Charleston Home Sales rise 22% from March ’09 to ’10

March home sales in the Charleston area increased 22% over last year, with prices about the same as in 2009.

The Charleston Trident Association of Realtors reported today that 691 homes sold during March at a median price of $185,000. Last March, 568 homes sold in the area, also at a median price of $185,000.

Year-to-date, home sales in the Charleston market are up 23% over last year. Prices are up 3%, the Realtors reported.

Through March, 1,670 homes sold this year. During the same period last year, 1,357 homes had sold.

The Realtors group said the data show a strong beginning to the spring and summer, which are usually busy but started slow in 2009.

“The activity in the early months of 2010 is incredibly encouraging — every month, we’re seeing sustainable growth in home sales and prices are holding steady” said Jeremy Willits, president of the Realtors association. “We didn’t have sales numbers in this range until May or June in 2009.”

Willits said the federal homebuyer tax credit has spurred sales locally, and no one is sure what will happen after it expires at the end of this month.

“The tax credit was not intended to be a long-term initiative,” he said. “It incentivized the purchase of a home, following a year of uncertainty and volatile market activity. It was designed to help stabilize the market, and that’s exactly what we’ve seen it do in Charleston.”

Rising mortgage rates and the uptick in buyer activity could prompt potential buyers to act soon, the Realtors’ monthly report said. 

The Charleston Trident Association of Realtors reported last month that 509 homes sold during February, a 22% increase over the 417 sold the prior year. Revised numbers reported today show that 541 homes sold during February, a 30% increase over 2009.

February’s median sales price was $179,755.

The local market had 9,849 active listings as of March 31. March represents the third consecutive month in which inventory was lower than 10,000 listings.

During March, 145 homes sold in Berkeley County at a median price of $163,343. Volume was up 6% from last year, while the median price fell 1%.

In Charleston County, 378 homes sold at a median price of $246,000. Volume was up 31% over last year, and prices were up 9%.

Dorchester County home sales totaled 142 in March, up 27% from last year. The median price was $148,400, down 8% from last year.

Taken from Charleston Business Journal

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