A four-month real-estate report released last week by the Hinesville Area Board of Realtors indicates the local market has slowed the second half of this year.
HABR President Jeanne Evans said she believes the pace can be attributed to many factors, including uncertainty about sequestration and its impact on local troops.
Another factor, she said, is new construction.
“There has been more activity in Long County because of the new construction being built there,” she said. “The builders are building for less than they did before and are offering more incentives. The resale homes are having a hard time competing against the new construction.”
Part of the incentive for building in Long County is that taxes are cheaper than in Hinesville.
Coldwell Banker, Holtzman real-estate broker Jimmy Shanken said the price discrepancy for identical houses in Liberty and Long counties can lead to a potential $60 per month difference in cost of living.
And since lessons from the recession seem to have many buyers erring on the conservative side, that savings can make all the difference, Shanken said.
But, he adds, those who choose Long County forego public water and sewer and other amenities that come from living within a municipality.
Shanken said data for July through October is positive compared with the same period in 2011 because unit prices are up — but the number of residential units sold is lower than in 2011.
“Residential listed inventory was up 31.7 percent over last year, with a median home price increase of 16 percent and the average sold price is up 10.3 percent,” Shanken said.
Those numbers are accurate for August and September, when median and average sale prices were much greater than the same months in 2011. July’s median sale price was just above the 2011 number, but average sale price was below. October, however, showed a decline in both categories.
Home-price data mirrors a National Association of Realtors report released in October that indicates home prices are up 11 percent, Shanken said.
“The median price, at $183,900, is up a strong 11.3 percent from year-ago levels,” the report said. “Part of that increase stems from the mix of houses being sold today. We’re seeing fewer distressed sales as a percentage of the market, and prices are reflecting that more favorable mix.”
Other notable points from the national report indicate that inventory is dropping, which is a factor in increased prices, and time on the market has declined to a median 70 days. At this time last year, the median national time on the market was more than 100 days.
Locally, time on the market remains similar to last year, with about 115 days as the average. July and September saw fewer days on the market, with numbers at 79 and 86 respectively. August was 113, while October’s average days on the market was back up to 180.
And Shanken said inventory is up for Wayne, Tattnall, Liberty, Long, parts of Bryan and some in Chatham counties, but he thinks the inventory is down within Liberty and Long counties individually.