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Charleston-area home sales shattered records in 2021 — so did prices

Home sales shattered records across the Charleston region in 2021, but buyers paid $50,000 more based on the area's median price than they did a year earlier. 

Residential transactions climbed more than 10 percent last year to 24,117 compared to 2020, according to preliminary figures released Jan. 12 by the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors.

Home sales surpassed 2021's high mark in 11 months, and purchases in December only boosted the final tally, though they were down for the fourth consecutive month compared to the spending spree a year earlier.

Last month, sales slipped nearly 8 percent from December 2020, but they remained healthy at just under 2,000.

The median price in December rose to $385,000, up nearly 23 percent from the same month a year ago.

The supply of housing in the Charleston area has steadily declined since 2010, when nearly 9,100 homes were for sale as the region's real estate market was still recovering from the Great Recession.

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For December, that figure plunged 51 percent from the same month in 2020 to less than 1,500 as "active" for sale listings, according to the CHS Regional MLS.

For comparison, nearly 5,500 homes were on the market in January 2020, still woefully short of the several thousand needed for a healthy six-month inventory to keep supply and demand in check.

"2021 was all about trying to keep up with consumer demand for housing in our region and while our sales were strong for the year, if we weren’t facing such serious supply constraints, those figures would be much higher," said Jon Stroud, the newly installed president of the Realtors group.

"Our region is incredibly attractive from both economic and livability perspectives, which continues to drive population growth in our area, which is just more demand," he said.

The days of rock-bottom borrowing may be over.

Interest rates have been rising lately, and they are predicted to climb higher by the end of the year after the Federal Reserve holds to a plan to launch rate hikes, starting mid-year, to cool the economy and curb inflation.

The local Realtors group also adjusted November's figures slightly higher to show 1,813 homes sold at an unchanged median price of $365,000.

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Reach Warren L. Wise at Follow him on Twitter @warrenlancewise.

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