Category Archives: real estate

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

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

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

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 September Sales up 18% From Last Year

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for September 2014

Dollar sales in September declined by 4% to $282,951,372 from August’s $294,526,435, up by 18% over last September’s $238,693,635. The 12 month moving average line for total dollar sales has flattened but still showing an upward trend indicating modest slowing from last years’ rapid growth.

Total Unit sales were down 6% to 1,404 in September from 1,493 in August, a decrease of 89. This is up 12% from last September at 1,254. New sales increased by 25 units to 173 homes this month from 148 in August and even with 152 last year. Used sales were 1,231 homes in September, down 8% from 1,345 last month, a decrease of 114, and up by 128 units from 1,103 last year(Sect E p.3)

Using the ACRE data and results for forecasting, which are derived in a slightly different method than this report, we forecasted a full year gain of 8% for the full year. As of August the cumulative increase in units is 5%. We determined that the Birmingham MLS is assigning some sales to the Talladega market which were previously reported as part of Birmingham, thus reducing the reported sales in Birmingham, so the forecast is probably a bit more accurate than it appears on a “comparable” basis.

This month total inventory is 6% lower at 9,214 vs. last month at 9,847 and 10,519 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 771 in September from 1,048 in August (the highest level of new homes active since September 2011), a decline of 277 units (Sect E p.3).  

Housing permits were down in Jefferson County to 58 in August from 101 in July. Shelby County went from 42 to 31 in August.

Absorption rate for New homes is at 6 months supply this month which is one month better than 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. (Sect C p.1 and Sect E p.3.)

Absorption for Used homes in September shows 7 months, two months better than 9 months last year. Used Active listings at 8,443 are lower than the 9,601 last year (Sect E p.3). The market performance is highly area specific, so check the individual area charts. For instance, Mountain Brook has about two months of inventory except in the over $900,000 category, which has 7 months of inventory (37 homes) with two sold in that price range last month . The average days on market for that category is 120. 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 197, compared with 183 last month. The Used homes DOM was 127 in September, compared with 131 last month (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes increased to $288,825 from $272,128 last month (Sect A p2). Average sales price for Sold Used homes increased to $189,265 from $189,035 last month (Sect A p2). The moving average price for all homes has been up steadily for the past year. (Sect A p2).

TWB 10/11/2014  

Alabama Coastal Real Estate Sales Slower in July

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

Sales dollars declined 27% in July to $107,815,755 from June of $148,329,630. This is 14% off July last year at $125,659,355. (Sect A p.2). The 12 month moving average line of sales had continued to point up steadily for three years has can best be described as “squiggly.” I would characterize the market activity as “unusual.” Inventories continue trending down.

In concert with ACRE, The Alabama Center for Real Estate, we did projections for 2014 full year sales. We used the ACRE provided data for the projections, which differs slightly from the data in this report. We projected unit sales for Baldwin county increasing by 47.7% over 2013 levels. We have examined our methodology and removed 65 sales from the last quarter  of 2013 which were caused by a major condo project closing. This reduces the expected 2014 gain to 32% over 2013 and the projected condo increase of  8% over 2013  As of June, the cumulative year over year change in units is up 7%, far short of the adjusted forecast. The condo actuals are cumulatively about 4% below the forecast.

On a unit basis, sales of all houses were up 3% at 472 this month vs. last month at 590, which is up 17% from last year’s 502. There is still substantial inventory available to satisfy demand.

Used Home sales declined 16% to 431 this month vs. 512 last month, which is off 6% from last year’s 459 (Sect A p.18). New Home sales were 41 this month vs 78 last month and compared with 43 last year.

New listings for New homes increased to 129 from 108 in June. Used homes New listings decreased to 719 from 787 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 3,739 Active Used homes, a reduction from 4,220 in June. The New home market, which peaked in July 2006 at 2,144 Active, now sits at 442.

The Absorption rate for New homes was 7 months of inventory in July vs. 7 in June. The Absorption rate for Used homes was 9 months of inventory for July vs. 10 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 July 2008 to 9 months this July. The inventory of homes in the higher price ranges remains high, homes over $400,000 have over a years supply.

Average sales price for all homes has been improving modestly for the past year. For New units, prices increased to  $263,042 from $246,896 last month. (Sect A p.14). Average Used home prices decreased to $225,130 from $252,093 in June. The price trend is up for the year. Average Days On Market for New Sold properties in July was 202 this month vs. 203 last month. Days On Market for Used was 148 this month vs. 144 last month. Hopefully this month is not a harbinger of a slow fall sales season.

TWB 8/9/2014