Birmingham New Home Sales Up in September

As we continue to monitor Alabama’s real estate market this quarter, and interesting statistic has emerged in the Birmingham area: even though total home sales are down in September, the sales of new homes in Birmingham have actually increased 10% during this time. Below is an article from, originally written by Dawn Kent of the Birmingham News, regarding this recent trend in Birmingham’s real estate market.


While metro Birmingham’s total home sales dropped last month, there is a bright spot in new home sales, according to a local real estate analyst’s latest report.

Tom Brander said today that the area’s home sales totaled 898 in September, a 5 percent decline from August and a 26 percent fall from September 2009.

But new home sales, included in that total, were 148 last month, a 10 percent increase from August. This marks the second month in a row of improvement in new home sales, Brander said.

Average sold prices also are returning to normal, after last spring’s federal tax credits for home buyers contributed to a dip.

Back then, sales were up, fueled by the incentives. But prices fell as many first-time home buyers entered the market, and a substantial number of less expensive homes were sold.

Now, the number of mid- to upper-end homes sold is rising slightly, compared to the lower-end, contributing to the latest price trend.

“The twelve month moving average price line for both new and used homes is heading up!” Brander wrote in his blog. “This reflects a normalizing mix of home prices, with the elimination of the distortion due to sales of the lower-end being inflated by the tax incentives.”


Original article in its entirety can be found here on

For more information on the latest Birmingham new homes for sale please visit our Community section of our site, or Contact Us with any questions and to schedule a showing.

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Birmingham’s Real Estate Market Picks up in June

Dawn Kent of the Birmingham News highlights June’s real estate marketing performance, showing that home sales in Birmingham rose for the month. Below is the full article originally posted here on

Birmingham Area Home Sales Post Uptick in June

Birmingham area home sales rose in June, as closings tied to the now-expired federal tax credits for home buyers con­tinued to boost the local market.

Home sales totaled 1,135, edging up 1 percent from May and 4 per­cent from June 2009, the Birming­ham Association of Realtors said Wednesday.

But while the tax credit fueled early June closings, the month ended on a slower note, said Jim Dye of RealtySouth, immediate past president of the Realtors group.

Lately, prices have softened and mortgage applications have fallen, he noted.

“I’m getting the feeling that the tax credit exhibited some of the things that Cash for Clunkers did,” he said, referring to last year’s fed­eral car buying incentives. “We didn’t accomplish more sales, we sped them up.”

Highlights of the month:

Sales rose, prices fell. The average price for a house sold in metro Birmingham last month was $184,427, a 2.6 percent decline from June 2009. The median price slid 3 percent to $155,000.

The area’s eastern neighborhoods posted the best performance in June, with a 3 percent uptick in sales and rises in both the average and median prices. Other sectors also saw their sales rise, but they registered declines in one or both prices.

Foreclosures continued to put downward pressure on local prices. Sales of foreclosed homes comprised 31 percent of June’s sales total, about the same portion that’s been seen throughout the spring.

So far this year, area home sales total 5,503, an 8 percent improvement from the same period last year. The mid-year average price is $165,185, a 3 percent drop from the first half of 2009, while the median price is flat at $141,800.

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Housing Prices in Birmingham on the Rise

Below is an article from Dawn Kent of the Birmingham News from regarding the current state of the Birmingham real estate market. As the demand and value for new homes for sale in Birmingham continue to increase this year, Thornton Homes is proud to be the premiere construction and development company of new home communities in the area. For more information on our new home and townhomes for sale, visit our Community page, or contact us to speak with someone directly.

Birmingham-area Housing Prices Rising (Dawn Kent, The Birmingham News: Read original article here)

Metro Birmingham ranks among the nation’s highest-performing major markets in the latest home price data compiled by a California-based real estate researcher, but the area’s poor performance in past reports indicates continuing volatility.

For the four months ended in June, Birmingham area prices rose 18.2 percent compared with the previous three months, according to Clear Capital.

That’s the fourth-best quarterly price boost in the nation, following Memphis, Cleveland and Milwaukee, all of which posted gains of about 20 percent, the firm noted.

In May, however, Birmingham’s quarterly prices dipped 5 percent, earning it a spot on the nation’s worst-performing major market list at No. 7.

The see-sawing statistics, which were seen in other markets as well, are a sign of instability, said Alex Villacorta, senior statistician for Clear Capital.

“To see double-digit swings in the span of seven months really speaks to the fragility of these markets,” he said.

But the latest pricing data is reason for cautious optimism in Birmingham-area real estate circles, he said.

“The most recent trend is good news — the prices are going in the right direction,” he said. “The fact that they’ve been so up and down, that’s the disheartening part.”

In its quarterly price calculations, Clear Capital uses a rolling-quarter methodology, which compares the most recently ended four months to the previous three months. The process reduces multi-month lag time in reporting data.

The latest data, from the four months ended in June, was lifted by federal tax credits for homebuyers, which magnified typical spring gains. That trend was seen in markets across the nation, as national quarterly prices rose 5.2 percent over the previous three months, which were in the usually slow winter season.

Clear Capital also measures year-over-year prices, and Birmingham’s numbers for June were flat compared to June 2009. Nationally, yearly prices rose 8.8 percent.

The second-quarter median price for metro Birmingham was $136,000, Villacorta said.

Other Clear Capital data shows that sales of foreclosed properties continue to drag down the local market. For the four months ended in May, such properties comprised 32 percent of total sales. That number shrunk to 25 percent for the four months ended in June.

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Relocating to Birmingham, The Jewel of the South

For anyone looking to purchase one of the many new homes for sale in Birmingham, either because of a full relocation or even just a timely upgrade by a current resident, Birmingham Alabama is one of the hidden secrets of the southern United States that has more than just a few reasons of why anyone would be proud to call the city ‘Home’. At times overshadowed by Atlanta, New Orleans and Charleston, it has many things to offer those looking for a big city with a small town feel. Birmingham is equally attractive for those looking to relocate to Alabama as well as those simply looking to purchase a new home in the area.

Deep in the heart of Southern Charm, 1.2 million people call the Birmingham metropolitan area home. With draws such as the Birmingham Museum of Art, the University of Alabama, the Alabama Ballet and the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, the city has a wide range of cultural attractions and activities. Although there are no major professional sports franchises in the city, many follow and support the University of Alabama’s sports programs. Also nearby, the Talladega Superspeedway offers everything racing fans could dream about.

Located 5 hours by car from Mobile on the Gulf of Mexico, 2.5 hours from Atlanta, 3 hours from Nashville, 4 from Memphis, and 5 hours from New Orleans it is easy to see how centrally located Birmingham is in this historic region of the nation. Access to virtually unlimited social and recreational activities, Birmingham has something for both the young and old . Fishing the area’s many lakes and rivers is a popular recreational activity for the city’s residents while its proximity to the Gulf provides access to a wide range of motorized water sports and sailing activities as well.

With Alabama’s ideal weather it is long been known as a haven for golf aficionados. Home to the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, Alabama has 468 holes of championship level golf scattered across eleven golf resorts across the state including 2 near Birmingham. Many long time golfers have recognized Alabama as a serious golfing state and have relocated here after retirement.

For those looking for the amenities of a large city, or simply those who not want to be located right in the city center, Birmingham and its surrounding communities have something to offer everyone. The areas surrounding Birmingham includes such attractive communities as Mt. Laurel, Pelham, Chelsea, McCalla, and Mountain Brook. These are varying communities of new homes at reasonable prices, generally starting from $140k and on up. Of course Thornton Homes is the premiere builder in these communities, and we offer a wide range of models in various settings around Birmingham to suit the needs of both first time home buyers to the area as well as long time residents looking to upgrade.

With a low cost of living, sporting and cultural events, world-class golf, central location, a long and inspiring history and the beautiful Alabama weather, Birmingham, Alabama is a great place to live. Visit our Communities page or contact us to find the perfect new home for you.

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Before You Buy Your First Home – Tips for a First-time Home Buyer

It’s not uncommon for a first-time home buyer to say to me, “Gosh, just last week I called you about buying a home and now I’m in escrow! How did this happen so fast?”

The answer is it didn’t. First-time home buyers start the search long before most even realize it. Here’s what you can expect from your home shopping experience.

Benefits for a First-Time Home Buyer

You should buy a home. That’s what you’ve been hearing from friends and family, right? So, by now you have likely already weighed the benefits and decided that home ownership was the best decision for you. That’s a major hurdle now passed. You are focused and certain. Good.

Defining Search Parameters for a First-Time Home Buyer

Almost 80% of all home searches today begin on the Internet. With just a few clicks of the mouse, home buyers can search through hundreds of online listings, view virtual tours, and sort through dozens of photographs and aerial shots of neighborhoods and homes. You’ve probably defined your goals and have a pretty good idea of the type of home and neighborhood you want. By the time you reach your real estate agent’s office, you are halfway to home ownership.

How Long Should It Take to Buy Your First Home?

In seller’s markets, often I show only one home. After all, how many homes does one family need? A few buyers will look for years, but buyers who do that aren’t motivated. A motivated buyer will find a home within two weeks. Most of my buyers find a home within two days.

Good real estate agents will listen to your wants and needs and arrange to show only those homes that fit your particular parameters. Your agent should preview homes before showing them to you as well.

How Many Homes Will a Home Buyer See?

Studies show that your memory dramatically improves after consumption of carbs and slows upon consuming sugar. So, lay off the soft drinks and have a hearty meal of carbs before venturing out to tour homes. The average number of homes that I show to a buyer in one day is seven. Any more than that, and the brain is on overload. Therefore, don’t expect to see 20 or 30 homes; although it’s physically possible to do so, you probably will not remember specific details about any of them.

The “Red Shoes” Experience for a Home Buyer

Women will relate to this. Say, you need a new pair of red shoes. You go to the mall. At the first shoe store, you find a fabulous pair of red shoes. You try them on. They fit perfectly. They are glamorous. Priced right, too. Do you buy them? Of course not! You go to every other store in the mall trying on red shoes until you are ready to drop from exhaustion. Then you return to the first store and buy those red shoes. Do not shop for a home this way. When you find the perfect home, buy it.

How a First-Time Home Buyer Can Rate Inventory

* Bring a digital camera and begin each series of photos with a close-up of the house number to identify where each group of home photos start and end.
* Take copious notes of unusual features, colors and design elements.
* Pay attention to the home’s surroundings. What is next door? Do 2-story homes tower over your single story?
* Do you like the location? Is it near a park or a power plant?
* Immediately after leaving, rate each home on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.

View Top Choices a Second Time Before Buying That First Home

After touring homes for a few days, you will probably instinctively know which one or two homes you would like to buy. Ask to see them again. You will see them with different eyes and notice elements that were overlooked the first go-around.

At this point, your agent should call the listing agents to find out more about the sellers’ motivation and to double-check that an offer hasn’t come in, making sure these homes are still available to purchase.

Making the Selection To Buy a Home

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I generally know which home a buyer is going to choose, and I suspect most other agents operate the same way. It’s an intuition. But I make it a practice not to steer buyers, and I insist that buyers choose the home without interference from me. It’s not my choice to make.

Real estate agents are required, however, to point out defects and should help buyers feel confident that the home selected meets the buyer’s search parameters.

By Elizabeth Weintraub, Guide

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Before You Buy a Home – Look at Eight Reasons to Buy a Home

If you’re like most first-time home buyers, you’ve probably listened to friends’, family’s and coworkers’ advice, many of whom are encouraging you to buy a home. However, you may still wonder if buying a home is the right thing to do. Relax. Having reservations is normal. The more you know about why you should buy a home, the less scary the entire process will appear to you. Here are eight good reasons why you should buy a home.

Pride of Ownership

Pride of ownership is the number one reason why people yearn to own their home. It means you can paint the walls any color you desire, turn up the volume on your CD player, attach permanent fixtures and decorate your home according to your own taste. Home ownership gives you and your family a sense of stability and security. It’s making an investment in your future.


Although real estate moves in cycles, sometimes up, sometimes down, over the years, real estate has consistently appreciated. The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight tracks the movements of single family home values across the country. Its House Price Index breaks down the changes by region and metropolitan area. Many people view their home investment as a hedge against inflation.

Mortgage Interest Deductions

Home ownership is a superb tax shelter and our tax rates favor homeowners. As long as your mortgage balance is smaller than the price of your home, mortgage interest is fully deductible on your tax return. Interest is the largest component of your mortgage payment.

Property Tax Deductions

IRS Publication 530 contains tax information for first-time home buyers. Real estate property taxes paid for a first home and a vacation home are fully deductible for income tax purposes. While property taxes are collected at the local level, by counties, cities and towns, the rate is capped by the state government, meaning that the local government cannot exceed the maximum. This also means that rates will vary by location, so do your research first to find the lowest rates in the state. Remember, though, that property taxes are the primary means of generating revenue for local use, with much of it going towards education, roads and often emergency services.

Some of the highest state taxes in the country are located in the Northeast, such as New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Lowest rates belong to the Southern states which include Arkansas, Mississippi, West Virginia, Alabama and Louisiana. All but five states collect sales tax on purchased items. These exemptions include Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon. For more information on your particular state, go to the official government page found here. Most states do have property tax relief programs in place for those who are struggling to keep up.

Again, programs vary from state-to-state, so it’s worth looking into if you think you may qualify for assistance, credit or a rebate. Read the article, “State Tax – How much will I have to pay if I move to another state? for more state tax information.

Capital Gain Exclusion

As long as you have lived in your home for two of the past five years, you can exclude up to $250,000 for an individual or $500,000 for a married couple of profit from capital gains. You do not have to buy a replacement home or move up. There is no age restriction, and the “over-55” rule does not apply. You can exclude the above thresholds from taxes every 24 months, which means you could sell every two years and pocket your profit–subject to limitation–free from taxation.

Preferential Tax Treatment

If you receive more profit than the allowable exclusion upon sale of your home, that profit will be considered a capital asset as long as you owned your home for more than one year. Capital assets receive preferential tax treatment.

Morgage Reduction Builds Equity

Each month, part of your monthly payment is applied to the principal balance of your loan, which reduces your obligation. The way amortization works, the principal portion of your principal and interest payment increases slightly every month. It is lowest on your first payment and highest on your last payment. On average, each $100,000 of a mortgage will reduce in balance the first year by about $500 in principal, bringing that balance at the end of your first 12 months to $99,500.

Equity Loans

Consumers who carry credit card balances cannot deduct the interest paid, which can cost as much as 18% to 22%. Equity loan interest is often much less and it is deductible. For many home owners, it makes sense to pay off this kind of debt with a home equity loan. Consumers can borrow against a home’s equity for a variety of reasons such as home improvement, college, medical or starting a new business. Some state laws restrict home equity loans.

By , Guide

Original Article

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