Musical Chairs. Do you remember this simple but thrilling childhood game?

I recall that our teacher stopped the music by lifting the arm off the LP spinning on the record player, which in itself marks the bygone-era during which the game was so popular.

Fast forward to 2020, when a pandemic suddenly shifted how everyone lives, works, plays and travels, impacting every facet of our lives in one way or another, and placing the role and importance of “home” more front and center than ever before.

All of a sudden, the “music” came on, people began to jump out of their “seats,” and the game began for people to seek out a more comfortable “chair” to call home.

Real estate websites, phones, emails and texts began to light up with inquiries about opportunities here in the Lowcountry as a nationwide real estate boom took shape.

Pending sales began to skyrocket, eclipsing 2019 sales week over week, month over month, and year over year. (See graph).

We now find ourselves in a market with an unprecedented level of demand amid a low inventory of property for sale, yielding some quick sales, record prices, and competing-bid scenarios.

In order to serve the absentee buyer market, FaceTime and other video-conferencing apps have become the go-to tool for showing real estate. Agents representing eager buyers jump on the opportunity to “show” a listing in this high-tech, ultra-convenient fashion, often yielding offers contingent upon the buyer promptly making the trek to see the property in person.

Such is the “new normal” of real estate, fueled in great part by people who have re-evaluated their concept of home. The following are leading factors that now shape buyer demand:

• Swimming pools and outdoor recreation space have never been more popular.

• Demand for in-home office and at-home schooling space is at an all-time high.

• Low-density living is en vogue across the country.

• Safety and security are top of mind.

• Favorable year-round climate has swiftly made the top of many wish lists.

There doesn’t appear to be an immediate end in sight for when this “music” may stop. Buyer prospects for our market continue to emerge daily, and impressive sales continue.

Perhaps at some point the market will return to “normal,” but until then, it’s an exciting game to observe and facilitate.

Chip Collins is the broker-owner of Collins Group Realty or