By: Lauren Hinnant
New numbers show the Columbia housing market is stabilizing. Home sale prices rose by almost 5 percent last month.
The number of home sales also increased in Columbia in the third quarter, up 2.2 percent over last year. The state as a whole did not fare as well as the number of home sales fell over 15 percent.
Rich Heaton's home isn't for sale, nor is looking to buy, but for the first time in a long time he isn't paying two mortgages.
Heaton's family home in Orangeburg sat on the market while they were living in their new home in Blythewood.
"We put it on the market and it took us two and a half years to sell it," he said.
Heaton's home was appraised for more than $450,000, but his family was hit by a weak housing market.
"We ended up selling it for $365,000 so it's actually almost a $100,000 drop," he said. "We never dreamed that it would be that difficult to sell a second home."
Stories like Heaton's may become less of a trend though as the market stabilizes.
Tom Porcari, a veteran realtor with Home Advantage Realty, said the new numbers are encouraging, but it is important to remember we have a long way to go.
"We haven't finished that stabilization process," Porcari said. "It's getting closer and when it does stabilize, I think we'll get to what I call sensible buying and sensible selling and I'm looking forward to that.
Even with the new, optimistic numbers, it is still a buyers' market, Heaton says.