Low inventory to blame for malaise


By Janet Gresham

There has been a general slowdown in home sales across the country, and this cannot be blamed on negative economic news. Unemployment remains low and wage growth, though nothing to overly celebrate, has held steady or increased for several years in a row. 

There is strong demand for home buying, emphasized by higher prices and multiple offers on homes for sale in many submarkets. As has been the case for month after month – and now year after year – low inventory is the primary culprit in Beaufort County for any sales malaise rather than lack of offers.

New Listings were down 6.0 percent to 250. 

Pending Sales increased 6.2 percent to 240. 

Inventory grew 0.8 percent to 1,005 units.

Prices were still soft as Median Sales Price was down 1.0 percent to $196,000. 

Days on Market decreased 25.9 percent to 80 days. 

Months Supply of Inventory was up 1.8 percent to 5.6 months, indicating that supply increased relative to demand.

With job creation increasing and mortgage rates remaining low, the pull toward homeownership is expected to continue. Yet housing starts have been drifting lower, and some are beginning to worry that a more serious housing shortage could be in the cards if new construction and building permit applications continue to come in lower in year-over-year comparisons while demand remains high. 

Homebuilder confidence suggests otherwise, so predictions of a gloomy future should be curbed for the time being.

Janet Gresham is the CEO of the Beaufort County Association of Realtors and the Beaufort Multiple Listing Service Inc.

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