Talk to any realtor in Birmingham, A.L., and you will probably hear the same thing that realtors are saying across the country, “Things are okay, but they could be better.” Sales in Birmingham for the month of August were down 5%, however they were 21% higher than levels last August. Experts believe that this is an indication of a healthier market as the 12 month average is slightly higher than the previous two years, but where it will go from here is simply speculation.
Do the numbers calculate to a bright and rosy outcome? I suppose it depends upon your outlook and perhaps even your experience in the Birmingham market. The total inventory is down from last year, which could mean the market is leveling off. Sales of both new and existing homes were down in August, however the market is typically slower this time of the year so don’t jump to any conclusions with that one fact – the market is more complicated than simply following one or two trends.
The inventory of new homes in Birmingham is at an 8 month supply, and combined with a reduced sales price, the market doesn’t look that promising, but again, it’s important to look at the overall trend which takes into account data from many areas, including housing, economics, demographics, governmental involvement in the marketplace, and others.
The average days on market for new homes in Birmingham was 199 days, which is significantly better than last month’s at 222; days on market for used homes was just a bit longer at 149 compared to 145 in July. This is an important detail for sellers in this market, as they need to rethink their sales price, especially in the historically slower seasons. Doing so just might ensure they sell their house, albeit for less than they would have hoped for.
Sales prices of sold homes are another telling indicator of the health or condition of a market, and Birmingham’s trend is definitely rising upward. The average sales price for new homes sold in August was up a bit – to $241,233 from $238,345, although the price for used homes sold was down a few hundred from $159,439 in July to $159,100 – hardly a blip in my estimation. A key factor to look at is that from the middle of 2009 going forward, the general trend is an upward one, which can certainly be a promising sign of market growth.
Source: Tom Brander