By Everett Ballenger
Although at the time of writing this article, we have about six weeks until the end of the year, I thought it might be a good idea to see how many of the houses sold in 2016 were new.
There are a number of interesting variables to consider when looking at new home sales.
The dates we are looking at are houses closed from Jan. 1-Nov. 11. We do have to consider in these numbers that some houses would have been started in 2015 and completed and sold in 2016, but the same can be said for the 2015 numbers.
Another quite important anomaly we need to take into account is that an appreciable number of new homes do not get entered into our MLS. There are various reasons for this.
For example, a developer may sell a lot to a buyer or builder – then in turn someone will have a new home built on that lot. The property is never listed in the MLS, thus not showing up as a new home sale.
The overall percentage of new 2016 home sales in the Northern Beaufort County Association of Realtors MLS is down 2.6 percent for the dates we are looking at.
There were some bright spots, though.
Lady’s Island was a very bright spot indeed. The 42 new home sales out of an outstanding 358 units so far in 2016 represents an increase of 4 percent over 2015 and 12 percent of the total 2016 sales.
With the national builder projects now coming, we may see that percentage increase in 2017.
To provide a bit of perspective as to the amount of improvement which has occurred in the local real estate market in the last five years, in 2011 for the same period of time and the same areas we had only 47 new home sales as compared to 71 (+51 percent) this year.
There were366 total sales in 2011 as compared to 948 (+159 percent) this year.
It is encouraging to see so much new home activity in Northern Beaufort County.
However, a word of caution: Buying a new home in a large new development can have its drawbacks over buying in a more established area. This can be especially true if the homeowner does not plan on staying in the home for more than two to three years.
When they are ready to sell, but the development still has new construction going on, it can sometimes be difficult to sell a pre-owned home for a reasonable price when the home owner is competing with the builder, who is selling brand new homes at a very similar price.
Another encouraging sign that builders and developers are confident in the Beaufort real estate market is that we are seeing pockets of “spec” homes coming onto the market. This is something we have not seen for many years.
Finally, I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas plus a fine and prosperous new year!
Everett Ballenger is the owner of B.I.C Ballenger Realty and is the former president of the Beaufort County Association of Realtors.