Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for November 2016
November saw a continuation of the pick up in dollar and unit sales over last year. Prices seem to be modestly increasing. Total dollar sales for November were $269,219,038 up 30% from $205,886,919 last year, and down 6% from last month at $287,629,774.
Total Unit sales were off 10% at 1,283 in November from 1,428 in October, a decrease of 145. This is up by 22% and 231 from last November at 1,052. New sales were up to 164 homes this month, and 257 in October, and up by 43 from 121 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 1,119 homes in November, off 12% from 1,271 last month, a decrease of 152, and up by 188 units from 931 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. October overperformed the projection. The cumulative error is plus 9% year to date; that is actuals are running ahead of projections (through October).
Housing permits for October are a bit less than last year. For Jefferson County, in October there were 66 permits compared with 101 last year. Shelby County was somewhat higher than last year’s level (see the web site).
Total inventory is slightly lower this month at 8,654 vs. last month at 8,851 and less than 9,740 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 1,101 in November from 1,158 in October (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 November shows 6 months, which is less than the 7 last year. Used Active listings at 7,553 are down from last month of 7,693, and quite a bit less than 8,725 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 (44 homes), with 4 sold in that price range last month. There are a number of MLS areas, particularly those known as the “over the mountain” communities, showing similarly low levels of inventory, including Homewood which has 3 months of inventory.
Birmingham area Average Days on Market for New houses is 209 compared with last month at 201. The Used homes DOM was 122 in November vs 112 last month, (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes decreased to $299,783 from $313,521 last month (Sect A p2), over a several month period though prices seem to be increasing. Average sales price for Sold Used was $196,653 this month compared to $187,574 last month. (Sect A p2).
All in all, the market continues to look quite healthy.