First-quarter home prices rose faster in the Charleston area than in the rest of the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, according to a new government analysis of purchases.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index said Tuesday that the increase for the region was 10.7 percent higher than the same period of 2013.
For all of South Carolina, prices climbed about 5.34 percent for sales closed between January and March.
Nationwide, the average increase for the nation's biggest metro areas was 1.3 percent, the 11th straight quarter the figure has gone higher, according to the seasonally adjusted index. The Charleston-North Charleston market is ranked as 69th largest.
"Although the first quarter saw relatively weak real estate transaction activity - in part due to seasonal factors - home prices continued to push higher in the first quarter," Andrew Leventis, the agency's principal economist, said in a statement. "Modest inventories of homes available for sale likely played a significant role in driving the price increase, which was similar to appreciation in the preceding quarter."
Inventories in Charleston have been hovering between 5,600 and 6,000 homes for the past year, while demand for housing has been increasing. Sale volume is about 8 percent this year, according to the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency's monthly index doesn't provide sales prices for individual metro areas.
S.C. Realtors said the median price for the Charleston market was $215,000 during the first quarter. Its calculation pegged the year-over-year increase slightly higher than the index, at 13.2 percent.
The trade group said it took an average of 77 days to sell a listed home in the Charleston region for the three-month period, or 12 fewer days than a year ago.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency is the regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Its housing price index is based on information from home loans that have been sold to or guaranteed by the two mortgage financiers.
Contact John McDermott at 937-5572.
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