Lowcountry deemed nation's top home-buying market

South Carolina's Lowcountry has been deemed one of the nation's five best markets to buy a home by a report, based on data gathered by

The reason: Attractive prices and a large inventory give buyers the upper hand.

"This large metro area in southern South Carolina includes old towns like Beaufort, as well as more modern developments like the resort communities on Hilton Head Island," the post says.

The area "has history and charm without the hassles of bigger cities," Low Country Real Estate broker Edward Dukes says in the article.

The region was rated as the best buyers' market in February by, the official site of the National Association of Realtors. Home prices are 5 percent lower this year than last, at a median price of $269,900.

The average length of time homes stay on the market -- 156 days -- allows buyers "plenty of time to shop around and bargain with sellers," the posting says.

Other markets ranked in the top five are Reading, Pa.; Santa Fe, N.M.; Asheville, N.C.; and Portland, Maine. bases its rankings on median list prices, supply of homes for sale and days to sell a new listing. Housing markets include the entire metro areas.