As the robust winter/spring season of 2014 breezes to a close in Aiken, the question served hot at May dinner parties is “So, how’s the real estate market?” The answer: “It’s not bad.”
By most measurements, the Aiken County real estate market is steady with small improvements. Comparing the first quarter of 2014 to the same period in 2013:
- New listings are down slightly, a sign that the backlog of unwanted properties is decreasing.
- Pending sales are up slightly.
- The average sales price is down 11%
- Closed sales were steady, with a drop of about 1%
That average sale price drop looks dramatic. But because it occurs with declining inventory and steady sales pace, this probably indicates the market is finally reaching dynamic price stability
If I had to put the development in human terms, I would say that both Buyers and Sellers have finally acclimated to the new economy. Prices today are lower, period. And prices are stable, period. So Buyers are purchasing without fear, and Sellers are contracting with less angst and remorse. Everyone knows the new price structure and - with that knowledge - they are bartering with greater confidence.
In the first four months of 2014, farm sales (properties of 5 or more acres) were twice as numerous in the rural areas than in the metro-Aiken area. This is a significant change in the County market, after a few years of slow rural sales.
While farm prices remain soft in Aiken County, the number of farm sales for April 2014 was up 20% over April 2013. Proving once again that - in good times or bad – smart money finds Aiken!