Category Archives: Monthly comments

Birmingham April Real Estate Sales Moderate Slightly

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for April 2017

April saw a surprising reversal of the dramatic increase we saw last month. We saw a similar increase/decrease pattern on the Alabama coast for the last two months as well. Could it be related to the volatile political situation? Or is it just something random? The next few months should show us.  Prices seem to be modestly increasing. Total dollar sales for April were $332,399,621 off 2% from $339,397,305 last year, and off 5% from last month at $348,804,968.

Total Unit sales were off 7% at 1,524 in April from 1,636 last year and off by 11% compared with 1,709 in March. New sales were up at 164 homes this month, vs. 160 in March, and up by 18 from 146  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 1,360 homes in April, off 12% from 1,549 last month, and off by 9% from 1,490 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 April, at 3,162 actual thru March. Check the link to see when the April numbers are posted.

Total inventory is slightly higher this month at 8,484 vs. last month at 7,832 and less than 9,178 last year. (Sect C p.1). Active New listings decreased to 1,000 in April from 1,048 in March (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 April shows 5 months, which is less than the 6 last year. Used Active listings at 7,484 are up from last month of 6,784, and less than 8,105 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. 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 198 compared with last month at 239. The Used homes DOM was 104 in April vs 115 last month, (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes increased to $292,961 from $275,131 last month (Sect A p2). Over a several month period prices seem to be quite unchanged. Average sales price for Sold Used was $209,084 this month compared to $196,762 last month. (Sect A p2).

It will be interesting to see how sales unfold over the next few months..

TWB 5/13/2017  

April Alabama Coastal Sales Take a Pause

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

Sales dollars surprisingly decreased 21% in April to $162,333,926 from March’s high  of  $206,329,050. This is still up 10% from last year’s record of $147,415,100. (Sect A p.2). The 12 month moving average line of sales has been heading up substantially. We saw a similar increase/decrease pattern in Birmingham for the last two months as well. Could it be related to the volatile political situation? Or is it just something random? The next few months should show us.

Inventories continue to drop noticeably. Check out the chart on page A-17 to fully appreciate the inventory trends. Note that price ranges in inventories over a year are fewer. Now only the $600,000 and over categories have over a year of inventory.

In concert with ACRE, The Alabama Center for Real Estate, we have projected expectations for 2017. We use the ACRE provided data for the projections, which differs slightly from the data in this report. The projection for 2017 located here expects projected home sales in 2017 at 6,276, which is a 12.65% over 2016 actual of  5,571. This year through April actual sales are .75% above expectations. 1,938 sales were recorded so far this year which is ahead of the projection of 1,924.  

On a unit basis, sales of all houses were off at 617 this month vs. last month at 768, which is still well above last year’s healthy level of 594. Used Home sales decreased to 518 this month vs. 614 last month, which is up from last year’s 507 (Sect A p.18). New Home sales were 99 this month vs 154 last month and compared with 87 last year. New listings for New homes decreased to 155 from 186 in March. Used homes New listings decreased to 831 from 895 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 been consistently improving. In April, there were 2,793 Active Used homes, a reduction from 3,296 in March and a new multi year low. New homes, which peaked in April 2006 at 2,144 Active, now sit at 710.

The Absorption rate for New homes was 7 months of inventory in April vs. 8 in March. The Absorption rate for Used homes was 6 months of inventory in April vs. 7 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 6 months this April. I had been expecting construction to begin to pick-up in the under $400,000 range, and this has happened to a modest degree. Sales have been keeping up, so we have not seen an increase in inventory.

Average sales price for all homes has begun to show an upwards trend. For New units, average price increased to  $264,897 from $245,230 last month. (Sect A p.14). Average Used home prices were off this month, to $262,759 from $274,534 in March. Average Days On Market for New Sold properties in April was 213 vs last month of 176. This indicates that some of the older New inventory is being sold, a good thing. Days On Market for Used was 141 vs. last month 144. With this volatility, it will be interesting to see how the market evolves during the peak summer selling season.

TWB 5/13/2017

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  

Alabama Coastal March Sales Reach Record Levels

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

Mar17BALDWINSales dollars increased a remarkable 82% in March to $205,223,539 from February $112,736,967. This is up 49% from last year’s record of $137,834,831. (Sect A p.2). The 12 month moving average line of sales, has been heading up substantially. When I saw the outstanding results I immediately went to look for problems in the data. The increase was, however, across a number of areas and price ranges and I found no obvious problems.

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. Note that price ranges in inventories over a year are fewer. Now only the $600,000 and over categories have over a year of inventory.

In concert with ACRE, The Alabama Center for Real Estate, we have projected expectations for 2017. We use the ACRE provided data for the projections, which differs slightly from the data in this report. The projection for 2017 located here expected projected home sales in 2017 of 6,276, which is a 12.65% difference from 2016 actual of  5,571. This year through March actual sales are 4% above expectations. 1,415 sales were recorded so far this year which is ahead of the projection of 1,359.  

On a unit basis, sales of all houses were up at 763 this month vs. last month at 438, which is well above last year’s healthy level of 446. Used Home sales decreased to 358 this month vs. 364 last month, which is off from last year’s 592 (Sect A p.18). New Home sales were 150 this month vs 77 last month and compared with 105 last year. New listings for New homes increased to 185 from 184 in February. Used homes New listings decreased to 874 from 720 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 been consistently improving. In March, there were 2,719 Active Used homes, a reduction from 3,309 in February and a new multi year low. New homes, which peaked in March 2006 at 2,144 Active, now sit at 697.

The Absorption rate for New homes was 7 months of inventory in March vs. 9 in February. The Absorption rate for Used homes was 6 months of inventory in March vs. 7 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 6 months this March. I had 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 begun to show an upwards trend. For New units, average price decreased to  $247,000 from $268,697 last month. (Sect A p.14). Average Used home prices were up this month, to $274,345 from $254,979 in February. Average Days On Market for New Sold properties in March was 176 vs last month of 196. Days On Market for Used was 144 vs. last month 162. With this very impressive month, it will be interesting to see if the momentum continues through the peak summer selling season.
TWB 4/12/2017

Birmingham February 2017 Real Estate Sales Remain Robust

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for February 2017

February saw a continuation of the pick up in dollar sales over last year, while unit sales slowed slightly from last years’ level. Prices seem to be modestly increasing. Total dollar sales for February were $229,699,200 up 5% from $218,749,074 last year, and up 8% from last month at $212,676,683.

Total Unit sales were up 9% at 1,154 in February from 1,059 in January, an increase of 95. This is off by 3% and 35 from last February at 1,189. New sales were up to 145 homes this month, and 125 in January, and up by 3 from 141 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 1,009 homes in February, up 8% from 934 last month, an increase of 75, off by 39 units  from 1,048 last year (Sect E p.3).

ACRE numbers are slightly different from those we report. For ACRE, we released our month by month 2017 forecast which 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 4% for the year; that is actuals are behind projections of 868 through January, at 834 actual in January which is still an increase of 8% over 771 in January 2016.

Total inventory is slightly higher this month at 8,168 vs. last month at 7,777 and less than 9,026 last year. (Sect C p.1). Active New listings increased to 1,025 in February from 1,001 in January (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 February shows 5 months, which is less than the 6 last year. Used Active listings at 7,143 are up from last month of 6,776, and less than 7,919 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 5 months of inventory (31 homes), with 8 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 197 compared with last month at 180. The Used homes DOM was 125 in February vs 126 last month, (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes decreased to $288,179 from $307,559 last month (Sect A p2). Over a several month period prices seem to be increasing. Average sales price for Sold Used was $186,237 this month compared to $186,544 last month. (Sect A p2).

All in all, the market continues to look quite healthy.
TWB 3/11/2017  

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