slightly from 6.0 months last year at this time. Last month though, shows 9 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 May shows 8 months which is even with 8 months last year. Used Active listings at 9,401 are up slightly from last month at 9,146 but lower than the 9,462 last year (Sect E p.3). Market performance is highly area specific, so check the individual area charts. For instance, Mountain Brook has about 6 months of inventory except in the over $900,000 category, which has 9 months of inventory (50 homes), with 7 sold in that price range last month . The average days on market for that category is 76. 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 194 compared with last month at 198. The Used homes DOM was 114 in May vs 122 last month, (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes decreased to $287,643 from $314,478 last month (Sect A p2). Average sales price for Sold Used homes increased to $200,570 from $190,984 last month (Sect A p2). The moving average price for all homes has been up steadily for the past year. (Sect A p2). 

TWB 6/11/2015

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