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Home showings plummet 15 percent in Charleston

Home showings across the South sank in October for the first time in 12 months, and Charleston was not immune to the plunge.

Showings plummeted 15.2 percent around the Holy City, the largest percentage drop over the past 12 months, according to the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors.

That's likely a reflection of rising mortgage rates which led fewer buyers to go on showings, according to the national ShowingTime Showing Index. Mortgage rates reached a seven-year high in October and are now approaching 5.0 percent on a 30-year note, according to financier Freddie Mac.

Home sales generally begin to slow down in the fall as cooler weather sets in, so seasonality also can contribute to the decline in showings.

The National Association of Home Builders’ affordability index reported a 10-year low, another contributing factor. Home prices continue to escalate, though the rate has slowed somewhat in recent months across the nation.

The median price of homes sold in the Charleston area during the first 10 months of the year is up 6 percent to $265,236.

The South overall, which includes states from Maryland to Texas, reported a 3.8 percent decline in showings in October compared to the same time last year, while the U.S. Index fell 5.0 percent year-over-year from 2017.

"This is a continuation of the trend we've been seeing for the U.S. since spring,” ShowingTime chief analytics officer Daniil Cherkasskiy said. “Despite a relatively healthy economy, all regions of the country reported slower buyer traffic when compared to 2017’s record numbers."

Even with showings down, the Charleston region is on pace to come close to last year’s record sales if November and December figures come in strong. Through October, 15,561 homes sold in the region, up 0.5 percent over the first 10 months of last year.

Home showings dropped 15.1 percent in September in Charleston, but that's the same month the threat of Hurricane Florence forced a coastal evacuation.

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Investors find value in uncommon properties

Real main 1

A sprawling house on Moon Tide Lane at Kiawah Island would make an "excellent investment property," says real estate agent Gus Bright. Provided

People with extra cash buy up rental sites to bring in income, but Realtors caution it should be a sideline, not primary income.

By the numbers

6: Number of feet a Charleston carriage company's proposed stable is short of the 100-foot mark from the nearest residential district.

17: Number of buildings slated for demolition at the former Navy base in North Charleston.

3,485: Square footage of Macedonia AME Church in downtown Charleston that church leaders want to demolish.

This week in real estate

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+Sears homes: A rarity in Charleston, the houses outlast the big-box company that sold them.

+Fewer evictions? A freshman lawmaker from North Charleston aims to lower the rate of people kicked out of their rental units.

+Sacred spaces: Some former Charleston-area churches have found new life as homes and restaurants over the years.

Upcoming real estate events

  • Realtors orientation: Tuesday, Dec. 4; Agents, property managers, appraisers and others learn more from the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors.
  • 3 P's of professionalism: Wednesday, Dec. 5; Principles, practices and pitfalls are taught during this course covering areas of license law and other real estate areas.

Charleston-area transactions

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