Over the last year, we have seen the enormous effect of the media on the general health and well-being of our economy. More doom and gloom results in well, more doom and gloom. A recent turn to more “optimistic” coverage has seen people whispering “recovery” for a few months, and now it seems the numbers are backing up the buzz.
Everyday someone comes into our Real Estate Studio at 214 King Street and asks “how’s the market?” For months now we have been asserting that “things are looking up” and “the buyers are back” but rarely have the faces of those asking seemed convinced. Everyone has been waiting for the official numbers and the media to tell them what we already know. That the housing market, although still sluggish by the overblown standards established in recent years, is in recovery. This, some believe, is the first sign that the rest of the nation’s economy is also recovering, albeit modestly for now.
In a recent Business Week article, Senior Economist James Cooper asserts that, “Perhaps the best sign yet that a recovery is near is the sharply improved housing data. After all, it was housing that toppled both Wall Street and Main Street, and stronger housing will play an integral role in rebuilding both. Home sales have clearly turned up in recent months, which is reducing inventories at a good clip and even slowing the rate of price declines. Plus, surveys show builders see market conditions improving enough to encourage new construction.”
If there is little doubt that the housing market influences the rest of the economy, then the most recent reports give us all a reason to smile. The Charleston Regional Business Journal last month published the following information regarding our local housing market:
“The number of homes sold in South Carolina has risen for the second straight month. Nearly 4,200 homes were sold in June, an increase of 13% compared with May, according to the latest report from the S.C. Association of Realtors.
In May, home sales totaled 3,704, which was an increase of 16% over sales in April.
June’s figures also represent the best year-over-year showing so far in 2009, with an 11.3% drop compared with June 2008 numbers.
Of the 15 regions reporting home sales for the association, 14 reported an increase in sales compared with May. The only area that reported a loss was the Southern Midlands Association of Realtors. It sold three more homes in May than it did in June, according to the report.
Of the state’s three major metropolitan areas, Charleston posted a 9.4% increase in June sales compared with May, Columbia saw a 10.5% increase and Greenville had a 13.3% increase, the report said.
The median price of homes in South Carolina was up in May, and the average number of days a home was on the market was down in May.
Good news to say the least. For every person who is rejoicing at the signs of a recovery, there is another person who is cautiously waiting for the worst. We think it has come and is getting better everyday. In fact, Clemson University economist Bruce Yandle said recently that he believes experts will one day mark August or September as the end of this recession. There is no doubt that the days ahead will be difficult and the situation is improving very slowly, but we’re remaining positive here at Dunes. Everyday we see people walking into our offices and asking about real estate. And we have plenty to say.