Lowcountry housing market sales starting to slow, realtors say

Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 5:19 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 27, 2023 at 5:35 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Realtors in the Charleston area say though the housing market is still relatively hot, it is starting to show signs of cooling.

That word comes as new data shows national home sales across the country sank in January for the 12th straight month.

Multiple Listing Service data from realtor Jurgen Wagner shows Charleston County home sales are down 41%. In Berkeley County, they’re down 38%. In Dorchester County, home sales are down by 23%.

A lack of inventory is one reason why home sales are down locally, Wagner said. Demand in the market continues to remain high. U.S. Census data shows that in 2022, after Florida and Texas, more people moved to South Carolina than any other state.

Remote work during the pandemic drove a lot of housing activity into the Lowcountry, and it was aided by the low interest and mortgage rates at the time. But now, people are staying put.

“People don’t want to trade that 3% interest rate,” Wagner said, noting that rates are now at approximately 6.8%. “People are kind of waiting on the sidelines, and that’s why we’re not seeing homes come on the market and inventory is still continuing to drop.”

Despite those higher mortgage rates, for some, now is the right time to buy a house, whether because of a move to the Lowcountry for a new job or a family upsizing because of a new baby.

Mortgage Lender Mark Gunkel of Lending with Mark says the advice he’s giving to buyers who are ready and interested is to “buy now, refinance later ... marry the house, date the rate.”