Real estate prices slightly increased, sales jumped in July in Myrtle Beach area

jfrost@thesunnews.comAugust 29, 2012 

— Grand Strand real estate prices slightly jumped in July, an indication that prices are starting to stabilize, according to local Realtors.

The median price - the price at which half sold for more and half sold for less - of a single-family home was $164,000 in July, up 1 percent from the same month last year, according to the Multiple Listing Service.

The slight increase in price could be because a lot more new houses are being built, and they typically have a higher price than resells, said Tom Maeser, a real estate analyst for the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors.

“When prices of houses start to go up, you start to see more sellers put their homes on the market,” Maeser said. “Once you see an upswing in prices, it creates a healthier market and a seller’s market. When we start to see three to four months of prices increasing, we are getting rid of foreclosures, which mean a healthy market.”

Maeser and Greg Sisson, the vice president of Hoffman Homes division of The Hoffman Group, said six to eight months’ supply of properties makes for a normal market. The area has about 10 months of supply, though the inventory continues to diminish, Sisson said.

“For me, I’m not surprised [about the price increase],” Sisson said. “I expected it because we’re right at the point of the bottom of the market. It’s going to bounce around where we will see a 1 or 2 percent jump [one month] or it go down a percent [the next month]. When we see about a six month’s supply that’s when we’re going to see a normal appreciation of price.”

Greg Harrelson, the owner of Century 21 The Harrelson Group, said “it’s been normal to see transactions go up and prices slipping. Now we see transactions increasing and pricing is stabilizing. It’s a slow bottoming out.”

While single-family home prices increased, condo prices dropped.

The median price of a condo was $95,000 in July, down 14 percent from the same month last year, according to the MLS.

Maeser said foreclosures, which drive down the prices, are impacting the condo market longer because of a heavy investor market in the area. Investors make up two-thirds of the market along the Grand Strand, he said.

Although condo prices dropped, sales rose in July for the third consecutive month.

Single-family home sales jumped 25 percent in July compared to the same month in 2011, according to the MLS. Condo sales jumped 10 percent last month compared to July 2011.

“A lot of people have said they are tired of waiting [to buy],” said Maeser, who said a lot are still putting off buying until they see what happens in the November presidential election. “People are feeling a little more comfortable with making a buy now,” he said.

Contact JANELLE FROST at 443-2404.

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