Jillian Kersh, a first time home buyer in the Upstate area of South Carolina, knows first hand just how difficult it can be to find a home to buy when there is an inventory shortage. Kersh, a 33-year-old woman who had attended college and developed her professional career in Spartanburg County, didn’t know the term “housing inventory shortage” when she began her search. She didn’t even know she needed a Realtor until the first four homes she wanted to buy came under contract in one day. Eventually, Kersh got a realtor and put in an offer on a town home six hours after she saw it. “Lucky for me that my realtor convinced me to submit an offer that was accepted because two other offers came in on ‘my’ home over night.”
Jo Chism, president of the Spartanburg Association of Realtors, said, “We are experiencing a low supply of homes on the market as is the nation. Nationwide, that shortage is approximately 2 million homes. Here, our DOM stats have decreased by 14% in just one year…and sales prices are up 5% for 2016.” Chism said that this shortage of existing homes is fueling a new home construction boom in Upstate, particularly in high demand areas like Moore, Duncan, Boiling Springs and Inman.
Charilianne Nestles, an agent with Caldwell Banker Caine, said, “The reason we’re seeing all this new construction is that it ceased to exist in the recession. We had builders walk away from housing construction during those terrible years. Now, that tide has turned. The builders have returned but even with all this new construction, the population never stopped growing and we continue to suffer from a low housing supply.” According to the Riley Institute at Furman University, Upstate Forever and Ten at the Top, South Carolina’s population is expected to increase 20% by 2040 and an already strained market will have even more pressure.
Developers are thrilled with such prognostications. Manny Lynch of Manny Lynch Inc. said, “I think the market is stronger now than it’s ever been. Homes are selling out of the gate…I’m selling 100% of what I’m building. Robert Penny, spokesman for Great Southern Homes, concurred. “This is a great market for us.” Great Southern just finalized plans to build 270 more homes.
Nearby Greenville, the ever-growing metro of the Upstate has the same problem as Spartanburg County, with shortages and home prices that have seen a 5% increase in just the last year. The average sale price of a home in Greenville has gone from $202,000 to $214,000, while Spartanburg has gone from $154,000 to $164,000. The revitalization of Downtown Greenville has garnered much attention in recent years has only fueled the draw for out of state transplants, with many looking in Spartanburg county for less expensive homes that are still within commuting distance.
Jillian Kersh? She continues to feel lucky that she has a home of her own. “I had no idea this home buying thing would be so hard.”