Home sales jump 27 percent in Columbia in May

Home sales got a jolt in May, jumping 27 percent in the Columbia area. And in a sign that the recovering local housing market continues to gain strength, home prices also got a boost.

In the Columbia area, 924 homes sold in May. And median price for homes that sold in the area rose 6 percent to $147,000, according to a report released Friday morning by the S.C. Realtors trade group.

The inventory of homes on the market also moved closer to balance, dipping to 9.8 months – after stagnating the first four months of the year above 10 months. A market that is balanced between buyers and sellers has about six months of inventory, experts say. The inventory in May 2011 was more than 16 months.

Statewide, home sales climbed 21 percent to 6,074, with only the North Augusta market showing a decrease. Median price in South Carolina rose 4 percent to $160,000, with half of the markets in the state showing improvements.