2020 Lowcountry Real Estate Update - Annual Report

Posted by Paige Rose on Thursday, January 14th, 2021 at 10:21am

2020 housing market was unexpectedly turbulent towards the end of the first quarter due to the pandemic that spread across the country. As the first wave of COVID-19 hit in the spring, housing market activity slowed substantially before staging a dramatic comeback just a couple months later.

Buyer activity was the leader again in 2020. With mortgage interest rates setting record lows multiple times throughout the year and a strong drive by many buyers to secure a better housing situation – in part due to the new realities brought on by COVID-19 – many segments of the market experienced a multiple-offer frenzy not seen in the last 15 years or more.

While markedly improved from their COVID-19 spring lows, seller activity continued to lag buyer demand, which had strengthened the ongoing seller’s market for most housing segments as inventories remain at record lows.

Sales: Pending sales increased 30.7 percent, finishing 2020 at 7,301. Closed sales were up 24.0 percent to end the year at 6,781.

Listings: Comparing 2020 to the prior year, the number of homes available for sale was lower by 51.3 percent. There were 1,020 active listings at the end of 2020. New listings increased by 5.5 percent to finish the year at 7,506.

Distressed Properties: The foreclosure market continued to remain a small player in the overall market amid numerous forbearance efforts undertaken by the government and lenders. In 2020, the percentage of closed sales that were either foreclosure or short sale decreased by 93.2 percent to end the year at 0.1 percent of the market. Foreclosure and short sale activity may tick higher in 2021 as forbearances expire with some homeowners unable to meet their obligations.

Prices: Home prices were up compared to last year. The overall median sales price increased 13.0 percent to $367,250 for the year. Single-family home prices were up 11.5 percent compared to last year, and villa/condo prices were up 17.0 percent.

List Price Received: Sellers received, on average, 97.4 percent of their original list price at sale, a year-over-year improvement of 0.6 percent.

The housing market in 2020 proved to be incredibly resilient, ending the year on a high note. Home sales and prices were higher than in 2019 across most market segments and across most of the country. Seller activity recovered significantly from the COVID-19 spring decline, but overall activity was still insufficient to build up the supply of homes for sale.

As we look to 2021, signals suggest buyer demand will remain elevated and tight inventory will continue to invite multiple offers and higher prices across much of the housing inventory. Mortgage rates are expected to remain low, helping buyers manage some of the increases in home prices and keep them motivated to lock in their housing costs for the long term. These factors will provide substantial tailwinds for the housing market into the new year.

See the breakdown by area/community here. 

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