Birmingham Area January Sales Even With Last Years’ Healthy Level

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for January 2016

Dollar sales in January experienced an expected drop off of 28% to $174,806,153 from December $243,004,100, almost identical to last January’s of $165,581,649 (up 6%). The 12 month moving average line for total dollar sales over the last three months has flattened.

Total Unit sales were off 20% to 938 in January from 1,284 in December, a decrease of 346. This is off by 2 from last January at 940. New sales were off at 97 homes this month and 166 in December and up by 2 from 95 last year. The price pressure and low inventory levels of new homes suggests a good environment for builders. Somewhat oddly it seems that there were about 100 sales of new homes against 300 new listings for new homes with inventory staying about flat. 415 new homes are in pending status.Used sales were 841 homes in January, off 25% from 1,118 last month, a decrease of 165, and off by 4 units  from 845 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.  The January increase in actual sales resulted in an error of ⅓ of one percent for the year, off by 39 homes out of a full year total of 13,333. Our early forecast for 2016 is pointing at a roughly even sales level for 2016.

Housing permits were even in Jefferson County at 58 in December from 58 in November, which is off from 93 last year. This is the lowest level since August 2014. Shelby County was 28 from 26 last month, off from 41 last year. It seems that builders and banks are being very cautious on new construction.

Total inventory is slightly lower this month at 8,793 vs. last month at 9,960 and less than 9,177 last year. Active New listings decreased to 1004 in January from 1,042 in December (Sect E p.3). Absorption rate for New homes is at 7 months supply this month, which is about even with 6 months last year. (Sect E p.3). The New homes for the most part have normal inventory levels in the 1-9 month range depending on area and price range. However, the $800,000-$900,000 range has 22 months of supply (11 houses) (Sect C p.1). This level of inventory, both in months of inventory and housing units has been quite stable for the year.

Absorption for Used homes in January shows 6 months which is even with 7 last year. Used Active listings at 7,789 are even with last month at 7,918 and a bit less than 8,188 last  year (Sect E p.3). Inventory levels have continued to generally trend down from prior years. Market performance is highly area specific, so check the individual area charts. For instance, Mountain Brook has between 1 and 4 months of inventory except in the over $900,000 category, which has 10 months of inventory (39 homes), with 2 sold in that price range last month . There are a number of MLS areas showing similarly low levels of inventory, including Homewood (only 3 months of inventory).

Birmingham area Average Days on Market for New houses is 195 compared with last month at 205. The Used homes DOM was 132 in January vs 125 last month, (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes decreased to $274,242 from $307,314 last month (Sect A p2). Average sales price for Sold Used homes increased to $176,224 from $171,726 last month (Sect A p2). The moving average price for all homes has been up steadily for the past year. (Sect A p2).

TWB 2/14/2016  


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