Rent for now as prices will substancially decline over the next 6-12 months. Add rising interest rates and the price decline will be even worse.
And there are lots of homes in this price range not even on the market - when they hit, the inventory rate will skyrocket and it's going to be devastating.
Some advice to sellers of higher price homes: Sell now or you will be price IN forever.
You are asking the million dollar question. The truth is that know one really knows what prices will do, but I wouldn't compare the Mount Pleasant or Charleston real estate market to DC or So Cal. Our markets have always been behind other more populated areas, but that is part of the reason Charleston isn't feeling the crunch as much as the rest of the country. Sure prices here got inflated 2004-2006, but because we were behind the rest of the country, we didn't get hyper inflated like the rest of the country. I think that is why our area has only seen an 8% loss this past year.
I think that prices have fallen the majority of the way down and we will still see some lower prices, but mainly on Short Sales and Foreclosures. The real key to finding a great deal in Mount Pleasant is to keep an eye on the market, learn what homes should sell for and wait to buy when you find that great deal. The best deals in my opinion are not the short sales, but the homes where a nervious seller with good equity decides to unload a well kept house for a great price. I have a great Mount Pleasant page below if you want to do some of your own research!
I personally know of MANY that are over their head with awareness that their equity is gone because they bought with 100% financing at the 300-400K range. They no longer care if it's a short sale because of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act. With that, the financial repercussions are gone. But get a realtor heavily experienced in short sales because it's a very complicated process. One of my friends used a realtor not well versed in short sales and both the buyer and seller had a nerve wracking time during the negotiation process with the bank. Had the realtor been experienced, the timeframe would've been short with much less hassle.
I can't stress it enough that you should negotiate for a "short sale" at every step of the turn. And I would strongly recommend that you not deal with a Realtor that has experience of less than 10 short sales.
Remember, "You don't make money when you sell a house. You may money when you BUY a house." I'm a school Economist and quickly learned to laugh at National Association of Realtor's (NAR) economic forecasts. Research will most definitely payoff and verify whatever any realtor tells you. Be very wary of realtors at every step of the way, as they get their information from the (NAR) which is very biased and unsubstantiated. They have been making statements such as that since 2003 which hurt hundreds, if not thousands, of homebuyers in this region who are financially upside down in their homes.
As for me, I'm looking at paying $190k for a home purchased for $200k in 2000 because $190k is owned on the note. That's a 5% drop in price since 2000, but it took a lot of research and luck to find this home.
And, for what it's worth, I like Randall's answer the best.
On a seperate note, most sellers can not tell you (or us) the lowest price they will take for their home until they are presented with an offer. I had one seller listed at $1.45m tell me he would not go below $1.3m and we sold his home for $1.1m. Go figure.....In addition we can do some digging and find out how desperate a particular seller is. Some new home builders are on more solid ground than others. Let me know if I can help.
Charleston's average sale prices have seen a decline of just about 8% over the last year. There are some great buys available now, particularly on new homes that builders would like to part with, with fantastic interest rates. In fact, I have a client that had a contract on an Isle of Palms home for $150,000 less (a short sale) than an appraisal that was just a couple of months old. I am currently working on three short sales for clients and I am sure that there will be more. It is true that our prices have not seen the same decline as some areas that are not coastal communities.
You can search all available Charleston area homes at http://woodsflowers.com . I love to help investors and families that are relocating!
Home Grown on Charleston's Shore
Our prices dropped a fair amount over the last few months but the issue was that they were overpriced in the first place. So a $50,000 reduction on a house that is $75,000 overpriced is not that great of a deal.
There is a lot of underwater equity - many people re-fi'd and pulled equity lines and now their home has declined in value and they cannot sell or they are listing at way too high of a price.
If you would like some more specifics, please let me know and I will be happy to help you out.
Carolina One Real Estate
Must be pretty busy in DC right now - What a GREAT city!