August sales were sluggish in the Charleston region. This is a typical seasonal trend in the lowcountry as hot weather keeps buyers on the beach or out of town on vacation. In the three counties of Charleston, Berkley, and Dorchester monthly sales were down 39% from the previous month and down 36% from August 08’. For the first three quarters of the year the tri-county area sales are down by 25%.
That said, there is activity and it is important to closely evaluate sales trends within particular neighborhoods and price ranges to better understand the home buying market. For example, there are significant differences in the time homes remain on the market and in the prices of homes selling downtown compared to Mt. Pleasant, the islands and other areas.
Downtown year to date sales in the $2 million and above market remained relatively strong, with 22 sales through August 31, while homes in the $500-800,000 range are lingering. There was one sale on the peninsula in August, bringing total sales on the peninsula to 19 for the year,There were 22 sales on the peninsula in August this year, compared to 25 last year, down only 12%. Average sales prices are up relative to a year ago downtown.
In Mount Pleasant, south of Hwy 41, activity remains concentrated at mid-range price points, with only 1 sale over $2 million and 4 in the $1.5-1.9million range. Overall, Mt. Pleasant was one of the hardest hit areas, with a drop of 31% in sales from July. The drop from August of the previous year was 44%. In the first three quarters of the year Mt. Pleasant is down 36% from 2008.
In I’On, Sales through August 31 were 26 compared to 39 year to date in 2008. There have been no neighborhood sales over $1.5 million mark yet this year. The good news for buyers is that there are now homes selling again under $500,000 in the popular community. The one sale in August was for $527,500.
Sales on Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms are significantly up relative to last year. There were 11 sales in August compared to 6 last year, an 83% increase. There still is a lot of remaining inventory on the islands with average days on market higher than other areas.
West Ashley’s sales activity (inside 526) is up, particularly in the lower price ranges with 227 sales below $400,000 and only 4 sales over $800,000. Overall there have been 241 sales this year compared to 243 last year.
William Means is performing well relative to the overall market. The company has achieved $52,000,000 in sales (including commercial and vacant land) as of August 31, 2009. William Means ranks fifth among companies with average residential sales over $1,000,000, and has the highest average residential sale of $1,116,337, among companies that have at least 10 sales.