Grand Strand Housing Market Woes Continue


Area home sales, prices continue on downslope
Strand’s March figures show market turnaround yet to land

April 10, 2008

By Jessica Foster – The Sun News.com

Home sales and prices on the Grand Strand continued slipping from last year’s levels in March, according to the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors.

Sales of new and existing single-family houses and condos fell from 861 in March 2007 to 495 last month. The median price of houses sold fell 12 percent to $190,500 and condo prices dropped 6 percent to $177,500. The median price is where half sell for more and half sell for less.

The Realtor association’s market analyst, Tom Maeser, said the data are not surprising. Home sales have been declining since they peaked during the hot real estate market of 2004 and 2005.

While the market is not expected to hit those record levels again, or at least not any time soon, prices had to come down to entice buyers and return to a more stable market.

“I’m actually pleased to see this. You can’t come up and come out of a correcting market like this until you come down,” Maeser said. “I think we’re hitting the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Another plus is that in month-over-month comparisons, there’s been an uptick in sales and condo prices since February.

That could be an indicator that the spring push for real estate has arrived, said Ernie Derrick, broker in charge of Elliott GMAC Real Estate.

Home sales usually go up in the spring and summer, starting in February and running through July, he said.

“We typically do see somewhat of an increase in sales in the spring of the year, people trying to posture themselves to take advantage of the rental season,” Derrick said.

Plus, more Canadians have bought or expressed interest in property recently because of the relative strength of the Canadian dollar, he said.

The number of days homes spent on the market before they were sold crept down in March to 168 for houses and 237 for condos, down from 170 and 244 in February.

Home inventory in March was up slightly at 14,516, up from 14,310 in February.


By the numbers:

New and existing home and condo sales
March 495
February 444
March 2007 861

Median house price
March $190,500
February $193,245
March 2007 $216,628

Median condo price
March $177,500
February $155,000
March 2007 $189,000

Days on the market in March
Houses 168
Condos 237

Active listings in March
Houses 6,545
Condos 7,971

Source: Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors


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