by Chip Collins
In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, Thanksgiving celebrations around the Lowcountry were certainly filled with gratitude for safety and well-being…and even a healthy real estate market!
It would have been reasonable to expect that the real estate market might “go quiet” after having our market-area hit hard by the Category 2 storm. Yet while there was an undeniable interruption due to the evacuation and initial days/weeks of the recovery period, it’s impressive to know that there have been over 678 newly-written contracts on homes, villas and lots in the overall market area since the storm! Sure, this is down from 775 during the same period of time in 2015…but given the magnitude of the storm, with some 20% of all properties receiving some kind of damage, it nonetheless marks a resilience and demand for the Lowcountry that wouldn’t be stopped by the likes of Hurricane Matthew.
It has been equally impressive to watch how sellers and buyers pulled together after the storm to work through the new issues they faced on properties that were under contract, and not yet closed when the storm arrived. Appraisers and inspectors found themselves working double-time upon returning from the evacuation, working diligently to ensure that storm repairs were completed and that the properties’ values were not impacted by the Hurricane. Realtors® and attorneys worked exhaustively to find the right answers to new questions, most they had never faced, given that the marketplace had never experienced such a sizeable and significant storm in their careers. All to the benefit of this steadfast and ever desirous place we call home.
It is there that you witness the silver-lining …the strength of our community. While the Lowcountry didn’t get a lot of national media exposure after the storm, social media showed an incredible, heartfelt side of the Lowcountry that spread across the country, demonstrating how this amazing group of owners and residents pulled together to help one another at a time of great uncertainty and upset. One home-buyer in particular commented on social media about how they were so moved by what they heard and saw in the actions and images in the aftermath of the storm that they were even more enthusiastic and committed to buying property in the Lowcountry than they were before the storm! Perhaps a prevalence of that attitude is what led to a very successful Thanksgiving vacation-week…with spectacular weather as the perfect dollop of whip cream on the pumpkin pie!
We’ve all been told, and can now see, that the clean-up is going to take months…but it’s great to know that real estate is nicely back in business with a positive outlook for the year ahead!
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