April Birmingham Real Estate Market Continues To Look Like Last Year

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for April 2016

This year seems to be unfolding almost identically to last as far as sales levels go. Inventories are down, and prices seem to be level with last year as well. Dollar sales in April experienced an expected increase of 12% to $319,627,228 from March at $285,245,363, a bit more than last April’s  $308,690,507 (up 4%). The 12 month moving average line for total dollar sales over the last six months has flattened.

Total Unit sales were up 1% to 1,508 in April from 1,488 in March, an increase of 20. This is down by 19 from last April at 1,527. New sales were down at 134 homes this month, and 171 in March and off by 13 from 147 last year. The low inventory levels of new homes suggest a good environment for builders, although prices seem to be steady. Used sales were 1,374 homes in April, up 3% from 1,317 last month, an increase of 57, and off by 6 units  from 1,380 last year (Sect E p.3).

ACRE numbers are slightly different from those we report. With ACRE, we released our month by month 2016 forecast which can be seen here: ACRE. For Birmingham, the full year projection for 2016 = 13,460, a 1.25% difference from 2015 actual of 13,294.  March overperformed the projection. The cumulative error is plus 2.71% year to date (thru March).

Housing permits, the census bureau section that supplies this data, has been down for three months now. They have made data available in a different format and I’m not entirely sure that the data is comparable, but it seems to be. Based on the new data, housing permits are up as I would expect . For Jefferson County, in February and March there were 128 and 156 permits respectively compared with 98 and 125 last year. Similarly, Shelby County has been running about double last year’s level (see the web site).

Total inventory is slightly higher this month at 9,599 vs. last month at 8,924 and less than 9,833 last year. Active New listings decreased to 1021 in April from 1,077 in March (Sect E p.3). Absorption rate for New homes is at 7 months supply this month, which is even with 7 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 18 months of supply (12 houses) (Sect C p.1). The level of inventory, both in months of inventory and housing units has been continuing to improve for the year.

Absorption for Used homes in April shows 7 months, which is the same as 7 last year. Used Active listings at 8,654 are up from last month at 8,223, and a bit less than 9,125 last year (Sect E p.3). Inventory levels have continued to 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 6 months of inventory except in the $6-700,000 range (9 months of inventory), and the over $900,000 category, which has 16 months of inventory (59 homes), with 7 sold in that price range last month . There are a number of MLS areas showing similarly low levels of inventory, including Homewood (only 4 months of inventory).

Birmingham area Average Days on Market for New houses is 211 compared with last month at 202. The Used homes DOM was 126 in April vs 128 last month, (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes increased to $305,698 from $279,918 last month (Sect A p2), and prices seem to be flat over the last year. Average sales price for Sold Used homes increased to $202,812 from $180,242 last month (Sect A p2). The moving average price for all homes has flattened for the past year. (Sect A p2).

TWB 5/8/2016

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