BY BECCA EDWARDS
Jean Beck has served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Hilton Head Area Realtors since January 2008, where she is responsible for the management of a 1,700-plus-member professional organization. Beck, who with her husband moved to Hilton Head Island in 2003, answers questions from Monthly about the state of the 2022 real estate market. The responses have been edited for length and clarity.
1. What’s the early outlook for the area in 2022?
Inventory is at a historical low, and monthly market reports are going to show a decline in sales. However, it is not because we are without buyers. There simply isn’t enough supply to meet the buyer demand. For example, in January 2022 closed sales were down 19.6% compared to January 2021, but inventory for January 2022 is down 53.8% compared to January 2021.
2. For those looking to buy homes in 2022, what are some changes in the market that people should be aware of?
Buyer demand remains very strong, and inventory has been depleting. Buyers need to work with their Realtor on their specific goals and strategies that will get them to the selected contract in what will likely be a multipleoffer situation.
3. What about those looking to sell?
We are expecting the market to remain strong; however, we do see interest rates going up in an effort to help slow inflation. But many buyers are paying cash. Because the market is moving fast, you want to have a Realtor to advise you through this market. When there are upwards of 40-plus showing appointments and multiple offers, in it can be overwhelming. A Realtor has the most current data, and because of market conditions, access to it will inform sellers on pricing, strategy and expectations.
4. Which properties are most appealing in 2022?
Each of our gated communities and various neighborhoods throughout the Lowcountry offer a different lifestyle, so I would not say one is more appealing than the other. Buyers have different wants and needs depending on their status in life. But what we have seen, which is no surprise, buyers are looking for outdoor space such as pools and firepits as well as home offices and large kitchens with islands.
5. What do you enjoy most about your position, and how has the pandemic made it more (or less) challenging?
My position allows me to represent the real estate industry in the Lowcountry and be a part of the leadership of the community. It has been very rewarding and probably what I enjoy most. The pandemic has only strengthened those relationships as our community worked together on the challenges we faced. As I have said to many of our elected officials, what entices people to the Lowcountry is the product, our parks, waterways, schools, festivals and all those things that make up our quality of life.