Home sales rose moderately in Columbia and throughout much of South Carolina in October amid a two-week government shutdown that stalled activity, according to a new report Friday.
Sales increased 5.2 percent in South Carolina to 5,040 statewide and 6.3 percent to 730 in the Columbia area, the report from the S.C. Realtors trade group said. Sales have been increasing in the double-digits most of the year. However, the federal government shutdown that lasted more than the first half of the month held up some sales as agencies such as the Federal Housing Administration, which backs home loans, sent workers home.
Seven out of 16 regions in South Carolina saw a decrease in sales in October.
The median price for sales also was a mixed bag. Overall, median price rose 3.3 percent statewide to $154,900 and 3.7 percent in Columbia to $144,000. But half of the state’s 16 regions saw declines in median price.
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A closer look
What it is: Increase in home sales in Columbia in October, compared with the same month last year
How it compares: In October, 730 homes sold, compared with 687 the same month last year.
What it means: Sales have been gaining each month since bottoming out in 2011. Sales increases have been in double digits most of this year, but slowed last month because of the federal government shutdown the first half of October.
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 October, compared with October 2012
How it compares: In October, 730 homes were under contract; that’s 56 more than this time last year and 223 – or 44 percent – more than this time in 2011.
What it means: Strong pending sales are a good sign that future months’ sales numbers will increase. Many of the sales that are under contract now will close in the coming months as deals are finalized and new home construction wraps up.
What it is: Median sales price for Midlands homes that sold in October
How it compares: That’s up slightly from the median price in October 2012, which was $138,800, but noticeably below the $148,500 median price in October 2011
What it means: Prices, which plunged during the economic downturn, generally have stopped dropping and are moving up – good news for potential sellers who have lost property value.
What it is: The months’ supply of inventory on the Columbia market in October
How it compares: It’s a 25 percent drop from October 2012, when the market had nearly a year’s supply of homes for sale. The supply level was 14.4 months in October 2011.
What it means: While buyers still have an advantage, inventory is moving toward more normal levels. A balanced market between buyers and sellers is when inventory levels reach about a six months’ supply.
Oct. 2012: 4,792
Oct. 2013: 5,040
Oct. 2012: $149,900
Oct. 2013: $154,900
SOURCE: S.C. Realtors trade group