Low Inventory, High Demand for Homes Across South Carolina
South Carolina has a lot to love for homeowners: easy access to the ocean and other natural wonders, historic charm, a lower cost of living than the national average, and a year-round mild climate. Yet, it still faces many of the same challenges as other cities when it comes to rising home values and affordability.
As of April 2022, the average South Carolina home value was $280,637, a 25.9% increase from the same time a year prior. In 2021, the average homeowner in the state gained $48,000 in equity.
The metropolitan Hilton Head area saw its average home price jump 6.9% from March to April 2022, reaching $589,000, and the cities that have seen the highest appreciation in the past 20 years are either islands or located on the coast: Sullivan’s Island, Daufuskie Island, Awendaw, McLellanville, and Kiawah Island.
Just over a quarter of South Carolina homes (27.3%) were built past 2000, while more than half (50.3%) were constructed between 1970 and 1999, presenting the potential need for costly repairs on top of already skyrocketing home prices.
Hindrances, Help for First-Time Homebuyers
While South Carolina has a fairly high homeownership rate of 67.5%, those looking to break into the market as first-time buyers are facing major challenges that are, unfortunately, not unique to residents of the state.
“We all thought as rates started to creep up, that may have a calming effect on the market, but it hasn’t and rates are rising right along with values right now,” Graeme Moore, Realtor with The Moore Company, told News19.
State-sponsored programs like Palmetto Heroes, which helps first responders, teachers, and military members (both active and veterans) purchase their first homes through a $10,000 grant, has provided much-needed assistance to some first-time homebuyers.
“A lot of times, people have the salary to afford the monthly payment of a home but don’t have the down payment assistance to get into that home to begin with,” Chris Winston of SC Housing told News 19. This program “helps them buy their first home with some down payment assistance to help them into that home and also low fixed interest rates.”
Dipping Inventory Amid Growing Demand
Statewide, but especially in the Columbia area, low inventory also remains a problem, with the number of houses listed for sale in Columbia dropping 41.6% between February 2021 and February 2022. In the greater Charleston region, inventory has dipped almost 40% (39.67%) since 2021, making it the city with the 7th-highest decrease of the top 100 U.S. housing markets. And in 2021, the Myrtle Beach area saw a 56% drop in home inventory between June and July.
“The state and federal guidelines basically say that spending less than 30 percent of your take-home pay is affordable,” Chris Winston of the SC State Housing Finance and Development Authority told News 19. “We know across the state there are challenges because there’s a lack of inventory. There just aren’t enough affordable houses, whether that’s apartments or homes.”
What’s more, 63% of moves to or from the state in 2021 were inbound, the third-highest percentage in the country behind Vermont and South Dakota, so the demand isn’t likely to decrease any time soon.
Fortunately, not all areas of the state are experiencing issues. In fact, the city of Spartanburg, where the median home price was $198,250 as of April 2022, recently landed on lists of the best places to work in the country, as well as the most affordable cities in which to live.
Are you a South Carolina homeowner who wants to make the most of your home’s value? A home equity investment could give you access to your equity with no interest and no monthly payments.
You should know
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