Sales: According to the Greater Alabama Multiple Listing Service, Birmingham metro-area residential sales totaled 1,357 units during March, 11 percent above the same time last year. Total 2016 home sales during March were 1,225. Two more resources to review: Quarterly Report and Annual Report.
For all of the Birmingham area’s housing data, click here.
Forecast: March sales were 52 units or 4 percent above the Alabama Center for Real Estate’s (ACRE) monthly forecast. ACRE’s 2017 sales forecast through March projected 3,200 closed transactions, while the actual sales were 3,162 units.
Supply: The Birmingham-area housing inventory in March was 6,219 units, a decrease of 10.5 percent from March 2016 and down 50 percent from the March peak in 2007 (12,524 units). March inventory in the Birmingham metro area also increased 5.2 percent from February. This direction is consistent with seasonal patterns and historical data indicating that March inventory on average (2012-16) increases from February by 5.8 percent.
According to the Greater Alabama MLS, in the Birmingham metro-area market, there were 4.6 months of housing supply during March, down 19 percent from 5.7 months of supply during March 2016. The “months of housing supply” is a simple calculation – homes listed (supply) divided by homes sold (demand). In general, about 6 months is considered the point of equilibrium during March.
Demand: March residential sales increased by 40 percent from the prior month. This direction is consistent with historical data indicating that March sales, on average (2012-16), increase from February by 25 percent.
Existing single-family home sales accounted for 85 percent of sales, up from 84 percent in March 2016, while 11 percent were new home sales (down from 13 percent) and 4 percent were condo sales (up from 3 percent).
Pricing: The median sales price in March was $179,000, an increase of 0.6 percent from March 2016 ($178,000). The March median sales price increased 2 percent from February. This direction is consistent with historical data (2012-16) indicating that the March median sales price on average increases from February by 4 percent. Pricing can fluctuate from month to month as the sample size of data is subject to seasonal buying patterns. ACRE recommends consulting with a local real estate professional who has access to pricing data at the neighborhood level.
Industry perspective: “Our economic forecast remains in a conservative holding pattern as we await word on the particulars of the new Administration’s plans for fiscal stimulus,” said Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan. “In the meantime, economic sentiment from most industry stakeholders continues to reach new heights: consumers, as demonstrated by our National Housing Survey, are more positive than at any time since the survey’s inception in 2010 about the direction of the economy, while homebuilders’ optimism remains near an 11-year high. Tight inventory remains a boon to home prices and Americans’ net worth, but it also continues to price out many would-be first-time homebuyers. However, our research suggests that aging millennials, now boasting higher real wages, are beginning to narrow the homeownership attainment gap.”
Click here to generate more graphs from the Birmingham March Housing Report, including Total Sales, Average Sales Price, Days on the Market, Total Inventory and Months of Supply.