Charleston Housing Market Overview


The proof is in the pudding! In regards to current rumors flying around of a housing market on its way to recovery, recent numbers do indeed reflect a stabilizing market here in Charleston.  The 2011 Annual Report on the Charleston Housing Market as distributed by the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors clearly illustrates some signs of market recovery. While no one has a crystal ball, people may be prone to exaggerate but numbers don’t lie. 

 According to the Annual Report, at the height of the market in 2007, the number of overall closed sales reached nearly 13,000. The next year saw a dramatic decline in that number, with the low point being in 2009, with 8,335 closed sales; fortunately, since then, the numbers are steadily climbing, with 2011 culminating in 9,276 closed sales.

 Inventory, meaning homes currently on the market, is going down, while demand increases, which, according to Economics 101, means improvement in the housing market. Less inventory means less competition for sellers looking to market their home. End of year inventories were down 20% in 2011 compared to the inventory in 2007.

 In 2008 there were 21,946 new listings—2011 saw that number back down to 15,967, which is particularly good news, as much of the new inventory over those years has been “distressed” homes: foreclosures, short sales, etc, all of which drive median prices downward. 30% of all sales last year were distressed property. Overall sales prices is down roughly 12% since 2007. As these distressed homes are taken out of the inventory and as fewer are entering the market, we expect to see less of their downward influence on overall prices.

 With layoffs slowing, hiring accelerating, combined with record-low mortgage rates, demand for housing is definitely improving. Given the above indicators, we hope to hear more of this sort of news for the Charleston housing market in 2012! As another, more personal indicator of improvement, here in the offices of the Jim Mills Team, we are most definitely witnessing positive signs: our office humming is with welcome activity unusual for this time of year, and is keeping us busy. Here’s to recovery!

Image: ddpavumba /