By JIM PARKER

The Post and Courier

Lowcountry home sales skyrocketed through early summer, prices crept up and the volume of houses on the market continued to dwindle, according to the economic forecaster for a local real estate agency.

“We are halfway through 2015 and market indicators show no signs of real estate demand slowing down in Charleston,” Bart Jackson, of Charleston Preferred Properties, noted in a recent report.

“In fact, available inventory in the Charleston area continues to shrink but demand is growing,” he says.

Jackson notes that home contractors have had to hasten the pace.

“In many areas of Charleston, builders are completing houses as fast as they can to keep up with the number of buyers that are actively looking,” he says.

The prognosticator bases his comments on local housing sales and price figures.

“The number of closed transactions has increased at an extremely strong rate with 6,684 single-family home sales in the first half of the year, compared (with) 5,461 during the same period in 2014. That constitutes a 22 percent increase in just one year,” Jackson says.

Moreover, once-steady home values have started to escalate.

“We saw stable to increasing median sales prices in 2014, but now 2015 is starting to show a noticeable increase in overall home sale prices,” Jackson points out. “The median sales price is currently $239,000 in the Charleston area, up 4.3 percent from last year. This tells us that the longer buyers wait to purchase in Charleston, the more money it could cost them in this increasingly competitive real estate market.”

Jackson, who filed his findings after the half-year figures emerged, says the Charleston area housing market has flipped from what was a buyer’s market for a number of years after the recession in the late 2000s.

“Now that we are half way through 2015, it is apparent that many areas of Charleston have become a seller’s market. Days on market below 30 days and multiple offers are becoming the trends on many popular areas,” he says.

“Buyers and sellers need to be paying close attention to the market so they don’t end up wishing they had acted sooner or priced their property differently,” Jackson says.

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com.