Charleston Real Estate Market Changes Momentum!
The Charleston Area real estate market has experienced an important change in sales momentum. Fueled by low mortgage interest rates, improved housing affordability (lower home prices), the $8,000 Tax Credit for first-time home buyers and the prospect of increased employment with the future Boeing plant being built near the Charleston International Airport, year-over-year monthly sales (i.e. October 2009/October 2008) have shown increases for the past four months, for the first time since October of 2006!
As this chart shows, this "turn" in the market trend signals positive things to come for our real estate market. Higher monthly sales = accelerated inventory reduction = shorter time to market supply/demand stabilization.
What does this mean for any potential buyer or homeowner? While in the short term (Fall/Winter 09) the market may still look it is declining, this change of momentum means that next year there will be increased demand for homes in the area. As a buyer this means increased competition, which will prevent them from negotiating "incredible deals". As a seller, this is good news in the long term. The market will return to a "balanced" market once we hit 5-7 months' inventory, which will place sellers in a more balanced negotiating position (right now buyers have a notable advantage).
Of course, market momentum may shift again if any of the underlying variables shift. For example, the market may slow down again if interest rates shift upwards dramatically. However, at this point this seems unlikely, given that inflation is not yet on the Fed's radar screen. But you never know...
My advice for buyers: Don't wait! Take advantage of this window of opportunity now!
My advice for sellers: Can you hang in there for another 9-16 months? You may be able to get a better price for your home if you can wait...