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Real Estate | Property prices drop in July, sales rose in Myrtle Beach area

Real estate prices dropped in July along the coast even though they rose statewide, according to data released this week from the South Carolina Realtors association.

The median price of homes and condos sold in Horry, Georgetown and southern Brunswick County, N.C., dropped 2.3 percent, to $136,750, in July compared to the same month last year, according to SCR. Statewide, the median price jumped 4 percent, to $156,000 in July compared to the same month in 2011.

Tom Maeser, a real estate analyst with the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors, said the area continues to see prices drop because the foreclosure rate is higher with investors -- who make up two-thirds of the market -- than it is with permanent homeowners. Prices are driven by foreclosures in the area and will continue to drop until the area gets rid of them and short sales, 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.

Radha Herring, the broker-in-charge of Watermark Real Estate Group, said the banks halt on foreclosures are also finally making way through the system, so until they make it all the way through the system, the area is going to see a slight decline in prices in some areas.

Even though prices have been dropping, real estate sales jumped in July along the coast for at least the third consecutive month.

The number of homes and condos sold in Horry, Georgetown and southern Brunswick County, N.C., rose 14.2 percent, to 723, in July compared to the same month last year, according to SCR.

Herring said the increased sales are a continue indication that buyers are taking advantage of an opportunistic market.

“Right now it is a buyer’s market and people realize the value of the market,” Maeser said. He said more properties have been selling in the $100,000 to $250,000 price range. “Even though the prices dropping is not good for sellers it is wonderful for buyers and we are seeing that in sales.”

The Hilton Head Island area had the biggest increase in sales, jumping 25.7 percent, to 279 homes, condos and villas sold, in July compared to the same month last year, according to SCR. Spartanburg jumped 25.1 percent in sales in July, the Southern Midlands and the Western Upstate both jumped 20.8 percent, according to the association.

Statewide, sales increased 13.4 percent, to 4,840 homes, condos and villas sold in July compared to the same month in 2011, according to SCR.

Affordable housing workshop to be held this month in Pawleys Island

A free housing workshop will be held this month in the Pawleys Island area.

The workshop will be at 11:30 a.m. Aug.29 at the Frances P. Bunnelle Foundation office, 8263 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island. It will offer information about affordable housing programs and valuable services available to Georgetown County residents. And it will include information on lending programs and other services the Lowcountry Housing Trust offers to builders and developers of affordable housing.

There also will be a discussion about down payment assistance programs, including those for first-time homebuyers, single parents and disabled people.

Individuals will also learn about programs that provide subsidies for accessibility, weatherization and energy efficiency improvements to existing owner-occupied homes.

Registration is required for the workshop. To register, please email or call 973-7285.

North Myrtle Beach Realtor awarded image award

A North Myrtle Beach Realtor has been awarded the Realtor Image Award.

Scott Mathews , of Century 21 Thomas, received the Realtor Image Award at the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors member luncheon. The award is given to Realtors who are dedicated to the profession and also serve the community. Mathews received a plaque and a $250 check to be given to the charity he chooses.

Mathews, who has been a member of CCAR since 2008, also has been serving in the U.S. Air Force for the past 12 years as a newspaper reporter and photographer.

He is a technical sergeant and serves in the 315th Airlift Wing at the North Charleston Air Force Base in the Public Affairs Unit.

Mathews was selected to be the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of the 315th Airlift Wing Public Affairs, winning three Telly Awards, one Emmy nomination and the top media relations program in the Air Force Reserve Command.

Mathews and his wife, Kelly, moved to Myrtle Beach from Greensboro, N.C., in 2004. The couple are expecting their first child in December.