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SC home sales plunged 31% in May amid coronavirus pandemic; Charleston townhomes opposed

House for sale South of Broad

Home sales across South Carolina tumbled by nearly 31 percent in May as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic continued to shrink the housing market. File/Warren L. Wise/Staff

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SC home sales plunged 31% amid coronavirus pandemic in May

Residential real estate transactions dropped 22 percent in the Charleston region in May, but they took a much bigger hit across across South Carolina after all of the different regional groups reported plummeting sales amid the coronavirus outbreak and lockdown.

All 16 of the regional agencies across the Palmetto State reported significant double-digit dips in home sales for a statewide average that was down nearly 31 percent from the same month a year ago, according to the South Carolina Realtors Association.

Last month, 6,943 homes changes hands across the state compared to 10,017 in May 2019.

Hilton Head Island led the state with nearly a 43 percent decline in sales followed by Beaufort, Greenwood and the Myrtle Beach area, each with just over 33 percent fewer transactions in May.

Aiken saw the smallest drop at 15.3 percent fewer home sales.

The decrease in sales, caused in part because of the limited number of homes on the market during the pandemic, didn't result in a price decrease.

The median price of all homes in South Carolina in May rose 4.7 percent to $233,500.

For the year, home sales statewide are down about 13 percent, with 33,865 properties changing hands. The price statewide is up 8.5 percent to $230,000.

As more properties are shown and become available, sales are expected to increase and prices could fall by next year for the first time in nine years, according to property information service CoreLogic.

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WestEdge building

The new 22 WestEdge building was recently completed as part of the developing WestEdge community on the Charleston peninsula. All but two floors of the eight-story glass tower have been leased. Brad Nettles/Staff

New WestEdge building completes 1st phase of 60-acre community as developers eye next phase

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22 WestEdge, a gleaming glass tower with multiple kinds of tenants, is the third building to rise in WestEdge's initial phase of development. At 78 percent leased, only two floors remain unoccupied in the new structure on the western side of peninsular Charleston.

By the numbers

14.5: Millions of dollars paid by a Boston-based real estate group for a 43-acre manufacturing site with a 563,154-square-foot building on it in Summerville. 

5: Number of new restaurants now open and soon opening in Charleston area. 

146: Number of townhomes planned in new development off Maybank Highway in the Charleston part of James Island.

This week in real estate

+ Ousted: The chairman of Charleston County Housing and Redevelopment Authority is the latest casualty in the wake of revelations of squalid conditions at senior housing facility Joseph Floyd Manor.

Union Heights homes

New homes rise in Charleston's Union Heights neighborhood on Comstock Avenue that will be sold as affordable housing. Grace Beahm Alford/Staff

+ Dream out of reach: Charleston's affordable housing crisis isn't getting any better.

+ Summerville growth: Flowertown could grow by nearly 1,000 acres in Berkeley County if a tract where a big development is planned near Nexton Parkway is annexed.

+ Burners off: Longtime Southern staple restaurant Jestine's Kitchen is the latest dining establishment in downtown Charleston to fall victim to the coronavirus. The 1,600-square-foot space joins several others on the peninsula now vacant.

'Needed more than ever'

Avery Research Center

Built in the 1860s, the building that houses the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture underwent extensive renovations but is now closed because of the pandemic. Avery Research Center/Provided.

After extensive renovations and being closed for two years, The College of Charleston's Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture was forced to close again amid pandemic. It won't reopen again until it's safe to do so, but leaders say the center's resources are needed now more than ever because of the movement underway after the death of George Floyd.

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Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524. Follow him on Twitter @warrenlancewise.

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