Lowcountry Real Estate So Far In 2016
The Charleston real estate market quietly made history earlier this month tallying 434 homes under contract during the second week of March, just barley missing the all-time weekly record of 437 homes which was set last spring. To put this in perspective, this is only the 5th time in history that we have seen over 400 properties under contract in a week. So far activity continues to out pace last year, which is astounding considering it was one of the busiest years we’ve seen. So far it looks like Charleston real estate is on track to have another historic year.
Compared to last January and February we are up 10.1% in total sales and up 6.6% in median sales price. On top of that, we have extremely low inventory in the Charleston area. 6 months of inventory is considered a balanced market. Less than Half of the MLS areas in Charleston have 6 months of inventory. In fact, 6 areas have less than 3 months of inventory which is very low.
Mt. Pleasant continues to be one of the most popular areas in Charleston. Specifically, the area north of the Isle of Palms connector is up over 20% in total sales compared to last January/February and up over 7% in median sales price from $370k to $397k this year. Prices continue to trend higher in Summerville, Goose Creek and North Charleston where price per square foot is now over $100.
Charleston Real Estate: Looking Ahead
The areas with the least amount of inventory mean more competition for shoppers. Buyers are forced to compete for listings in desirable neighborhoods when there is less to choose from which tends to drive prices higher. James Island, West Ashley and North Charleston have some of the lowest inventory in the Charleston MLS and represent areas of strength if you are a seller.
As summer nears, this pattern will change because it is a more opportune time for homeowners with families to sell. We expect to see more listings flood the market this summer than last summer as more homeowners who were on the fence about selling in the past have now fully recouped the money they lost in the market crash in 2006 and 2007.
The demand for houses in Mt. Pleasant will not go away anytime soon. Based on the last 2 months of sales data, the Mt. Pleasant area is projected to increase in price by 13.7% over the next couple of months. Although this number is somewhat inflated, we have no doubt Mt. Pleasant will continue to appreciate in value, especially north of the IOP connector.
The chart below is an attempt to look at where prices are going in the immediate future. It compares the last 2 months of sales to what is currently under contract(AC/P). What is currently under contract seems to represent roughly the next 2 months of sales.
The green box highlights the median SALES price (what people actually paid) for each area through January and February 2015. The red box highlights the median LIST price (asking price) and anticipated SALES price through March 17th, 2016. It assumes that those properties under contract will sell for 95% of their current LIST price. The farthest column to the right represents the anticipated percentage change in price over the next 2 months. All MLS areas are anticipated to increase in median sales price with the exception of area 52 which is likely due to a very small sample size.
We are expecting to see one of the busiest years on record if these trends continue. We are already ahead of where we were this time last year. And with more and more press from TV shows like Top Chef and Charleston Charm, Charleston is gaining traction on the national scene as a desirable place to live. Combine that with a good economic outlook thanks to new employers like Volvo and Mercedes-Benz and the sky is the limit for Charleston.
If you are thinking about selling your Charleston home or just have questions about the buying or selling process, contact me directly to discuss your options or visit our sister site CharlestonListing.com for free home valuation based on current market conditions in Charleston not a broad national average like Zillow or Trulia.
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