By Steve Jones
Sales of single-family homes and condominiums were flat in May versus a year earlier, but the single-family home market is still up when comparing the first five months of 2014 with the same time in 2013.
The same is not true of the condo market, which is off 5.9 percent this year versus the first five months of 2013, according to a report by SiteTech Systems.
Laura Crowther, CEO of the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors, said she’s not sure what to read into the numbers.
She said if they signaled a trend, you’d expect to see the same affect in both single-family and condo sales.
The increase in year-to-year May sales was insignificant, 0.2 percent, for single-family homes while condo sales were down 4.5 percent from May 2013.
An updated report issued Thursday showed that single-family home sales, which have been much slower for most of this year as compared with early 2013, are up 4.1 percent overall year-to-year.
The original report included all sales that had been recorded as of June 9, but SiteTech Systems found Thursday that about 30 more May sales were listed since then.
The lag in reporting the sales is not unusual, but has a significant impact on the year-to-year comparison of numbers of sales, said Deirdre McDonnell of SiteTech Systems.
The original report found a 5.2 percent drop in year-to-year single-family home sales in May.
The median sales price for single-family homes is down $7,000 this May from last, standing at $183,000 versus $190,000. For the year to date, though, the median price is $186,000 this year as compared to $176,970 January through May 2013.
Likewise, the report said, the median condo price was down $2,000 from May 2013 to $107,200 this year while the year-to-date price is up $3,000 to $108,000.
Crowther attributed the strong sales activity in 2013 to people purchasing homes they’d put off during the recession.
“I really think there was so much pent-up demand that people jumped in as soon as the economy improved,” she said.
But Crowther said she’s hearing reports of continuing healthy activity from the association’s members.
“Everybody is staying busy,” she said. “I’m hearing excellent things from our agents.”
Indeed, Gairy Nichols, broker in charge of Eden Realty in Garden City Beach, said his company recorded 33 percent more single-family home sales in April and May than a year ago.
Sales of condos, he said, were up 100 percent.
For the year, Nichols said Eden has closed on 31 percent more beach houses and 46 percent more condos.
“Last year was a good year for me,” he said. “I was up considerably over the year before, so to be that much ahead in the first five months this year, that says people are more confident about borrowing money.”
The SiteTech report showed that Nichols’ company would be at the center of the action this year, as the South Strand is showing more sales so far this year than any other area of the Grand Strand.
Conway and Carolina Forest continue to have strong sales, the report said, as well as the North Strand and the Socastee/Forestbrook area.
Crowther said she’s predicting continued gradual growth for the rest of 2014, a significant pick-up in sales next year and a possibility of some cooling in 2016.
“It’s an election year,” she said.