Realtors in Conway will tell you why they think buyers made it the fastest-growing real estate market in Horry County in September.
“It has the enjoyment of living in a quiet, small town within easy distance to the beach,” said Sarah Grainger, lead agent at Re/Max Properties, where business in September was twice what it was a year earlier. “And people here are comfortable with themselves and make others feel comfortable.”
September’s home sales in Conway registered a 28 percent growth over September 2013, according to the latest market report from 10K Research, which tracks real estate sales for the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors.
Areawide, said the September report from SiteTech Systems, which also tracks the market for the Realtors association, single-family home sales were up 4.1 percent from a year earlier, a welcome bounce from the more than 10 percent drop registered in August sales versus August 2013.
While the September report was upbeat, particularly when compared to August, SiteTech noted that single-family home sales are down 6.1 percent year-to-date compared to the same time in 2013.
But the market was hot last year, with some months setting all-time sales records for single-family homes.
“Typically, the market begins to cool in the fall,” Laura Crowther, CEO of CCAR, wrote in an emailed statement, “and we remain optimistic with these numbers.”
The national media is predicting future sales to be stimulated by a move to 3 percent down payments accepted for mortgages purchased by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, but at least one local buyer wasn’t sure of the details of what the mortgage giants did and had a more wait-and-see attitude.
Condo sales along the Grand Strand continued to plod in September, relatively flat to a year earlier. Sales through September this year are down 2.2 percent from the same nine months last year.
Lot sales boomed, though, up 27.4 percent from 2013 levels, no doubt reflecting the continuing surge in new home construction in the area.
The median single-family home price hit $193,000 in September, $8,000 above the mark a year earlier, SiteTech reported.
The September sales gain in Georgetown led the Grand Strand, showing a 66 percent increase over September 2013. The median single-family home price in Georgetown was $124,000 in September, nearly $100,000 less than September 2013, 10K reported.
Conway’s median single-family sales price this September, $134,000, was in the lower tier of the area’s individual markets, but above Georgetown and bottom-dweller Andrews in rural Georgetown County, where September’s median price was $118,000.
Realtors have said previously that they think Conway’s relatively-lower real estate prices attract buyers, but Nancy Lee, owner of McAlpine Realty in Conway, said part of this year’s boost has come from increased new home construction.
And then there’s the Southern thing.
“(Conway) has the warmth and friendly feel of the South, the Southern hospitality, you know, and we’re 20 minutes from the beach,” Lee said.