Realty season

Local real estate broker Jonathan Coleman and prospective homebuyer Tina Kicklighter chat about property details while walking the grounds of a Blackshear home during a recent open house event.

Agents scramble to find, list homes in $100K - $150K range

Springtime is nearly gone, the dog days of summer will be here soon, and families hoping to move over the summer months while kids are out of school are house hunting now.

There’s just one problem. Inventory in Pierce County is low.

“Buyers are scrambling to buy things and we’re short on inventory,” says Jody DuPont of Compass360. “If they want to sell … this is the time to take advantage of it.”

“It’s always been a good market; we just don’t have any houses,” agrees Wendy Mattox, Remax agent.

May real estate data for Pierce County reports 54 houses on the market. Nine of those are mobile homes.  

“Put that in perspective, if you have 45 families looking for houses,” Mattox says.

The average listing price for those homes is $210,509  — not exactly in the price range for middle income families or first time homebuyers.

And those are the folks looking to buy these days.

Most have been pre-approved for mortgages from $100,000 - $125,000  — some for up to $150,000  — but homes in that price range are hard to find in Pierce County.

“There’s a gap for homes for first time homebuyers,” Mattox says. “Under $125,000 most things aren’t even livable.”  

“If we get anything that’s decent in that price range it’s going to go quick,” DuPont adds, urging homeowners considering selling in the $100,000 - $150,000 price range to contact a local real estate agent soon.

The lack of inventory has some potential buyers taking a second look at mobile homes, but finding land to go that route is a challenge, too.

There’s also a shortage of homes for larger families, particularly four-bedroom houses. There are only five available in Pierce County right now and the starting list price is $175,000.

It may be a seller’s market this spring, but buyers shouldn’t be discouraged. They can capitalize on low interest rates, and the Federal Reserve reportedly intends to maintain the current rates through 2021.

“It’s a win-win,” DuPont says.

Even with low inventory, the busy spring realty season has been a win for realtors, too.

This time last year, 48 homes totaling $5.3 million had been sold. Realtors have sold 43 houses in Pierce so far this year for nearly $2 million more. Current homes sales for the year top $7 million.

The housing market over $200,000 is a lot better than it has been, Mattox adds. She’s seen more expensive home sales this year at a frequency like never before, signs of a growing economy.

Buyers are so intent on locating in Pierce County many are seeking out companies willing to build new homes when they can’t find a move-in ready house, and local contractors are answering that call.

Twenty-eight new home construction permits have been issued by the Pierce County planning and codes department this year.

Homes are selling just as quickly as they can be built in Pinehurst, Bluffs at Satilla and at the Okefenokee Country Club.

“Things we hadn’t seen in new construction in a while are starting to build back up,” DuPont says.

And, construction type has been diverse. New 1,400 sq. foot homes on half acre lots are selling just as quickly as $300,00 and $400,000 new homes in the country club.

Homebuyers’ main reasons for wanting to locate in Pierce County are the school system and a perception of lower property taxes.

“The draw is mostly the school system,” DuPont says. “We’re smaller and we have a little bit more to offer.”

Pierce County is a great place to call home  — on that residents and those who wish to live here can agree.

DuPont also credits the “small town” feel and how active the community is, particularly the Chamber of Commerce and Better Hometown Blackshear.

“There’s always something going on,” she says.