Every homeowner in the country has felt the effect of the real estate market collapse. This includes folks that have no mortgage, no intention of selling, and purchased their home more than ten years ago. They have friends and family members struggling to pay their mortgage, find work, or sell their home. In too many situations, people they care about are experiencing all three.
The age old mantra for real estate of: Location! Location! Location! has been challenged by a new mantra of Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!
South Carolina’s unemployment rate is currently 12.6% – the fourth highest in the country. Why then, has South Carolina’s real estate market remained one of the most stable? The area was able to survive being in the top five for unemployment by also being one of the top retirement destinations. The three main factors that have appealed to a large number of retirees: A low cost of living, conveniently located to the Blue Ridge Mountains, and South Carolina is considered a tax friendly state. These retirees contribute to the economy while living within their means. 72% of home owners 65 and older have no mortgage, according to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center.
I used the phrase, WAS able to survive being in the top five for unemployment, because the number of foreclosures in the state continues to increase. The number of home sales for South Carolina is sporadic. The number of houses going into foreclosure each month is still more than the number of REO (Bank Owned Real Estate) properties sold each month, according to Realty Trac. Without jobs, the real estate market for the area is going to decline further.
There are signs of improvement in the real estate market. New jobs coming to the Upstate have been announced. New home starts are increasing, and the tax incentives for home buyers have motivated many buyers that would have otherwise waited. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), said recently that some markets will see rapid job recovery, noting that South Carolina and Greenville will be among the fastest.
However, high unemployment and stricter lending guidelines will be with us for years. The market value of properties overall, are not expected to rebound back to past levels for years.
South Carolina’s mild climate – compared to most parts of the country, and its proximity to the Blue Ridge Mountains have made it a popular location for folks that can choose to live anywhere in the country. While the location of your home may be of utmost importance to you; the overall economic balance of the region is more of a determining factor of value.