Author Archives: Tom Brander

About Tom Brander

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April Birmingham Area Real Estate Sales Jump 12% Over Last Year

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for April 2015

Dollar sales in April experienced a better than expected seasonal improvement of 7% to $292,262,727 from March’s $273,508,424, up by 12% over last April’s of $262,916,981. The increase over last year in the last four months indicates a strong spring season. The 12 month moving average line for total dollar sales is continuing to show a very steady upward trend indicating consistent growth.

Total Unit sales were up 4% to 1,439 in April from 1,387 in March, an increase of 52. This is up 2% from last April at 1414. The larger rise in dollar sales than unit sales indicates improving pricing, and suggests the lower inventory levels are making it more of a seller’s market. New sales decreased by 10 units to 132 homes this month from 142 in March and off from 134 last year. The price pressure and low inventory levels of new homes suggests a good environment for builders. Used sales were 1,307 homes in April, up 5% from 1,245 last month, an increase of 62, and up by 2% or 27 units from 1,280 last year(Sect E p.3).

ACRE numbers are slightly different from those we report. With ACRE, we released our 2015 forecast which can be seen here. We expect the Birmingham area to be 6% above 2014 levels. So this month’s unit increase of 4% is behind the projection.  Based on what I am seeing, I expect substantial market gains. I also expect to see a healthy increase in new construction, the beginnings of which we can see in permits below.

Total inventory is 2% higher at 10,281 vs. last month at 10,093 and 1% more than the 10,194 last year. Active New listings decreased to 943 in April from 1,253 in March, a decline of 31 units (Sect E p.3).  

Housing permits were up in Jefferson County to 125 in March from 98 in February, which is down from 133 last year. Shelby County went from 45 to 50 in March, up from 38 last year. I expect this pace to pick-up. We are seeing a more significant number of multi-family construction units (which we do not formally track or report) in most markets.

Absorption rate for New homes is at 6.7 months supply this month, which is up slightly from 6.1 months last year at this time. Last month though, shows 8.9 months of supply (Sect E p.3). The New homes for the most part have normal inventory levels in the 1-7 month range depending on area and price range. (Sect C p.1 and Sect E p.3.)

Absorption for Used homes in April shows 8 months, even with 8 months last year. Used Active listings at 9,338 are up slightly from last month at 8,840 and lower than the 9,363 last year (Sect E p.3). Market performance is highly area specific, so check the individual area charts. For instance, Mountain Brook has about 6 months of inventory except in the over $900,000 category, which has 9 months of inventory (49 homes), with 2 sold in that price range last month . The average days on market for that category is 95. There are a number of MLS areas showing similarly low levels of inventory, including Homewood and Centerpoint.

Birmingham area Average Days on Market for New houses is 198 compared with last month at 210. The Used homes DOM was 122 in April vs 130 last month, (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes increased to $317,178 from $291,673 last month (Sect A p2). Average sales price for Sold Used homes increased to $191,580 from $186,418 last month (Sect A p2). The moving average price for all homes has been up steadily for the past year. (Sect A p2).

TWB 5/09//2015

April Alabama Coastal Sales Jump 30% Over Last Year

Baldwin County & Alabama Coastal MLS*: Observations for the Month of April 2015

Sales dollars increased 8% in April to $143,968,666 from March of $133,472,374. This is 30% better than April last year at $110,997,478. (Sect A p.2).  The 12 month moving average line of sales which had continued to point up steadily for three years, except for the last part of last year and the first few months of the year, has now gotten a healthy upwards tilt due to the healthy last two months gains. Last year was the best sales year since 2005 so this monthly performance stands out. The lack of new construction now seems to be depressing sales somewhat. Inventories continue trending down.

The biggest increases in sales were in the over $900,000 range, going from 4 sales last month to 11 this month. Six of the over $900,000 sales were in the Orange Beach area, which also got 11 new listings in that category for the month (Sec A P11) and another 4 were in Fairhope, Point Clear which got 9 new listings in the category.

In concert with ACRE, The Alabama Center for Real Estate, has projected expectations for 2015. We use the ACRE provided data for the projections, which differs slightly from the data in this report. While the projection last year was not very accurate, I believe that this year will be much better as we now have more ”normal “data not distorted by the oil spill and weather. The projection for 2015 expects a unit increase of 4.75% over 2014 actual. It seems that sales are running substantially  ahead of the projection

On a unit basis, sales of all houses were down 1% to 568 this month vs. last month at 576, which is 24% above  last year’s healthy level of 458. There is still substantial inventory available to satisfy demand.

Used Home sales increased 3% to 505 this month vs. 491 last month, which is up 25% from last year’s 404 (Sect A p.18). New Home sales were 63 this month vs 85 last month and compared with 54 last year.

New listings for New homes decreased to 113 from 144 in March. Used homes New listings decreased to 823 from 958 in March 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 April, there were 3,537 Active Used homes, a reduction from 3,999 in March. The New home market, which peaked in April 2006 at 2,144 Active, now sits at 444.

The Absorption rate for New homes was 7 months of inventory in April vs. 8 in March. The Absorption rate for Used homes was 8 months of inventory in April vs. 9 in March. 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 7 months this April. The inventory of homes in the upper price range remains high with homes over $400,000 at over a year’s supply. Even here we are seeing improvement, which may set the stage for some acceleration in new construction.

Average sales price for all homes has been improving modestly for the past year. For New units, prices increased to  $248,842 from $240,859 last month. (Sect A p.14). Average Used home prices increased to $254,043 from $230,141 in March. The price trend is up for the year. Average Days On Market for New Sold properties in April was 213 vs last month of 186. Days On Market for Used was 152 compared with last month of 162.

TWB 5/10/2015

Birmingham Area Residential Sales Improve 17% Over Last Year

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for March 2015

April Sales

April Sales

Dollar sales in March experienced a better than expected seasonal improvement of 27% to $266,141,196 from February’s $210,080,211, up by 17% over last March’s of $227,902,558. The increase over last year in the last three months indicates the beginning of a strong spring season. The 12 month moving average line for total dollar sales is continuing to show a very steady upward trend indicating consistent growth.

Total Unit sales were up 21% to 1,348 in March from 1,113 in February, an increase of 235. This is up 10% from last March at 1227. New sales increased by 26 units to 138 homes this month from 112 in February and off from 154 last year. Used sales were 1,210 homes in March, up 21% from 1,001 last month, an increase of 209, and up by 8% or 87 units from 1,123 last year(Sect E p.3).

Keeping in mind the ACRE numbers are slightly different from those we report. With Acre, we released our 2015 forecast which can be seen here. We expect the Birmingham area to be 6% above 2014 levels. So this month’s unit increase of 10% is ahead of the projection.  Based on what I am seeing, I expect substantial market gains. I also expect to see a healthy increase in new construction, the beginnings of which we can see from the year over year gains in permits below.

This month total inventory is 1% higher at 9,740 vs. last month at 9,607 and 3% less than the 10,028 last year. Active New listings decreased to 951 in March from 1,209 in February, a decline of 258 units (Sect E p.3).  

Housing permits were down in Jefferson County to 98 in February from 101 in December, which is down from 101 last year. Shelby County went from 39 to 45 in February, up from 30 last year.I expect this pace of building to pick-up. We are seeing a more significant number of multi-family construction units (which we do not formally track or report) in most markets.

Absorption rate for New homes is at 6.8 months supply this month, which is up slightly from 6.1 months last year at this time. Last month though, shows 8.5 months of supply (Sect E p.3). The New homes for the most part have normal inventory levels in the 1-7 month range depending on area and price range. (Sect C p.1 and Sect E p.3.)

Absorption for Used homes in March shows 7 months, one month better than the 8 months last year. Used Active listings at 8,789 are up slightly from last month at 8,398 and lower than the 9,196 last year (Sect E p.3). Market performance is highly area specific, so check the individual area charts. For instance, Mountain Brook has about five months of inventory except in the over $900,000 category, which has 8 months of inventory (44 homes), with six sold in that price range last month . The average days on market for that category is 121. There are a number of MLS areas showing similarly low levels of inventory, including Homewood and Centerpoint.

Birmingham area Average Days on Market for New houses is 210 compared with last month at 209. The Used homes DOM was 130 in March vs 131 last month, (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes decreased to $294,485 from $299,312 last month (Sect A p2). Average sales price for Sold Used homes increased to $186,366 from $176,381 last month (Sect A p2). The moving average price for all homes has been up steadily for the past year. (Sect A p2).

TWB 4/11//2015    

Coastal Alabama Real Estate Sales Improve In March

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

April Sales

April Sales

Sales dollars increased 29% in March to $133,160,474 from February of $103,171,501. This is 17% better than March last year at $113,720,479. (Sect A p.2). This is the 1st month of the year with a substantial increase year over year and could be an indicator for a robust sales season.  The 12 month moving average line of sales which had continued to point up steadily for three years is still best described as “squiggly”. Last year was the best sales year since 2005 so this monthly performance stands out. The lack of new construction now seems to be depressing sales somewhat. Inventories continue trending down.

The biggest increases in sales were in the lower price ranges (below $300,000 ) and in the Daphne/Montrose area, which saw sales go from 43 last month to 80 this month (Sec D P4). Looking in section E pages 2-5 one can see the subdivisions accounting for the largest gains, among others, Lake Forest and Oldfield show large gains.

In concert with ACRE, The Alabama Center for Real Estate, has projected expectations for 2015. We use the ACRE provided data for the projections, which differs slightly from the data in this report. While the projection last year was not very accurate, I believe that this year will be much better as we now have more ”normal “data not distorted by the oil spill and weather. The projection for 2015 expects a unit increase of 4.75% over 2014 actual.

On a unit basis, sales of all houses were up 36% to 574 this month vs. last month at 422, which is 25% above  last year’s healthy level of 459. There is still substantial inventory available to satisfy demand.

Used Home sales increased 34% to 489 this month vs. 364 last month, which is up 24% from last year’s 394 (Sect A p.18). New Home sales were 85 this month vs 58 last month and compared with 65 last year.

New listings for New homes increased to 142 from 68 in February. Used homes New listings increased to 944 from 835 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 3,528 Active Used homes, a reduction from 4,021 in February. The New home market, which peaked in March 2006 at 2,144 Active, now sits at 419.

The Absorption rate for New homes was 7 months of inventory in March vs. 9 in February. The Absorption rate for Used homes was 8 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 February 2008 to 7 months this March. The inventory of homes in the upper price range remains high with homes over $400,000 at over a year’s supply. Even here we are seeing improvement, which may set the stage for some acceleration in new construction.

Average sales price for all homes has been improving modestly for the past year. For New units, prices increased to  $240,859 from $233,054 last month. (Sect A p.14). Average Used home prices decreased to $230,445 from $24,303 in February. The price trend is up for the year. Average Days On Market for New Sold properties in March was 186 vs last month of 209. Days On Market for Used was 162 compared with last month of 162.

TWB 4/12/2015

Birmingham Area Real Estate Unit Sales up 6% Over Last February

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for February 2015

Birmingham February Sales

Birmingham February Sales

Dollar sales in February experienced an expected seasonal improvement of 22% to $200,563,499 from January’s $163,769,334, up by 18% over last February’s of $169,452,699. The increase over last year in the last two months indicates the possibility for a strong spring season. The 12 month moving average line for total dollar sales is continuing to show a very steady upward trend indicating consistent growth.

Total Unit sales were up 13% to 1,047 in February from 926 in January, a increase of 121. This is up 6% from last February at 986. New sales increased by 7 units to 102 homes this month from 95 in January and off from 114 last year. Used sales were 945 homes in February, up 14% from 831 last month, an increase of 114, and up by 8% or 73 units from 872 last year(Sect E p.3).

Keeping in mind the ACRE numbers are slightly different from those we report. With Acre, we released our 2015 forecast which can be seen here. We expect the Birmingham area to be 6% above 2014 levels. So this month’s unit increase of 6% is in line with the projection.  Based on what I see I expect pretty substantial market gains. I also expect to see a healthy increase in new construction, the beginnings of which we can see from the year over year gains in permits below.

This month total inventory is 1% lower at 9,359 vs. last month at 9,478 and 9,488 last year. The drop in the current month is caused by month-end expirations which should come back on the market. Active New listings decreased to 961 in February from 1,183 in January, a decline of 222 units (Sect E p.3).  

Housing permits were up in Jefferson County to 101 in January from 93 in December, which is up considerably from 65 last year. Shelby County went from 41 to 39 in January, up from 5 last year. It seems that builders are anticipating a strong spring market and I think they are right. In addition, we are seeing a more significant number of multi-family construction units (which we do not formally track or report) in most markets.

Absorption rate for New homes is at 6.8 months supply this month, which is up slightly from 6.2 months 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 depending on area and price range. (Sect C p.1 and Sect E p.3.)

Absorption for Used homes in February shows 7 months, one month better than the 8 months last year. Used Active listings at 8,398 are up slightly from last month at 8,295 and lower than the 8,666 last year (Sect E p.3). Market performance is highly area specific, so check the individual area charts. For instance, Mountain Brook has about four months of inventory except in the over $900,000 category, which has 7 months of inventory (36 homes), with six sold in that price range last month . The average days on market for that category is 131. There are a number of MLS areas showing similarly low levels of inventory, including Homewood and Centerpoint.

Birmingham area Average Days on Market for New houses is 209 compared with last month at 112. The Used homes DOM was 131 in February vs 130 last month, (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes increased to $304,125 from $294,532 last month (Sect A p2). Average sales price for Sold Used homes increased to $179,410 from $163,404 last month (Sect A p2). The moving average price for all homes has been up steadily for the past year. (Sect A p2).

TWB 3/7//2015

Alabama Coastal Sales About Even With Last Year

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

Baldwin February Sales

Baldwin February Sales

Sales dollars increased 19% in February to $101,572,601 from January of $85,561,282. This is about even with February last year at $102,008,927. (Sect A p.2). The 12 month moving average line of sales which had continued to point up steadily for three years can now best be described as “squiggly.” I would characterize the market activity as flat. The monthly sales total in dollars was almost the same as last year and last year was the best sales year since 2005. The lack of new construction now seems to be depressing sales somewhat. Inventories continue trending down.

In concert with ACRE, The Alabama Center for Real Estate, has projected expectations for 2015. We use the ACRE provided data for the projections, which differs slightly from the data in this report. While the projection last year was not very accurate, I believe that this year will be much better as we now have more ”normal “data not distorted by oil spill and weather. The projection for 2015 expects a unit increase of 4.75% over 2014 actual, which is close to the 6.6% increase we see year to date.

On a unit basis, sales of all houses were up 10% to 413 this month vs. last month at 374, which is about even with last year’s 411. There is still substantial inventory available to satisfy demand.

Used Home sales increased 5% to 355 this month vs. 337 last month, which is down 5% from last year’s 375 (Sect A p.18). New Home sales were 58 this month vs 37 last month and compared with 36 last year. Interestingly, there was a big drop in sales of under $100,000 properties from a monthly average of between 60 and 80 down to 45 this month.

New listings for New homes decreased to 66 from 83 in January. Used homes New listings decreased to 776 from 790 in January 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 February, there were 3,440 Active Used homes, a reduction from 3,686 in January. The New home market, which peaked in February 2006 at 2,144 Active, now sits at 400.

The Absorption rate for New homes was 7 months of inventory in February vs. 9 in January. The Absorption rate for Used homes was 8 months of inventory for February vs. 9 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 January 2008 to 7 months this February. The inventory of homes in the upper price range remains high with homes over $400,000 at over a year’s supply. Even here we are seeing improvement, which may set the stage for some acceleration in new construction.

Average sales price for all homes has been improving modestly for the past year. For New units, prices decreased to  $233,054 from $240,688 last month. (Sect A p.14). Average Used home prices increased to $248,048 from $227,465 in January. The price trend is up for the year. Average Days On Market for New Sold properties in February was 209 vs last month of 202. Days On Market for Used was 162 compared with last month of 160.

TWB 3/8/2015

Birmingham Area Sales In January Up 12% From Last Year

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for January 2015

Dollar sales in January experienced an expected seasonal decline of 35% to $154,737,263 from December’s $236,286,564, up by 12% over last January’s $138,585,163. The 12 month moving average line for total dollar sales is continuing to show a very steady upward trend indicating modest and consistent growth.

January Sales

January Sales

Total Unit sales were down 25% to 873 in January from 1,157 in December, a decrease of 284. This is up 4% from last January at 840. New sales decreased by 86 units to 89 homes this month from 175 in December and off from 91 last year. Used sales were 784 homes in January, off 20% from 982 last month, a decrease of 198, and up by 5% or 35 units from 749 last year(Sect E p.3).

Keep in mind the ACRE numbers are slightly different from those we report. With Acre, we released our 2015 forecast which can be seen here. We expect the Birmingham area to be 6% above 2014 levels. So this month’s unit increase of 4% is slightly worse than the projection.  Based on what I see I expect pretty healthy market gains. I also expect to see a healthy increase in new construction, the beginnings of which we can see from the year over year gains in permits, below.

This month total inventory is 1% lower at 9,101 vs. last month at 9,195 and 9,347 last year. The drop in the current month is caused by month-end expirations which should come back on the market. Active New listings decreased to 912 in January from 1,058 in December, a decline of 146 units (Sect E p.3).  

Housing permits were up in Jefferson County to 93 in December from 72 in November. Shelby County went from 10 to 41 in December. It seems that builders are anticipating a strong spring market. I think they are right. In addition, we are seeing a more significant number of Multi-family construction units (which we do not formally track or report) in most markets.

Absorption rate for New homes is at 6.5 months supply this month which is even with 6.4 months 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 depending on area and price range. (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 8,189 are lower than the 8,495 last year (Sect E p.3). 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 6 months of inventory (31 homes) with three sold in that price range last month . The average days on market for that category is 84. There are a number of MLS areas showing similarly low levels of inventory, including Homewood and Centerpoint.

Birmingham area Average Days on Market for New houses is 212 compared with last month at 189. The Used homes DOM was 130 in January vs 134 last month, (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes decreased to $295,257 from $310,600 last month (Sect A p2). Average sales price for Sold Used homes decreased to $163,851 from $185,266 last month (Sect A p2). The moving average price for all homes has been up steadily for the past year. (Sect A p2).


TWB 2/7/2015