Columbia SC Real Estate and Community News

April 20, 2018

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

March 2018

New residential real estate activity has been relatively slow in the first quarter of
2018, yet housing is proving its resiliency in a consistently improving economy.
Some markets have had increases in signed contracts, but the vast majority of the
nation continues to experience fewer closed sales and lower inventory compared to
last year at this time. Despite there being fewer homes for sale, buyer demand has
remained strong enough to keep prices on the rise, which should continue for the
foreseeable future.

New Listings were up 4.0 percent to 1,760. Pending Sales increased 8.8 percent to
1,470. Inventory grew 6.3 percent to 3,614 units.

Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 5.7 percent to $166,000. Days
on Market decreased 19.5 percent to 66 days. Months Supply of Inventory was up
3.1 percent to 3.3 months, indicating that supply increased relative to demand.

The Federal Reserve raised its key short-term interest rate by .25 percent in March,
citing concerns about inflation. It is the sixth rate increase by the Fed since
December 2015, and at least two more rate increases are expected this year.
Borrowing money will be more expensive, particularly for home equity loans, credit
cards and adjustable rate mortgages, but rising wages and a low national
unemployment rate that has been at 4.1 percent for five months in a row would
seem to indicate that we are prepared for this. And although mortgage rates have
risen to their highest point in four years, they have been quite low for several years.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

March 20, 2018

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

February 2018

The three most prominent national market trends for residential real estate are the
ongoing lack of abundant inventory, the steadily upward movement of home prices
and year-over-year declines in home sales. Sales declines are a natural result of
there being fewer homes for sale, but higher prices often indicate higher demand
leading to competitive bidding. Markets are poised for increased supply, so there is
hope that more sellers will take advantage of what appears to be a ready and willing
buyer base.

New Listings were down 3.8 percent to 1,314. Pending Sales increased 1.0 percent
to 1,084. Inventory grew 7.3 percent to 3,601 units.

Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 7.6 percent to $166,788. Days
on Market decreased 13.3 percent to 72 days. Months Supply of Inventory was up
3.1 percent to 3.3 months, indicating that supply increased relative to demand.

In February, prevailing mortgage rates continued to rise. This has a notable impact
on housing affordability and can leave consumers choosing between higher
payments or lower-priced homes. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association,
the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with a 20 percent down payment
that qualify for backing by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rose to its highest level
since January 2014. A 4.5 or 4.6 percent rate might not seem high to those with
extensive real estate experience, but it is newly high for many potential first-time
home buyers. Upward rate pressure is likely to continue as long as the economy
fares well.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

Feb. 19, 2018

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

January 2018

Last year, U.S. consumers seemed to be operating with a renewed but cautious
optimism. The stock market was strong, wages were edging upwards and home
buying activity was extremely competitive. Not much has changed in 2018 in terms
of those measures, yet there is a sort of seasoned prudence mixed into the high
emotions that go with a major expense like a home purchase. We are now several
years deep into a period of rising prices and low inventory. Those in the market
to buy a home have caught on. As sellers attempt to take advantage of rising
prices, expect buyers to be more selective.

New Listings were up 15.5 percent to 1,413. Pending Sales increased 12.0 percent
to 1,096. Inventory grew 8.3 percent to 3,582 units.

Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 5.3 percent to $160,000. Days
on Market decreased 21.3 percent to 70 days. Months Supply of Inventory was up
3.1 percent to 3.3 months, the twelfth consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Whatever external forces are placed upon residential real estate markets across the
country – whether they are related to tax legislation, mortgage rates, employment
situation changes, new family formations, the availability of new construction and
the like – the appetite for home buying remains strong enough to drive prices
upward in virtually all markets across the country. New sales are not necessarily
following that trend, but monthly increases are expected until at least late summer.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

Jan. 23, 2018

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

December 2017

The number of homes for sale, days on market and months of supply were all down
in year-over-year comparisons in a majority of the country for the entirety of 2017,
as was housing affordability. And although total sales volumes were mixed, prices
were consistently up in most markets. Buyers may not benefit from higher prices,
but sellers do, and there should be more listing activity by more confident sellers in
2018. At least that would be the most viable prediction for an economic landscape
pointing toward improved conditions for sellers.

New Listings were up 31.1 percent to 1,033. Pending Sales increased 10.1 percent
to 839. Inventory grew 9.2 percent to 3,637 units.

Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 4.5 percent to $161,936. Days
on Market decreased 19.3 percent to 67 days. Months Supply of Inventory remained
flat at 3.3

Unemployment rates have remained low throughout 2017, and wages have shown
improvement, though not always to levels that match home price increases. Yet
housing demand remained incredibly strong in 2017, even in the face of higher
mortgage rates that are likely to increase further in 2018. Home building and selling
professionals are both cautiously optimistic for the year ahead. Housing and
economic indicators give reason for this optimism, with or without new federal tax
legislation.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

Dec. 21, 2017

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

November 2017

The facts of residential real estate have remained consistent in 2017. In year-overyear
comparisons, the number of homes for sale has been fewer in most locales,
and homes have been selling in fewer days for higher prices. This hasn't always
been true, but it has been a common enough storyline to make it an overarching
trend for the year.

New Listings were up 26.7 percent to 1,294. Pending Sales increased 19.4 percent
to 971. Inventory grew 10.6 percent to 3,956 units, the eleventh consecutive month
of year-over-year gains.

Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 6.6 percent to $159,900. Days
on Market decreased 12.5 percent to 70 days. Months Supply of Inventory was up
2.9 percent to 3.6 months, the eleventh consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

New tax legislation could have ramifications on housing. The White House believes
that the tax reform bill will have a small impact on home prices, lowering them by
less than 4 percent, and could conceivably boost homeownership. The National
Association of REALTORS® has stated that eliminating the mortgage interest
deduction could hurt housing, as the doubled standard deduction would reduce the
desire to take out a mortgage and itemize the interest associated with it, thus
reducing demand. This is a developing story.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

Nov. 22, 2017

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

October 2017

Supply will dip for the remainder of the year, but there are some hopeful signs that we may see a bump in the new year. To say that more inventory will immediately impact housing markets is premature, especially if affordability continues to drop and prices continue to rise. For the 12-month period spanning November 2016 through October 2017, Pending Sales in the CMLS region were up 6.5 percent overall. The price range with the largest gain in sales was the $200,001 to $300,000 range, where they increased 10.6 percent.

The overall Median Sales Price was up 1.2 percent to $159,900. The property type with the largest price gain was the Single-Family Homes segment, where prices increased 2.1 percent to $164,900. The price range that tended to sell the quickest was the $100,001 to $150,000 range at 63 days; the price range that tended to sell the slowest was the $300,001 and Above range at 82 days.

Market-wide, inventory levels were up 13.9 percent. The property type that gained the most inventory was the Single-Family segment, where it increased 14.4 percent. That amounts to 3.8 months supply for Single-Family homes and 3.4 months supply for Condos.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

Oct. 24, 2017

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

September 2017

Every market is unique, yet the national sentiment has given rise to the notion that
housing markets are stalling. Although desirous buyers are out on an increasing
number of showings, there remains a limited number of desirable listings. And
although mortgage rates have remained enticingly low, home prices have reached
unaffordable levels for many new entrants into the housing pool at exactly the same
time that established owners are proving to be less interested in moving.

New Listings were up 9.2 percent to 1,307. Pending Sales increased 4.5 percent to
999. Inventory grew 13.2 percent to 4,210 units.

Prices were still soft as Median Sales Price was down 2.4 percent to $160,000. Days
on Market decreased 11.7 percent to 68 days. Months Supply of Inventory was up
5.4 percent to 3.9 months, indicating that supply increased relative to demand.

Last year at this time, the national storyline was about how high demand was
propping up sales and prices despite low inventory and months of supply. That has
actually continued to be a familiar refrain for many months in 2017 and now for the
past couple of years. But with the likes of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, different
employment outlooks, disparate incomes, varying new construction expectations
and potential housing policy shifts, regional differences are becoming more
prevalent and pronounced.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

Sept. 29, 2017

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

August 2017

August tends to mark the waning of housing activity ahead of the school year. Not
all buyers and sellers have children, but there are enough parents that do not want
to uproot their children during the school year to historically create a natural market
cool down before any actual temperature change. Competition is expected to
remain fierce for available listings. Savvy sellers and buyers know that deals can be
made well into the school months, as household formations take on many shapes
and sizes.

New Listings were up 8.1 percent to 1,519. Pending Sales decreased 5.2 percent to
1,139, the eighth consecutive month of year-over-year declines. Inventory grew 11.9
percent to 4,276 units.

Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 3.8 percent to $168,667. Days
on Market decreased 17.1 percent to 63 days. Months Supply of Inventory was up
5.3 percent to 4.0 months, indicating that supply increased relative to demand.

The prevailing trends lasted through summer. This was expected, since there have
not been any major changes in the economy that would affect housing. Factors
such as wage growth, unemployment and mortgage rates have all been stable.
Every locality has its unique challenges, but the whole of residential real estate is in
good shape. Recent manufacturing data is showing demand for housing
construction materials and supplies, which may help lift the ongoing low inventory
situation in 2018.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

Aug. 18, 2017

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

July 2017

How long can the residential real estate market go on like this? We are about two
years into a national trend of dropping housing supply and increasing median sales
prices. There are some regional variations to the story, but the shift to a
predominantly seller's market is mostly complete. Multiple-offer situations over
asking price are commonplace in many communities, and good homes are routinely
off the market after a single day. It is evident that a favorable economy keeps hungry
buyers in the chase.

New Listings were up 17.8 percent to 1,554. Pending Sales increased 10.8 percent
to 1,212, the seventh consecutive month of year-over-year gains. Inventory grew 8.1
percent to 4,305 units.

Prices were still soft as Median Sales Price was down 1.1 percent to $162,000. Days
on Market decreased 12.3 percent to 64 days. Months Supply of Inventory was
down 2.4 percent to 4.0 months, indicating that demand increased relative to
supply.

Although the unemployment rate remains unchanged at its favorable national 4.3
percent rate, wage growth has not been rising at the steady clip that would be
expected in an improving economy. Sales activity manages to keep churning along
despite looming shortages in new construction. Lower price ranges are starting to
feel the effects of the supply and demand gap, as first-time buyers scramble to get
offers in at an increasing pace.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

July 13, 2017

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

June 2017

There has been a general slowdown in sales across the country, and this cannot be
blamed on negative economic news. Unemployment remains low and wage growth,
though nothing to overly celebrate, has held steady or increased for several years in
a row. There is strong demand for home buying, emphasized by higher prices and
multiple offers on homes for sale in many submarkets. As has been the case for
month after month – and now year after year – low inventory is the primary culprit for
any sales malaise rather than lack of offers.

New Listings were up 14.9 percent to 1,678. Pending Sales increased 16.7 percent
to 1,336. Inventory grew 4.5 percent to 4,311 units.

Prices were still soft as Median Sales Price was down 0.6 percent to $165,000. Days
on Market decreased 21.2 percent to 67 days. Months Supply of Inventory was
down 4.8 percent to 4.0 months, indicating that demand increased relative to
supply.

With job creation increasing and mortgage rates remaining low, the pull toward
homeownership is expected to continue. Yet housing starts have been drifting
lower, and some are beginning to worry that a more serious housing shortage could
be in the cards if new construction and building permit applications continue to
come in lower in year-over-year comparisons while demand remains high.
Homebuilder confidence suggests otherwise, so predictions of a gloomy future
should be curbed for the time being.

Information courtesy of CMLS*