Hello and Greetings from the Lowcountry!
We’re only about one month into 2018 and so far it’s been one wild ride, to say the least. We’ve seen massive market swings, more Kardashian spawn, a Tesla roadster travel to space, and even snow in the Lowcountry (the first in 30 years!). The good news is that it’s already 75 degrees and sunny this week with brighter days ahead!
The real estate market in the Hilton Head area remains vibrant and we are seeing a surge of new buyers come to the area. In fact, January was one of our busiest months in recent years in terms of showing properties. Prompted by the new tax plan and healthy portfolio gains, residents from “high tax states” are seeking refuge in this splendid area where the salt marshes meet the sea. The bittersweet new tax plan is benefiting the coastal areas of South Carolina tremendously. In plain terms, although you can only deduct up to $750k in mortgage interest now for married couples, to pay north of $10,000 in property taxes in Bluffton or Hilton Head on your primary residence, it would have to be assessed over $2,000,000.
This also means that overall inventory is approaching record lows and prices are steadily increasing throughout the area. If you’re considering a purchase of a property and you see something you like, but would rather wait and see if the price drops in a few months, it more than likely will be gone by then. Did you know that the BUSIEST time for real estate in our area is President’s Day to the Monday after Heritage (the big golf tournament in Sea Pines which will be celebrating its 50^th anniversary this year)? Also, did you know that the new Margaritaville Hilton Head already has over 100,000 people registered for “more information” and their sales office doesn’t even open for another 2 weeks? We only have a population of ~60,000 living between Hilton Head and Bluffton!
Nationwide, the number of homes for sale, days on market and months of supply were all down in year-over-year comparisons in a majority of the country for the entirety of 2017, as was housing affordability. And although total sales volumes were mixed, prices were consistently up in most markets. Buyers may not benefit from higher prices, but sellers do, and there should be more listing activity by more confident sellers in 2018. At least that would be the most viable prediction for an economic landscape pointing toward improved conditions for sellers.
Unemployment rates have remained low throughout 2017, and wages have shown improvement, though not always to levels that match home price increases. Yet housing demand remained incredibly strong in 2017, even in the face of higher mortgage rates that are likely to increase further in 2018. Home building and selling professionals are both cautiously optimistic for the year ahead.
In the Hilton Head MLS in December 2017, New Listings were 18.9%, Pending Sales increased a whopping 44.3% and Inventory shrank 6.9% to 2,049 units. Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 5% to $314,000. The average Days on Market was -3.3% to 148 days. What is really driving this market is SUPPLY OF INVENTORY which was decreased 19% YoY.
The real estate market in our area continues to move and change in meaningful ways. Our 2017 Year-End Market Report provides a snapshot of the market, including community-specific data. Opportunities to capitalize continue to present themselves market wide. Whether you are interested in learning more about the current market conditions or considering representation in the purchase or sale of real estate in the Lowcountry, please contact us so we can discuss how Luxe Lowcountry Properties and Charter One Realty may be of service to you.
If you are interested in more detail statistics from a specific community or area, please contact us and we would be happy to send it to you!
Alison Melton & Sabeth Biangone
The Luxe Lowcountry Properties Team