Category Archives: Construction

June Birmingham Residential Real Estate Market Robust

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for June 2016

This year seems to be unfolding almost identically to last as far as sales levels go. Inventories are down, and prices seem to be level with last year as well.This report has corrected the historical data for last month. Total dollar sales for June were $396,590,711 up 3% from $386,637,588 last year, and down slightly (.3%) from last month at $397,646,781.

Total Unit sales were off 9% to 1,706 in June from 1,884 in May, a decrease of 178. This is off by 80 from last June at 1,786. New sales were off at 155 homes this month, and 169 in May, and off by 35 from 190 last year. The low inventory levels of new homes suggest a good environment for builders, even with prices trending steady. Used sales were 1,551 homes in June, off 10% from 1,715 last month, a decrease of 164, and off by 45 units  from 1,596 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.  May overperformed the projection. The cumulative error is plus 8.6% year to date, that is, actuals are running ahead of projections (through May).

Housing permits, the census bureau section, that supplies this data has been restored. Based on the new data, housing permits are up modestly, as I would expect. For Jefferson County, in May there were 123 permits compared with 108 last year. Similarly, Shelby County has been running about double last year’s level (see the web site).

Total inventory is slightly higher this month at 9,818 vs. last month at 9,400 and less than 10,617 last year. Active New listings increased to 1,154 in June from 1,052 in May (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 4-6 month range depending on area and price range. However, the $700,000-$800,000 range has 13 months of supply (94 houses) (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 June shows 7 months, which is less than the 8 last year. Used Active listings at 8,764 are up from last month of 8,284, and quite a bit less than 9,588 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 5 months of inventory except in the over $900,000 category, which has 16 months of inventory (61 homes), with 10 sold in that price range last month. There are a number of MLS areas showing similarly low levels of inventory, including Homewood (only 4 months of inventory).

Birmingham area Average Days on Market for New houses is 205 compared with last month at 203. The Used homes DOM was 110 in June vs 111 last month, (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes increased to $304,770 from $299,472 last month (Sect A p2), and prices seem to be increasing slowly compared to last year. Average sales price for Sold Used were $225,243 this month compared to $202,353 last year. (Sect A p2).

All in all, the market looks quite healthy.
TWB 7/9/2016

April Birmingham Real Estate Market Continues To Look Like Last Year

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for April 2016

This year seems to be unfolding almost identically to last as far as sales levels go. Inventories are down, and prices seem to be level with last year as well. Dollar sales in April experienced an expected increase of 12% to $319,627,228 from March at $285,245,363, a bit more than last April’s  $308,690,507 (up 4%). The 12 month moving average line for total dollar sales over the last six months has flattened.

Total Unit sales were up 1% to 1,508 in April from 1,488 in March, an increase of 20. This is down by 19 from last April at 1,527. New sales were down at 134 homes this month, and 171 in March and off by 13 from 147 last year. The low inventory levels of new homes suggest a good environment for builders, although prices seem to be steady. Used sales were 1,374 homes in April, up 3% from 1,317 last month, an increase of 57, and off by 6 units  from 1,380 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.  March overperformed the projection. The cumulative error is plus 2.71% year to date (thru March).

Housing permits, the census bureau section that supplies this data, has been down for three months now. They have made data available in a different format and I’m not entirely sure that the data is comparable, but it seems to be. Based on the new data, housing permits are up as I would expect . For Jefferson County, in February and March there were 128 and 156 permits respectively compared with 98 and 125 last year. Similarly, Shelby County has been running about double last year’s level (see the web site).

Total inventory is slightly higher this month at 9,599 vs. last month at 8,924 and less than 9,833 last year. Active New listings decreased to 1021 in April from 1,077 in March (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 for the most part have normal inventory levels in the 1-9 month range depending on area and price range. However, the $800,000-$900,000 range has 18 months of supply (12 houses) (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 April shows 7 months, which is the same as 7 last year. Used Active listings at 8,654 are up from last month at 8,223, and a bit less than 9,125 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 except in the $6-700,000 range (9 months of inventory), and the over $900,000 category, which has 16 months of inventory (59 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 (only 4 months of inventory).

Birmingham area Average Days on Market for New houses is 211 compared with last month at 202. The Used homes DOM was 126 in April vs 128 last month, (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes increased to $305,698 from $279,918 last month (Sect A p2), and prices seem to be flat over the last year. Average sales price for Sold Used homes increased to $202,812 from $180,242 last month (Sect A p2). The moving average price for all homes has flattened for the past year. (Sect A p2).

TWB 5/8/2016

Birmingham Area November Sales About Even With Last Year

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for November 2015

Dollar sales in November experienced a seasonal decline of 21% to $191,265,221 from October $243,024,990, almost identical to last November’s of $192,277,597  (off .5%). The 12 month moving average line for total dollar sales has flattened. It seems to me that there has been a somewhat larger number of late reported sales which means that prior month totals are higher than what we showed last month by larger amounts than has historically been the case. It is important to view the overall trend and not get hung up on the precision of the latest month’s number.

Total Unit sales were down 24% to 976 in November from 1,279 in October, a decrease of 303. This is off by 7% from last November at 1048. New sales were off at 107 homes this month and 109 in October and off from 124 last year. The price pressure and low inventory levels of new homes suggests a good environment for builders. Used sales were 869 homes in November, down 26% from 1,170 last month, a decrease of 301, and off by 55 units or 6% from 924 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. November sales were 17% or 159 units below our forecast. ACRE’s year-to-date sales forecast through November projected 12,332 closed transactions while the actual sales were 12,289 units, (off by 43 units) a cumulative variance of -.35%.

Total inventory is slightly lower this month at 9,353 vs. last month at 9,646 and somewhat less than 9,748 last year. Active New listings decreased to 921 in November from 1,025 in October (Sect E p.3).

Housing permits were up in Jefferson County to 101 in October from 83 in September, which is off from 113 last year. Shelby County went to 32 from 30 last month, up from 20 last year.

Absorption rate for New homes is at 6 months supply this month, which is about even with 7 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. However, the $800,000-$900,000 range has 21 months of supply (Sect C p.1).

Absorption for Used homes in November shows 7 months which is about even with 8 last year. Used Active listings at 8,432 are even with last month at 8,681 and about the same as 8,815 last year (Sect E p.3). Market performance is highly area specific, so check the individual area charts. For instance, Mountain Brook has between 1 and 9 months of inventory except in the over $900,000 category, which has 10 months of inventory (43 homes), with 3 sold in that price range last month . The average days on market for that category is 56. 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 207 compared with last month at 189. The Used homes DOM was 121 in November vs 125 last month, (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes decreased to $342,420 from $302,778 last month (note that there was one sale for $4,000,000 raising the average) (Sect A p2). Average sales price for Sold Used homes increased to $177,936 from $179,506 last month (Sect A p2). The moving average price for all homes has been up steadily for the past year. (Sect A p2). 

TWB 12/13/2015

Birmingham Area Real Estate Sales Slower in August

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for August 2015

In June the Birmingham MLS changed its base system. We have recoded the data to be consistent. Let me know if you see anything strange!

Dollar sales in August experienced a seasonal decline of 22% to $282,283,392 from July’s $360,310,522, off by 5% over last August’s of $297,202,353. The 12 month moving average line for total dollar sales has flattened. It seems to me that there has been a somewhat larger number of late reported sales which means that prior month totals are higher than what we showed last month by larger amounts than has historically been the case. It is important to view overall trend and not get hung up on the precision of the latest month’s number.

Total Unit sales were down 18% to 1,434 in August from 1,748 in July, a decrease of 314. This is off 4% from last August at 1511. New sales were even at 160 homes this month and July and up from 150 last year. The price pressure and low inventory levels of new homes suggests a good environment for builders. Used sales were 1,274 homes in August, down 20% from 1,588 last month, a decrease of 314, and off by 87 units or 6% 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 August, the latest available: August sales were 8%  or 62 unit below our forecast. ACRE’s year-to-date sales forecast through August projected 9,211 closed transactions while the actual sales were 9,265 units, a cumulative variance of .6%.

Total inventory is about even this month at 10,216 vs. last month at 10,288 and about even with 10,162 last year. Active New listings decreased to 936 in August from 1,015 in July (Sect E p.3).

Housing permits were up in Jefferson County to 130 in July from 109 in June, which is up from 101 last year. Shelby County went from 38 to 65 in July, up from 42 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 pleased to see increases in 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 22 months of supply, however (Sect C p.1).

Absorption for Used homes in August shows 8 months which is about even with 9 months last year. Used Active listings at 9,280 are even with last month at 9,273 and about the same as 9,291 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 10 months of inventory (46 homes), with 2 sold in that price range last month . The average days on market for that category is 388. 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 173 compared with last month at 194. The Used homes DOM was 113 in August vs 117 last month, (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes increased to $302,850 from $294,625 last month (Sect A p2). Average sales price for Sold Used homes decreased to $183,538 from $197,211 last month (Sect A p2). The moving average price for all homes has been up steadily for the past year. (Sect A p2).
TWB 9/11/2015  

Birmingham Area Real Estate Sales Remain Healthy In June

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for June 2015

This month the Birmingham MLS changed its base system, and while we recoded data from the new system to match the old, there may be some inconsistency, although the results appear correct. There may have been some “clean-up” of the data in the conversion process. We will continue checking over the next few months. Let me know if you see anything strange!

Dollar sales in June experienced a seasonal improvement of 6% to $350,155,583 from May’s $329,904,594, up by 7% over last June’s of $326,535,833. The increase over last year confirms a strong summer season. The 12 month moving average line for total dollar sales is showing consistent growth.

Total Unit sales were up .3% to 1,598 in June from 1,593 in May, an increase of 5. This is up 1% from last June at 1582. The larger rise in dollar sales over unit sales indicates improving pricing, and suggests the lower inventory levels are making it more of a seller’s market. New sales increased by 14 units to 157 homes this month from 143 in May and up from 143 last year. The price pressure and low inventory levels of new homes suggests a good environment for builders. Used sales were 1,441 homes in June, down 1% from 1,450 last month, a decrease of 9, and up by 2 units from 1,439 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 reported: For May, the latest available: “Forecast: May sales were .8 percent or 1 unit above our monthly forecast. ACRE’s year-to-date sales forecast through May projected 5,282 closed transactions while the actual sales were 5,260 units, a cumulative variance of .4 percent.”

Total inventory is 17% lower at 8,584 vs. last month at 10,310 and 18% less than the 10,532 last year. Active New listings decreased to 836 in June from 1,162 in May, a decline of 326 units (Sect E p.3).  In particular, inventory counts are an area we will be checking further as relates to the system change.

Housing permits were down in Jefferson County to 108 in May from 117 in April, which is up from 105 last year. Shelby County went from 52 to 32 in May, down from 49 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 somewhat 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 from 6 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 )

Absorption for Used homes in June shows 6 months which is down from 8 months last year. Used Active listings at 7,748 are down from last month at 9,139 and lower than the 9,700 last year (Sect E p.3). Market performance is highly area specific, so check the individual area charts. For instance, Mountain Brook has about 5 months of inventory except in the over $900,000 category, which has 8 months of inventory (44 homes), with 8 sold in that price range last month . The average days on market for that category is 79. 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 205 compared with last month at 194. The Used homes DOM was 126 in June vs 114 last month, (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes increased to $306,782 from $285,618 last month (Sect A p2). Average sales price for Sold Used homes increased to $209,570 from $199,353 last month (Sect A p2). The moving average price for all homes has been up steadily for the past year. (Sect A p2).

TWB 7/13/2015

Birmingham Residential Real Estate Sales Strong in May

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for May 2015

Dollar sales in May experienced a seasonal improvement of 6% to $323,274,789 from April’s $305,091,148, up by 12% over last May’s of $289,612,036. The increase over last year confirms 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 3% to 1,551 in May from 1,505 in April, an increase of 46. This is up 4% from last May at 1495. 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 3 units to 140 homes this month from 143 in April 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 1,411 homes in May, up 4% from 1,362 last month, an increase of 49, and up by 4% or 50 units from 1,361 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 reported: “Forecast: May sales were .8 percent or 1 unit above of our monthly forecast. ACRE’s year-to-date sales forecast through May projected 5,282 closed transactions while the actual sales were 5,260 units, a cumulative variance of .4 percent.” I also expect to see a healthy increase in new construction, which has been quite modest so far..

Total inventory is 1% lower at 10,338 vs. last month at 10,420 and 1% more than the 10,274 last year. Active New listings decreased to 937 in May from 1,274 in April, a decline of 337 units (Sect E p.3).  

Housing permits were down in Jefferson County to 117 in April from 125 in February, which is down from 119 last year. Shelby County went from 50 to 52 in April, up from 45 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 6.6 months supply this month, which is up slightly from 6.0 months last year at this time. Last month though, shows 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 May shows 8 months which is even with 8 months last year. Used Active listings at 9,401 are up slightly from last month at 9,146 but lower than the 9,462 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 (50 homes), with 7 sold in that price range last month . The average days on market for that category is 76. 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 194 compared with last month at 198. The Used homes DOM was 114 in May vs 122 last month, (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes decreased to $287,643 from $314,478 last month (Sect A p2). Average sales price for Sold Used homes increased to $200,570 from $190,984 last month (Sect A p2). The moving average price for all homes has been up steadily for the past year. (Sect A p2). 

TWB 6/11/2015

Alabama Coastal Real Estate Market Vigorous in May

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

Sales dollars increased 5% in May to $155,371,956 from April $147,326,266. This is 14% better than May last year at $136,834,816. (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 three months gains. Last year was the best sales year since 2005 and the last three months has been substantially above that level. The lack of new construction now seems to be depressing sales somewhat. Inventories continue trending down.

The most notable increases in sales were in the over $900,000 range, going from 12 sales last month to 16 this month.  Interesting however there was only one new home sold over $500,000, and used inventory over $400,000 remain over a year. Essentially, the market has improved on the very high end and the lower end; the middle, not so much.

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 located here expects a unit increase of 4.75% over 2014 actual. Through May cumulative sales are running 7% ahead of the projection. For the month of May sales were 3% ahead of the projection.

On a unit basis, sales of all houses were up 2% to 595 this month vs. last month at 581, which is 5% above  last year’s healthy level of 565. There is still substantial inventory available to satisfy demand.

Used Home sales decreased 1% to 510 this month vs. 517 last month, which is up 5% from last year’s 487 (Sect A p.18). New Home sales were 85 this month vs 64 last month and compared with 77 last year.

New listings for New homes decreased to 107 from 115 in April. Used homes New listings decreased to 825 from 857 in April 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 May, there were 3,647 Active Used homes, a reduction from 4,174 in April. The New home market, which peaked in May 2006 at 2,144 Active, now sits at 452.

The Absorption rate for New homes was 7 months of inventory in May vs. 9 in April. The Absorption rate for Used homes was 8 months of inventory in May vs. 9 in April. Over the last four years the drop in months of inventory for Used homes has been steady and impressive from 25 months plus in April 2008 to 7 months this May. 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 acceleration in new construction.

Average sales price for all homes has been improving modestly for the past year. For New units, prices decreased to  $248,695 from $253,059 last month. (Sect A p.14). Average Used home prices increased to $263,202 from $253,637 in April. The price trend is up for the year. Average Days On Market for New Sold properties in May was 236 vs last month of 213. Days On Market for Used was 169 compared to last month 152.

TWB 6/14/2015