Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for October 2016
October saw a continuation of the pick up in dollar and unit sales over last year. Prices seem to be increasing. Total dollar sales for October were $280,111,936 up 13% from $247,969,228 last year, and down 17% from last month at $337,315,042.
Total Unit sales were off 12% to 1,383 in October from 1,577 in September, a decrease of 194. This is up by 6% and 76 from last October at 1,307. New sales were down to 148 homes this month, and 235 in September, and up by 34 from 114 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 1,235 homes in October, off 8% from 1,342 last month, a decrease of 107, and up by 42 units from 1,193 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. September overperformed the projection. The cumulative error is plus 9% year to date; that is actuals are running ahead of projections (through September).
Housing permits for September are a bit less than last year. For Jefferson County, in September there were 90 permits compared with 83 last year. Shelby County was somewhat lower than last year’s level (see the web site).
Total inventory is slightly lower this month at 8,865 vs. last month at 8,948 and less than 9,955 last year. It is curious that we don’t seem to be seeing the more normal seasonal reduction of inventory which has been remarkably stable since the beginning of the year without the normal uptick we usually see in the summer either (Sect C p.1). I’d guess that it is an indication of market equilibrium, as the months of inventory have stabilized at about the 6 month level. Active New listings decreased to 1,102 in October from 1,127 in September (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 October shows 6 months, which is less than the 7 last year. Used Active listings at 7,763 are down from last month of 7,825, and quite a bit less than 8,908 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 4 months of inventory except in the over $900,000 category, which has 9 months of inventory (46 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 which has 3 months of inventory.
Birmingham area Average Days on Market for New houses is 201 compared with last month at 190. The Used homes DOM was 112 in October vs 109 last month, (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes increased to $316,624 from $286,455 last month (Sect A p2), over a several month period though prices seem to be increasing. Average sales price for Sold Used was $188,868 this month compared to $201,192 last month. (Sect A p2).
All in all, the market continues to look quite healthy.