In January of 2014, 48 homes closed on the MLS for James Island, SC. The median sales price was $254,000, and the average price was $292,922. There were 122 properties under contract or pending during the same time frame (January 1-31, 2014).
These stats reflect some of the James Island real estate trends we’ve seen over the past two years: healthy increases for median sales prices and the number of sold homes, a strong sellers’ market formed in the under $250K price range, and a gap being bridged between the number of homes listed and sold.
James Island Housing Market in 2013
In 2013, there were 738 homes closed on James Island. This is a 29.2% increase from 2012 and a 42.7% increase from 2011. When looking at the sales volume, those homes sold in 2013 totaled $193.8 million. This volume is up 45.4% from 2012 and 70.1% from 2011.
Last year’s median sales price was $229,500 (a 10.9% jump from 2012 and a 22.1% jump compared to the year before). You’ll notice that the average figures for the same comparisons are wider than some of the other Charleston markets because James Island has such a wide range of pricing, from $100K investor type condos to starter houses to million dollar estates overlooking the Charleston Harbor. This range is good reason to look at both the median and average stats for the James Island real estate market, which is why we like to include both.
Now let’s look at the absorption rate for James Island homes by price range. These stats are for October through December of 2013 (so a 3 month period). In the under $250,000 price point, James Island only has a 3 month supply of listings. This means that if no new homes were to be listed for sale, it would take only 3 months to clear out the existing inventory at the current rate that homes are selling. The absorption rate for a sellers’ market is considered less than 5 months of supply, so the 3 months that we’re seeing reflects a very strong sellers’ market.
However, when we take the $250-500K price range into consideration, we see a perfectly balanced market with 6 months of supply. After the $500K mark, the higher priced the homes for sale, the slower the market. In this 3 month time frame, only 4 James Island homes sold in the $500K to $1 million range (and 0 in the million dollar plus price point). It’s important to note, though, that in January a harbor front home in Stiles Point Plantation closed for $1,675,000. Also, there are currently 2 million dollar plus homes in Country Club under contract. These listings will certainly affect the next 3 month cycle for James Island’s absorption rate.
On somewhat of a side note, as a James Island real estate agent and resident, I’m often asked how much negotiating is occurring in our market. For 2013, the sales price ended up being 96% of the list price, meaning that buyers were able to negotiate 4% on average from the sellers’ asking price. (This 96% is right on par with the MLS average, in case you were wondering.)
Finally, let’s look at the gap that is getting bridged between the number of homes listed and sold. Back in 2004 and 2005 – some of the strongest years in the James Island real estate market – there was only about a 100 to 200 difference in the homes sold and listed. It’s easy to remember these years because it seemed like any listing – in any condition or price – sold easily. The darker blue section of the chart (the homes listed) grew very fat from 2006 through 2011. It’s only been in the last 2 years that we’ve seen roughly 70% of listings get sold. Most economists and real estate agents agree that it’s taken this shrinkage of inventory to produce the increases in home prices that we’ve enjoyed over the past couple of years.