MYRTLE BEACH — Realtors in Myrtle Beach and Conway say that real estate prices have at least bottomed and even may be improving somewhat.
If so, it has likely happened since October, when the Horry County monthly sales report showed that the median home price fell 4 percent from the year before to $158,750 while the median price for condominium sales was down 6 percent from the previous year at $103,550.
“The good news is, of course, sales are up,” said Tom Maeser, market analyst for the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors.
Maeser compiles a monthly real estate report and that for October showed a continuing month-to-month climb in the number of single-family homes and condos sold and a decline in the inventory of both. His figures show 5,364 single-family homes for sale in October, down 151 from last year and 1,091 from October 2007. There were 4,291 condos on the market in October, down 586 from a year ago and 4,777 from the same period in 2007.
A total of 438 single-family homes sold in October, a 5 percent climb from October 2011, while 362 condos traded hands, up 36 percent from 2011 when there was a 3 percent decline in the number of condos sold versus the year before.
Marvin Heyd, broker-in-charge at Prudential Myrtle Beach Real Estate, and Sarah Grainger, broker-in-charge at Re/Max in Conway, reported that they are seeing multiple offers now for some properties.
“Usually,” Heyd said, “this time of year things slow down until after Christmas.”
But he and Grainger said their offices are busy showing listings to prospects.
Both said the activity is across the board, with Heyd saying the buyers in his office range from first-time owners to those buying property as an investment.
“We’re seeing an increase in resales,” Grainger said, who added that she’s also seeing positive movement on prices.
“I think they’ve begun to go up,” she said.
Heyd said he believes the median price has stabilized for single-family homes, but may drop a little more on condominiums before it settles.
Maeser said that short sales and foreclosures still account for 34 percent of condominium sales and 30 percent of the sales of single-family homes. Short sales are fetching 79 percent of a home’s value, while foreclosures bring a price that’s just 67 percent of value.
Maeser said that there is still a 15-month supply of homes and condos on the market. He said real estate is considered a buyer’s market anytime there’s more than a six-months’ supply on the books.
“This is a good time to buy but a bad time to sell,” he said.
If the pace continues on its current course, Maeser said the prices could begin to climb steadily in eight or nine months. But the problem, he said, is there is no way to gauge how many homes near foreclosure or short sales are in the pipeline but not yet on the market.
But the numbers have Maeser and Realtors believing that the market has turned a corner.
“It looks like a lot of good things are going to be happening to us,” Heyd said. Later, he added, “All the signs are saying 2015 is when we start seeing the plateau [of sales] we last saw in 2004-2005.”
Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.