Charleston housing market ‘on the mend’

March 3, 2010

A homebuilder trade magazine has marked the Charleston housing market as one of the top 5 regions on the mend.

Builder magazine staked out the 20 healthiest housing markets for 2010 in its latest issue. Charleston was the highest-ranked market listed in South Carolina, with the Greenville region coming in at No. 19 and the Grand Strand at No. 15.

The analysis of housing markets showed some repeats from the previous year, the magazine’s editors noted, including Texas, which had a strong showing. Quality of life and costs helped push the Lowcountry coast near the top, they said.

“But Lone Star markets were eclipsed this time around by some relatively hot markets in the Carolinas, which accounted for seven of the top 20 spots,” Builder said in the story. “Many of the major cities along the Mid-Atlantic seaboard continue to benefit from a strong influx of people drawn by a comfortable way of life, affordable housing and growing employment prospects.”

The analysis also pointed out that the rankings are for an industry that has been pummeled by the recession, adding that there are few truly healthy housing markets in the U.S. compared to previous years.

“These markets may be healthier than others, but they aren’t healthy in the way they were during the housing boom, when it was common to find rising population, employment and income. Virtually every housing market still has at least one blemish,” the magazine said.

For the Charleston region, the magazine specifically noted that a 2% population growth each year for the past five years puts the area among the largest housing markets in the country.
“Underlying demographic strength helped the city escape some of the pain felt in other top housing markets. Home prices, which fell only 4.2% last year, are expected to climb in 2010 as the region begins to add jobs again,” the magazine said.

Builder magazine’s 20 healthiest housing markets for 2010
1. Austin-Round Rock, Texas
2. Raleigh-Cary, N.C.
3. Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, N.C. (This region spills over into SC)
4. San Antonio
5. Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville
6. Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, Colo.
7. Huntsville, Ala.
8. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C., Va., Md., W.V.
9. Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C.
10. Eugene-Springfield, Oregon
11. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas
12. Richmond, Va.
13. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn., Wis.
14. Colorado Springs, Colo.
15. Myrtle Beach-North Myrtle Beach-Conway
16. Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, Ore., Wash.
17. Wilmington, N.C.
18. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas
19. Greenville-Mauldin-Easley
20. Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa

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