Home sales in Columbia and statewide are still struggling to find a bottom during a sputtering economic recovery.
Midlands-area sales plummeted 31 percent to 569 in May compared to the same month last year, according to figures released by the S.C. Realtors trade group. Statewide, sales fell 17 percent with only two of 15 markets showing gains.
Sales in the Hilton Head area increased 23 percent, with Beaufort gaining about 6 percent. The Orangeburg area fared worst with a 48 percent decline in sales, followed by the Piedmont with a 34 percent drop and the Pee Dee with a 31 percent decline.
Last May, home sales were elevated as first-time home buyers scrambled to take advantage of an $8,000 federal tax credit. Buyers who put contracts on homes by April 30, 2010, were given until June 30, 2010, to close. That could skew number comparisons until July.
Median home price held relatively steady statewide at $150,000, and bumped up 6.5 percent in Columbia to $146,276. Homes also are taking about a month longer to sell than last year – nearly 5 months on average statewide and an average of four months in Columbia.