Home sales up in 2013, but what does the future hold?

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - 2014 seems to be off to a great start in the real estate market. Experts say the Grand Strand hasn't seen home sales numbers this strong in a decade.

According to the Coastal Carolina Association of Realtors (CCAR), there was a steady increase in home sales throughout 2013. Right now, the number of sales are up 20 percent from last year. But while homes are selling, analysts say the prices still aren't where they could be. The median price range in the coastal areas is around $180,000. But once you put your home up for sale, it probably won't be on the market for too long. The amount of time homes are listed has decreased by half.

With the way things are going, it looks like 2014 will be a very positive year for the real estate market.

"It shows that we have a much-renewed confidence in the real estate market," said Laura Crowther, CEO of CCAR. "From the consumer standpoint, interest rates are still low, and there's no reason for people not to get into the market and take advantage of this recovery."

Developers are taking advantage, as it's clear there's plenty of construction going on in the Grand Strand, especially at Cipriana Park in the Grand Dunes where several homes are being built. It may be because of the number of recent job announcements, or the increased Myrtle Beach advertising, but city planning director Jack Walker says developers are focusing on building more housing.

It's to the point where original area plans are even being changed to build more. It started with Market Common, where developers decided to stop building townhomes, and instead build freestanding Charleston-style homes. Now the Grand Dunes is making the switch, recently scratching the building plan of more townhomes and condos west of the waterway to instead have around 30 new homes there.

Crowther says it's because that's what's selling.

"You've got folks who are getting back into the market," explained Crowther. "And one size does not fit all. A lot of people really appreciate and like to have new construction, and that's why the demand is back."

Most of what's happening in the Grand Dunes area was in the works before Grand Dunes was sold to L. Star Property Management in Raleigh, NC. But those involved with the new management have expressed plans to build more in the area.

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