Metro Birmingham home sales rise over January, fall from year ago By Dawn Kent — The Birmingham News March 16, 2010, 6:15AM
February home sales in metro Birmingham inched up from January but fell from a year ago, as the local market’s start-and-stop recovery continues.
Home sales totaled 789 last month, up 11 percent from the month before, according to real estate expert Tom Brander’s monthly report. The sales total, however, represents a 16 percent drop from February 2009.
Meanwhile, the Birmingham Association of Realtors reported similar numbers. Last month’s home sales were 645, a 14 percent rise from January and an 11 percent fall from the year-ago period.
Brander, whose analysis covers a wider geographical area than the Realtors’ group, noted that February’s rise from January, which he had predicted, was “way less than expected.”
“Good news is coming, I hope!” he wrote. “March has for 10 years at least, been better than February, so the outlook for sales next month is better.”
Birmingham area home sales drop in December, blogger says
By Jerry Underwood — The Birmingham News
January 12, 2010, 10:03AM
Birmingham area home sales dipped in December, though there are some signs of a continued revival in the housing market, according to a real estate expert.
Real estate blogger Tom Brander says area home sales tumbled in December, but signs aren’t all negative.
On his blog, Tom Brander writes that the number of home sales in the state’s biggest metro area in December declined 17 percent from November to total 913 transactions. November’s total was inflated by buyers rushing to take advantage of a government tax credit that was set to expire, he notes.
Update: Realtors say Birmingham area home sales fall slightly
By Dawn Kent — The Birmingham News
January 12, 2010, 11:25AM
Metro area home sales fell 4 percent in December, the Birmingham Association of Realtors said today. The figure was less than that cited by Tom Brander, an expert who writes a blog on Alabama real estate.
Posted by Birimingham News business staff July 16, 2009 8:59 AM Home sales in the Birmingham area showed signs of improvement in June, according to Tom Brander, a real estate expert who tracks sales trends across the state.
Brander noted on his blog today that home sales in Alabama’s largest metro area rose 8 percent to 1,272 in June from the previous month, while the value of those residences jumped 11.5 percent to $229.6 million. Both figures were down from June 2008, but month-to-month comparisons have taken on a greater significance since the area’s sales slump began.
“Keep in mind that June is usually the peak sales month of the year,” Brander writes. “The next few months will be telling as we enter into the weaker sales period.”
Existing home sales in Alabama’s coastal areas inched up slightly during the first half of the year, according to a report on the Baldwin County real estate market.
Sales of existing homes totaled 1,479 during the first six months of this year, compared to 1,452 during the first half of 2008, according to real estate analyst Tom Brander, publisher of the Rudulph/ Brander Monthly Birmingham Area Real Estate Report. Read his report.
But it’s too early to say that the nation’s foreclosure crisis is nearing an end. While many of the filings have been tied to poor lending practices to home buyers that weren’t prepared for such responsibility, there are fears that continuing job losses will trigger a new wave of foreclosures among people who have good credit.
Local real estate expert Tom Brander, who compiles a monthly report on home sales, says the month-to-month upticks being seen throughout the spring happen every year, thanks to the seasonal nature of the industry.
To determine whether the local market’s slide is leveling off, he looks at the 12-month moving average on total sales in terms of dollars, and so far, that line is still pointing down.
“We are not reaching anywhere close to previous years and in fact we are continuing to slide, in terms of total dollar volumes and transaction volumes of houses being bought,” he said.
Brander’s May home sales report for the area showed that dollar sales were up 18.6 percent, from $169.7 million in April to $201.2 million in May. But May’s total is still off 33.7 percent from May 2008.
Meanwhile, the Birmingham Association of Realtors’ May report shows home sales rose 8 percent from April to 959 residences sold. But that figure is down 25 percent from a year ago.
Here’s where both the local Realtor’s association and Brander agree: The bulk of current sales are for lower-priced, used homes. Indeed, in Madison County alone, more than 85 percent of the homes sold in May were under $300,000, as more first-time buyers take advantage of the tax credit to buy homes in their price range. Higher-priced homes typically are purchased by homeowners who are “moving up” into a larger, more expensive home and have equity in their first home.
Monday’s report on home sales was good news to local Realtors, who saw a 26 percent jump in home sales between April and May. One month does not a trend make, but any uptick is good news in a national market that continues to languish.
One real estate expert agrees the Huntsville market is faring better than others, but he also offers a cautionary note.
Tom Brander, a principal in Birmingham-based Rudulph/Brander Real Estate Statistical Reports (tombrander.com), collects data from multiple-listing services throughout Alabama, including the Huntsville-area MLS, which includes eight counties in North Alabama and a small part of southern central Tennessee. Rudulph/Brander supplies market data to the banking and building industries.
Brander says he’s surprised by the level of new home construction going on in the market, particularly in Madison County, when inventory levels remain high. According to the Huntsville Area Association of Realtors, 111 new homes were sold in Madison County last month; builders pulled permits for 187 new homes (reported by the Huntsville/Madison County Builders Association), making the construction rate for new homes about 1.7 times that of the sales rate.
Brander’s numbers differ slightly: He reports 82 new homes sold in Madison County, making the construction rate about 2.3 times the sales rate.