By Lauren Ratcliffe
Published June 12, 2012
With nearly 1,000 closings in May, the Charleston-area housing market is showing signs of recovery, according to data from the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors.
Sales volumes last reached this level in June 2010 when the homebuyer tax credit was in place to encourage market activity. The last time volumes were this high in a non-incentivized market was August 2007.
“Sales are closing at a faster pace than we anticipated this early in the season and showings continue to rise,” said Herb Koger, 2012 CTAR president. “There is a lot of pent-up demand in the market and those choosing to buy now are benefiting from incredibly low rates and affordable pricing.”
Showings in the Lowcountry also increased during May — 2,000 more than last month. There were 26,040 showings recorded by the Multiple Listing Service.
Beyond increased showings and closings, inventory levels have CTAR Realtors excited about the returning health of the market.
A widely accepted benchmark of a healthy market is inventory within the six-month range. Charleston currently has 6.4 months of inventory with 6,314 homes listed as actively for sale.
“The measure of a local real estate recovery is not a return to 2005 sales and pricing levels, but a balanced supply and demand as well as sustainable growth,” said Chip Reeves, 2012 Charleston Trident MLS president. “We’re finally seeing that absorption rate rise and a recovery take shape in our market.”
The overall economy of the region is strongly contributing to the rebound of the housing market as new jobs are created.
“Our local economy is growing and thriving, thanks to solid activity at the State Ports Authority, Boeing, growth in the technology sector and other major manufacturers entering the market,” Koger said.
One year ago, May’s preliminary figures showed 804 closings at a median price of $179,945 with year-to-date figures at 3,594 closings and a price of $177,000.
In 2012, closings rose 9% and median price is up 3%. Year-to-date, the area market has seen 3,910 closings at a median price of $182,000.
Berkeley County saw 205 homes sell at a median price of $175,375 in May. The most active area of the county was Goose Creek/Moncks Corner bordering the Cooper River with 50 sales at a median price of $174,495. The most affordable area of the county is Cross/St. Stephen, where the median sale price was $62,500.
Charleston County accounted for more than half of the area’s total sales, with 563 homes sold at a median price of $239,500. In Mount Pleasant, the county’s largest geographic area, 185 homes sold at a median price of $341,625.
Outside of Mount Pleasant, the county’s most active area was West Ashley with 74 sales at a median price of $185,652. The most affordable area was North Charleston, where the median sale price was $83,000 in May.
Dorchester County saw 188 homes sold at a median price of $167,450. The most active area was Summerville/Ridgeville, with 92 sales at a median price of $180,470. The Summerville/Ladson area was the most affordable, where the median sale price was $135,000.