With more new homes going up in York County, there’s reason for developers to be excited. Demand for housing is only expected to grow, building on 2013’s successes.
According to the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association, 2013 home sales figures for 18 counties, including York County, showed listings, sales and sale prices increased from 2012.
“Though inventory is somewhat limited across the region and the new mortgage rules for lenders could hamper sales a bit, the Charlotte market still provides more opportunities than challenges. Realtors are optimistic about the outlook for 2014,” said Joe Rempson, Charlotte association president.
In York County, there were 4,556 new listings in 2013, up 19 percent from 2012. At this same time last year, there was a 1.3 percent increase in listings from 2012, while from 2010 to 2011, there was a 13 percent drop.
Sales also showed continued growth in 2013. There were 2,958 sales in York County, up more than 25 percent from 2012. That increase follows a 30 percent increase from 2011 to 2012 and a 7 percent increase from 2010 to 2011.
The average sales price of $214,809 is up 2.5 percent from 2012, and homes were on the market 8 percent to 12 percent fewer days in 2013 than the year before.
The numbers were higher than the averages for the state, reflecting York County’s proximity to Charlotte. The median sales prices in South Carolina increased 6.3 percent in 2013 to $163,000. The number of days on the market dropped about 12 percent to 114 days.
From listing to sale, the average time period in Rock Hill is now about 90 days, said Pam Morrell of Keller Williams Realty. This past year was record-setter for Morrell, who closed on 103 homes.
She said strength of the market continues to be sales in all segments, from first-time home buyers to retirees looking to downsize. Favorable interest rates also are a factor, she said.
Sellers need to be competitive on price, but also competitive in how their property shows, she said. “There is plenty of product so your property has to be showcase ready,” she said. “Your property needs to stand out, leaving a lasting impression on the potential buyer.”
Stephen Cooley of the Stephen Cooley Team of Rock Hill, also reported a record year. The team closed on 356 houses, up from 280 in 2012, he said. The numbers are better than what the team posted in the boom years of 2004 to 2006.
Some areas of York County such as Fort Mill have fully recovered home values from the recession of 2008, he said. Rock Hill homes recovered another 10 percent of their value, Cooley said.
Institutional investors buying residential homes in the region factored into the increased sales, Cooley said. Most of the buying was in North Carolina because of taxes – non-owner home taxes are higher in South Carolina. But the sales in North Carolina allowed more people to relocate, often to York County, he said.
“Buyer confidence is back,” Cooley said.
In Lake Wylie and southern Belmont, N.C., there were 1,058 new listings in 2013. That number is up 6.5 percent from 2012 and 18 percent from 2011. Sales increased more than 30 percent in 2013 from 2012. The average sales price dropped 1 percent to $334,076. Homes spent 4 percent to 12 percent less time on the market before selling.
Rinehart Realty in Lake Wylie added five new agents in the past six months to keep up with demand. Realtor Leigh Anne Cooper sees new construction in Shoppes at the Landing, Five Points area and other places as reaction to demand. Inventory is low in Lake Wylie and Fort Mill, she said.
Realtors are seeing buyers in the $175,000 to $275,000 range in areas of the county closer to Charlotte. They’re seeing people who went bankrupt or foreclosed at the lowest point of recession, and who had to wait three years before re-entering the market.
“They’re all coming back,” Cooper said.
Joe Cronin, planning director for Fort Mill, said the 255 new single-family home permits issued in 2013 outpaced larger municipalities such as Columbia, Greenville and Rock Hill, trailing only coastal areas such as Mount Pleasant, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.
“This appears to have been the second busiest year on record, and only a dozen or so permits fewer than our peak year of 2007,” Cronin said.
Two Fort Mill projects, Walden Park and Jones Branch, reached full build-out since this time last year. Springfield is almost there now, while Kimbrell Crossing and the Forest at Fort Mill have only a few dozen lots remaining. Massey remains active, too.
Set into motion in 2013 were projects such as Waterside on the Catawba (1,300 units), Riverchase (231) and Pecan Ridge (200).
An annexation request for up to 650 more units will come to the Fort Mill Town Council in February, and a spring opening of one Fort Mill Southern Bypass phase “will likely create development pressure along the entire corridor,” Cronin said.
John Marks • 803-831-8166 Herald business editor Don Worthington contributed