In 2012, eighty percent of metro areas have experienced an increase in new home sales compared to 2011 with Tuscaloosa leading the state in 2012 with the highest growth rate of 18.9% followed by Birmingham (up 16.3%), Montgomery (up 12.4%) and Huntsville (up 1.6%). New home sales declined in Mobile (down 11.5%).
Demand: December new home sales in Alabama’s five metro markets, representing approximately seventy percent of all statewide transactions, experienced a 12 percent increase from the prior month but only .6 percent compared to the same period last year. Alabama’s new home sales growth rate in December was outperformed by the US market which experienced an increase of 8.8 percent from December 2011 but sales that slipped 7.3 percent from the prior month, according to the US Census Bureau & HUD. The release also reported that the results from the South region were up 15.6 percent from December 2011 but 8.4 percent below last month.
Supply: Statewide new construction inventory is 7.3 percent higher than last December as Alabama home builders are gradually increasing production to match improving levels of demand. US supply of new homes is down .6 percent. Only Birmingham has experienced reductions in inventory from last December. As a cautionary point of information, just a couple of month ago, it was all metro markets with the exception of Mobile.
Alabama’s metro markets in December reflect 4.9 months of new home supply, an increase from 4.6 months of supply in December 2011 and slightly lower than 5.6 months last month. According to the US Census Bureau & HUD, the US inventory of new homes for sale increased to 151,000 homes or 4.9 months’ supply, an improvement from 5.4 months of supply in December 2011 (down 9%).
Pricing: Alabama’s metro market’s median new home sales price in December was $223,103, an increase of 2.3 percent from last month and 3.4 percent when compared to December 2011.
New Home Pipeline: December statewide housing starts decreased by 11.1 percent from the prior month but increased 16.6 percent from December 2011. Housing starts were up 6.5%. December statewide building permits slipped 3.9 percent from the prior month but were 19.3 percent above December 2011. Building permits were up 8.4 percent in 2012.