Home sales across South Carolina didn't slow down in January, normally a less active time of year for the market, as buyers continued to lock in on lower mortgage interest rates amid escalating prices.
Across the Palmetto State, residential real estate transactions climbed 19 percent during the first month of the year compared to the same month in 2020, according to the S.C. Realtors Association.
In January, 6,752 homes changed hands in at a median price of $255,000. That's about $35,000, or nearly 16 percent, more than last year at the same time.
The state reported 15,562 homes on the market in January, a decline of nearly 42 percent from 12 months earlier. For comparison, in January 2019, more than 30,000 homes were listed for sale in South Carolina.
All major metro areas of the state reported increased sales.
Charleston showed a nearly 25 percent jump, Greenville 22 percent, Columbia 10 percent and Myrtle Beach 20 percent.
Pricey Hilton Head had particularly strong sales with a 56 percent leap compared to the same month last year, and the median price on the Beaufort County resort island jumped nearly 17 percent to more than $390,000 — the highest in South Carolina.
"Homes are selling at a record pace and are in very, very short supply," said Phil Nagley, a group vice president with S.C. Realtors who is with Coastal Realty Group in Bluffton.
"I believe this continues for the foreseeable future as South Carolina has become the place to be, and the southern coast is right in the bull's-eye," he said. "Not only have homes been popular, but land purchases are rapidly picking up steam. We are seeing many transactions involving 'sight unseen' properties, homes and land."
The dearth of homes continues to plague the market and drive up prices.
"The inventory is just not there, which is one reason why homes are selling faster than we’ve ever seen before," said Morris Lyles, president of S.C. Realtors who also works at ERA Wilder in Columbia.
"This time last year homes sold within 85 days on average," he said. "Currently, the statewide average is 65 days."
Nationally, inventory declined nearly 26 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors.