2017 was a very strong year, and as far as I know, most real estate companies had their best year for production in a long time. So the obvious question would be, how did 2018 compare to a banner year like 2017? As we all know interest rates have slowly-but steadily risen this year, including mortgage rates. Also there was a worry for some time in the industry, that a lack of inventory below $300,000 may adversely affect home sales.
Judging by the stats below for the five main areas we normally cover, and looking only at single family homes – one has to say, that it seems that rising interest rates and possibly lower inventory has not had detrimental effect on home sales.
As we can see there are an awful lot of + signs in these columns. Only a few – and they are mainly in average and median selling prices. There are some surprises though.
Ladys Island was the most surprising. This normally powerhouse in the real estate market saw some significant declines in the third quarter. Not least the 14% drop in sales volume and more modest drop of 5% in actual unit sales. The selling price drop may seem significant, but one has to remember there are national builders on the island and they tend to sell new homes at a more affordable price.
On the other hand Beaufort City had a banner quarter, with + signs in every column. Very strong sales volume at $10.4 million and a rise of unit sales of 41% up from 24 to 34. Both average and median selling prices were decisively up.
Mossy Oaks being a very well established area does not normally see sales and price gyrations either way. The 3rd quarter seemed to change all that. They had an excellent quarter, with again the + signs in all columns.
Port Royal did especially well coming only second to the city Beaufort in overall performance. There is still a lot of buzz on the port development, and the growth this will bring. I feel this will take a little while longer to filter through to new housing and into sales numbers. But again a very good quarter none the less.
Burton without a doubt was the area leader in total sales volume and unit sales. Burton covers a large geographical area, and has an eclectic range of properties and devlopments in its boundaries. This diversity no doubt helps Burton maintain a strong and expanding real estate market.
Overall I feel we should all be pretty happy about the 3rd quarter of 2018…in regards to the real estate market. As the graph we publish monthly shows – (that is displayed on the LIBPA website and on our own website) shows there are only three months that the market was down when compared to 2017. Will higher mortgage interest rates hurt our market in the last quarter? Only time will tell, but so far it seems not.
By Everett Ballenger, Owner/B.I.C Ballenger Realty. Former President Beaufort County Association of Realtors.