Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for August 2016
The last few months have seen a dramatic pick up in dollar sales over last year; some of this volume has been recorded well after the month end reports, but since we re-run full history every month it is now apparent. For instance, roughly $15 million dollars, and about 100 units of additional sales were recorded for July after our last monthly report. Inventories are down, and prices seem to be increasing. Total dollar sales for August were $349,754,613 up 17% from $298,493,234 last year, and down 5% from last month at $368,690,930.
Total Unit sales were up 1% to 1,724 in August from 1,708 in July, an increase of 16. This is up by 13% and 199 from last August at 1,525. New sales were off at 150 homes this month, and 192 in July, and off by 22 from 172 last year. The low inventory level of new homes suggests a good environment for builders, and prices have begun to show a more solid uptrend. Used sales were 1,574 homes in August, up 4% from 1,516 last month, an increase of 58, up by 221 units from 1,353 last year (Sect E p.3). Expect late sales reports to improve this result next month.
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. July overperformed the projection. The cumulative error is plus 7.6% year to date, that is actuals are running ahead of projections (through July).
Housing permits for July are about the same as last year. For Jefferson County, in July there were 129 permits compared with 130 last year. Shelby County was slightly off from last year’s level (see the web site).
Total inventory is slightly higher this month at 9,489 vs. last month at 9,433 and less than 10,524 last year. Active New listings decreased to 1,080 in August from 1,140 in July (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 have normal inventory levels in the 4-8 month range depending on area and price range. (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 August shows 6 months, which is less than the 8 last year. Used Active listings at 8,409 are up from last month of 8,293, and quite a bit less than 9,436 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 5 months of inventory except in the over $900,000 category, which has 12 months of inventory (54 homes), with 6 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 208 compared with last month at 241. The Used homes DOM was 111 in August vs 113 last month, (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes decreased to $320,868 from $337,315 last month (Sect A p2), and prices seem to be increasing. Average sales price for Sold Used was $191,624 this month compared to $200,479 last month. (Sect A p2).
All in all, the market continues to look quite healthy.