Author Archives: Tom Brander

About Tom Brander

Open source evangelist.

Spring Real Estate Market Getting Stronger in Birmingham -March

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for March 2014

As expected, March was stronger than February. Dollar sales in March improved by 31% to $220,515,718 from February’s $167,857,300, up by 10% from last March’s $201,048,652. The 12 month moving average line for total dollar sales continues to move up indicating improving market conditions.  It seems that the slow start for the year due to weather is behind us, and we are seeing more normal results. Across all indicators, sales levels, average prices and inventory levels it appears that the market has regained “normalcy” as distinguished from the crisis atmosphere of last few years.

Unit sales were up 26% at 1229 in March from 970 in February, an increase of 259. This is up 4% from last March at 1180. The greater percentage increase in dollars than units indicates an increase in average prices.

This year we are using the ACRE data and results for forecasting, which are derived in a slightly different method than this report. The time frame for the reports is now in the control of ACRE. Overall for the Birmingham market (based on the ACRE data), we expect unit sales for 2014 to be up by 8.2% over 2013. We therefore still expect some further market improvement.

New sales improved by 31 units to 146 homes this month from 115 in February and up from 125 last year. Used sales improved 27% to 1,083 homes in March from 855 last month, an increase of 228, and up by 28 units from 1,055 last year(Sect E p.3).

This month total inventory is 5% lower at 8,607 vs. last month at 9,041 and 9,741 last year. The drop in the current month is caused by month-end expirations which should come back on the market. We are seeing a seasonal downtick in inventory which is slightly lower than prior years. Active New listings decreased to 725 in March from 1,009 in February (the highest level since September 2011), a decline of 284 units (Sect E p.3).  Housing permits were up considerably in Jefferson County to 101 in February from 65 in January. Shelby County went from 5 to 30 in February. This is indicating considerable builder optimism.

Absorption rate for New homes is at 6 months supply this month which is two months better than last year at this time. Last month though, shows 7 months of supply (Sect E p.3). The New homes for the most part have normal inventory levels in the 1-7 month range. (Sect C p.1 and Sect E p.3.)

Absorption for Used homes in March shows 8 months, two months better than 9 months last year. Used Active listings at 8,343 are lower than the 9,147 last year (Sect E p.3). The market performance is highly area specific, so check the individual area charts. For instance, Mountain Brook has about three months of inventory except in the over $900,000 category, which has 9 months of inventory (34 homes) with three sold in that price range last month . The average days on market for that category is 447.

Birmingham area Average Days on Market for New houses is 231, compared with 220 last month. The Used homes DOM was 137 in March, compared with 149 last month (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes increased to $281,110 from $275,740 last month (Sect A p2). Average sales price for Sold Used homes increased to $165,719 from $159,237 last month (Sect A p2). The moving average price for all Homes has been up steadily for the last year. (Sect A p2).

TWB 4/12/2014

Huntsville Real Estate Off To A Slow Spring Start – March

Huntsville/North Alabama Area MLS Observations: Real Estate Market March 2014

March sales improved by 18% to $119,454,774 vs. February at $101,343,374. This was off 3% from last year’s $122,589,755. This is a lesser year to year decline than we saw last month hopefully pointing to more positive comparisons as the season progresses to the stronger months. The twelve month moving average line on the total dollar sales chart has turned slightly down. Total unit sales improved  11% to 740 in March vs. 667 in February, an increase of 73. This was 7% lower than last year at 797.

The way  ACRE and Brander Real Estate projections for 2014 are compiled has changed. This year we are using the ACRE data which differs slightly from the data in this report. I am now dependent on ACRE for the timing of data availability (for the projections only) and report release. Our projections for the Huntsville market for 2014 are for an increase of 0.9% over the 2013 level, essentially flat with 2013.

New sales increased to 130 this month vs. 117 last month, up 13 and compared with 145 last year.

Used sales increased to 610 this month vs. 550 last month, up 60, and compared with 652 last year (Sect E  p.3).

Inventory levels remain stubbornly high. Used inventory levels remain high this monthat11 months (see the chart Sect C p.1), with the situation continuing to be particularly challenged in the higher price ranges. Used homes over $500,000 have more than two years of inventory. New home absorption is 8 months of inventory overall, and this has been climbing, 10 months last month. (E-1). The New Home inventory level in the $300,000-$500,000 is approximately 5-6 months (Not bad!).

February housing permits issued were 66 compared with 40 in January (chart on the web site).

Total Active listings decreased this month to 8,444 compared to last month’s 8,572, and lower than last year at this time at 8,981, with the reduction in the current month exaggerated due to month-end expirations. (Sect A p.4 and Sect E p.3).  Active New listings decreased to 1,172 this month from 1,435 in February, down 263. (Sect E p.3). Active Used listings decreased to 7,272 this month from 7,317 in February, down 45 and slightly below last year’s amount at this time of 7,487. (Sect E p.3).

Average Days on Market for Sold New homes was 179 vs. 206 days last month, with Used at 163 in March compared with 175 in February (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes was $245,360 vs. $237,398 last month. (Sect A p.2) Average sales price for Sold Used homes was $143,540 vs. $133,760 last month. (Sect A p.2) The average price line for Used homes is headed modestly down. The New home average price seems to be showing positive direction.

TWB 4/12/14

Alabama Coastal Real Estate Continues Strong in March

Baldwin County & Alabama Coastal MLS*: Observations for the Month of March 2014

Sales dollars improved 8% in March to $108,818,179 from February of $100,972,827. This is 5% above March last year at $103,413,548. (Sect A p.2). This is a good showing for March and the normally slower winter season. The 12 month moving average line of sales has continued to point up steadily for three years now. Inventories are trending down.

In concert with ACRE, The Alabama Center for Real Estate, we did projections for 2014 full year sales. We used the ACRE provided data for the projections, which differs slightly from the data in this report because of the way the data is processed. We projected unit sales for Baldwin county increasing by 47.7% over 2013 levels. While it seems quite incredible, the first quarter has been short of the forecast however, it will be interesting to see what happens in the high season. See projections chart on the next page.

On a unit basis, sales of all houses were up 9% to 447 this month vs. last month at 409, which is off 7% from last year’s 482. In spite of the substantially improved sales climate, it is important to point out that the inventory of homes over $400,000 while improving from really dismal levels, remains at over a 12 month supply. This suggests that even with the large projections outlined above sufficient inventory is available to satisfy demand.

Used Home sales improved 3% to 384 this month vs. 373 last month, which is off 12% from last year’s 437 (Sect A p.18). New Home sales were 63 this month vs 36 last month compared with 45 last year. Increasing year over year sales of New Homes continues to point to a recovering market.

New listings for New homes increased to 84 from 60 in February. Used homes New listings increased to 891 from 779 in February with net inventory down.

The absolute number of Used Active homes on the market, which had a slight peak mid-summer of ‘09, has once again been improving. In March, there were 3,636 Active Used homes, a reduction from 3,870 in February. The New home market, which peaked in March 2006 at 2,144 Active, now sits at 350.

The Absorption rate for New homes was 6 months of inventory in March vs. 8 in February. The Absorption rate for Used homes was 9 months of inventory for March vs. 10 in February. Over the last four years the drop in months of inventory for Used homes has been steady and impressive from 25 months plus in March 2008 to 9 months this March. As I observe above though, the inventory of homes in the higher price range remains high.

Average sales price for all homes has been improving modestly for the past year.For New units, prices decreased to  $226,052 from $251,788 last month. (Sect A p.14). Average Used home prices decreased to $246,294 from $246,403 in February. The price trend is up for the year. Average Days On Market for New Sold properties in March was 214 this month vs. 216 last month. Days On Market for Used was 151 this month vs. 156 last month.

TWB 4/12/2014

February 2014 Shows Improving Birmingham Real Estate Market

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for February 2014

Relatively speaking, February was stronger than January indicating some market recovery. Dollar sales in February improved by 19% to $162,042,059 from January’s $136,136,160, off by 1% from last February’s $164,442,041. The 12 month moving average line for total dollar sales continues to move up indicating continued improving market conditions. I believe that weather has contributed to the slow start for the year and expect that we will see more normal results as the year evolves.

Birmingham Feb Avg Sales Prices

Birmingham Feb Avg Sales Prices

Unit sales were up 13% at 927 in February from 819 in January, an increase of 108. This is down 5% from last February at 978.

This year we are using the ACRE data and results, which are derived in a slightly different method than this report. The time frame for the reports is now in the control of ACRE. Overall for the Birmingham market (based on the ACRE data) we expect unit sales for 2014 to be up by 8.2% over 2013. I will be updating the monthly actual to projected results shortly, and will forward separately. Please see chart two pages down.

New sales improved by 24 units to 113 homes this month from 89 in January and up modestly from 105 last year. Used sales improved 12% to 814 homes in February from 730 last month, an increase of 84, and down by 60 units from 874 last year(Sect E p.3).

This month total inventory is 5% lower at 8,607 vs. last month at 9,041 and 9,741 last year. The drop in the current month is caused by month­ end expirations which will come back on the market. We are seeing a seasonal downtick in inventory which is slightly lower than prior years. Active New listings decreased to 725 in February from 1,009 in January (the highest level since September 2011), a decline of 284 units (Sect E p.3). Housing permits were up in Jefferson County to 65 in January from 52 in December. Shelby County went from 22 to 5 in January.

Feb Price area summary

Feb Price area summary

Absorption rate for New homes is at 6 months supply this month which is one month better than last year at this time. Last month though, shows 8 months of supply (Sect E p.3). The New homes for the most part have normal inventory levels in the 1­7 month range. (Sect C p.1 and Sect E p.3.)

Absorption for Used homes in February shows 7 months, two months better than 9 months last year. Used Active listings at 7,882 are lower than the 8,904 last year (Sect E p.3). The market performance is highly area specific, so check the individual area charts. For instance, Mountain Brook has about three months of inventory except in the over $900,000 category, which has 7 months of inventory (27 homes) with three sold in that price range last month . The average days on market for that category is 207.

Birmingham area Average Days on Market for New houses is 220, compared with 204 last month. The Used homes DOM was 149 in February, compared with 152 last month (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes increased to $275,388 from $261,524 last month (Sect A p2).

Average sales price for Sold Used homes increased to $160,839 from $154,604 last month (Sect A p2). The moving average price for all Homes has been up steadily for the last year. (Sect A p2).
TWB 3/8/2014

North Alabama/Huntsville Real Estate Market Off to a Slow Start in February

Huntsville/North Alabama Area MLS Observations: Real Estate Market February 2014

February sales improved by 13% to $94,049,657 vs. January at $83,222,776. This was off 15%
from last year’s $110,841,443. This is a bigger year to year decline than we saw last month.
The twelve month moving average line on the total dollar sales chart has turned slightly down. This month’s results were again somewhat lower than expectations. Hopefully, sales will improve with the upcoming spring season.

Total unit sales improved 9% to 621 in February vs. 568 in January, a increase of 53. This was 11% lower than last year at 698. I expect that sales should return to more normal levels as the weather improves.

I have changed the way ACRE and Brander Real Estate projections for 2014 are compiled. This year we are using the ACRE data which differs slightly from the data in this report. I am now dependent on ACRE for the timing of data availability (for the projections only) and report release. Our projections for the Huntsville market for 2014 are for an increase of 0.9% over the 2013 level, essentially flat with 2013.

New sales increased to 90 this month vs. 83 last month, up 7 and compared with 150 last year. Used sales increased to 531 this month vs. 485 last month, up 46, and compared with 548 last year (Sect E p.3). Inventory levels remain stubbornly high.

Used inventory levels remain high this month at 10 months (see the chart Sect C p.1), with the situation continuing to be particularly challenged in the higher price ranges. Used homes over $500,000 have more than two years of inventory. New home absorption is 9 months of inventory overall, and this has been climbing (E­1). The New Home inventory level in the $300,000­-$500,000 is approximately 5­-6 months (Not bad!).

January housing permits issued were 66 compared with 40 in December (chart on the web site).

Total Active listings decreased this month to 8,251 compared to last month’s 8,667, and about even with last year at this time at 8,586, with the reduction in the current month exaggerated due to month­ end expirations. (Sect A p.4 and Sect E p.3). Active New listings decreased to 1,228 this month from 1,510 in January, down 282. (Sect E p.3). Active Used listings decreased to 7,023 this month from 7,157 in January, down 134 and slightly below last year’s amount at this time of 7,185. (Sect E p.3).

Average Days on Market for Sold New homes was 206 vs. 174 days last month, with Used at 175 in February compared with 150 in January (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes was $249,100 vs. $235,258 last month. (Sect A p.2) Average sales price for Sold Used homes was $134,898 vs. $131,333 last month. (Sect A p.2) The average price line for Used homes is headed modestly down. The New home average price seems to be showing positive direction.

TWB 3/9/14

Alabama Coastal Real Estate Sales Continue Robust in February

Baldwin County & Alabama Coastal MLS*: Observations for the Month of February 2014

Sales dollars improved 16% in February to $98,810,427 from an unusually strong January of
$84,995,336. This is 45% above February last year at $67,838,269. (Sect A p.2). This is a good showing for February and the normally slower winter season. The 12 month moving average line of sales has continued to point up steadily for three years now. Inventories are trending down.

This year in concert with ACRE, The Alabama Center for Real Estate, we are doing projections for 2014 full year sales. We are using the ACRE provided data for the projections, which differs slightly from the data in this report because of the way the data is processed. The ACRE data starts in 2005. Keep in mind that the data has been impacted by both weather events and the BP oil spill. We use smoothing methods to adjust for these cases as well as the tax credit in 2009 which moved sales into the last quarter of 2009 and reduced sales in
2010. With all that, we are projecting unit sales for Baldwin county as increasing by 47.7% over 2013 levels. While it seems quite incredible, the first two months seem to indicate that the projections are at least directionally correct. See projections chart on the next page.

On a unit basis, sales of all houses were up 24% to 396 this month vs. last month at 320, which is up 13% from last year’s 351. In spite of the substantially improved sales climate, it is important to point out that the inventory of homes over $400,000 while improving from really bad levels, remains at over a 12 month supply.This suggests that even with the large projections outlined above sufficient inventory is available to satisfy demand.

Used Home sales improved 24% to 396 this month vs. 320 last month, which is 13% better than last year’s 351 (Sect A p.18). New Home sales were 34 this month vs 30 last month compared with 35 last year.

Increasing year over year sales of New Homes continues to point to a recovering market.
New listings for New homes decreased to 57 from 74 in January. Used homes New listings decreased to 741 from 487 in January with net inventory down.

The absolute number of Used Active homes on the market, which had a slight peak mid­summer of ‘09, has once again been improving. In February, there were 3,404 Active Used homes, a reduction from 3,627 in January. The New home market, which peaked in February 2006 at 2,144 Active, now sits at 369.

The Absorption rate for New homes was 8 months of inventory in February vs. 9 in January. The Absorption rate for Used homes was 7 months of inventory for February vs. 8 in January. Over the last four years the drop in months of inventory for Used homes has been steady and impressive from 25 months plus in February 2008 to 7 months this February. As I observe above though, the inventory of homes in the higher price range remains high.

Average sales price for all homes has been improving modestly for the past year. For New units, prices decreased to $253,705 from $306,058 last month. (Sect A p.14). Average Used home prices decreased to $249,128 from $261,426 in January. The price trend is up for the year. Average Days On Market for New Sold properties in February was 216 this month vs. 179 last month. Days On Market for Used was 156 this month vs. 127 last month.

TWB 3/9/2014

1st Quarter Alabama Residential Real Estate Outlook Positive

I’m a bit late putting this up and in fact the next survey is underway! The ACRE report archive can be found here.

1. 1st Quarter Alabama Residential Real Estate Outlook Positive

This survey projects expectations for the 1st quarter of 2014. The scale ranges from 0-100 with 0 being much worse, 100 being much better, and 50 indicating no change expected.
The professional real estate community has a very optimistic outlook for 2014. All of the overall indicators are at the highest 1st quarter levels we have seen since beginning of the survey in 2010. All of the indicators improved from last quarter and remain at or above 50 indicating expansion expected, except for credit. The availability of credit continues to be viewed somewhat negatively, at 49, two points better than last quarter.

1.1 Overview Scores:

This quarter showed improvement in all regions for residential markets. In addition, the commercial indicators are in a clear uptrend. This is encouraging, and overall measures remain in the expansion zone.
The below chart reflects the aggregate scores for the survey overall. The overall total stat score is in bold blue.

Survey Analysis Overall

Survey Analysis Overall

1.2 Commercial Market:

Commercial market participants, (the majority of the respondents are from the Birmingham market area), remained positive this quarter (Total Stat) at 58 this quarter a two point improvement from last quarter and improving 7 points to an all time high of 61 for sales expectations. Price expectations improved 3 points to 56 indicating improving pricing conditions. The score for credit availability is at a new high of 56, up 3 from last quarter.

Survey Analysis-Commercial Market

Survey Analysis-Commercial Market

1.3 Regional Results:

The coastal region continued to remain the most optimistic in the state at 61 (Alabama expectations), up from 58 last quarter. On an overall basis all areas sales expectations remained above 50. The coastal region, also had the highest sales expectations at 62. The moving average line is the prior 4 quarters averaged of the Alabama expectations, to remove the effects of seasonality, and it is easy to see the pretty steady upwards trend.

Regional Total scores chart:

Survey Analysis-Regional Overview

Survey Analysis-Regional Overview

The charts below also have a “moving average” line which averages the “Total Stat” for prior 4 quarters, by area, to smooth out the seasonal variations. The quarter to quarter variation is highly seasonal, but the moving average shows a better picture of the overall trend, which is quite positive.

Survey Analysis-North

Survey Analysis-North

Survey analysis-NorthCentral

Survey analysis-NorthCentral

Survey Analysis-South Central

Survey Analysis-South Central

Survey Analysis-South Coastal

Survey Analysis-South Coastal

1.4 North

North Alabama total score improved 6 points from last quarter to 53, also 6 points better than last year’s 4th quarter.
The sales outlook improved to 59 from 48 last quarter, but with price expecatations also climbing to 50.

1.5 North Central

The North Central Region overall score climbed to 55 from 53. The sales score improved to 59 from 54. Inventory score climbed to 53 from 51, with pricing remaining at 55, and credit availability slipping one point to at 48.

1.6 South Central

The South Central Region overall score improved to 53 from 49 last quarter. The outlook for sales improved to 57 from 51.

1.7 South

The Southern Region overall score was the highest at 58. This sales score is the highest at 62. Price expectations declined by 5 to 56. Credit availability was 54 the first time we have seen it above 50.

About the Alabama Real Estate Confidence Index and Survey:

About 400 professionals responded to the 4th quarter 2013 survey which was conducted during the month of December 2013. The survey, conducted by the Alabama Center For Real Estate has the largest participation of any real estate survey. It provides important market insights. Full history and raw scores can be obtained by contacting the undersigned.

The ACRE Leadership Council  determined the need for a statewide industry confidence index and this was adopted as the Council’s first initiative. Tom Brander, Council Member, was selected by the Council and Grayson Glaze, ACRE Executive Director, to spearhead and work with the Center to conduct and produce its Alabama Real Estate Confidence Index (ARECI). The Council appreciates everyone who participated.

For further information contact Tom Brander at Tombrander@tombrander.com or Grayson Glaze at gglaze@cba.ua.edu

2014 Alabama Residential Real Estate Forecast

Summary:

Two years ago, ABRE Analytics, a collaborative research partnership consisting of the Alabama Center for Real Estate (ACRE) and Tom Brander, began to attempt to identify correlations with select economic indicators and historical sales data that could possibly shed light and assist with providing future real estate sales projections in selected markets across the State of Alabama.

In 2013, our sales forecast for Alabama fell within the margin of error – just 3.3 percent short of actual closed transactions. These projection results were an improvement from our inaugural 2012 forecast that also underestimated sales by 6.0 percent, but still well within the margin of error. For the first time after two-years of trial and error, we are also providing the 2014 sales forecast for each of the 25 associations that report data to the Center each month.

The projections for 2014 are based on using the last quarter’s actual sales (in 2013) and linear regression against full year sales, with as much history as we have in our database.

We have anywhere from 5 to 10 years of historical data depending on the area. The areas are quite different in total annual volume, ranging from under 100 sales per year to over 40,000 sales per year. Generally, the more annual sales and the greater history we have the greater projection accuracy we expect.

The initial correlations that we have found, supporting the concept used in the projections, range from 93%, best to a low of 33%. To some degree the correlation percentages may be indicative of future forecast accuracy.

In short, the larger the market the more likely the projections will be more accurate. This is due to both the law of large numbers and the momentum of larger markets. Using the last quarter of the prior year, we believe is the most relevant and timely data to project the following year. To the extent that an event happens during the year this approach to forecasting would not project that possibility (up or down).

Some areas and time periods have ”adjustments” applied to history to normalize the numbers. Examples include the tax credit in 2009 that pulled sales into 2009 and out of 2010. We also see limited data in particular for Baldwin county. Certain areas have ”unusual” events, such as plant closing or openings as well as major weather events that may distort historical data and certainly could happen in the future.

We think the projections have value, if for no other reason than to see if the year is unfolding as predicted or if variances emerge that should be investigated. So, please take these projections as our best efforts, but do your own work.

Statewide full year summary:

Statewide projected 2014 = 45,318, 5.0% over 2013 actual of = 43,160
Athens projected 2014 = 854, -2.95% over 2013 actual of = 880
Baldwin projected 2014 = 6,666, 47.74% over 2013 actual of = 4,512
Baldwin Condos projected 2014 = 2,052, 41.52% over 2013 actual of = 1,450
Birmingham projected 2014 = 12,845, 8.17% over 2013 actual of = 11,875
Calhoun County projected 2014 = 1,134, 4.52% over 2013 actual of = 1,085
Cherokee County projected 2014 = 135, -8.16% over 2013 actual of = 147
Covington projected 2014 = 253, 11.45% over 2013 actual of = 227
Cullman projected 2014 = 674, 6.14% over 2013 actual of = 635
Dothan projected 2014 = 1,039, 2.47% over 2013 actual of = 1,014
Gadsden projected 2014 = 681, 5.91% over 2013 actual of = 643
Huntsville projected 2014 = 5,219, 0.87% over 2013 actual of = 5,174
Jackson County projected 2014 = 163, -3.55% over 2013 actual of = 169
Lake Martin projected 2014 = 453, 3.66% over 2013 actual of = 437
Lee County projected 2014 = 1,345, 5.08% over 2013 actual of = 1,280
Marshall County projected 2014 = 773, 5.46% over 2013 actual of = 733
Mobile projected 2014 = 3,937, 2.79% over 2013 actual of = 3,830
Monroe County projected 2014 = 83, 7.79% over 2013 actual of = 77
Montgomery projected 2014 = 3,747, 5.11% over 2013 actual of = 3,565
Morgan County projected 2014 = 1,149, -3.04% over 2013 actual of = 1,185
Muscle Shoals projected 2014 = 1,419, -1.8% over 2013 actual of = 1,445
Phenix City projected 2014 = 951, 2.81% over 2013 actual of = 925
Selma projected 2014 = 143, 4.38% over 2013 actual of = 137
Talladega County projected 2014 = 150, -16.67% over 2013 actual of = 180
Tuscaloosa projected 2014 = 2,001, 4.22% over 2013 actual of = 1,920
Walker County projected 2014 = 335, 15.92% over 2013 actual of = 289
Wiregrass projected 2014 = 839, 5.4% over 2013 actual of = 796

Sample monthly area forecast charts (will have Projection to actual as data becomes available)

Monthly sample charts

Monthly sample charts

Full year projections with history:

This is useful to see how variable the history has been and how the forecasted linear regression tracks.

Group 1 charts

Group 1 charts

Group 2 charts

Group 2 charts

group 3 charts

group 3 charts

First Quarter 2014 Outlook for Residential Real Estate In Alabama

This presentation for the Alabama Center For Real Estate Leadership group was given in early February, It reviews both the ACRE Real Estate Confidence Index results as well as the Statewide and area forecasts for 2014 Alabama Residential Real Estate sales.

2014 Birmingham Area Real Estate Sales Start Slow

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for January 2014

Dollar sales in January declined more than expected at 37% to $130,289,175 from December’s $209,282,990, off by 6% from last January’s $138,256,215. The 12 month moving average line for total dollar sales continues to move up indicating continued improving market conditions.

Unit sales were off 29% at 780 in January from 1,107 in December, a decrease of 327. This is down 11% from December at 873. I expect that weather and exceptionally strong December results have exaggerated the decline and expect that we will see more normal results as the year evolves.

New sales declined by 52 units to 85 homes this month from 137 in December and are down modestly from 94 last year. Used sales declined 28% to 695 homes in January from 970 last month, a decrease of 275, and down by 86 units from 781 last year(Sect E p.3).

This month total inventory is 8% lower at 8,572 vs. last month at 9,041 and 9,454 last year. The drop in the current month is caused by month-end expirations which will come back on the market. We are seeing a seasonal downtick in inventory which is slightly lower than prior years. Active New listings decreased to 760 in January from 1,000 in December (the highest level since September 2011), a decline of 240 units (Sect E p.3).  Housing permits were down in Jefferson County to 52 in December from 53 in November. Shelby County went from 24 to 22 in December.

Absorption rate for New homes is at 6 months supply this month which is one month better than last year at this time. Last month though, shows 8 months of supply (Sect E p.3). The New homes for the most part have normal inventory levels in the 1-7 month range. The  $700,000- $800,000 new inventory is at 10 months (7 homes). (Sect C p.1 and Sect E p.3.)

Absorption for Used homes in January shows 7 months, one month better than 8 months last year. Used Active listings at 7,812 are lower than the 8,609 last year (Sect E p.3). The market performance is highly area specific, so check the individual area charts. For instance, Mountain Brook has about three months of inventory except in the over $900,000 category, which has 7 months of inventory (29 homes) with three sold in that price range last month . The average days on market for that category is 154.

Birmingham area Average Days on Market for New houses is 204, compared with 213 last month. The Used homes DOM was 152 in January, compared with 135 last month (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes decreased to $260,682 from $281,441 last month (Sect A p2). Average sales price for Sold Used homes decreased to $155,585 from $176,006 last month (Sect A p2). The moving average price for all Homes has been up steadily for the last year. (Sect A p2).

TWB 2/9/2014