Category Archives: Alabama

Birmingham Area Sales Accelerate In March

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for March 2017

Mar2017BHAMindexed

March saw an acceleration of the uptick in dollar and unit sales over last year.  Prices seem to be modestly increasing. Total dollar sales for March were $335,608,193 up 15% from $291,558,899 last year, and up 40% from last month at $239,312,908.

Total Unit sales were up 6% at 1,629 in March from 1,530 last year and up by 35% compared with 1,204 in February. New sales were off at 150 homes this month, vs. 155 in February, and off by 30 from 175 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 1,479 homes in March, up 41% from 1,049 last month, and up by 9% from 1,355 last year (Sect E p.3).

ACRE numbers are slightly different from those we report. For ACRE, our month by month 2017 forecast can be seen here: ACRE. For Birmingham, the full year projection for 2017 = 15,238, a 3.6% difference from 2016 actual of 14,705. The cumulative error is minus 1% for the year; that is actuals are behind projections of 3,200 through March, at 3,162 actual thru March.

Total inventory is slightly higher this month at 8,150 vs. last month at 7,851 and less than 9,313 last year. (Sect C p.1). Active New listings decreased to 997 in March from 1,067 in February (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).

Absorption for Used homes in March shows 5 months, which is less than the 6 last year. Used Active listings at 7,153 are up from last month of 6,784, and less than 8,228 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 6 months of inventory, 4 months overall, except in the $5-$600,000 and over $900,000 category, which each have 6 months of inventory. In the over $900,000 price range there were 40 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 4 months of inventory.

Birmingham area Average Days on Market for New houses is 239 compared with last month at 197. The Used homes DOM was 115 in March vs 125 last month, (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes decreased to $276,271 from $288,821 last month (Sect A p2). Over a several month period prices seem to be increasing. Average sales price for Sold Used was $198,896 this month compared to $185,458 last month. (Sect A p2).

All in all, the market continues to look quite healthy.
TWB 4/12/2017  

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  

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          

Birmingham Real Estate Sales in July About Even With Last Year

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for July 2015

Last month the Birmingham MLS changed its base system, and while we recoded data from the new system to match the old, we saw some inconsistencies last month which have now been corrected, which resulted in increased sales for June, and we corrected the history. We will continue checking over the next few months. Let me know if you see anything strange!

Dollar sales in July experienced a seasonal decline of 12% to $333,149,084 from June’s $379,642,929, up by 1% over last July’s of $329,096,,532. The 12 month moving average line for total dollar sales is showing consistent growth.

Total Unit sales were down 7% to 1,614 in July from 1,728 in June, a decrease of 114. This is off 1% from last July at 1601. New sales decreased by 44 units to 140 homes this month from 184 in June and off from 156 last year. The price pressure and low inventory levels of new homes suggests a good environment for builders. Used sales were 1,474 homes in July, down 5% from 1,544 last month, a decrease of 70, and up by 29 units or 2% from 1,445 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: ACRE. For June, the latest available: June sales were 4.5%  or 62 unit above our forecast. ACRE’s year-to-date sales forecast through June projected 6,650 closed transactions while the actual sales were 6,690 units, a cumulative variance of .6%.

Total inventory is about even this month at 10,367 vs. last month at 10,402 and 2% less than the 10,532 last year. Active New listings decreased to 936 in July from 1,028 in June, a decline of 92 units (Sect E p.3).

Housing permits were up in Jefferson County to 109 in June from 108 in May, which is down from 142 last year. Shelby County went from 32 to 38 in June, up from 25 last year. We are seeing a more significant number of multi-family construction units (which we do not formally track or report), in most markets. I am surprised by the continued low level of new home building.

Absorption rate for New homes is at 6 months supply this month, which is even with 6 months last year. (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. The $800,000-$900,000 range has 15 months of supply however (Sect C p.1 )

Absorption for Used homes in July shows 8 months which is even with 8 months last year. Used Active listings at 9,431 are up from last month at 9,374 and lower than the 9,701 last year (Sect E p.3). Market performance is highly area specific, so check the individual area charts. For instance, Mountain Brook has between 3 and 9 months of inventory except in the over $900,000 category, which has 11 months of inventory (50 homes), with 4 sold in that price range last month . The average days on market for that category is 85. There are a number of MLS areas showing similarly low levels of inventory, including Homewood and Fultondale.

Birmingham area Average Days on Market for New houses is 194 compared with last month at 205. The Used homes DOM was 117 in July vs 126 last month, (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes decreased to $292,006 from $307,082 last month (Sect A p2). Average sales price for Sold Used homes decreased to $198,282 from $209,288 last month (Sect A p2). The moving average price for all homes has been up steadily for the past year. (Sect A p2).

TWB 8/11/2015

Coastal Alabama Real Estate Continues To Set Records In July

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

Sales dollars decreased 5% in July to $154,052,831(a record for July) from June $162,801,446. This is 41% better than July last year at $109,094,980. (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 this year, has now gotten a healthy upwards tilt due to the record setting last five months gains. Last year was the best sales year since 2005, and the last five months has been substantially above that level. The lack of new construction now seems to be depressing sales somewhat. Inventories continue trending down.

Sales in most price categories have begun to show consistent improvement. Inventories are improving but remain high at over a year for anything over $400,000.

In concert with ACRE, The Alabama Center for Real Estate, we have 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 located here expects a unit increase of 4.75% over 2014 actual. Through June cumulative sales are running 7% ahead of the projection. For the month of June sales were 9% ahead of the projection.

On a unit basis, sales of all houses were off 4% to 631 this month vs. last month at 602, which is 29% above  last year’s healthy level of 479. There is still substantial inventory available to satisfy demand.

Used Home sales decreased 5% to 535 this month vs. 561 last month, which is up 22% from last year’s 437 (Sect A p.18). New Home sales were 83 this month vs 81 last month and compared with 42 last year.

New listings for New homes increased to 97 from 95 in June. Used homes New listings decreased to 734 from 761 in June 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 July, there were 3,615 Active Used homes, a reduction from 4,167 in June. The New home market, which peaked in July 2006 at 2,144 Active, now sits at 436.

The Absorption rate for New homes was 7 months of inventory in July vs. 8 in June. The Absorption rate for Used homes was 8 months of inventory in July vs. 9 in June. Over the last four years the drop in months of inventory for Used homes has been steady and impressive from 25 months plus in June 2008 to 8 months this July. The inventory of homes in the upper price range remains high with homes over $400,000 at over a year’s supply but even here we are seeing improvement. I would expect to see construction begin to pick-up in the under $400,000 range, but so far have not seen it.

Average sales price for all homes has been improving modestly for the past year. For New units, prices decreased to  $234,869 from $268,416 last month. (Sect A p.14). Average Used home prices increased to $251,512 from $251,443 in June. The price trend is up for the year. Average Days On Market for New Sold properties in July was 174 vs last month of 178. Days On Market for Used was 152 compared to last month 158.

TWB 8/8/2015