Columbia SC Real Estate and Community News

June 23, 2017

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

May 2017

Home prices across the U.S. are reaching all-time highs, prompting worry over
another boom-and-bust scenario like we experienced roughly ten years ago. Yet, as
we glance across the state of residential real estate, what is clear compared to the
last extended run of price increases is that lending standards are now much stronger
than they were before. Incomes must be verified, a reasonable amount of money
must be paid toward the home prior to purchase and a more stringent loan approval
process is in place to prevent a repeat performance of the Great Recession.

New Listings were up 14.5 percent to 1,788. Pending Sales increased 12.7 percent
to 1,371. Inventory grew 4.9 percent to 4,357 units.

Prices were still soft as Median Sales Price was down 0.1 percent to $163,850. Days
on Market decreased 14.8 percent to 69 days. Months Supply of Inventory was
down 4.7 percent to 4.1 months, indicating that demand increased relative to supply.

In addition to a stronger base upon which to conduct real estate transactions, the
overall economy is in better shape than it was a decade ago. More jobs are
available, unemployment is relatively low and workers have more faith in their wages
and the potential for wage increases. Although we continue to battle an inventory
shortage in much of the country, optimism remains high for a successful summer for
buying and selling homes.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

May 19, 2017

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

April 2017

The employment landscape and wages have both improved over the last few years,
allowing for more people to participate in the home-buying process. When the
economy is in good working order, as it is now, it creates opportunities in residential
real estate, and right now is a potentially lucrative time to sell a home. Houses that
show well and are priced correctly have been selling quickly, often at higher prices
than asking.

New Listings were up 9.0 percent to 1,610. Pending Sales decreased 2.9 percent to
1,192. Inventory grew 4.6 percent to 4,304 units.

Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 2.2 percent to $158,975. Days
on Market decreased 23.0 percent to 67 days. Months Supply of Inventory was
down 4.7 percent to 4.1 months, indicating that demand increased relative to
supply.

Although there is a mounting amount of buyer competition during the annual spring
market cycle, buyer demand has not abated, nor is it expected to in the immediate
future unless something unpredictable occurs. While strong demand is generally
considered a good problem to have, it creates an affordability issue for some
buyers, especially first-time buyers. And yet, prices will continue to rise amidst
strong demand.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

April 26, 2017

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

March 2017

We can comfortably consider the first quarter to have been a good start for
residential real estate in 2017. There was certainly plenty to worry over when the
year began. Aside from new national leadership in Washington, DC, and the policy
shifts that can occur during such transitions, there was also the matter of
continuous low housing supply, steadily rising mortgage rates and ever-increasing
home prices. Nevertheless, sales have held their own in year-over-year comparisons
and should improve during the busiest months of the real estate sales cycle.

New Listings were up 18.0 percent to 1,881. Pending Sales increased 16.6 percent
to 1,402. Inventory grew 1.2 percent to 4,234 units.

Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 1.6 percent to $157,500. Days
on Market decreased 12.6 percent to 83 days. Months Supply of Inventory was
down 9.1 percent to 4.0 months, indicating that demand increased relative to
supply.

The U.S. economy has improved for several quarters in a row, which has helped
wage growth and retail consumption increase in year-over-year comparisons.
Couple that with an unemployment rate that has been holding steady or dropping
both nationally and in many localities, and consumer confidence is on the rise. As
the economy improves, home sales tend to go up. It isn't much more complex than
that right now. Rising mortgage rates could slow growth eventually, but rate
increases should be thought of as little more than a byproduct of a stronger
economy and stronger demand.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

March 20, 2017

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

February 2017

The start of the year ushered in a wave of good news about a hot stock market,
higher wages and an active home sales environment. At the same time, housing
prices have continued to rise, and the low inventory situation and affordability
crunch has been particularly hard on first-time buyers struggling to get into the
market. Nevertheless, buyer activity is easily outpacing seller activity in much of the
country, culminating in relatively quick sales and low supply. Demand definitely
remained strong this month.


New Listings were up 20.3 percent to 1,511. Pending Sales increased 16.0 percent
to 1,096. Inventory grew 2.1 percent to 4,190 units.


Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 2.8 percent to $154,250. Days
on Market decreased 14.3 percent to 84 days. Months Supply of Inventory was
down 7.0 percent to 4.0 months, indicating that demand increased relative to
supply.


Unemployment has reached pre-recession levels, and Americans remain optimistic
about finding quality employment. This matters because job growth and higher
paychecks fuel home purchases. Unfortunately, that won't matter for potential
buyers if price appreciation outpaces income growth and if mortgage rates continue
their upward trend. Sellers are getting a generous number of offers in this market.
The worry for sellers then becomes that there will not be a generous number of
homes to choose from when they become buyers.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

Feb. 27, 2017

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

January 2017

 

January brings out a rejuvenated crop of buyers with a renewed enthusiasm in a
new calendar year. Sales totals may still inevitably start slow in the first half of the
year due to ongoing inventory concerns. Continued declines in the number of homes
available for sale may push out potential buyers who simply cannot compete for
homes selling at higher price points in a low number of days, especially if mortgage
rates continue to increase.


New Listings were up 15.0 percent to 1,395. Pending Sales increased 26.1 percent
to 1,030. Inventory grew 3.3 percent to 4,198 units.


Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 1.3 percent to $151,475. Days
on Market decreased 3.3 percent to 89 days. Months Supply of Inventory was down
7.0 percent to 4.0 months, indicating that demand increased relative to supply.


In case you missed it, we have a new U.S. president. In his first hour in office, the
.25 percentage point rate cut for loans backed by the Federal Housing
Administration (FHA) was removed, setting the table for what should be an
interesting presidential term for real estate policy. FHA loans tend to be a favorable
option for those with limited financial resources. On a brighter note, wages are on
the uptick for many Americans, while unemployment rates have remained stable and
relatively unchanged for several months. The system is ripe for more home
purchasing if there are more homes available to sell.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

Jan. 26, 2017

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

December 2016

Most of 2016 offered the same monthly housing market highlights. The number of homes for sale was drastically down in year-over-year comparisons, along with days on market and months of supply. Meanwhile, sales and prices were up in most markets. Unemployment rates were low, wages improved and, as the year waned, we completed a contentious presidential election and saw mortgage rates increase, neither of which are expected to have a negative impact on real estate in 2017.

 

New Listings were up 1.4 percent to 889. Pending Sales increased 17.8 percent to 859. Inventory grew 6.0 percent to 4,231 units, the eleventh consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

 

Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 5.1 percent to $155,000. Days on Market decreased 14.6 percent to 82 days. Months Supply of Inventory was down 4.7 percent to 4.1 months, the eleventh consecutive month of year-over-year declines.

 

The overwhelming feeling about prospects in residential real estate for the immediate future is optimism. Real estate professionals across the nation are expressing that they are as busy as ever. There are certainly challenges in this market, like continued low inventory and higher competition for those fewer properties, but opportunities abound for creative and diligent people prepared to put in the necessary amount of work.

 

Information courtesy of CMLS*

Dec. 19, 2016

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

November 2016

The story has remained consistent as concerns residential real estate. In year-overyear
comparisons, the number of homes for sale has been fewer in most
communities. Meanwhile, homes are selling in fewer days and for higher prices. This
hasn't always been the case, but it has occurred with enough regularity and for
enough time to make it a trend for the entirety of 2016.


New Listings were up 23.2 percent to 1,190. Pending Sales increased 19.1 percent
to 918. Inventory grew 8.7 percent to 4,627 units.


Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 3.1 percent to $150,000. Days
on Market decreased 16.0 percent to 79 days. Months Supply of Inventory was
down 2.2 percent to 4.5 months.


Financial markets were volatile in the days surrounding the presidential election, but
they self-corrected and reached new heights soon after. Long-term indicators of
what it will be like to have a real estate developer for a president remain fuzzy, but
the outcome is not likely to be dull. Prior to the election, trend shift was hard to
come by, and unemployment rates have not budged since August 2015. Postelection,
mortgage rates are up and so are opinions that a trend shift is likely in the
near future.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

Nov. 16, 2016

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

October 2016

As we enter the final quarter of 2016, not much has changed since the year began.
Market predictions have been, in a word, predictable. A relatively comfortable pace
of activity has been maintained thanks to continuing low unemployment and
mortgage rates. The one basic drag on market acceleration has been inventory
decline. There is little to indicate that the low inventory situation will resolve anytime
soon.


New Listings were up 25.1 percent to 1,312. Pending Sales increased 33.1 percent
to 1,005. Inventory grew 6.9 percent to 4,705 units.


Prices were stable as Median Sales Price remained flat at $157,000. Days on Market
decreased 7.3 percent to 76 days. Months Supply of Inventory was down 6.3
percent to 4.5 months, the twelfth consecutive month of year-over-year declines.


Builder confidence is as high as it has been in more than a decade, yet the pace of
economic growth has been slow enough to cause pause. A low number of first-time
buyer purchases and a looming demographic shift also seem to be curbing the
desire to start new single-family construction projects. As older Americans retire and
downsize, single-family listings are expected to rise. The waiting is the hardest part.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

Oct. 20, 2016

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

September 2016

As anticipated at the outset of the year, demand has remained high through the first
Three-quarters of 2016, propping up sales and prices despite heavy reductions in
inventory and months of supply across the country. With rental prices and
employment opportunities in a consistent climb, year-over-year increases in home
buying are probable for the rest of the year but not guaranteed.

New Listings were up 19.4 percent to 1,392. Pending Sales increased 27.3 percent
to 1,062. Inventory grew 6.3 percent to 4,730 units, the eleventh consecutive month
of year-over-year gains.

Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 9.1 percent to $163,500. Days
on Market decreased 9.5 percent to 76 days. Months Supply of Inventory was down
4.2 percent to 4.6 months, the eleventh consecutive month of year-over-year
declines.

In general, today's demand is driven by three factors: Millennials are reaching prime
home-buying age, growing families are looking for larger homes and empty nesters
are downsizing. However, intriguingly low-interest rates often prompt refinancing
instead of listing, contributing to lower inventory. Recent studies have also shown
that short-term rentals are keeping a collection of homes off the market.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

Sept. 21, 2016

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

August 2016

Closed sales began to cool for much of the country last month, and conventional
wisdom indicates that year-over-year declines are going to be present for the
remainder of the year, given the low inventory situation in most markets. Demand is
certainly present, and has created competitive situations that have kept prices up.
Rental prices are also up, which may lure more toward home ownership.

New Listings were up 19.8 percent to 1,618. Pending Sales increased 32.8 percent
to 1,321. Inventory grew 7.1 percent to 4,835 units.

Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 3.9 percent to $161,098. Days on
Market decreased 20.4 percent to 74 days. Months Supply of Inventory remained flat
at 4.8

As inventory continues to drop, the contradictions of today's market are evident.
Sellers should feel confident enough to list homes at fair prices and receive
meaningful offers in a healthy residential real estate and overall economic
environment. However, there may be lingering worry over the availability of move-in
ready homes to replace what was sold. On a brighter note, building permits are
trending upward. That news should be weighed against the fact that the highest
level of activity is in multifamily rentals.

Information courtesy of CMLS*