MYRTLE BEACH — The news for the Myrtle Beach real estate market is that it continues to improve month by month, but now a new problem has cropped up, said Linda Kostron, sales manager for the new home sales division of Caldwell Banker Chicora Real Estate.
Builders and Realtors are having a hard time keeping up with the demand for new homes.
Kostron said she’s constantly getting calls from Realtors who say they need a new home NOW, and are seeking her help to find it. Their clients have sold their houses and are anxious for a new place to call home.
“It’s a good problem to have,” Kostron said.
That good problem adds to a rosy February Grand Strand Market Report from SiteTech Systems which tracks the area’s real estate market.
Single family homes sales are up 13.6 percent from February 2012, the single family median sales price rebounded to $175,000 from $160,000 in January, the distressed home inventory continued to shrink, and the median sales price for condominiums climbed to $110,000 which is up from less than $100,000 in January and better than February median prices in either 2012 or 2011.
“The indicators all look very favorable,” said Todd Woodard, owner and president of SiteTech Systems. “We finished ’12 extraordinarily strong and we’re maintaining that strength.”
Laura Crowther, CEO of the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors, noted the rebound of condo sales prices.
“Condo prices had taken quite a hit,” she said.
She said she too has heard that new homes are in demand.
Kostron said she thinks there would be more new homes on the market if lenders would ease off a little on restrictions on builders. She said that banks now typically will lend builders enough money to build just two homes at a time.
On the buyer’s side, though, Crowther said it appears banks are easing previously-unbendable rules on what a buyer needs to borrow money for a home. That’s not to say they’ll become loose with their standards, she added, but they seem to be taking a broader look at a buyer’s portfolio in deciding who is credit worthy.
“Credit rating and debt-to-income ratio will still be the most important,” she said.
Kostron said inventories are down throughout the Southeast, according to the information she’s got, which shows that the good real estate numbers in Horry and Georgetown counties have a broad base.
Of nine new home communities under Chicora’s belt, Kostron said that eight have opened new phases to development since the first of the year. The most recent is Hillsborough, which opened Phase V this week with three-bedroom to five-bedroom homes priced from the upper $140s to the mid $200s.
Crowther and Kostron said they’re not looking for a boomlike jump in housing demand, but rather a slow, steady growth. That belief jells with Woodard’s thought that the market will continue to grow, but the percentage of growth will begin to slowdown, a not alarming occurrence as the numbers of sales continue to grow and each percentage increase takes more sales than the one before.
Woodard said he wasn’t sure what would happen in 2013 as tax increases came in with the dawn of the year. But now he expects the year to end registering a 3 percent to 5 percent growth.
“It does seem like now we’ve rounded the corner and it’s more noticeable,” Crowther said.
Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.