Local home prices plunge in January
2009/02/11, 9:11 pm
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Staff Report
Published Feb. 11, 2009

The median home price in the Charleston region took a significant dip in January.

According to figures released Tuesday by the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors, homes sold for a median price of $176,750, down 7.8% from December’s median of $191,600 and down 16.6% from $211,970 in January 2008.

The last time the region recorded prices at this level was in the early part of 2005. As it turns out, Charleston’s housing bubble reached its peak later that year as more than 18,000 properties changed hands.

The median sale price inched upward after a rapid increase and has largely held steady despite the recession and the stark downturn in number of sales.

In Feb. 2005, the median sale price was $175,000. In March, it was $178,000. By July, the median price had jumped past $200,000. That month, more than 1,500 properties exchanged hands.

In January of this year, 372 properties were sold. The average number of days on the market was 125, up from 108 in December and up from 119 in January 2008.

Charleston County posted the highest number of sales, with 193 closed transactions and a median sale price of $235,000.

Downtown Charleston continued to show the promise of a rebound; residential sales posted a second consecutive month of gain with a median price of $465,000. James Island and West Ashley also saw increases in median price, up 19% and 8%, respectively, from December.

Berkeley County closed January with 96 sales at a median price of $172,000. Dorchester County saw a median price of $151,500 on 69 closed transactions.

Despite the overall dip in prices, the Realtors’ association points to an uptick in potential buyer activity as a sign of hope. Data from the Centralized Showing Service report 18,112 showings in January, up 74% compared with December’s 10,415 showings.

The tri-county region currently has 9,903 homes listed for sale.

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