Tag Archives: News

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 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  

New-home sales show hope

We were pleased to be extensively quoted in the paper today, with a bit of a positive spin!

The Birmingham News headed up it’s business section today on the Birmingham, Alabama Real Estate new housing market. The article is here. Article by William Thorton.

While not all signs are positive, a closely followed industry report shows that sales of new homes rose in February and the number of new homes on the market declined.

One analyst said the news may not signal an end of the slowdown in area new-home construction, but it could represent the beginnings of a rebound.

“We may be at this low level for a while, but it’s better than a free fall, which is where we have been,” said Tom Brander, author of the Rudulph-Brander Monthly Birmingham Area Real Estate Report, which tracks new home construction.

The numbers reversed a seven-month trend of steadily declining sales numbers and bad news for homebuilders. Area permit activity has fallen sharply, indicating there are fewer new homes being planned, and some builders have ceased operations altogether in recent months.

Birmingham Area MLS Monthly Comments February 2008

Birmingham Area MLS*Monthly Observations:

Important note: Last month Birmingham Area MLS merged the Calhoun county (Anniston area) MLS into its’ database, this report includes those areas (152, 154, 156 and 158) and history going back to 2005. It has minimal effect on the data we are presenting. But note that last months report does not track to this months but the history is now incorporated in this report making comparisons within this report valid.

After wondering for months if we would ever see the bottom of the market decline,  this month showed some sign that the bottom may be in sight. It is certainly too early to declare a bottom and we have no idea of how long the malaise may last, but in all of the Alabama markets we monitor, we saw the first possible signs of a bottom. After 7 straight months of dollar sales declines we had a minor uptick this month. This was accompanied by a small reduction in housing inventories both in absolute numbers and “months of inventory”.

Total dollar sales improved 5% to $195,371,951 in February from $186,642,862 in January. Normally February is a bit up from January, and this increase looks a bit weak, but against the prior months decline and national background, we’ll take it! (Chart section A page 4).  

Total unit sales improved 12% to 1,150 in February from 1,029 in January an improvement of 121 units. New sales improved to 282 homes this month from 240 in January, an improvement of 42 units. Used sales improved to 868 homes in February from 789 last month, an inprovement of 79 (sect E page 3).

Absorption rates for new homes improved to 7.3 months from 8.4 of inventory last month. This almost identical to last year at this time, (Section E page 3).

Absorption for used homes remained at 9.3 months of inventory in February. This is a 1.5 month increase from last year’s level at this time.  Keep in mind that reduced listing activity is normal at year-end, but keep an eye on the next few months.

***There was a 5.3% decline in active listings from 14,634 active listings in January* down to 13,864 in February, a decrease of 770 units. There has now been six months of declining active listings (page E-3). There were 379 new house new listings (an decrease from 555 last month). Active New listings decreased to 3,135 in February from 3,672 in January, a decrease of 537 units (E-3). Active Used listings decreased to 10,729 this month from 10,962 last month, a decrease of 233 (page E-3).  

Average Days on Market for new houses deteriorated to 138 days as compared to 121 days last month. Used houses remained even at 107 days compared to 108 days in January. (sec A page 18).  As many of you know we don’t place much credibility on Days On Market (DOM). We prefer absorption rates and months of inventory, call me for details if you need to.

Average sales prices for sold new homes decreased quite dramatically to $222,464 from $256,560. (Chart sect A p2) Average sales prices for sold used homes decreased to $152,808 from $158,515. (Chart sect A p2)

 TWB 3/16/08

 *All references to last month (and earlier) numbers are revised, to pick up late entries (made after our prior publication date) to the MLS system.

Huntsville/North Alabama Area MLS February 2008 Comments

Huntsville/North Alabama Area MLSObservations:

The Huntsville area still appears to be somewhat immune to the malaise in the rest of the country. This month showed a good seasonal increase in sales. This is consistent with what we have seen in each of the areas we cover.  It is too early to declare a bottom, and we don’t know how long a recovery will take but the signs are beginning to be encouraging. However the sales in the last three months have underperformed 2007, exactly tracking 2006 levels. (Section a page 4). Total dollar sales in February were $132,406,315, 18.6% higher than last month’s $111,624,877 and 7% below last years’ level; this now represents three consecutive months of  lower year to year comparisons. But keep in mind that February is typically a slow month. That’s why we do the month over month graph. (Section A page 4).

There are 24% more houses active than in February of 2007 against the lower dollar sales cited above. (Chart section A page 4). Inventory continues to build but mostly in the higher price ranges. The “rolling over ” of the 12 month moving average on the overall sales graph is a concern (section a page 1).

We do see inventory build-up for all price ranges with the situation being quite acute for higher priced houses for new and used houses over $300,000 we see fairly rapidly rising inventory levels of over a year. (Page E-1). This month we began to see a moderation of this trend.

Total active listings decreased from 7,758 in January* to 7,588 in February a decrease of 170 or 2.2%. See page E-3. There were 307 new house new listings (a decrease from 405 last month), while sales of new houses increased to 185 for the month from 158 in January. New houses new listings ran to 1.6 times the rate of sales (section B page 1). The bulk of the increase in new house new listings continued to be in the $100,000 to $300,000 range and fairly widely dispersed geographically (section A page 18).

Active New listings decreased from 2,273 last month to 2,134 this month, a decrease of 139 (page E-3).

Active Used listings increased from 5,485 last month to 5,454 this month, an increase of 31 (page E-3).

Total unit sales improved from 675 in January to 794 in February an increase of 119 units.

New sales improved from 158 homes last month to 185 this month, an increase of 27.

Used sales improved from 517 homes last month to 609 this month, an increase of 92 (sect E page 3).

Absorption for new homes was 9.3 months of inventory in February vs. 9.8 last month. This is still an increase of 1.5 months over last year at this time, see Section E page 8. Absorption for used homes was 6.9 months of inventory in February vs. 6.8 last month. This is a deterioration of 1.9 months from last year’s level at this time see Section E pg 8.

Average Days on Market for sold houses for new houses was 142 days vs. 144 days last month, used was 106 vs. 109 last month. See section A page 18.

Average sales prices for sold new homes were $238,945 vs. $220,669 last month. (Chart sect A p2)

Average sales prices for sold used homes were $139,465 vs. $147,611 last month. (Chart sect A p2)

I continue to be impressed by the dramatic increase in over $500,000 new houses listed. Inventory in all those price categories is over two year’s supply. Used houses show over 1 year of inventory going up to 4 years worth of inventory in the over $900,000 category. New listings have begun to moderate slightly for new houses in the higher price ranges and for the used houses in most price ranges.

TWB 3/16/08

*All references to last month numbers are revised, to pick up late entries (made after our prior publication date) to the MLS system.

Baldwin County, Alabama February 2008 Real Estate Statistics

Baldwin County MLSObservations:

After 7 straight months of declining dollar sales, February showed a slight uptick. While it’s not time yet to call a bottom, this uptick is consistent in all the markets we cover. Dollar sales in February improved 43.5% in to $56,764,637 from Januarys’ $39,563,439 (see page A-1). On a unit basis, unit sales of used houses improved by 35% to 201 vs. 149 last month. New house unit sales improved by 25% to 45 for the month of February from 36 in January (sect A p 17).

New listings for new houses increased in February to 109 from 88 in January. Reflecting the long lead time (and withdrawn and relisting by frustrated sellers) for some developments, new listings are running at well over 2 times the rate of sales of new houses in spite of the now extended sales slump. (Chart section C page 1 And Table sect A p18). Used house new listing increased to 920 this month from 864 in January. Net active listings were slightly down for both new and used houses. See below.

Average sales prices for New units decreased to $221,773 from $252,743 last month. There were 4 New houses sold over $500,000 in February which is one less than last month, See page A-14. The average Used house price increased to $232,760 from $204,461 in January.

There were 5204 used houses active in February, a slight decrease from a 5240 in January. There were 1148 new houses active in February a decrease from 1256 in January. The Absorption rate for new houses 14.7 months of inventory for February vs. 15.3 in January.  The Absorption rate for used houses was 20.9 months of inventory for February vs. 20.8 in January. See section A page 17.

TWB 3/16/2008

*All references to last month numbers are revised, to pick up late entries (made after our prior publication date) to the MLS system.