Author Archives: Tom Brander

About Tom Brander

Open source evangelist.

Birmingham January Real Estate Sales Robust

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.

TWB 2/13/2017  

January Coastal Alabama Real Estate Off To A Robust Start

Baldwin County & Alabama Coastal MLS*: Observations for the Month of January 2017

Sales dollars decreased 27% in January to $113,455,164 from December $155,649,713. This is up 24% from last year’s record level of $91,143,759. (Sect A p.2). The 12 month moving average line of sales, after a pause during the summer months, has been heading up substantially.

Sales in most price categories show consistent improvement as do inventories. Check out the chart on page A-17 to fully appreciate the inventory trends. Still, inventory remains high, but improving, for anything over $500,000. Note that price ranges in inventories over a year are fewer, for instance, the price ranges of $600,000-$800,000 are at just 10-11 months, with the $500,000-$600,000 at 13 months. Amazingly, the over $900,000 category is now at 27 months with 158 active and 6 sold this month.

In concert with ACRE, The Alabama Center for Real Estate, we have projected expectations for 2016. We use the ACRE provided data for the projections, which differs slightly from the data in this report. The projection for 2016 located here expected projected home sales in 2016 of 5,139, which is a -1.74% difference from 2015 actual of  5,230. Full year actual sales are 8% above expectations. 5571 sales were recorded for the year which is 432 more than projected and 341 more than 2015.  New projections for 2017 will be out once all the January results are available statewide.

On a unit basis, sales of all houses were off 116 at 444 this month vs. last month at 560, which is up from last year’s healthy level of 380. Used Home sales decreased to 361 this month vs. 458 last month, which is up from last year’s 321 (Sect A p.18). New Home sales were 83 this month vs 102 last month and compared with 59 last year. New listings for New homes increased to 136 from 132 in December. Used homes New listings increased to 759 from 347 in December with net inventory down.

The absolute number of Used Active homes on the market, which had a slight peak mid-summer of ‘09, has been consistently improving. In January, there were 2,688 Active Used homes, a reduction from 2,995 in December and a new multi year low. New homes, which peaked in January 2006 at 2,144 Active, now sit at 597.

The Absorption rate for New homes was 6 months of inventory in January vs. 7 in December. The Absorption rate for Used homes was 6 months of inventory in January vs. 6 in December. Over the last four years the drop in months of inventory for Used homes has been steady and impressive from 25 months plus in December 2008 to 6 months this January. I have been expecting construction to begin to pick-up in the under $400,000 range, and this has happened. Sales have been keeping up, so we have not seen an increase in inventory.

Average sales price for all homes has been static for the past year. For New units, average price decreased to  $244,689 from $268,115 last month. (Sect A p.14). Average Used home prices were off this month, to $258,022 from $280,135 in December. Average Days On Market for New Sold properties in January was 201 vs last month of 183. Days On Market for Used was 158 vs. last month 156. In my opinion, the results point to a strong upcoming year.        
TWB 2/13/2017

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  

Coastal Alabama Wraps Up 2016 In Great Style

Baldwin County & Alabama Coastal MLS*: Observations for the Month of December 2016

Sales dollars increased 21% in December to $155,437,713 from November $128,478,837. This is up 23% from last year’s record level of $126,001,010. (Sect A p.2). The 12 month moving average line of sales, after a pause during the summer months, has been heading substantially up.

Full Year summary:

All units New units Used Units Avg New Price Avg Used Price Avg All price Total dollars
2016 6723 1124 5598 $249,357 $255,065 $254,160 $1,712,999,817
2015 6324 823 5501 $250,329 $242,023 $243,098 $1,542,057,978
% ∆ 6.31% 36.57% 1.76% -0.39% 5.39% 4.55% 11.09%

Sales in most price categories show consistent improvement as do inventories. Check out the chart on page A-17 to fully appreciate the inventory trends. Still, inventory remains high, but improving, for anything over $500,000. Note that price ranges with inventories over a year are fewer, for instance, the price ranges of $600,000-$800,000 are at just 10-11 months. With the $500,000-$600,000 at 14 months. Amazingly, the over $900,000 category is now at 23 months with 156 active and 9 sold this month.

In concert with ACRE, The Alabama Center for Real Estate, we have projected expectations for 2016. We use the ACRE provided data for the projections, which differs slightly from the data in this report. The projection for 2016 located here expected projected home sales in 2016 of 5,139, which is a -1.74% difference from 2015 actual of  5,230. Full year actual sales are 8% above expectations. 5571 sales were recorded for the year which is 432 more than projected and 341 more than 2015.  New projections for 2017 will be out once all the December results are available (statewide).

On a unit basis, sales of all houses were up 72 at 559 this month vs. last month at 487, which is up from last year’s healthy level of 491. Used Home sales increased to 457 this month vs. 409 last month, which is up from last year’s 423 (Sect A p.18). New Home sales were 102 this month vs 78 last month and compared with 68 last year. New listings for New homes decreased to 130 from 137 in November. Used homes New listings decreased to 338 from 530 in November with net inventory down.

The absolute number of Used Active homes on the market, which had a slight peak mid-summer of ‘09, has been consistently improving. In December, there were 2,676 Active Used homes, a reduction from 3,403 in November and a new multi year low. New homes, which peaked in December 2006 at 2,144 Active, now sit at 609.

The Absorption rate for New homes was 7 months of inventory in December vs. 8 in November. The Absorption rate for Used homes was 6 months of inventory in December vs. 7 in November. Over the last four years the drop in months of inventory for Used homes has been steady and impressive from 25 months plus in November 2008 to 6 months this December. I have been expecting construction to begin to pick-up in the under $400,000 range, and this has happened. Sales have been keeping up, so we have not seen an increase in inventory.

Average sales price for all homes has been static for the past year. For New units, average price increased to  $268,115 from $258,127 last month. (Sect A p.14). Average Used home prices were up this month, to $280,284 from $264,902 in November. Average Days On Market for New Sold properties in December was 183 vs last month of 172. Days On Market for Used was 156 vs. last month 166. In my opinion, the results point to a strong upcoming year.         

TWB 1/15/2017

Birmingham Area Real Estate Sales in November Up 30% Over Last Year

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.
TWB 12/9/2016          

Alabama Coastal Real Estate Yet Another Record In November

Baldwin County & Alabama Coastal MLS*: Observations for the Month of November 2016

Sales dollars decreased 5% in November to $127,234,937 from October $133,794,557. This is up a remarkable 36% from last year’s record level of $93,511,408. (Sect A p.2). The 12 month moving average line of sales, after a pause during the summer months, appears to have resumed its upward trend. Lack of new construction now seems to be depressing sales somewhat. Inventories are continuing to trend down very consistently.

Sales in most price categories show consistent improvement as do inventories. Check out the chart on page A-17 to fully appreciate the inventory trends. Still, inventory remains high, but improving, at over a year for anything over $500,000. Note that inventories over a year is less and less, for instance the price ranges of $600,000-$800,000 are at just 12.7 months. With the $500,000-$600,000 at 15 months.

In concert with ACRE, The Alabama Center for Real Estate, we have projected expectations for 2016. We use the ACRE provided data for the projections, which differs slightly from the data in this report. The projection for 2016 located here expects projected home sales in 2016 of 5,139, which is a -1.74% difference from 2015 actual of  5,230. Year to date through October actual sales are 7% above expectations. 317 more units were sold through November than the 4,386 projected.

On a unit basis, sales of all houses were off 28 at 480 this month vs. last month at 508, which is up from last year’s healthy level of 400. Used Home sales decreased to 403 this month vs. 415 last month, which is up from last year’s 357 (Sect A p.18). New Home sales were 77 this month vs 92 last month and compared with 43 last year. New listings for New homes decreased to 135 from 202 in October. Used homes New listings decreased to 506 from 603 in October with net inventory down.

The absolute number of Used Active homes on the market, which had a slight peak mid-summer of ‘09, has been consistently improving. In November, there were 2,992 Active Used homes, a reduction from 3,417 in October and a new multi year low. New homes, which peaked in November 2006 at 2,144 Active, now sit at 618.

The Absorption rate for New homes was 7 months of inventory in November vs. 8 in October. The Absorption rate for Used homes was 6 months of inventory in November vs. 7 in October. Over the last four years the drop in months of inventory for Used homes has been steady and impressive from 25 months plus in October 2008 to 6 months this November. The inventory of homes in the upper price range remains high with homes priced $500,000 and over at a year’s supply, but even here we are seeing improvement. For instance the $600,000-$800,000 has only 12.7 months of inventory. I have been expecting construction to begin to pick-up in the under $400,000 range, and this has happened. Sales have been keeping up, so we have not seen an increase in inventory.

Average sales price for all homes has been static for the past year. For New units, average price increased to  $258,702 from $244,530 last month. (Sect A p.14). Average Used home prices were virtually unchanged this month, $266,290 from $266,836 in October. Average Days On Market for New Sold properties in November was 172 vs last month of 188. Days On Market for Used was 166 vs. last month 153.

The results point to a strong upcoming year, I believe.

TWB 12/9/2016

Birmingham Residential Sales Healthy in October

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.

TWB 11/12/2016