Local real estate can be influenced by national market


Forecasting the Upstate’s real estate market is best determined by local data that focuses on the supply of houses that are entering the market. Real estate is local — meaning there is no such thing as a national real estate market. But consumers should be aware that what happens in other markets across the United States can have an effect on our local market. This means that local homeowners need to educate themselves and understand the Upstate’s housing history when setting expectations.

Currently, there are 6,685 single-family residences and condominiums on the market through the Greenville Multiple Listing Service. Roughly 900 houses sell per month in the Greenville MLS, with an average of 86 days on market. That equates to a seven-month supply in our local market. We are still one of the better markets in the country with respect to available inventory and average sales price.

However, this supply may begin to be affected by what’s occurring in other markets across the United States. The extended market time and setting of prices across the country impacts destination cities — such as Greenville — as homeowners wait to sell their homes before moving here. As a result, our usually predictable days on market and our steady annual appreciation could be adjusted as we experience a growth in the supply of available housing. We also can expect buyers wanting to negotiate more favorable prices after taking unfavorable reductions in their homes in their original markets.

Some of the more sluggish markets that currently lag in home sales across the nation include Detroit, Cleveland and Sacramento. Some of the better real estate markets include Seattle, San Jose and the Charlotte/Raleigh area. The Upstate typically experiences heavy inquiries and purchases from those making primary home moves from Florida, and investor and second-home purchases from the Northeast and the West Coast.

While local home sellers should be aware of the potential impact from other markets, the negative effects presently are intermittent. According to the Greater Greenville Association of Realtors, there was a 2.8 percent decrease in number of homes sold in Greater Greenville and a slight increase of 1.8 percent in average sales price for the first nine months of 2007 compared with the same time period in 2006.

Active housing inventory has increased year after year, which should allow buyers to negotiate competitive sales terms in most of the market. However, some local market segments continue to enjoy multiple offers on well-priced new listings.

Typical homebuyers relocating to the Upstate continue to purchase homes that meet or exceed their price expectations. Corporate buyers moving into the area, who arrive with equity and ability to purchase, continue to surpass corporate transfers out.

In addition, another source of unencumbered buyers to the Upstate includes those looking for a second home. These buyers who have income to invest often are in their 50s and 60s, and want activity, nature and year-round mild weather — all things that Greenville and the Upstate offer.

Brokers who are in the trenches widely agree that this year’s sales statistics should rank close to, or better than 2004. Considering that 2004 was only bested by the record-setting years of 2005 and 2006, most agents are optimistic. But to ensure continued market success, a home seller’s best course of action is to seek out the competent guidance of an experienced agent, understand what is happening in the local real estate market, and act accordingly to obtain the best possible price.

By Pam Davis, The Greenville News

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