Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Home prices continue fall in Grand Strand

Very interesting video and article on the prices of home in the area.

By Brandon Herring

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Home prices took another hit at the end of 2010, as many real estate professionals expected the market to be improving.

According to a report by Standard and Poor's/Case Shiller national home prices dropped 4.1 percent in the last quarter of 2010, compared to the last quarter of 2009. Of the 20 major metropolitan areas included in the report, only two have seen an increase in prices year-to-year.

Real estate researcher Tom Maeser in Myrtle Beach said prices in Horry and Georgetown Counties have also declined.

"Every month I am a little bit surprised that prices still continue to deflate," admitted realtor Alex Holdert in Myrtle Beach.

Holdert said he expected home prices in the Grand Strand to be on the rise by now, but that just has not happened. With the national report showing large cities like Charlotte and Atlanta recently hit their lowest home prices since 2007, Holdert now realizes it may take several more months to hit bottom.

Maeser said he is seeing some positive signs though.

"I think we're seeing some stability in our single-family home market," he said. "There are not increases yet, but they're getting close to stabilization."

Nonetheless, he said condo prices are still dropping significantly, pulling down the overall real estate market. Lots of foreclosures are to blame for pushing down prices, and even newly constructed homes are selling for prices lower than other homes in the same neighborhood.

"The good news is they're coming in and we're seeing some construction and all of that, but the values are much lower than they were in the past," Maeser said.

The low prices are great news for buyers looking for deals, and the amount of homes sales is increasing. However, low prices are hurting people trying to sell.

As the depressed market continues, Maeser said it is not just affecting sellers and buyers.

"That's lenders. That's construction workers. That's attorneys who do closings, home inspectors, appraisers," Maeser said. "Real estate constitutes about 15 percent of our national economy. So it has a major impact."

Holdert said he expects prices to hit bottom latter in 2011, and he believes a rebound in prices may come in early 2012. He said every market will recover at a different rate though. He anticipates the Grand Strand will recover earliest, and any recovery will depend on improving the employment rate.

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