Even with interest rates edging higher, home sales in the Charleston region continue to climb at a double-digit rate. Breakdown: CHARLESTON COUNTY 759 homes sold at a median price of $250,000 in May. Area to watch: West Ashley, inside I-526, where sales are up 57% this year, and the median price is up nearly 12% to $195,000. BERKELEY COUNTY 268 homes sold at a median price of $164,250 in May. Area to watch: Wando/Cainhoy, where sales are up 44% this year, and the median price is up 11% to $195,000. DORCHESTER COUNTY 224 homes sold at a median price of $179,000 in May. Area to watch: Summerville/Ladson/Ravenel, where sales are up 54% this year, and the median price is up 5% to $144,000. Chas. Trident Association of Realtors Charleston Trident Association of Realtors said Monday that May sales jumped 28 percent from a year ago to 1,277 purchases. The median price rose 6 percent to $212,000 over the same period, according to the group’s preliminary monthly report. . In May 2012, 994 homes sold at a median price of $200,000. Year-to-date, 4,782 homes have changed hands, up 21 percent from the first five months last year. The association said rising interest rates could be nudging some would-be buyers off the fence. As of Thursday, the average rate on a 15-year fixed mortgage rose above 3 percent for the first time in a year, while the 30-year fixed home loan was closing in on 4 percent, according to finance giant Freddie Mac. Concerns that the Federal Reserve may scale back its monthly bond purchases have pushed rates higher over the last month. Still, mortgages remain cheap by historical standards. Owen Tyler, the 2013 president of the local real estate association, said rates averaged 4.1 percent as of Friday, up more than a half a percentage point since May 1. “While that’s not a huge jump, it’s an indicator that the Fed is likely to allow rates to rise as our economy strengthens and the market can tolerate a slightly higher rate,” he said in a statement. Also, inventory is down 12 percent year over year at a time when the number of homes for sale typically increases, the group said. About 5,600 homes are on the market in the region and demand is rising, which helps explain the price increases. Also the number of days a home sits on the market has declined to an average of 83, not including foreclosures and other distressed properties. A year ago the average was around 120 days. “Buyers are acting quickly as the market gets more and more competitive,” Tyler said. Also, the association adjusted its April sales figure slightly higher to 1,047 homes sold. The median price did not change. The group’s sales numbers are based on homes included in its Multiple Listing Service.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact John McDermott at 937-5572.