CNBC program to feature Hilton Head real estate, tourism markets

cconley@islandpacket.comMay 17, 2013 

STOCK PHOTO

  • A snapshot of the Beaufort County real estate market:

    April 2012April 2013
    Beaufort area
    Sales11591
    Median sale price$159,900$164,500
    Days on market:244189
    Hilton Head area
    Sales274303
    Median sale price$210,000$263,000
    Days on market:152121

Hilton Head Island will be featured on the Monday edition of "Street Signs," a CNBC show that focuses on financial markets and economic trends.

The show will discuss real estate in three East Coast markets as part of the network's weeklong "Business of Summer" series. The segment on Hilton Head will run during Monday's show, which airs from 2 to 3 p.m.

"We wanted to take a look at how the season is going so far in different markets," said CNBC reporter Diana Olick, who added that the Delaware-Maryland coast and the Hamptons section of Long Island, N.Y., also will be profiled.

The show will explore the impact Superstorm Sandy had on the vacation market and determine whether there are still real estate deals to be had, among other things.

James Wedgeworth, a longtime Hilton Head Realtor who was interviewed for the show, says some steals are still left on Hilton Head.

"It's not too late on Hilton Head because the market has been slow, and there are still some great deals available," he said Friday. "But if people wait a year, they are going to pay more."

Olick and her producer arrived on the island Tuesday and spent about 24 hours here. They visited a high-end property on the market and filmed along Folly Field Beach and in the Coligny area, according to Wedgeworth.

The network also gathered footage for another program featuring the island's real estate market that is scheduled to air June 21, he said.

SALES RISE

The CNBC visit coincided with the release of April market data from the S.C. Realtors showing solid growth in the Hilton Head-Bluffton area compared with April 2012.

Sales volume and median sale prices from last month all were up over last year, while days on market -- an important measure of market vitality -- declined 20 percent.

Wedgeworth, of James Wedgeworth and Associates, attributes the gains to "pent up demand."

He says buyers put off purchases until after the election and that many of the homes that went under contract in winter didn't close until April.

"The reason we had a slow January and February was that we had a bad November and December," he said. "In our business, someone who buys in ... December closes in February."

The April numbers weren't as strong in the Beaufort market.

The S.C. Realtors report shows the number of sales fell compared with April 2012, the only market in the state to post a decline. Median sale prices were up slightly for the month but are down 1.5 percent for the year.

Realtor Edward Dukes of Lowcountry Real Estate in Beaufort cautioned against reading too much into the numbers.

"It's really just a blip," he said. "Our market is so small; it's very difficult to take any small snapshot and apply that to what is really going on."

Dukes says inventories are starting to drop, which can be a precursor to rising prices, but it's still a buyer's market.

"The market has turned, and inventory is shrinking," he said. "Prices are still low, but inventory is going down."

Follow reporter Casey Conley at twitter.com/IPBG_Casey.

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