September Birmingham Area Real Estate Sales Healthy

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for September 2015

In June the Birmingham MLS changed its base system. We have recoded the data to be consistent. Let me know if you see anything strange!

Dollar sales in September experienced a seasonal decline of 4% to $281,294,140 from August $294,134,174, off by 3% over last September’s of $290,074,074. The 12 month moving average line for total dollar sales has flattened. It seems to me that there has been a somewhat larger number of late reported sales which means that prior month totals are higher than what we showed last month by larger amounts than has historically been the case. It is important to view overall trend and not get hung up on the precision of the latest month’s number.

Total Unit sales were down 3% to 1,451 in September from 1,497 in August, a decrease of 46. This is even  with last September at 1455. New sales were even at 167 homes this month and 168 in August and off from 178 last year. The price pressure and low inventory levels of new homes suggests a good environment for builders. Used sales were 1,284 homes in September, down 3% from 1,329 last month, a decrease of 45, and up by 70 units or .6% from 1,277 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. For August, the latest available: August sales were 8%  or 62 unit below our forecast. ACRE’s year-to-date sales forecast through August projected 9,211 closed transactions while the actual sales were 9,265 units, a cumulative variance of .6%.

Total inventory is about even this month at 10,216 vs. last month at 10,288 and about even with 10,162 last year. Active New listings decreased to 936 in September from 1,015 in August (Sect E p.3).

Housing permits were off in Jefferson County to 90 in August from 130 in July, which is up from 58 last year. Shelby County went from 65 to 28 in August, off from 31 last year. We are seeing a more significant number of multi-family construction units (which we do not formally track or report), in most markets. I am pleased to see increases in new home building.

Absorption rate for New homes is at 6 months supply this month, which is even with 6 months last year. (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. The $800,000-$900,000 range has 33 months of supply, however (Sect C p.1).

Absorption for Used homes in September shows 8 months which is about even with last year. Used Active listings at 9,021 are even with last month at 9,201 and about the same as 9,157 last year (Sect E p.3). Market performance is highly area specific, so check the individual area charts. For instance, Mountain Brook has between 1 and 9 months of inventory except in the over $900,000 category, which has 10 months of inventory (46 homes), with 2 sold in that price range last month . The average days on market for that category is 214. There are a number of MLS areas showing similarly low levels of inventory, including Homewood and Fultondale.

Birmingham area Average Days on Market for New houses is 185 compared with last month at 173. The Used homes DOM was 120 in September vs 113 last month, (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes increased to $308,505 from $298,566 last month (Sect A p2). Average sales price for Sold Used homes decreased to $178,952 from $183,578 last month (Sect A p2). The moving average price for all homes has been up steadily for the past year. (Sect A p2).
TWB 10/10/2015

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