Columbia SC Real Estate and Community News

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
supply.

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*

Jan. 18, 2019

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

December 2018

Home prices were consistently up again in most markets in 2018 but at reduced
levels compared to recent years. High demand for few homes for sale fueled price
increases, but evidence is mounting that inventory will finally improve in 2019. This
may apply some downward pressure on prices for beleaguered home buyers. A
fourth interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve in 2018 spooked the stock market to
close out the year. The Fed has indicated that the number of rate increases in 2019
will be halved, which may be of little comfort to an already compressed consumer.

New Listings were down 12.7 percent to 827. Pending Sales increased 0.1 percent
to 787. Inventory grew 2.7 percent to 3,162 units.

Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 8.0 percent to $176,023. Days
on Market decreased 6.1 percent to 62 days. Months Supply of Inventory was down
6.9 percent to 2.7 months, indicating that demand increased relative to supply.

Unemployment rates remained remarkably low again in 2018, and wages continued
to improve for many U.S. households. It is generally good for all parties involved in
real estate transactions when wages grow, but the percentage of increase, on
average, has not kept pace with home price increases. This created an affordability
crux in the second half of 2018. Housing affordability will remain an important
storyline in 2019.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

Dec. 20, 2018

Columbia SC Real Estate Market Update

November 2018

The booming U.S. economy continues to prop up home sales and new listings in
much of the nation, although housing affordability remains a concern. Historically,
housing is still relatively affordable. Although Freddie Mac recently reported that the
30-year fixed rate is at its highest average in seven years, reaching 4.94 percent,
average rates were 5.97 percent ten years ago, 6.78 percent 20 years ago and 10.39
percent 30 years ago. Nevertheless, affordability concerns are causing a slowdown
in home price growth in some markets, while price reductions are becoming more
common.

New Listings were down 9.6 percent to 1,094. Pending Sales increased 7.4 percent
to 1,001. Inventory grew 6.9 percent to 3,475 units.

Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 3.1 percent to $165,000. Days
on Market decreased 11.6 percent to 61 days. Months Supply of Inventory remained
flat at 3.0, indicating a stabilizing supply-demand balance.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that the national unemployment
rate was at 3.7 percent. Low unemployment has helped the housing industry during
this extensive period of U.S. economic prosperity. Home buying and selling activity
relies on gainful employment. It also relies on demand, and builders are showing
caution by breaking ground on fewer single-family home construction projects in the
face of rising mortgage rates and fewer showings.

Information courtesy of CMLS*

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*