Not even Hurricane Florence could stop a year of rapid growth in the Grand Strand housing market: on average more homes are being sold for more money.
The Coastal Carolina Association of Realtors compiles data on all homes, condos and new listings, to see how many homes are sold and for what price in Horry and Georgetown counties. The data shows a tale of two months with Florence having a drastic immediate impact in September, but the market shows a swift recovery the following month.
Laura Crowther, CEO of the CCAR, said this data shows that despite the storm’s setback, the Grand Strand’s housing market is still in good shape.
Here are three takeaways from the last two months of home sales:
In September, 424 single-family houses were closed, a low for the year and the fewest closings since September 2013, during the immediate recovery of the economic crisis. Further, home sales were down 30 percent compared to September 2017, which saw no major weather events along the Grand Strand.
During the storm, real estate lawyer Brett Branham with Tide Law Firm told The Sun News that during the flood it was difficult to complete a home sale due to closed offices and traffic nightmares. The dip in sales seen during the storm is not necessarily linked to a lack of interest in home purchasing.
Similar dips in closed sales were seen after Hurricane Matthew in 2016, but the market recovered in the following month. Hurricane Florence was not an exception to the rule. During October this year, 662 single-family homes were sold, marking a three-year high for most homes closed in October.
Compared to October 2017, closed home sales were up 26 percent.
Just because a home closed in October, does not mean the sale started then. Crowther said homes that should have been finalized during September are just now catching up, even as the year comes to a close. This is why the storm shouldn’t affect yearly growth projections of close to 5 percent.
“October, November and December should cancel it out,” she said.
Compared to 2017, 2018 homes sales increased by 4.4 percent across all price points.
Not all metrics for the housing market saw negative outcomes in September. Housing prices in the area continue to rise in 2018, even in the storm’s aftermath. During September, the average sale price of a closed home was more than $250,000 — the highest it has been since 2006. That number decreased to $228,000 in October, which is still 6 percent higher than it was last year.
While fewer homes in September were closed, the ones that did were generally more expensive. The Coastal South Carolina region more broadly is seeing a trend of more expensive homes selling faster and more often than cheaper homes. For the first 10 months of 2018, average single-family home prices are up 7 percent.
For the whole year, homes below $200,000 have not been selling as well, selling less than they have in previous year-to-dates. Alternatively, homes closing at more than $300,000 saw the greatest percentage increase in sales for September and October, but the $200,000 to $300,000 is the most common price range for homes sold in the area.
New versus old
The local population is expected to grow exponentially over the next 20 years. The proposed draft of the Horry County Imagine 2040 plan expects there to be 584,000 people living here by 2040. More homes will be needed to accommodate the growth, regardless of when and where.
Not all homes built along the Grand Strand are equal in their ability to survive natural elements. In Horry County, for example, updates to stormwater policy over the least decade have made new construction more likely to mitigate floodwater from a rain event.
Despite record-breaking growth in the region, over the last five years years only about a third of all structures sold in the region were new construction. In the early 2000s, people were moving into new construction at a higher rate, Crowther said.
In September, 36 percent of all deals closed were new construction, meaning a majority of real estate transactions were of prebuilt homes, condos or living spaces.
“That’s a very good number that will allow the market to have some continuity,” Crowther said.
This article provided by NewsEdge.