While the housing market remains slow in South Carolina during this recession, there are some signs of life as 2011 approaches. So says Freddie Mac Chief Economist Dr. Frank Nothaft. Nothaft says the housing market in the state is seeing a gradual move upward as qualified buyers are able to secure mortgage rates of 4.5 percent or slightly lower .
Nothaft says that, for years, some home buyers have tended to purchase homes with more square footage than they actually needed with mortgages beyond their financial means. Nothaft says the recession has taught home buyers to be more discerning in making decisions based on basic need rather than status. Nothaft notes that we are also seeing more careful underwriting by lenders.
Nothaft says the foreclosure rate has risen significantly in South Carolina over the least three years, as it has across the nation. He adds that the better news is that, over last six months, the foreclosure rate has gradually dropped. He predicts the trend to continue as the job market is slated to show improvement over the next several months.
Nothaft says, as 2011 progresses, the foreclosure rate will still be relatively high from an historical perspective, but it will show significant improvement compared to 2010 levels.
Nothaft says the state will see a pickup in home sales next year relative to 2010. He says it will be driven by a high degree of home buyer affordability .