All real estate is local

Published 9:31 pm Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Recently, the national news has been encouraging about new home starts, increasing home sales and increasing prices. All good news on a national scale, and welcome news in Beaufort County. I am, however, reminded of the old axiom: all real estate is local. What does this phrase mean?  In simple terms it means local real-estate values are determined by local activity. For example, if everyone who lives in the county, outside the city limits, decided to move into the city, the supply of available housing, say in Smallwood, would shrink quickly and prices would scream upward. Conversely, if city residents decided they had to move out of the city and into the “country,” say Pinetown, the available land and housing there would disappear quickly and prices for land would rise rapidly. I’ve lived here long enough to know that the idea of either proposition occurring is making the county residents snicker and say, “No way. Not me. I’ll be the last one left in the county or die!” And city residents are gasping for breath, saying, “I am not living way out there! I’ll die!” If either of those local activities occurred, then local real-estate values would be determined as people moved in or out — the power of supply and demand in local terms.

So, what is the current state of our local real estate?  Countywide, sales compared to the previous year have increased.  From December 2010 to December 2011, there were 322 residential sales with an average of 247 days on the market and average sales price of $146,360.

From December 2011 to now, there have been 378 residential sales with an average of 251 days on the market and average sales price of $159,719.

Increasing sales with increasing prices. Good. The report is a bit mixed though, as the inventory of new, listed-for-sale properties during the time periods has increased from 438 to 763 properties. This could indicate that next year’s sales prices will be held down since the inventory has increased. We’ll see. Regardless, our local real estate market is healthier and more active than it has been in several years, and ever the optimist that I am, I look forward to a robust real-estate market in the city of Washington and all of Beaufort County in 2013 and beyond. Happy New Year!

Scott Campbell is a Realtor with Century 21 The Realty Group in Washington. He will be writing a monthly real-estate column for this newspaper. He is interested in hearing from you with your real-estate questions or comments. His email address is