Home sales continued a solid recovery in the Columbia area in February as sales spiked and prices dipped. Falling inventory levels stalled as more sellers got off the sidelines, increasing new listings. Some key highlights from the S.C. Realtors February report:
What it is: Increase in home sales in Columbia in February, compared with the same month last year.
How it compares: Exactly 559 homes sold in the area in February, 97 more than the same month last year and 141 more than sold in February 2011.
What it means: Continued gains further validate a strengthening market in the region as it heads toward what is expected to be a strong spring selling season after a lackluster 2011 and modest gains last year.
What it is: Increase in the number of pending sales – homes that are under contract but have not yet closed – in the Columbia area in February, compared to February 2012.
How it compares: At 745 homes pending closing, that’s 133 more than this time last year and 243 more than this time in 2011.
What it means: Strong pending sales are an indicator that future months will have big sales gains because many of those sales pending now will close by then.
What it is: Median sales price for all homes that sold in the Midlands in January
How it compares: That’s 2.2 percent below the median price in February 2012, which was $136,000.
What it means: Prices have tumbled a bit in recent months. Price drops usually reflect an attempt by sellers to price their homes for maximum sales possibilities, especially now that buyers are getting more eager after a prolonged sales dearth. The lowered prices could also reflect some sellers’ needs to move quickly. The median price in Columbia in February 2011 was $133,800.
What it is: Months’ supply of Columbia market inventory in February.
How it compares: It’s a 23.7 percent drop from February 2012, when the market had more than a year’s supply of homes for sale. The supply level peaked in April 2011 with a 16.6-month supply and then started dropping, landing at 10 months for the first time in January.
What it means: The steady decline in inventory means the market continues to move toward balance between sellers and buyers, and that the days of a longstanding buyers’ market are waning. Six months of inventory is considered a balanced market.
What’s hot now?
The hottest home sales
categories for February in
the Columbia area included:
• Homes in $100,000 and below and $200,001 to $300,000 ranges
• Homes of all bedroom counts sold equally
• Condos, single-family homes
Feb. 2012: 3,413
Feb. 2013: 3,750
Feb. 2012: $139,900
Feb. 2013: $145,000
Of note: Many of the state’s rural areas saw declines in home sales, with the western Upstate and North Augusta areas fairing worst. The Sumter/Clarendon, Aiken and Piedmont regions also saw sales drop. Seven regions saw declines in median sales prices, with the Orangeburg area suffering the worst at a 35 percent drop. Nine regions saw median price increases.