Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for January 2017
January saw a continuation of the pick up in dollar sales over last year, while unit sales also increased from last years’ level. Prices seem to be modestly increasing. Total dollar sales for January were $206,912,455 up 13% from $183,327,923 last year, and down 24% from last month at $272,571,925.
Total Unit sales were off 22% at 1,020 in January from 1,312 in December, a decrease of 292. This is up by 3% and 22 from last January at 987. New sales were off to 120 homes this month, and 210 in December, and up by 16 from 104 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 900 homes in January, off 18% from 1,102 last month, a decrease of 202, up by 17 units from 883 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. The cumulative error is plus 9% for the year; that is actuals are ahead of projections of 14,705 through year end, an increase of 11% over 2015. The forecast for 2017 should be out shortly.
Housing permits are no longer available in the same format from the Census bureau. I may be able to resume reporting once I can find a new method of sourcing the data, but at this point I do not know if that will be possible.
Total inventory is slightly lower this month at 7,838 vs. last month at 7,968 and less than 9,123 last year. (Sect C p.1). Active New listings decreased to 968 in January from 1,100 in December (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 January shows 5 months, which is less than the 6 last year. Used Active listings at 6,870 are down from last month of 6.868, and quite a bit less than 8,053 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 (35 homes), with 5 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 180 compared with last month at 271. The Used homes DOM was 126 in January vs 119 last month, (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes decreased to $309,844 from $312,947 last month (Sect A p2). Over a several month period prices seem to be increasing. Average sales price for Sold Used was $188,590 this month compared to $187,707 last month. (Sect A p2).
All in all, the market continues to look quite healthy.