Image by Flickr user haglundc
Good news in the home sales market: it's up year-to-year, and each month this year has been growing.
But the big question remains, what will happen to the market once the federal home buyer tax credit expires at the end of April?
If you're the type that likes press releases, I've pasted the press release from the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors below.
RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE SALES UP 22%
HOME PRICES CONTINUE STEADY GROWTH AT THE START OF SPRING SEASON
CHARLESTON, SC—(March 10, 2010) Preliminary data from the Charleston Trident Association of REALTORS® shows 691 homes sold at a median price of $185,000 in March. This represents a 22% increase in sales and maintenance of the median price from March 2009, when 568 homes sold at a median price of $185,000.
Year-to-date, 23% more homes have sold at prices 3% higher than this time last year. Thus far in 2010, 1,670 homes have sold at an average median price of $185,501. At this time last year, 1,357 homes had sold at an average median price of $180,473.
This suggests a strong beginning to the typically busy spring and summer seasons, which got off to a slow start in 2009. “The activity in the early months of 2010 is incredibly encouraging—every month, we’re seeing sustainable growth in home sales and prices are holding steady” said Jeremy Willits, 2010 CTAR President. “We didn’t have sales numbers in this range until May or June in 2009” said Willits.
Though no one is sure what the months following the expiration of the tax credit will look like, Willits concurs that the homebuyer tax credit appears to have done what it was supposed to do. “The tax credit was not intended to be a long-term initiative. It incentivized the purchase of a home, following a year of uncertainty and volatile market activity. It was designed to help stabilize the market and that’s exactly what we’ve seen it do in Charleston” said Willits.
Rising mortgage rates and the uptick in buyer activity could encourage potential buyers looking to make an investment in real estate before they are priced out of the market. Following last week’s rise in mortgage rates, from 5.03% to more than 5.20% last Wednesday, some potential buyers realize that low rates and market affordability won’t last forever. For every 1 percentage point rise in rates, 300,000 to 400,000 would-be buyers are priced out of the market in a given year, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.
There were 9,849 active listings on the market as of March 31, 2010. March represents the third consecutive month with less than 10,000 properties on the market.
FEBRUARY 2010 ADJUSTMENT
Preliminary numbers reported for February 2010 indicated 509 properties had sold at a median price of $179,900. Adjusted numbers now show that 541 properties sold at a median price of $179,755.
In March, 145 homes sold at a median price of $163,343 in Berkeley County reflecting a 6% increase in sales volume and a 1% change in median prices when compared to last March, when 137 homes sold at a median price of $165,000.
378 residential properties changed hands in March in Charleston County, increasing by 31% when compared to March 2009’s 288 sales. Median prices have risen 9% since last year, settling at $246,000 this month.
142 homes sold in Dorchester County in March at a median price of $148,400. Sales activity has increased by 27% when compared to March of last year, when 112 homes sold. Median prices have dipped 8% to $148,400 as compared to March 2009, when the median home price was $161,000.
Please note: “Preliminary number” indicates all sales and values for closings posted within 10 days following the close of the month. “Adjusted number” indicates the value after all sales have been posted.