Economist says Charleston area homes market could slow in coming months
A slowdown in job growth in the Charleston region could put wrinkle in the local home sales rebound.
Some key figures for the local housing industry at the halfway point of 2013 compared to a year ago.
Days on market before sale
Source: Charleston Trident Association of Realtors
That was the message University of South Carolina research economist Joseph Von Nessen gave during a housing forecast in downtown Charleston on Wednesday.
“Housing sales activity is very strong across the state, and very much so in Charleston as well, but slow employment growth could blunt some of those growth numbers,” Von Nessen said. “It’s risky to be too overconfident, but there is no evidence that we will see any contraction.”
Von Nessen said job growth is the “single best indicator” for housing demand.
The association has reported 6,117 homes sold in the region at a median price of $200,440 for the first six months of the year. That’s a 22 percent increase in sales and a 10 percent increase in the median price compared to the first half of 2012, though still below the peak in 2006.
The association is scheduled to release its July home sales data Monday.
South Carolina’s unemployment rate was 8.1 percent in June, edging up from 8 percent in May, officials reported last month. The state’s July unemployment report is scheduled to be released on Aug. 19.
Von Nessen was the keynote speaker at the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors mid-year update conference held at the Charleston Marriott. His came as federal officialsare pushing to keep the nation’s housing trend growing.
President Barack Obama recently proposed to overhaul the nation’s mortgage finance system, including shutting down government-backed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, a plan with bipartisan support on Capitol Hill.
Obama will also insist that popular 30-year mortgages be widely available to borrowers, even in a system that would rely more on the private sector than the government to guarantee loans.
The collapse of the housing market had a dramatic impact on people’s lives and the economic viability of communities nationwide.
“So many Americans across the country view their own economic and financial circumstances through their homes and whether they own a home, whether their home is underwater, whether they feel like they have equity in their homes,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday.
Reach Tyrone Richardson at 937-5550 and follow him on Twitter @tyrichardsonPC. The Associated Press contributed to this story.