S.C. housing demand strong despite rising interest rates, Realtors group says

Staff Report
Published Sept. 16, 2013

Although mortgage rates are rising, demand for a limited supply of homes appears strong, according to the S.C. Realtors Association.

Some buying, the trade group said in its August report, might be triggered by speculation that rates will climb further.

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“The dream of homeownership is very much intact, but buyers should be prepared with competitive offers, since every measure of market health is pointing upwards,” the report by the Columbia-based association said.

Some keys to what will happen in the housing market include:

  • Whether the Federal Reserve will alter its policy toward stimulus tapering.
  • Tepid, but positive labor market growth.
  • Consumer sentiment swayed by gas prices, stock market shifts and global economics.

Overall, new listings in the state increased 5.9% to 8,982 units compared with August 2012 levels, while pending sales rose 6.7% to 5,404. Inventory levels shrank 6.6% to 46,827 units.

The overall median sales price rose 3.3% to $155,000 compared with August 2012 numbers, while the number of days on the market dropped 13.6% to 111 days.

At the end of the month, the state housing market had about a nine-month supply of available units. The strongest demand for housing was in single-family homes, where inventory shrank 5.4%.

Among the state’s major metro markets, Charleston Trident recorded a 22.4% increase in sales for August to 1,256 units. Meanwhile, the median price in Charleston climbed 9.6% to $219,000 in August compared with $199,865 for the same month in 2012, and the average number of days on the market dropped 18.7% to 72.

Greater Columbia reported a year-over-year increase of 19.4% in August sales to 947 homes, while the median price slipped 1% to $143,000. The average number of days on market for Columbia dropped 19.9% to 96.

In Greater Greenville, sales rose 18.1% to 921 homes compared with 780 for August 2012. Meanwhile, the median price rose 5.4% to $165,000 compared with $156,500 for August 2012. The average number of days on market dropped 12.9% to 84.

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