In the Birmingham, AL market, closings of new homes declined year-over-year in December, but the percentage fall was less than that of November 2015, hinting that the market may be strengthening. Closings declined 69.7% from a year earlier to 40. This came on the heels of a 74.0% decline year-over-year in November.

A total of 685 new homes were sold during the 12 months that ended in December, down from 777 for the year that ended in November.

As a percentage of overall housing closings, new home closings made up 2.7%. This is a drop 8.1% of closings a year earlier. Closings of new and existing homes declined year-over-year in December after also falling in November year-over-year.

Pricing and Mortgage Trends

The average price of new homes fell 17.3% year-over-year in December to $249,641 per unit. This drop is larger than the 4.3% decline in November from a year earlier.

For newly sold homes, the average mortgage size saw a fall year-over-year in contrast to new home prices. It declined to $231,087 in December, a 11.7% drop. In November 2015, average mortgage size rose 4.9% from a year earlier.

Other Market Trends

Closings of attached units, as a percentage of new home closings, have climbed from last year while closings of single-family homes have fallen. Attached unit closings increased from no part of all closings in December 2014 to 2.5% of closings in December 2015. At the same time, the share belonging to single-family homes sank to 97.5% of closings from all of closings.

For all new homes sold, the average unit size gained 26.4% year-over-year to 3,088 square feet in December 2015. This hike was opposite the price drop, a pattern also seen in November 2015 when the average size of newly sold homes rose 21.0% to 3,404 square feet. The average size of newly sold homes moved from 2,814 square feet in November 2014 to 3,404 square feet in November 2015.

Foreclosures and real estate owned (REO) closings declined in December from a year earlier, but remained a drag on the market. Out of all existing home closings, foreclosures combined with REO closings accounted for 33.4% of closings, below 41.6% a year earlier. The percentage of existing home closings involving foreclosures slid to 17.3% in December from 18.9% a year earlier while REO closings as a percentage of existing home closings fell to 16.1% from 22.7% a year earlier.

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