Home sales decline in S.C.


Drop in first six months of year is nearly 17 percent in Columbia area and 23 percent statewide

July 25, 2008

By Kristy Eppley Rupon – The State

A weakening economy, skyrocketing gas prices and a tightening credit market continue to drag down home sales statewide and in Columbia, local industry professionals said Thursday.

Home sales slipped nearly 17 percent in the Columbia area for the first six months of the year, compared with the same period in 2007, according to data released Thursday by the S.C. Realtors trade group.

Statewide, sales were down 23 percent in 2008.

Realtors’ confidence also has dipped as fewer buyers sign on for new homes. Even though this is the toughest real estate market in two decades, Columbia — with its stable job base — is doing better than most of the state.

“We do have a market,” said Jay Graham, who has owned Graham Realty in Columbia for 30 years. “It’s just not what it was, and sellers have to have a lot more patience now. It is a great time to be a buyer.”

Graham said the subprime crash took about 10 percent to 15 percent of the buyers out of the market and he doesn’t expect to see 2005 levels for a long time.

He said this is the slowest market he has seen since the double-digit interest rates of the 1980s.

Nationally, existing-home sales are down 15.5 percent for the year as of June, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday. New-home sales nationwide were down 40 percent as of May. June data will be released today.



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