Birmingham December Real Estate Results Continue The Upbeat Trend Of The Year

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for December 2016

December saw a continuation of the pick up in dollar sales over last year, while unit sales dropped slightly from last years’ level. Prices seem to be modestly increasing. Total dollar sales for December were $267,737,105 up 9% from $244,629,462 last year, and down 4% from last month at $278,084,382.

Full Year Summary:

All units New units Used Units Avg New Price Avg Used Price Avg All price Total dollars New home dollars
2016 18373 2047 16326 $301,328 $192,425 $204,794 $3,791,190,965 $619,232,393
2015 16956 1769 15187 $302,040 $183,855 $196,350 $3,356,751,833 $534,039,767
% ∆ 8.36% 15.72% 7.50% -0.24% 4.66% 4.30% 12.94% 15.95%

Total Unit sales were off 4% at 1,281 in December from 1,337 in November, a decrease of 56. This is off by 2% and 22 from last December at 1,303. New sales were up to 206 homes this month, and 166 in November, and up by 38 from 168 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 1,075 homes in December, off 8% from 1,171 last month, a decrease of 96, off by 60 units  from 1,135 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.  December overperformed the projection. The cumulative error is plus 9% for the year; that is actuals are ahead of projections, 14,705 through year end, an increase of 11% over 2015. The forecast for 2017 should be out in late January, once all the December numbers are recorded.

Housing permits for November are a bit less than last year. For Jefferson County, in November there were 53 permits compared with 58 last year. Shelby County was somewhat lower than last year’s level as well.

Total inventory is slightly lower this month at 7,926 vs. last month at 8,608 and less than 9,123 last year. (Sect C p.1). Active New listings decreased to 1,047 in December from 1,169 in November (Sect E p.3). Absorption rate for New homes is at 6 months supply this month, which is less than 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 December shows 5 months, which is less than the 6 last year. Used Active listings at 6,879 are down from last month of 7,439, and quite a bit less than 8,126 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, 3 months overall, except in the over $900,000 category, which has 6 months of inventory (32 homes), with 9 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, including Homewood which has 3 months of inventory.

Birmingham area Average Days on Market for New houses is 171 compared with last month at 209. The Used homes DOM was 119 in December vs 122 last month, (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes increased to $313,274 from $299,890 last month (Sect A p2), over a several month period prices seem to be increasing. Average sales price for Sold Used was $189,026 this month compared to $194,964 last month. (Sect A p2).

All in all, the market continues to look quite healthy.

TWB 1/14/2017  

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