Columbia SC Real Estate and Community News

Nov. 23, 2018

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

October 2018

If the last few months are an indication of the temperature of housing markets
across the country, a period of relative calm can be expected during the last three
months of the year. A trend of market balance is emerging as we approach the end
of 2018. Prices are still rising in most areas, and the number of homes for sale is still
low, but there is a general shrinking of year-over-year percentage change gaps in
sales, inventory, and prices.

New Listings were up 15.7 percent to 1,408. Pending Sales increased 18.6 percent
to 1,139. Inventory grew 8.1 percent to 3,649 units.

Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 8.2 percent to $169,950. Days
on Market decreased 16.7 percent to 55 days. Months Supply of Inventory remained
flat at 3.2, indicating a stabilizing supply-demand balance.

Stock markets experienced an October setback, but that does not necessarily
translate to a decline in the real estate market. The national unemployment rate has
been below 4.0 percent for three straight months and during five of the last six
months. This is exceptional news for industries related to real estate. Meanwhile,
homebuilder confidence remains positive, homeownership rates have increased in
the key under-35 buyer group and prices, though still rising, have widely reduced
the march toward record highs.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

Oct. 18, 2018

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

September 2018

Some economy observers are pointing to 2018 as the final period in a long string of
sentences touting several happy years of buyer demand and sales excitement for
the housing industry. Although residential real estate should continue along a mostly
positive line for the rest of the year, rising prices and interest rates coupled with
salary stagnation and a generational trend toward home purchase delay or even
disinterest could create an environment of declining sales.

New Listings were down 3.6 percent to 1,147. Pending Sales increased 3.5 percent
to 976. Inventory grew 6.6 percent to 3,643 units.

Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 7.7 percent to $175,500. Days
on Market decreased 20.6 percent to 54 days. Months Supply of Inventory remained
flat at 3.2, indicating a stabilizing supply-demand balance.

Tracking reputable news sources for housing market predictions makes good sense,
as does observing trends based on meaningful statistics. By the numbers, we
continue to see pockets of unprecedented price heights combined with low days on
market and an economic backdrop conducive to consistent demand. We were
reminded by Hurricane Florence of how quickly a situation can change. Rather than
dwelling on predictions of a somber future, it is worth the effort to manage the
fundamentals that will lead to an ongoing display of healthy balance.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

Sept. 18, 2018

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

August 2018

Rising home prices, higher interest rates, and increased building material costs have
pressured housing affordability to a ten-year low, according to the National
Association of Home Builders. Keen market observers have been watching this
situation take shape for quite some time. Nationally, median household income has
risen 2.6% in the last 12 months, while home prices are up 6.0%. That kind of gap
will eventually create fewer sales due to affordability concerns, which is happening
in several markets, especially in the middle to high-middle price ranges.

New Listings were up 19.9 percent to 1,634. Pending Sales increased 26.3 percent
to 1,360. Inventory grew 9.9 percent to 3,755 units.

Prices were still soft as Median Sales Price was down 2.3 percent to $166,050. Days
on Market decreased 14.5 percent to 53 days. Months Supply of Inventory was up
3.1 percent to 3.3 months, indicating that supply increased relative to demand.

While some are starting to look for recessionary signs like fewer sales, dropping
prices and even foreclosures, others are taking a more cautious and research-based
approached to their predictions. The fact remains that the trends do not yet support
a dramatic shift away from what has been experienced over the last several years.
Housing starts are performing admirably if not excitingly, prices are still inching
upward, supply remains low and consumers are optimistic. The U.S. economy is
under scrutiny but certainly not deteriorating.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

Aug. 23, 2018

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

July 2018

Housing price bubble chatter has increased this summer, as market observers
attempt to predict the next residential real estate shift. It is too early to predict a
change from higher prices and lower inventory, but the common markers that
caused the last housing cooldown are present. Wages are up but not at the same
pace as home prices, leading to the kind of affordability concerns that can cause
fewer sales at lower prices. At the same time, demand is still outpacing what is
available for sale in many markets.

New Listings were up 24.9 percent to 1,691. Pending Sales increased 20.8 percent
to 1,375. Inventory grew 11.4 percent to 3,824 units.

Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 5.2 percent to $171,131. Days
on Market decreased 18.8 percent to 52 days. Months Supply of Inventory was up
6.3 percent to 3.4 months, indicating that supply increased relative to demand.

Consumer spending on home goods and renovations are up, and more people are
entering the workforce. Employed people spending money is good for the housing
market. Meanwhile, GDP growth was 4.1% in the second quarter, the strongest
showing since 2014. Housing starts are down, but that is more reflective of low
supply than anything else. With a growing economy, solid lending practices and the
potential for improved inventory from new listing and building activity, market
balance is more likely than a bubble.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

July 19, 2018

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

June 2018

Housing markets across the nation are most assuredly active this summer, and
buyer competition is manifesting itself into several quick sales above asking price.
While the strength of the U.S. economy has helped purchase offers pile up, the Fed
recently increased the federal funds rate by 0.25 percent, marking the second rate
hike this year and seventh since late 2015. Although the 30-year mortgage rate did
not increase, buyers often react by locking in at the current rate ahead of assumed
higher rates later. When this happens, accelerated price increases are possible,
causing further strain on affordability.

New Listings were up 18.2 percent to 1,770. Pending Sales increased 6.7 percent to
1,363. Inventory grew 8.1 percent to 3,771 units.

Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 6.1 percent to $175,000. Days
on Market decreased 19.4 percent to 54 days. Months Supply of Inventory was up
3.0 percent to 3.4 months, indicating that supply increased relative to demand.

Inventory may be persistently lower in year-over-year comparisons, and home
prices are still more likely to rise than not, but sales and new listings may finish the
summer on the upswing. The housing supply outlook in several markets is beginning
to show an increase in new construction and a move by builders away from
overstocked rental units to new developments for sale. These are encouraging signs
in an already healthy marketplace.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

June 27, 2018

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

May 2018

Just like last year at this time, prospective home buyers should expect a competitive
housing market for the next several months. With payrolls trending upward and
unemployment trending downward month after month in an extensive string of
positive economic news, demand remains quite strong. Given the fact that gradually
rising mortgage rates often infuse urgency to get into a new home before it costs
more later, buyers need to remain watchful of new listings and make their offers
quickly.

New Listings were up 11.5 percent to 1,816. Pending Sales increased 17.0 percent
to 1,528. Inventory grew 0.8 percent to 3,590 units.

Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 1.9 percent to $168,055. Days
on Market decreased 19.1 percent to 55 days. Months Supply of Inventory was
down 5.9 percent to 3.2 months, indicating that demand increased relative to
supply.

Although home sales may actually drop in year-over-year comparisons over the next
few months, that has more to do with low inventory than a lack of buyer interest. As
lower days on market and higher prices persist year after year, one might rationally
expect a change in the outlook for residential real estate, yet the current situation
has proven to be remarkably sustainable likely due to stronger fundamentals in
home loan approvals than were in place a decade ago.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

May 25, 2018

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

April 2018

Many sellers and builders are in a good position for financial gains, as the economy
continues to favor putting existing homes on the market and building new homes for
sale. We are finally beginning to see some upward movement in new listings after at
least two years of a positive outlook. There may not be massive increases in
inventory from week to week, but a longer-term trend toward more new listings
would be a good sign. Low inventory should continue to create a competitive
situation for buyers, causing price increases over the next several months.

New Listings were up 16.7 percent to 1,737. Pending Sales increased 30.4 percent
to 1,497. Inventory grew 2.2 percent to 3,583 units.

Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 4.3 percent to $166,854. Days
on Market decreased 4.5 percent to 64 days. Months Supply of Inventory was down
3.0 percent to 3.2 months, indicating that demand increased relative to supply.

This winter and spring exhibited unseasonal weather patterns in much of the
country. As the seasons change to something more palatable, wages and consumer
spending are both up, on average, which should translate positively for the housing
market. Being quick with an offer is still the rule of the day as the number of days a
home stays on the market drops lower. If that wasn't enough for buyers to mull over
with each potential offer, being aware of pending mortgage rate increases is once
again in fashion.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

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*