The Augusta area real estate market is not as wild and crazy as it was in the spring; however, it is still a long way from a bargain hunter’s paradise either.
Sales data in October showed several notable trends compared to October 2021.
For one, the number of homes sold in October of this year plummeted nearly 20 percent compared to last year with 707 total sales compared to 880 in October of last year. That’s significant. The sharpest drop was in Columbia County, where sales volume dropped 31 percent from 350 in 2021 to just 241 this year. The exception was Harlem which actually saw a slight increase from 13 sales last October to 15 this year. North Augusta saw a sharp drop in the number of homes sold as well, dropping 24 percent from 93 sold to 71. Richmond County, however, held its own. The total number of homes sold in Richmond County only fell 11 percent from 230 down to 206 with Hephzibah posting the strongest number with a decrease of only 5.6 percent.
As you might expect given that sharp of a drop in volume, housing inventory is also up this year compared to last year. In fact, for the first time since 2019, if my memory serves me right, housing inventory in the CSRA as a whole eclipsed the 2 month supply threshold. This is great news for buyers, because it means better selection to choose from. It also means more competition among sellers, which means you no longer have to give away your first AND second born, plus the family pet to secure your dream home. Of course, interest rates are double what they were earlier this year, but we will save that for a different post.
In spite of all these changes in the local market, Augusta house prices still posted double digit gains in prices in October compared to October of last year. While we did not post 20 percent annual gains the way we did in 2019-2021, a 12 percent increase is still a pretty good return on investment for home sellers. Again, the strongest gains were in Richmond County where home prices were up more than 16 percent year over year with the weakest numbers in Martinez and Evans, where prices increased a little more than 5 percent. The gains in Richmond County are likely because house prices are cheaper there compared to Columbia County and North Augusta, so buyers are looking for more affordable homes due to higher interest rates.
To close, it is still a good time to buy or sell a home in the Augusta, Fort Gordon, Columbia County, and North Augusta area. The market has not crashed at all; it has merely corrected, or at least evened out a bit. Instead of being completely tilted toward sellers, it is more of a level playing field for buyers and sellers. And that is a good thing in the world of capitalism in which we live.
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