It may be a signal that the state’s economy is gearing for a major uptick, as August statewide real estate market figures released by South Carolina Realtors shows that pending housing sales were up 16.6 percent compared to August 2011.
There were 5,042 pending sales last month, while inventory levels shrank 14.8 percent to 48,000 units. The median sales price also increased by four percent to $155,000. South Carolina Association of Realtors CEO Nick Kremydas says that, while the market has not exploded, it has seen good steady growth during the year and that bodes well for the immediate future.
“It definitely looks like the beginning of a growth trend,” he told South Carolina Radio Network, ”I think that when we look back at late 2011 going into 2012 and now soon to be going into 2013, I think we will be saying that the end of 2011 was the beginning of a growth trend.”
Nationwide housing production rose 2.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 750,000 units in August, according to newly released figures from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.
Kremydas says home sales have seen a steady increase in a number of price levels and property types. “The price range with the strongest sales are in the $200-to-$300-thousand price range— almost a 17 percent gain from a year ago. As far as bedroom count is concerned, two bedroom or less starter homes are up 14 percent. The property type with the strongest sales increase is condos.”
Kremydas says it is very encouraging that the real estate market has picked up in every region of the state. “All but three markets in the entire state show net increases. Some showed double-digit increases for the year. The state averages 9.5 percent. The coastal markets which really took the biggest hit during the downturn are showing the biggest turnaround.”
Kremydas says right now it is definitely a buyer’s market for those who are seriously thinking of purchasing a home. “”What they’re (potential buyers) finding are historic law interest rates, they’re buying power has never been stronger. Their choices in the marketplace have declined a little bit; and we’re starting to see more buyers not just kicking tires so to speak, but actually seriously considering that purchase.”
He predicted an increase in consumer confidence as the job market continues to show slow, but steady, improvement.
Kremydas says as the in migration of people from other states continues coupled with the natural population growth in the state, South Carolina will face a major housing shortage in the next ten years and the increased demand will be a boost to not only the real estate market. “Hundreds of thousands of new units that are going to be required to house the population as it grows and that will provide jobs and economic opportunities for the building industry that has been hit even harder than the real estate industry.”