Homes sales cool a little in August

Local homes sales remain on pace to surpass last year’s volume, according to Charleston Trident Association of Realtors. This West Ashley home was on the market this week.

The galloping pace of Charleston area home sales took a breather in August, but the market still posted a modest gain.

Residential transactions edged up 1.2 percent last month over August 2014, according to preliminary data Thursday from the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors.

Last month, 1,376 homes changed hands in the region at a median price of $219,950, up nearly $5,000 from a year earlier.

So far in 2015, volume is up 16.9 percent to 10,996 sales, compared to 9,409 through the first eight months last year.

Barring a sudden market downturn, the numbers are on pace to surpass last year’s sales volume of 14,250 transactions, according to the North Charleston-based association.

The median price for the year is $226,000, up 4.8 percent from the same period in 2014.

Property information provider CoreLogic projects home prices will rise about 4.6 percent nationally over the next 12 months.

“Low mortgage rates and stronger consumer confidence are supporting a resurgence in home sales of late,” said Anand Nallathambi, CEO of CoreLogic. “Adding to overall housing demand is the benefit of a better labor market, which has provided millennials the financial independence to form new households and escape ever-rising rental costs.”

Low mortgage rates near 4 percent are helping to fuel home purchases, and the prospect of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates this fall for the first time in nine years could also be nudging prospective buyers off the sidelines.

Inventory in the Charleston region decreased by about 101 properties in August with 5,647 homes listed on the market as “active” for sale in the Charleston Trident Multiple Listing Service.

Of those listings, 1,585 homes, or 28 percent, are in the $200,000 to $300,000 price range. Another 41 percent, or 2,317, are asking more than $300,000, according to the association.

“It’s typical for the pace of sales to begin cooling off this time of year, but we’re still on track to significantly improve over 2014 sales volume,” said Matt DeAntonio, association president. “Our inventory remains steady with approximately 5,600 homes, about 1,000 fewer homes than we had on the market at this time last year.”

“The areas that are investing in smart development, adding to the inventory of available homes — West Ashley outside I-526, Goose Creek and Moncks Corner — are outperforming other areas in our region because they’re offering options to homebuyers,” he added.

The group also cited Charleston’s expanding population base and the pressures that growth brings, saying the region as a whole needs to address the issue by investing “in smart growth options” and “expanding our existing infrastructure.”

The association also revised July’s figures slightly to show 1,691 homes sold, up by 12. The median price was unchanged at $237,750.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524.