Sales: According to the Greater Alabama Multiple Listing Service, Birmingham-area residential sales totaled 1,184 units during December, up 7 percent from 1,107 sales in the same month a year earlier. December sales were down 3.3 percent compared to 1,224 sales in November. Results were 17.4 percent above the five-year December average of 1,008 sales. Two more resources to review: Quarterly Report and Annual Report.
For all Birmingham-area home sales data, click here.
Inventory: Total homes listed for sale in the Birmingham area during December were 4,717 units, a decrease of 4.6 percent from December 2017’s 4,943 units and a decrease of 9.1 percent from November 2018’s 5,189 units. December months of supply totaled 4 months, a decrease of 10.8 percent from December 2017’s 4.5 months of supply. December’s months of supply also decreased from November’s 4.2 months of supply.
Pricing: The Birmingham-area median sales price in December was $187,525, a decrease of 3.8 percent from one year ago and down 6.2 percent from the prior month. This direction is inconsistent with historical data (2013-17) indicating that the December median sales price on average increases from November by 1.6 percent. The differing sample size (number of residential sales of comparative months) can contribute to statistical volatility, including pricing. ACRE recommends consulting with a local real estate professional to discuss pricing, as it will vary from neighborhood to neighborhood. The average number of days on the market (DOM) for homes sold during December was 54 days, a decrease of 14.3 percent from 63 days in December 2017 and an increase of 14.9 percent from 47 days in November.
Forecast: December sales were 34 units, or 3 percent, above the Alabama Center for Real Estate’s (ACRE) monthly forecast. ACRE projected 1,150 sales for the month, while actual sales were 1,184 units. ACRE forecast a total of 15,366 residential sales in the Birmingham area for all of 2018, while there were 15,844 actual sales.
ACRE’s statewide perspective: After 10 consecutive months of gains, statewide residential sales in December decreased 1.6 percent year-over-year from 4,371 to 4,303 closed transactions. For the entire year, statewide residential sales increased 6.3 percent from 57,427 in 2017 to 61,062 in 2018. Home price appreciation in the state continued to climb as the median sales price in December increased 4.7 percent year-over-year from $151,667 to $158,772. The median sales price for all of 2018 was up 4.6 percent from 2017. Although nationwide inventory levels are trending upwards, Alabama’s residential inventory decreased 6.9 percent from one year ago. Low inventory levels were a major factor contributing to rising sales prices throughout 2018. With low inventory, it is not surprising to see homes selling more quickly than in previous years. Homes selling in Alabama during December spent an average of 102 days on the market, an improvement of 11 days from 2017.
NAR’s national perspective: During November, nationwide inventory for existing homes increased 4.2 percent year-over-year from 1.67 million to 1.74 million residential listings. According to Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, “the market conditions in November were mixed, with good signs of stabilizing home sales compared to recent months, though down significantly from one year ago. Rising inventory is clearly taming home price appreciation.”
Click here to view the entire monthly report.