By Dick Hughes  

JUNE 21, 2012 10:18 a.m. Comments (4)

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After four years of buyers holding sway in the housing market, sellers are beginning to see a slow swing of the pendulum toward balance in supply and demand.

“I definitely think it is still a buyers’ market, but there is a decrease in inventory,” said Kathie Gajda, president of the Greater Greenville Realtors Association and broker of Gajda & Gutbrod Real Estate Corner.

“It is not like when we had so many houses on the market at the same time, and the values were so depreciated. It is now a steady market in Greenville, where housing prices have stabilized.”

New listings are declining, the glut of foreclosures and short sales is easing, prices are inching up and, in some neighborhoods, competitive bidding is returning where desired housing is in short supply, according to South Carolina Realtors.

“Spring has brought both change and clarity to our local market,” the Realtors group said in its May report on Multiple Listing Service data. “Some sellers are seeing competing bids on their properties, which can lead to modest price gains in selected neighborhoods. Buyers have fewer options from which to choose in many submarkets.”

New listings statewide decreased 17.5 percent and inventory levels declined 16.4. The month’s supply index showed a decrease to 11.7 months. A year ago it was 15.2 months.  In the boom year of 2007, it was less than six.

According to the MLS, 664 homes and condos were sold last month in the greater Greenville area, which includes Greenville, Pickens and Laurens counties. That’s up from 606 in April and an 8.1 percent gain over 614 in May 2011.

In Spartanburg, 212 homes were sold in May, three more than in April and down 15.9 percent from May 2011.

The market for the first five months of 2012 is up 8.8 percent in Greenville and 11.1 percent in Spartanburg.

Statewide, the number of homes sold declined to 3,880 from 4,181 in April and 4,381 in May 2011, an 11.4 percent year-to-year negative.

From January through May, the median sale price in Greenville is up 4.4 percent to $143,000. Another sign of increased activity is time between listing and sale, and that has declined to 109 days on average for the five months from 120 a year ago. It was 108 in May.

David Crigler, executive vice president of Prudential C. Dan Joyner Realtors, said there has been “sustained positive growth” across the board in the Greenville market since the last two weeks in January. “All of our agents are busy.”

With inventory down 17 percent in Greenville, he said multiple bids on properties are returning and, in some cases, potential buyers “can’t find what they are looking for.”

Gajda said the agents she talks to are “very happy with a pickup in the market. We are getting back on track. It is very easy to sell Greenville because it has so much going for it.”


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