Real estate 2013 forecast: ‘Promising’

jmarks@lakewyliepilot.comJanuary 12, 2013 

— A strong finish in 2012 real estate sales stirs optimism that an even better outlook awaits in 2013.

Last week the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association released end of year data for 2012, a year that “could be called the year our local recovery started,” said Eric Locher, association president.

“Charlotte’s housing market has shown steady signs of improvement over most of 2012,” Locher said.

In York County, the number of new listings in 2012 rose just 1.3 percent compared to 2011, though closings increased almost 30 percent. The median sales price dipped slightly to $179,195 but the average sales price rose to $209,463. Both percentage changes were less than half a percent.

The percentage of the original listing price received by sellers rose 2.5 percent, and homes spent more than 18 percent fewer days on the market. In all, there were 3,754 new listings and 2,359 closings.

For the Lake Wylie area, the upward trends were even more dramatic. New listings rose more than 12 percent and closings more than 35 percent. Both the median and average sale price rose compared to 2011, with the average home going for $333,502. Sellers received more than 92 percent of their asking price, up 4.5 percent. Homes spent almost 17 percent fewer days on the market.

There were 1,004 new listings and 487 sales.

Many of the areas with available statistics, including Gaston County, showed a fairly steady increase in overall outlook since mid-2009.

Rinehart Realty is one of several local companies that works in the Lake Wylie, Tega Cay and Fort Mill areas. Jay Rinehart, company president, said the increased availability of mortgage funds in the final quarter of 2012 helped business, though non-local appraisals were a stalling factor throughout the year. Overall, he said, the local market “trended upward” for the year.

“The outlook for 2013 is very promising for sellers as listing inventory of existing homes is at a low point right now,” Rinehart said. “With limited new construction, the supply can easily be seen as not keeping up with the demand as the spring market arrives.”

Consumer confidence in real estate as a long-term investment and low interest rates that should increase in 2013 are reasons why Rinehart believes buyers will remain active, along with lenders easing underwriting requirements for qualified buyers.

“In both Lake Wylie and Fort Mill, I anticipate that both the number of sales of real property will increase and we will see an overall increase in sales prices compared to 2012,” he said.

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