With spring here in all its bounty, it's time to renew, refresh and revive our understanding of what's fueling the ongoing market recovery.
Tightened inventory levels combined with strong demand are fueling price gains in many segments of the market, especially under $400,000. Inventory is down 26 percent on a 12-month average from last April. Consumer demand is shifting from distressed properties to conventional homes. Record-low mortgage rates, rising rents, along with the areas redevelopment and strong quality of life are supporting the local housing recovery.
Outside of health care, real estate is the largest contributor to the U.S. economy. According to the National Association of Realtors in South Carolina the real estate industry accounted for $23 million, or 14 percent, of the Gross State Product in 2011. When a house is sold in South Carolina $53,000 is generated into the local economy. This breaks down in part to $14,000 in real estate related industries, land, development and salaries. Consumers spend $5,600 on items such as furniture and appliances. And $3,300 is spent on remodeling within the first two years of the purchase.
As we enter into the summer season, locals are encouraged to share their experiences as a resident with our area guests. Tourism is a vital segment of real estate in our market as many guests return to purchase property. In the 2013 National Association of Realtors Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey, 78 percent of vacation and investment buyers report now is a good time to purchase real estate. After you are done touting what a great place this is to live or invest in, refer them to your favorite Realtor, a member of the Hilton Head Area Association of Realtors.
Jean Beck is executive vice president of the Hilton Head Area Association of Realtors.