The first-quarter Metrostudy data for the Charleston-North Charleston housing market shows stable sales throughout 2013 and into 2014 and continued demand for new homes. Overall home closings increased minimally from 1Q13 to 1Q14 from 3,463 to 3,535. Peak quarters in 2013 for the market were the second and third-quarter in which home sales were more than 4,700 per quarter. Existing home sales also saw slight improvement year-over-year with 2,835 in 1Q13 and 2,904 in 1Q14. New-home closings saw a very slight year-over-year increase as well from 628 in 1Q13 t o631 in 1Q14. New-home closings in the past year peaked in the third-quarter of 2013 with 794.

Home prices are rising in the market, however even new homes still maintain affordability. The total median closing price in the Charleston market has increased year-over-year from $187,500 to $210,000– a 12 percent increase– from 1Q13 to 1Q14. Existing home prices reached a $192,000 median in the first-quarter and new homes reached a median closing price at $252,700 up from $221,900 in the first-quarter of 2013. Although prices are steadily rising, the “sticker shock” in many big markets due to dramatic price spikes has not (yet) hit the Charleston market. The average price per square foot is steadily increasing as well, with a year-over-year jump from a median $123 to $141 in the first-quarter. This 14.6 percent increase may lead buyers toward purchasing smaller homes. The average household age of buyers in the market in climbing from an overall average age of 43 in 1Q13 to 46 in 1Q14.

Part of sustained new-home demand in the market is most likely due to job growth and low unemployment. In May, the preliminary unemployment rate from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.6 percent for the Charleston area, significantly lower than the national 6.1 percent. The median household income overall is approximately $50,000 which keeps homes under 300k affordable to the potential new-home buyer. Forbes ranked Charleston as 26th metro in job growth in the country, also supporting continued homebuying demand.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Charleston, SC.