South Carolina home sales were down in April compared to a year ago, but experts said those numbers are distorted by a first-time homebuyer tax credit that expired last year.
The South Carolina Realtors Association released a report Monday that showed an 18 percent decline in home sales across the state. The report also said the median home price slipped three percent to $142,500.
South Carolina Realtors Association CEO Nick Kremydas says April 2010 was the final month of a temporary tax credit that encouraged first-time buyers to close the deal. As a result, sales in some markets were higher than they otherwise would have been. He said year-to-year drops of 30 percent in Columbia, 35 percent in Aiken, and 24 percent in Greenville illustrate this fact.
Areas that have a lower median housing price, that’s where you saw most of the credits being applied. There weren’t a lot of folks who could qualify for the tax credit buying a house on the Isle of Palms.
The coastal regions have seen their sales grow slightly since April 2010. The Hilton Head region grew by seven percent. Statewide inventory declined by seven percent, meaning most of the growth came in sales of existing homes.
Kremydas says he thinks the housing market will recover soon and pointed to several indicators. Home prices have stopped falling, more people are working now than a year ago, and foreclosure rates are also down. However, one critical indicator continues to lag: new home construction.
With the U.S. Census indicating more population growth for South Carolina over the next decade, Kremydas said it’s only a matter of time before the real estate industry recovers.
I think it all spells a really great future for our state. The problem that we have, in the meantime, is holding on until the recovery gets here.