Columbia SC Real Estate and Community News

Sept. 13, 2019

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

August 2019

As the summer draws to a close, multiple opposing factors and trends are
competing to define the direction of the real estate market. After the Federal
Reserve lowered its benchmark interest rate on July 31, 30-year mortgage rates
continued to decline, approaching all-time lows last seen in 2016. Yet most experts
agree these reductions are unlikely to bring sufficient relief, at least in the short term,
for first-time home buyers. The lack of affordable inventory and the persistence of
historically high housing prices continue to affect the housing market, leading to
lower-than-expected existing home sales at the national level.

New Listings were up 8.3 percent to 1,620. Pending Sales increased 6.2 percent to
1,346, the eighth consecutive month of year-over-year gains. Inventory grew 8.0
percent to 3,425 units.

Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 11.8 percent to $185,000. Days
on Market decreased 5.7 percent to 50 days. Months Supply of Inventory was up
3.6 percent to 2.9 months, indicating that supply increased relative to demand.

As many homeowners refinanced their homes to take advantage of declining
interest rates, consumer confidence in housing was reported to be at historically
high levels. Even so, real estate professionals will need to monitor the market for
signs of continued imbalances. Although the inventory of affordable homes at this
point remains largely stable, it is stable at historically low levels, which may continue
to push prices higher and affect potential buyers across the U.S.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

Aug. 21, 2019

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

July 2019

In July, the U.S. economic expansion that began in June 2009 became the longest in
the nation's history, marking 121 straight months of gross domestic product growth
and surpassing the 120-month expansion from 1991 to 2001. The average rate of
growth during this expansion has been a milder 2.3 percent per year compared to
3.6 percent during the 1990s. Although the economy should continue to perform
well for the rest of 2019, most economists see a mild recession on the horizon.

New Listings were up 13.1 percent to 1,785. Pending Sales increased 13.8 percent
to 1,482, the seventh consecutive month of year-over-year gains. Inventory grew 5.0
percent to 3,412 units.

Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 9.8 percent to $187,000. Days
on Market decreased 3.9 percent to 49 days. Months Supply of Inventory remained
flat at 2.9, indicating a stabilizing supply-demand balance.

During the record-setting 121-month economic expansion, the unemployment rate
has dropped from 10.0 percent in 2009 to 3.7 percent, yet many consumers
continue to struggle financially. Low mortgage interest rates have helped offset low
housing affordability, but high home prices are outpacing median household income
growth. In a move to stoke continued economic prosperity, the Federal Reserve
reduced the benchmark interest rate by a quarter point to about 2.25 percent,
marking the first reduction in more than a decade.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

July 17, 2019

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

June 2019

As was widely expected, the Federal Reserve did not change the target range for
the federal funds rate – currently set at 2.25 to 2.5 percent – during their June
meeting. Although the economy is still performing well due to factors such as low
unemployment and solid retail sales, uncertainty remains regarding trade tensions,
slowed manufacturing and meek business investments.

New Listings were up 0.9 percent to 1,656. Pending Sales increased 12.3 percent to
1,443. Inventory grew 3.0 percent to 3,346 units.

Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 8.6 percent to $190,000. Days
on Market decreased 5.5 percent to 52 days. Months Supply of Inventory remained
flat at 2.9, indicating a stabilizing supply-demand balance.

In terms of relative balance between buyer and seller interests, residential real estate
markets across the country are performing well within an economic expansion that
will become the longest in U.S. history in July. However, there are signs of a slowing
economy. The Federal Reserve considers 2.0 percent a healthy inflation rate, but the
U.S. is expected to remain below that this year. The Fed has received pressure from
the White House to cut rates in order to spur further economic activity, and the
possibility of a rate reduction in 2019 is definitely in play following a string of
increases over the last several years.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

June 21, 2019

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

May 2019

At this point in the year, we are getting a good sense for how the housing market is
likely to perform for the foreseeable future. And although it is not a particularly
exciting forecast, it is a desirable one. Markets across the country are regulating
toward a middle ground between buyers and sellers. While it remains true that sales
prices are running higher and that inventory options are relatively low, buyers are
beginning to find wiggle room at some price points and geographies.

New Listings were up 10.3 percent to 1,863. Pending Sales increased 11.4 percent
to 1,573. Inventory grew 8.0 percent to 3,360 units.

Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 10.7 percent to $188,000. Days
on Market decreased 7.3 percent to 51 days. Months Supply of Inventory was up
3.6 percent to 2.9 months, indicating that supply increased relative to demand.

An extended trend of low unemployment, higher wages and favorable mortgage
rates has been a terrific driver of housing stability in recent years. What is different
about this year so far is that prices are not rising as quickly. Some of the hottest
Western markets are even cooling slightly, while some Northeast markets are
achieving a state of recovery after a decade of battling back from recession. As a
whole, the selling season is looking fairly stable across the nation.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

May 23, 2019

Home Buying Seminar

Mark your Calendars and Register for this Free event! All your questions regarding buying a home will be answered on this day at Fort Jackson. Looking forward to seeing you.

Posted in Buying a Home
May 16, 2019

Columbia is One of the Top Places to Retire: Here’s Why


It’s no secret that South Carolina is a retiree paradise, but you should be zeroing in on Columbia, the state’s capital, as your top destination for your Golden Years. The city offers all the modernities and amenities or city living, while still keeping a southern sensibility. Columbia is small, intimate and full of great things for retirees. You really can’t go wrong here.


Below you’ll find just a few of the reasons why Columbia is a not-to-be-overlooked destination for retirees:

Columbia is Home to Endless Activities for Retirees

Retirement should be all about fun and relaxation - and you can find both in Columbia. Thanks to the mild weather, there are many outdoor activities retirees can enjoy in Columbia. There are parks to stroll through, including the 22,000-acre Congaree National Park, as well as a large zoo. If you love to golf, you’ll be happy to hear there’s a public golf course with 27 holes on 240 acres.


If you have more of a “great indoors” vibe, you can take advantage of Columbia’s vibrant art, dining, culture and history scenes. The South Carolina State Museum houses a variety of exhibits, with more than 45,000 pieces highlighting the state’s history, art, natural history, science, and technology. If you love art from abroad, don’t miss the Columbia Museum of Art. At this museum, you can enjoy different traveling exhibitions and an extensive set of permanent collections. For dining, you’ll definitely want to check out the South Carolina BBQ scene, which is home to the nationally-famous “Yellow Gold” strain of BBQ sauce.

Retirees Can Get More Bang for Their Buck in Columbia


Budget is a top concern for most retirees - especially those hoping to live fully off their fixed income. Luckily, Columbia, SC offers a below-average cost of living - especially when it comes to housing.  According to the National Association of Realtors, the average cost for a home in Columbia is $156,000. This is well below the national average of $226,000. As a bonus, South Carolina is home to some of the lowest property taxes in the country.


Beyond having a reasonable real estate market, Columbia is considered to be tax-friendly for retirees. Social Security benefits are free from taxation, and the state of South Carolina provides a very generous $15,000 deduction for all other types of retirement income. More of your money can stay in your pocket to spend on the thing you really want.

There Are Many Different Senior Living Options in Columbia

Buying a new home for retirement isn’t the best choice for everyone. If you find yourself thinking about alternatives, you should know Columbia has many different senior living options to choose from. The right one for you will depend entirely on your needs and preferences.


The first option you can consider is a retirement community, also referred to as a “55-plus” community. This type of community is a neighborhood constructed specifically for people 55 years of age or older. Most retirees who reside in these communities have retired from the workforce, though that isn’t always the case. The communities usually offer a broad range of entertainment activities for seniors to be social and healthy, as well as amenities that allow retirees to remain independent without having to deal with responsibilities of home maintenance. Home maintenance amenities may include exterior home maintenance, termite extermination if needed, and landscaping.


If you believe you may require assistance with your healthcare needs or activities of daily living in general, it may be wise to consider moving into an assisted living facility for retirement. There are many highly rated communities in the Columbia metropolitan area, each with their own set of amenities and comforts.


Contact the Ballagh team today to get started on exploring your living options in Columbia, SC. In choosing us as your agents, you can expect to receive top-notch quality customer service with professional experience you can depend on and trust. We’re looking forward to working with you on making your retirement dreams come true!


Information courtesy of*


May 15, 2019

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

April 2019

For much of the country, the first quarter of 2019 provided several disruptive
weather patterns that contributed to less foot traffic toward potential home sales.
Coupled with low affordability, higher prices and an inventory situation in its infancy
of recovering from record lows – not to mention several more days of wintry weather
in April – slower sales persisted across most residential real estate markets.
However, buyers are beginning to return in force this spring. For well-priced homes
in desirable locations, competition is fierce.

New Listings were up 2.0 percent to 1,669. Pending Sales increased 7.0 percent to
1,495. Inventory grew 5.0 percent to 3,251 units.

Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 6.0 percent to $177,000. Days
on Market decreased 7.8 percent to 59 days. Months Supply of Inventory remained
flat at 2.8, indicating a stabilizing supply-demand balance.

The national unemployment rate dropped to 3.6 percent during April 2019, the
lowest level since 1969. A historically low unemployment rate can provide
reassurance to wary consumers. But in order for sales to increase on a grand scale,
buyers will need more spending power, or sellers will need to reduce prices to land
where buyers are most active. Neither situation is likely to occur in 2019, yet
inventory is straining to keep pace in the most competitive price ranges.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

April 22, 2019

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

March 2019

In addition to the quandary of ongoing housing price increases and affordability
concerns in many U.S. markets, the first quarter of 2019 saw a fair share of adverse
weather as well. Sales totals were mixed across the nation and sometimes
dependent on what was a persistent wintry mix, especially in the Great Plains,
Midwest and Northeast. Meanwhile, new listings and total homes for sale have been
trending lower in year-over-year comparisons in many areas, and last year's marks
were already quite low.

New Listings were up 4.8 percent to 1,713. Pending Sales increased 9.4 percent to
1,499. Inventory grew 6.1 percent to 3,279 units.

Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 3.0 percent to $172,000. Days
on Market decreased 12.1 percent to 58 days. Months Supply of Inventory was
down 3.4 percent to 2.8 months, indicating that demand increased relative to

The Federal Reserve recently announced that no further interest rate hikes are
planned for 2019. Given the fact that the federal funds rate has increased nine times
over the past three years, this was welcome news for U.S. consumers, which carry
an approximate average of $6,000 in revolving credit card debt per household. Fed
actions also tend to affect mortgage rates, so the pause in rate hikes was also
welcome news to the residential real estate industry.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

March 26, 2019

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

February 2019

It is worthwhile to mention the weather when discussing residential real estate for
large portions of the U.S. for February 2019, because this month has turned in some
impressively cold, rainy and snowy days that have stalled some buying and selling
actions. Nevertheless, housing markets have proven to be resilient despite
predictions of a tougher year for the industry. It is still too early to say how the entire
year will play out, but economic fundamentals remain positive.

New Listings were up 10.6 percent to 1,354. Pending Sales increased 12.5 percent
to 1,134. Inventory grew 6.4 percent to 3,286 units.

Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 6.9 percent to $178,000. Days
on Market decreased 12.5 percent to 63 days. Months Supply of Inventory was
down 3.4 percent to 2.8 months, indicating that demand increased relative to

The National Association of REALTORS® recently reported that national existing home
sales were down slightly during January 2019 and that pending sales were up
in year-over-year comparisons. It is worth noting that some softening of sales was
anticipated, as was a positive sales bounce during January 2019 after a slow end to
2018. Weather-related events have hampered some of the necessary machinations
of making home sales during February 2019, yet buyers have shown determination
toward achieving their homeownership goals.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

Feb. 22, 2019

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

January 2019

Despite a strong U.S. economy, historically low unemployment and steady wage
growth, home sales began to slow across the nation late last year. Blame was given
to a combination of high prices and a steady stream of interest rate hikes by the
Federal Reserve. This month, the Fed responded to the growing affordability
conundrum. In a move described as a patient approach to further rate changes, the
Fed did not increase rates during January 2019.

New Listings were up 19.4 percent to 1,551. Pending Sales increased 8.8 percent to
1,107. Inventory grew 6.6 percent to 3,277 units.

Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 3.1 percent to $165,000. Days
on Market decreased 11.4 percent to 62 days. Months Supply of Inventory remained
flat at 2.8, indicating a stabilizing supply-demand balance.

While the home affordability topic will continue to set the tone for the 2019 housing
market, early signs point to an improving inventory situation, including in several
markets that are beginning to show regular year-over-year percentage increases. As
motivated sellers attempt to get a jump on annual goals, many new listings enter the
market immediately after the turn of a calendar year. If home price appreciation falls
more in line with wage growth, and rates can hold firm, consumer confidence and
affordability are likely to improve.

Information courtesy of CMLS*