Spring buying season looking up in Charleston

According to preliminary figures from the Charleston Trident Association of REALTORS, 899 homes sold at a median price of $182,000 in March.  Preliminary figures from March 2011 showed 824 sales at a median price of $176,825. 

Year to date, sales volume is tracking 7% higher and median price is 4% higher than it was at this point last year.  Thus far in 2012, 2,064 homes have sold at a median price of $177,500.  In 2011, 1,933 homes had sold at a median price of $170,000.   

“Sales activity has been consistently increasing at a healthy and sustainable level for over a year now, and this is the busiest March we’ve seen since 2007—which makes for a very encouraging start to the spring buying season” said Herb Koger, 2012 President of the Charleston Trident Association of REALTORS®.  “The warm weather has probably helped get buyers going a little earlier this year, along with the urgency being created by our declining inventory” he said.

The lively local market activity was punctuated by the most expensive transaction ever completed through Charleston’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS), the sale of historic Medway Plantation in Berkeley County for $11 million.

There are hotspots of market activity all over the Lowcountry.  In Berkeley County, sales on Daniel Island tripled in the last 30 days.  “Buyers appear to be ready to act once again. On Daniel Island we're talking to an increasing number of people who are ready to make an immediate buying decision, and with inventories back to healthy levels and prices showing signs of increasing, people are finding that they have to act quickly. Approximately 50% of our recent buyers come out of the Charleston area, including Virginia, Connecticut, Ohio and North Carolina. They represent a mix of young families and retirees” said Julie Dombrowski, Communications Director with The Daniel Island Company.

Charleston County saw marked activity increases in West Ashley (outside of I-526) and the historic areas of Downtown; as well as huge spikes in sales on Folly Beach and in Wild Dunes, where month-over-month sales increased 220% and 500%, respectively.  “Whether a client is buying a second home or a property to put on the vacation rental market, they’re closing those deals now so they can have their properties up and running before the summer officially kicks off” said Dick Casey, Broker-In-Charge at Wild Dunes Real Estate.  “This March, we had the highest rate of inquiries we’ve had since March of 2006.  It seems that people recognize the “perfect storm” buying environment in Wild Dunes right now—low interest rates, good pricing and we’re not working with a huge inventory, but there’s certainly enough selection” said Casey.

Inventory continues to decline, with 6,461 homes listed as actively for sale with the Charleston Trident Multiple Listing Service (MLS) as of April 10, 2012. 

BERKELEY COUNTY: 211 homes sold at a median price of $162,465 in Berkeley County in March.  In March 2011, 187 homes sold at a median price of $164,910. 

CHARLESTON COUNTY: 498 homes sold at a median price of $218,450 in Charleston County in March.  Last March, 435 homes sold at a median price of $222,000.

DORCHESTER COUNTY: 155 homes sold at a median price of $170,000 in Dorchester County in March.  Last March, 165 homes sold at a median price of $154,500.

February Adjustment: Preliminary numbers reported for February 2012 indicated 607 homes sold at a median price of $170,000.  Adjusted numbers now show 619 sales at the same median price.  

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