Home sales gaining momentum

jmarks@fortmilltimes.comJuly 17, 2013 

Experts say there are reasons for optimism in the Fort Mill real estate market. And reasons why for existing homeowners, despite coming competition for sales, it may last.

Thousands of homes are in various stages of application or approval in the Fort Mill area. There are about 1,000 at Waterside on the Catawba off Doby’s Bridge Road, and 550 more along S.C. 160, between Fort Mill and Tega Cay. Hawk’s Creek on Gold Hill Road will bring 159 homes, and Cameron Creek on S.C. 160 proposes 400 more.

Those figures don’t include build-out of existing projects like Massey, Springfield and The Forest at Fort Mill.

Agent Renee Bright-Miller with Allen Tate said all the new homes won’t hurt sales of existing properties as they’re phased into the market.

“I don’t know that it’s going to matter that much,” she said. “About half of the people who are coming in can’t wait for a house to be built.”

The Charlotte Regional Realtor Association released June data last week, showing a region-wide picture of the real estate market through the first half of 2013. Sales, sale prices and overall listings rose significantly compared to June 2012. Median and average sales prices rose for the 19th consecutive month for the region.

“We’re midway through the year and continue to see positive signs of a recovering market in our region,” said Eric Locher, association president.

In York County, the number of listings in June rose more than 22 percent from June 2012. The number of sales rose 40 percent. Homes are spending about 40 fewer days on the market and the average price is up slightly.

Through the first half of 2013, listings are up more than 15 percent and sales more than 31 percent from the same span last year, as homes spend about 15 fewer days on the market.

June marked the fourth straight month of increasing sales prices in York County, the longest such run since the spring of 2011.

But locally, results are mixed. The Piedmont Regional Association of Realtors works in York, Chester and Lancaster counties. That group’s data breaks down sales and statistics to the township level.

New listings and median sales price rose more than 15 percent in Fort Mill this June compared to a year ago, and homes spent almost 20 fewer days on the market, but closed sales dropped more than 26 percent and overall inventory was down more than 18 percent. Listings and sales are both down more than 11 percent so far in 2013 compared to the same span last year.

In Tega Cay, new listings (32 percent), sales price (26 percent), percentage of list price received (.3 percent) and inventory (almost 19 percent) were down this June compared to last. Sales were up 40 percent and homes spent 18 fewer days on the market. But year to date, all statistics improved in the first half of 2013 except new listings.

“All indications we’re getting from the state and the national level seem to suggest things are still going in a positive direction,” said Scott Miktuk, Piedmont Regional president.

If the new developments in the area are to limit selling power for existing homes, Bright-Miller expects for it to take a while. Several projects can take five or 10 years to phase in, and it could be when those homes are resold that they’re competing with existing homes.

Bright-Miller said there are several reasons why many people want an existing house, including families wanting to be in place for a coming school year.

“Most of the time their house is sold, and they just can’t wait,” she said.

Multiple offers and resales are happening as the market began improving in the spring, she said. In recent years there have been fewer spec homes built and reduced inventory, meaning many people had to wait on a new home to be built.

Bright-Miller sees the influx of new construction as a response of builder interest ratcheting up in the area.

“This market is heating up,” she said.

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