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Realtors in northern and southern Beaufort County say they sense fresh momentum in home sales after another strong month.
The number of home sales in October increased by 28.6 percent in the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton area and 13.6 percent in Beaufort compared to the same month last year. Median sale prices fell 1.7 percent in Hilton Head-Bluffton but increased 24.3 percent in Beaufort.
Homes also took less time to sell in both markets, according to the data, which was released by the S.C. Realtors earlier this week.
With the election over and interest rates at or near record lows, many local Realtors are optimistic the county's real estate sector is recovering.
"We definitely feel like things are up," said Edward Dukes, a managing partner with Lowcountry Real Estate. "The traffic is up ... and I think people recognize that this is such a great time to buy."
So far this year, Beaufort sales are up 7.5 percent compared to last year, while sales in the Hilton Head-Bluffton area are up 22.1 percent -- the biggest increase in South Carolina.
John Robinson, president of the Hilton Head Area Association of Realtors, says several factors, including low interest rates and good inventory, have driven sales gains over the past few months. Prices also are key, he said.
"Sellers have brought prices down to where they need to be," said Robinson, with Dunes Marketing Group. "If (prices) are too high, buyers won't buy. If buyers don't buy, inventory increases. But in the past year and a half, sellers have been reducing prices to get properties sold."
The market is starting to improve across South Carolina.
"There has been a general easing of foreclosures and short sales, meaning distressed listings are dragging prices down less than in recent years," S.C. Realtors spokeswoman Sharon Delia said.