1) Low interest rates – We’re seeing interest rates in the 6% range. A lot of home owners are refinancing right now. Most of what you hear about refinancing in the news right now is related to adjustable rate mortgages. But, there are also a lot of people refinancing to take advantage of the good rates. So, the rates are good news not just for home buyers, but also for current home owners.
2) Large selection of homes – Right now there are a little over 10,000 active listings on the Charleston MLS. Believe it or not, this number is actually lower than it was a few months ago, when there were almost 12,000. It’s great that we’re seeing a reduction in homes for sale because that means that homes are being taken off the market – due to selling, renting them out instead, or simply being withdrawn. As this number gradually comes back down, we’ll see more of a balance in the market – so there won’t be such a strong buyers market here. The bottom line is that buyers have a lot of choices right now for homes. And, a large inventory leads to the next factor.
3) Lowest prices in years – Because there are so many homes for sale in Charleston, sellers are having to compete in order to sell. This means lower prices for buyers. You can get a lot more for your money in Charleston than you could have even a year ago.
4) Motivated sellers – Charleston has had a strong buyers market now for about 9 months. Sellers are not only reducing their prices, but they’re also willing to do a lot more now to get their homes sold. Of course, not all sellers are motivated. But, for the most part, sellers know that they have to be reasonable to sell their homes. Having more flexible sellers is great for buyers wanting to negotiate.
Charleston’s real estate market really benefits buyers, especially those looking to move up and those who don’t have a current home to sell (like first-time home buyers). On the other hand, the market does not benefit buyers who are downsizing or investors who are trying to liquidate properties. These two groups of buyers should wait until the market picks back up again – hopefully that won’t be too long, since we’ve already seen a reduction in listings in the past few months.