Area home sales on the rebound

The number of homes for sale in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties has fallen to a five-year low.

WADE SPEES

Residential real estate experienced a modest rebound in the third quarter across most South Carolina regions, with sales rising 10.7 percent statewide and 22 percent in the Charleston area.

Reports from the S.C. Realtors Association and Charleston Trident Association of Realtors show that home prices declined slightly through 2011, but the number of homes for sale has fallen sharply, making the supply-and-demand equation more balanced going forward.

In Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties, the number of homes for sale fell to 7,524 in October to a five-year low. A year earlier the number of homes on the market was nearly 20 percent higher.

"While it is typical to see lower inventory levels toward the end of the year, we haven't had this few homes for sale in half a decade" said Rob Woodul, the association's president.

Sales volume last month increased about 6 percent to 670 closings from October 2010. The median price fell almost 3 percent to $190,000 over the same period.

Market conditions have differed greatly depending on the price range of homes for sale. The least expensive homes -- those listed for $100,000 or less -- have seen increasing sales statewide, while all other price ranges are down year-to-date.

While the third-quarter statewide numbers were encouraging, year-to-date sales are still below 2010, and October sales were flat. The Charleston region is faring better than the state, with year-to-date sales up nearly 4 percent, the largest gain among the top four markets in South Carolina.

Statewide sales

In Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties, home sales are up this year, with 7,779 sales recorded through October. But prices have continued to decline, with the median sales price dropping 4% to $179,575 for the year.

Here are year-to-date residential sales volumes, according to the trade group S.C. Realtors: