With inventory down, home prices going up

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It is clear by the year-end real estate numbers that more people are finding the Lowcountry to be the ideal place to live, work and play. Inventory is at a six-month supply, down 23.1 percent from the end of 2014. Closed sales are up 13.2 percent from 2014, and the median price point is up 7.3 percent to $276,900. If the number of pending sales is any indication, 2016 is off to a great start for the housing market.

Time will tell if the recent Federal Reserve rate increase will adversely affect the housing market. Since the increase was widely anticipated in a much-improved economy, overly negative reactions are not anticipated in 2016. One word to the wise on lending: use a local lender. With today’s stringent underwriting and new closing procedures, a local lender has the knowledge of the market to answer underwriters’ questions, as well as relationships with local attorneys to assist with required closing documents.  

Realtors will continue to be advocates for homeownership and property rights, and will do our best to help homebuyers experience the “American dream.”

If you are buying or selling, be sure to ask if your agent is a Realtor and a member of the Hilton Head Area Association of Realtors.

Jean Beck is the executive vice president of the Hilton Head Area Association of Realtors.

South Carolina Realtors release December stats

The South Carolina Realtors Association recently released its December 2015 real estate market reports. The data show that the South Carolina housing market wrapped up the year on a positive note, with increases in both closed sales and median sales price. 

New listings were up 3 percent to 5,776; pending sales decreased slightly by 1 percent to 4,156. Inventory shrank 8 percent to 33,800. 

Prices moved higher as median sales price was up more than 7 percent to $175,000. The number of days properties spent on market decreased 5 percent to 107 days, and months supply of inventory was down 19 percent to 5.5 percent — indicating that demand increased relative to supply.

“Our state faced a lot of challenges toward the end of 2015,” said Nick Kremydas, CEO of the state Realtors association, “but December turned out to be a good month for real estate.”