Home sales up 0.7% in South Carolina

Staff report

Published Nov. 16, 2011

Home sales in South Carolina rose 0.7% for October compared with the same month in 2010, according to the statewide market report released today by the S.C. Realtors.

The real estate organization reported that purchases were being driven by record low mortgage rates, affordable prices and favorable negotiating leverage.

The state’s major housing markets varied: Charleston’s sales fell 0.5% to 663 compared to 666 for October 2010; Columbia climbed 7% to 504 homes from 471; and in the Greater Greenville market, sales slipped to 483 units from 545 for October 2010, an 11.4% decline.

Statewide, the Hilton Head Island area led South Carolina with a 36.6% increase for October. Hilton Head real estate agents reported 220 units were sold last month compared to 161 in October 2010.

In year-to-year comparisons, Charleston homes sales are up 3.9% and Columbia has improved 3.4%, and Greenville dropped 13.8%.

Statewide, the median price for October held even at $150,000 compared to the same month in 2010. Charleston reported a slight drop of 1.3% at $190,000, down from $192,468; Columbia up 1.2% to $149,245 from $147,449; and Greenville slipped .2% to $142,020 from $142,250.

The number of days a home remained on the market last month was up 9.4% to 148 compared with 135 for October 2010, according to statewide statistics.

In the major markets, Charleston reported a 17.8% increase to 116 days from 98; Columbia was up 9% to 129 days from 110; and Greenville was up to 129 days, a 7.8% increase from 100 days recorded in October 2010.

Meanwhile, inventory of housing units across South Carolina has dropped 11.7% percent to a 13-month supply.

Overall, the housing market appears to be looking ahead to brighter days, according to S.C. Realtors. “Recent reports from the broader economy have dispelled the story of a double-dip recession,” the group said in a press release. “An early reading of gross domestic product (GDP) showed 2.5% growth.”

National job growth has strengthened and “an increasingly impatient White House has rolled out phase two of the Home Affordable Refinance Program for Fannie- and Freddie-backed mortgages,” the group said. “This should help a number of consumers as they write the next chapter.”

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