Charleston home sales up again

File/Staff

The latest in a string of cautiously optimistic reports about the health of the Charleston-area real estate market shows additional gains in sales and prices of homes this year.

Residential sales activity began slowly rebounding last year, but prices continued to fall through 2011. This year, median sale prices have clocked modest year-over-year gains for four months in a row.

Depressed prices, combined with record-low mortgage rates, have prompted more people to get off the fence and buy. The Charleston Trident Association of Realtors said Thursday the number of home showings is about the same as in 2009, but more sales are closing.

“This tells us that the prospective buyers in today’s market aren’t just looking,” said CTAR President Herb Koger. “They are serious buyers, making offers and closing transactions”

The association said Thursday that preliminary figures show 831 homes changed hands at a median price of $183,000 last month. That’s fewer homes than were sold during unseasonably warm March, but compares well to the 776 sales recorded in April 2011 at a median price of $175,000.

The sales reflect transactions in Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties, but don’t reflect all sales on Kiawah Island, because many are marketed privately and are not included in the Charleston Multiple Listing Service’s public data.

This year through April, the number of homes offered for sale in the Charleston area is down 29 percent compared to a year ago, and sales are up by almost 6 percent, the association said. Prices are up about 4 percent versus this time last year.

There were 6,361 homes listed as actively for sale in the Charleston Multiple Listing Service marketing database as of Thursday. A year ago, that number totaled 8,899, and just before the recession hit in 2008, there was a glut of 11,879 homes for sale.

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