House sales in Dorchester County are looking up for 2014.
Yaedon Smith, a Realtor for Carolina One Real Estate in Summerville, said data indicates that in February 2013 742 homes were sold in the Charleston area at a median price of $181,000. In February 2014 791 homes were sold in Charleston at a median price of $210,000 – almost $30,000 more than last year.
Smith finds Dorchester County’s activity to be “a little more exciting” because the most active area is Summerville moving out toward Ridgeville.
“The outlook for Summerville in 2014 is really looking good,” he said. “The market is coming back so housing prices in some areas are past where they were from the boom before the bust (2008) – when the recession actually started.”
In Summerville, depending on the specific neighborhood, the absorption rate for selling houses appears to be four to five months – some places more, some places less, Smith said.
Data for Dorchester County over the past 12 months reveals that 2,300 sales have occurred in the Summerville area.
“What that tells us is there are approximately 200 houses being sold every month,” Smith said.
Real estate is approaching the busy months for business; Smith said summertime is the most popular time for people to move because the real estate cycle follows the school year and people with families tend to prefer moving without having to jump mid-school year. The biggest uptake is happening right now.
Last year at the end of April 199 houses were sold and then that number jumped to a peak of 255 in August. Smith finds this “surge of sales and transactions” happening can be attributed to a couple of things: the industry in the Summerville is growing and, therefore, people are transferring to the area; and also because geographically speaking Summerville has room for that growth.
Also, Smith said, Summerville’s real estate gives buyers more bank for their buck.
“The price per square foot in Summerville is significantly less,” he said. “A condo in Mt. Pleasant sells for about $120-$150 per square foot. Here it is $80-90.”
Jim Bailey, a Realtor with Century 21 in Summerville, said the market turn-around is happening nation-wide; folks wanting to relocate to the Lowcountry are having better luck selling their former homes and making the move.
“We’re back to a market where people have the expectancy to sell,” Bailey said. “Those markets have all turned around.”
Bailey has a customer who, a year and a half ago, was struggling to sell his house and now he is expecting a bigger check on the property.
“It’s been a nice turn-around,” Bailey said. “We’re reaping the benefits of markets improving.”
Bailey added the real estate business is entering its busiest time of the year: there is more inventory that comes on in the summer and, therefore, more competition and prices go up. Meanwhile the winter season sees fewer people moving but less inventory.
“Inventory is a little bit down and every time inventory is down and demand has increased it says good things about value,” Bailey said.
That being said Smith is very optimistic about this year’s home sales.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “I’m in this for the duration.”
Bailey said “phones have been ringing” and those in the real estate business are staying busy.
“We’re expecting positive things for this year,” he said.