Real estate market continued decline in February, but some see the future as bright

sjones@thesunnews.comMarch 16, 2014 

PHOTOSPIN.COM

The Grand Strand’s real estate market has been down for a couple of months, but just you wait, say two area real estate executives.

“I really feel we’re going to see the market pick up in the latter part of March and stay good through June,” said Marvin Heyd, president of Prudential Myrtle Beach Real Estate.

Heyd expects a summer lull followed by a fall season that’s even better than he believes this spring will be.

Mandy Becker, broker in charge of Re/Max Southern Shores, agrees with Heyd that activity is about to heat up, but unlike him she’s not expecting a summertime letdown.

Heyd said he’s expecting the 2015 market to be even more robust with prices and activity similar to the early-boom days of 2004.

Neither is deterred by the just-released February market report from SiteTech Systems that shows last month continued a trend of declining sales as compared with the same time last year.

February single family homes sales were down 4.6 percent versus a year earlier, the second monthly decline together tallying a 5.1 percent drop in sales when compared with the first two months of 2013, according to the SiteTech report.

Condo sales were off even more, down 13.5 percent from February 2013 and 10.5 percent for this year versus last.

The numbers don’t bother Heyd or Becker, who are basing their forecasts on what they’re hearing around their offices. Heyd said Prudential Myrtle Beach is getting a lot of calls from potential buyers who say they’ll be actively looking in April and May. Becker said traffic for future sales is hectic.

“Our agents are super super busy,” she said.

At the same time that home sales have been down, land sales took off in February with a 15.7 percent growth over a year earlier, SiteTech reported. The median sales price for residential lots was $45,000 in February, 40.8 percent higher than in 2013.

SiteTech’s current home sales numbers are reflective of those for the entire Coastal Carolinas region, which includes more than Horry and Georgetown counties.

Those statistics, released recently by the S.C. Realtors association, show the region was off 7.8 percent in February’s sales of all residential properties as compared with February 2013. Year-to-date, the state Realtors numbers say, sales are off 7.5 percent in the Coastal Carolinas region.

Heyd and others say the harsh weather this winter have taken a toll on sales. Winter dips in real estate activity used to be common. Last winter’s continuing strong activity was unexpected and unusual.

But Becker said that while the weather has kept people indoors and away from touring homes, things have been hot in Realtors’ offices. She said she feels that 2014 is feeling like one of the hot years.

“We’re actually hearing of properties selling within a couple of weeks with multiple offers,” she said.

Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.

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