It was largely a year of recovery for housing across our nation. According to the National Association of Realtors, 39 percent of buyers were first-time buyers, a slight rise from 2011 but closer to historical norm of 40 percent. The typical homebuyer searched for 12 weeks and viewed 10 homes, a decline from 12 homes in the prior year, which speaks to the tightened inventory in many areas.
Closer to home, the Hilton Head Island area ended the year with a 21.6 percent increase in closed transactions from 2011. Each year we have seen this number increase since 2009. Inventory is tightening in our area, too. It is down to approximately 10 months' supply, and properties under $300,000 are receiving multiple offers. All signs of an improved housing market. However a word of caution, price point has remained stagnant over last year, but as inventory moves off the market supply and demand will drive prices upward.
A joint study by the National Association of Realtors and Google revealed that real estate-related Google searches grew 253 percent over the last four years. South Carolina ranked in the top five states for vacation home shoppers. This is probably no surprise to you.
The reality of all these statistics; real estate is local, right down to your neighborhood. Home sellers and buyers begin their search on the internet, and the local multiple listing service is the quality resource of available properties and prices. Search the Multiple Listing Service of Hilton Head for property from the tip of the Hilton Head Island to all of Beaufort and Jasper counties. Go to www.HiltonHeadMLS.com or download their app from your app store and put it on your smartphone or tablet.
Remember, if you are selling or buying real estate; be sure to ask if your agent is a Realtor and a member of the Hilton Head Area Association of Realtors.
Jean Beck is executive vice president of the Hilton Head Area Association of Realtors.