Finding the right home in the Charleston area can be a challenging undertaking, especially as the economy gains strength. More and more people are moving to our area, the job market is saturated with those looking for jobs, people are holding onto their homes longer, and builders are resisting overbuilding.
Homes that come on the market are exiting just as quickly. The inventory has declined rapidly over the past 18 months, and it is becoming harder and harder to find more listings ready to sell. This could lead housing prices continuing to rise in our area – which could take its toll on the market. If home prices outpace income – then owning a home will not be affordable.
So far this year, 8,648 homes have sold in our Tri-County area at a median price of $239,000. That accounts for more than 1,400 units sold per month. Volume has increased 8.9 percent over last year, and the median prices has risen 8.3 percent, compared to the first six months of 2015.
If the second half of the year experiences as many as the first, home transactions will surpass last year’s total by more than 1,000 units.
Currently, MLS shows about 5,400 homes listed as actively for sale, and at the current rate, about 25 percent of those will be sold in July. Inventory is down 12.5 percent from a year ago.
Michael Sally, president of Charleston Trident Association of Realtors, things a healthier market would include about 6,500 units up for sale at any given time – providing more selection, and helping curb down the higher prices we are seeing.
Our area hasn’t seen this many houses on the market at one time for the past couple of years. It is predicted that around 35 new residents move to the Lowcountry each day – filling jobs in expanding industries such as Volvo, Boeing, and Mercedes-Benz. A potential building moratorium in Mount Pleasant only makes these housing concerns worse.
New home builders are remaining cautious for various reasons including: land prices, a shortage of labor, and concerns about risk because of the last housing market crash. New construction has been consistent, but not nearly at the high levels seen before the crash.
Housing inventory is not only a problem in Charleston – but is being seen across the state. However, the new industries moving to Charleston paired with its’ global reputation amplifies these housing concerns. Jobs = Housing. Period. And unfortunately the new homes being built are falling more in line with luxury home buyers than being in the price range of first-time home buyers.
Affordability will continue to be an issue here in Charleston, until we see a shift out of the low inventory numbers we have been seeing.
Charleston’s Housing Inventory Predicted To Remain Tight, Driving Prices Higher
Warren L. Wise
July 24, 2016
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