Fast-growing area has important real estate implications

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A report released March 24 by the U.S. Census Bureau regarding the fastest growing metropolitan areas from 2014 to 2015 lists the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort region at No 12. The combined population increase in that timeframe was 2.6 percent.

Here are the real estate implications for our area:

  • High demand for housing and low inventory. The influx of new residents to both Bluffton and Hilton Head is expanding the need for more houses, villas and condos to buy and-or rent.
  • Homes appreciate faster and prices rise. Population growth is increasing demand for homes, causing prices to rise and homes to sell faster. We might even see the days of double-digit appreciation again.
  • Multiple offers on homes. As more people move here and buy homes, we might see more multiple offers, with houses coming on the market today and going off the market tomorrow.

In some Bluffton and Hilton Head communities, offers are coming in at (or more than) asking price.

  • Great place to buy or build a home. Many folks like the small town feeling and year-round outdoor activities of living in the area, with all the benefits of the big cities a short drive away.
  • Heading towards a seller's market. A little more than a few years ago, we were in a buyer's market (inventory high, demand low, and prices very low). Now, in 2016, we're moving towards a seller's market (inventory low, demand high, and prices going up) ... a great time to sell.
  • Residential rental market is very strong. There is a substantial shortage in rental housing in this area.

In fact, it would be safe to say it is a landlord's market (many people looking to rent, high rents and low vacancy rates).

  • Investing in rental properties makes sense. Even with home prices rising, there are still many good house values here that make it smart to buy rental properties for immediate income flow and for expected future appreciation.

Here are some Bluffton-Hilton Head area market statistics for the period January 2015 to January 2016:

  • Median sales price up 27.4 percent (but good values still make it a great time to buy)
  • Average sales price up 13.8 percent (ditto above)
  • Inventory of homes for sale up 2.6 percent (inventory is still very low, a good time to sell)
  • Housing affordability index (HAI) down 23.6 percent (houses are becoming less affordable)
  • Days on market down 9.6 percent (houses are selling faster - a recent sale in Sun City took just 12 hours from listing to selling)
  • New listings up 18.6 percent (sellers are gaining confidence to sell their homes)

What's going on in your plantation or housing development? Contact your favorite real estate agent.

Larry Stoller is a real estate consultant and advertising executive who loves living in Bluffton and helping real estate agents and sellers get homes sold.

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