By Everett Ballenger
2015 seemed like a fairly good year for real estate in Northern Beaufort County, until the last quarter. There seemed to a discernable slowdown in some markets around October time. But as can been seen from the numbers below the “Total” and “Residential” only markets held up pretty well. One has to remember we had some awful weather and flooding in October, which could well have influenced what was a good year up until then. It is comforting to see all segments were in the positive territory for all of Northern Beaufort County. Sales up +5% and sales volume up strong +10%. Prices are still stubbornly stuck in neutral, although the average price did increase +5%.
Residential sales saw less of an improvement – nevertheless, +4.4% in unit sales, and +5.7% in sales volume, is no reason to get depressed. There is still a steady trickle of foreclosures coming onto the market, which may explain why even though inventory is down, and sales reasonably strong, we have not seen the price increases we would normally expect. Even though we are now well into our real estate recovery, and have been for a number of years now, there are still some “jaw dropping” deals to be had where land is concerned…especially in some gated communities.
One has to conclude that the overall real estate market in Northern Beaufort County is in a comfort zone, where sales and prices are very steady but with healthy increases in both. Having said all the above, it looks like buying real estate at this time is not a risky business. We are nowhere near a (bubble) type market. Sales and prices should still increase for some time to come but at a steady rate we have seen over the last 2-3 years. Lack of inventory is not really an issue, and new developments are coming on stream on a regular basis. The fact that companies like Harris Teeter and Walmart would like to build on Ladys Island, is testament to what they see as an increase in population and demand in our area.
Everett Ballenger is the owner/B.I.C of Ballenger Realty and the former President of the Beaufort County Association of Realtors.