MYRTLE BEACH — Fewer Grand Strand property owners have put their houses on the market this year over last year.
The area’s inventory dropped 7 percent, to 5,499 listings, for single-family homes, and dropped 11 percent, to 4,644 listings, for condos in the first half of the year compared to the same time last year, according to the Multiple Listing Service.
Rod Smith, director of general brokerage for Coldwell Banker Chicora Real Estate, said “the decline in inventory listings is because there is still a lot of sellers out there not motivated to put their property on the market at today’s prices.” They say, “I don’t have to sell now, I’m going to wait until the market improves,” Smith said.
The area is in a buyer’s market, which is being driven by price, according to local Realtors.
“We don’t have a lot of sellers that have to put their home on the market because prices are being driven down so much with distressed properties where there are people that have to sell because they can’t make the mortgage payments or they are moving,” said Tom Maeser, a real estate analyst for the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors. “We’re not seeing new stuff come on the market, which is why the inventory is low.”
While inventory has declined, property sales jumped and prices dropped.
The number of single-family homes that sold along the Grand Strand rose 10 percent, to 2,306, the first half of the year compared to the same period last year, according to the MLS. Condo sales rose 3 percent, to 1,993, January through June compared to the same time in 2011. Cash sales- of mostly condos- are still holding strong at 49 percent of all sales, Maeser said.
“People see the value,” Maeser said about the increased sales. “Price is a major factor in any real estate transaction.”
The median price of a single-family home sold along the Grand Strand dropped 2 percent, to $159,900, in the first half of the year compared to the same period last year, according to the MLS. The median price of a condo dropped 3 percent, to $107,000, in the first half of the year compared to the same time in 2011, according to the MLS.
The declined prices are indicative of the foreclosure and short sale market, Maeser said.
About 30 percent of single-family home sales and about 34 percent of condo sales still are either foreclosures or short sales, Maeser said.
Foreclosures and short sales are the “key to the whole thing,” Maeser said. “Until that changes, we will continue to see prices drop.”
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.
Smith said the area doesn’t have the higher price properties coming on the market to balance out the lower price properties.
“As inventory drops, people still want to buy, which is going to push those prices up and sellers will put their property on the market,” said Smith, who said he is seeing more multiple offers on many properties as inventory shrinks. “We’re going to continue to see a very slow but steady improvement in the market.”
Contact JANELLE FROST at 443-2404.