Real estate sales jumped in May along the coast even though they declined statewide, according to data released this week from the South Carolina Realtors association.
The number of homes and condos sold in Horry, Georgetown and southern Brunswick County, N.C., rose 11.2 percent, to 793, in May compared to the same month last year, according to SCR.
Sales jumped because more properties sold in the $150,000 to $250,000 price range as well as foreclosures are moving out of the market, said Scott Ellis, broker associate with Remax Southern Shores in North Myrtle Beach and president of the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors.
Ellis said local Realtors anticipate that the growth will continue as long as there’s no unforeseen financial disaster or storms that do damage.
If the area continues to have increased sales through the summer, despite “spotty” months in sales this year, then the market would be more stabilized, said Tom Maeser, a real estate analyst with the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors.
“We’re starting to see continue enthusiasm for the market by purchasers,” Maeser said. “Financing is still reasonable at least for permanent residents, investors are still finding money, and baby boomers are retiring and want to come here.”
The southern midlands had the biggest increase in sales, jumping 50 percent, to 24 homes, condos and villas sold, in May compared to the same month last year, according to SCR. The Hilton Head Island area jumped 27.2 percent in sales in May, the greater Columbia area jumped 20.3 percent, and the Charleston Trident jumped 18.3 percent, according to the association.
Statewide, real estate sales dropped 11.4 percent, to 3,880 homes, condos and villas sold, in May compared to the same month last year, according to SCR.
Even though sales rose, real estate prices dropped along the coast.
The median price of a home or condo sold along the Grand Strand and in southern Brunswick fell 3.2 percent, to $137,300, in May compared to the same month last year, according to SCR.
Prices will continue to drop until the area gets rid of foreclosures and short sales, Maeser said.
Several other areas had more significant drops in prices. North Augusta dropped 8.3 percent, to $140,000; Aiken dropped 7.5 percent, to $147,900; the Hilton Head area dropped 6.8 percent, to $233,000, and the greater Columbia area dropped 4.6 percent, to $138,795, according to the association.
Statewide, the median price increased 1 percent, to $150,498 in May compared to the same month last year, according to SCR.
Foreclosures drop in May in Myrtle Beach area
Foreclosure filings in Horry County dropped in May compared to the same month last year as prices dropped along the coast, according to the latest statistics.
There were 342 foreclosure-related filings in Horry County in May, down 1.72 percent from the same month last year, according to a report from RealtyTrac, a company that tracks foreclosures nationally. Most of those filings, 177, were lis pendens, the documents lenders file to start the foreclosure process.
About one in every 544 properties in Horry County has a foreclosure filing, the 12th-highest rate of foreclosures in the state, according to RealtyTrac. In April, Horry County had the third-highest rate of foreclosures in the state. Statewide, about one in every 539 properties have foreclosure filings, the ninth-highest rate of any state in the country, according to RealtyTrac.
Foreclosure filings dropped along the Grand Strand because lenders are exhausting all options before foreclosing on a property, said John Lindstrand, a real estate agent and short sale negotiator with Century 21 The Harrelson Group. He said those options include incentives for homeowners to do short sales, a deed in lieu, loan modifications, principal reductions and lower interest rates on existing loans.
“Lenders are really working with property owners before foreclosing on their home,” Lindstrand said.
Those distressed properties - the foreclosures and properties nearing foreclosure that are sold as short sales- typically sell for significantly less than other properties on the market, which drives down overall property values, Maeser has said.
Real estate prices have been dropping, something Maeser said will continue until the area gets rid of foreclosures and short sales.
Contact JANELLE FROST at 443-2404.