Charleston area home sales on mend

Halfway into 2012, the area’s residential real estate market “has finally taken some meaningful strides toward recovery,” the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors said Tuesday.

Home sales were up again in June, and the number of homes listed for sale continues to decline, new figures from the association’s Multiple Listing Service database show. That’s a steady trend that began in the greater Charleston area toward the end of last year.

Most telling is a real estate statistic known as the months’ supply of inventory, which tracks how many months it would take to sell all the homes on the market at current rates of demand.

During the go-go real estate market, at the end of 2005, it would have taken just four months to sell every available home. In early 2009, with a glut of supply and a dearth of buyers, it would have taken 16 months.

The supply in the Charleston area has been falling for three years now, and in June stood at 7.4 months — about where it was at the start of 2007. Real estate professionals generally consider demand to be balanced between buyers and sellers when there is a six-month supply of homes for sale.

There were 6,277 homes actively listed for sale as of June throughout the region. There were 1,033 residential sales last month, at a median price of $200,000.

Reduced supply and higher demand are good news for sellers, and for agents. Prices, however, have been slow to recover after falling for five years.

“Our market is showing clear signs of price stability and positive, sustainable growth” said Herb Koger, president of the association.

For the first six months of 2012, CTAR reports that 4,952 home sales have closed — up from 4,530, or 9 percent, from the same period last year.

The MLS statistics cover most of Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester and Colleton counties, but do not include private sales and listings on Kiawah Island.

Reach David Slade at 937-5552 or Twitter @DSladeNews.