National economist optimistic about real estate market

By Lauren Ratcliffe
lratcliffe@scbiznews.com
Published Aug. 16, 2012

The sold-out room of real estate professionals wanted to know how their business would fare in the coming months, and if the worst of the housing market downturn would be over soon.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, armed with statistics, told them it appeared things were turning around. Yun was the keynote speaker at the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors’ mid-year market update.

“We are beginning to see signs of recovery,” Yun said. “This recovery is sustainable and genuine because it is being set up on a firm foundation.”

Citing home sales data, declining inventory and pent-up household formation demand, Yun forecasted things will continue to trend upward at a sustainable pace.

In Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties, home sales and median prices have increased over last year.

“The local region is doing better than the national,” Yun said, citing a 20% growth in sales and 3.4% growth in prices.

Yun said the affordability of homes, record low interest rates, rising rents and an improving economy may lead to an increase in new households. Credit scores may be essential in determining how much real estate professionals could gain.

If credit scores relax back to normal, Realtor business could increase 15% to 20%, Yun said.

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National economist to speak at CTAR mid-year market update

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