Columbia, SC Real Estate Market Trends & Analysis [Updated 2020]

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The Columbia real estate market in South Carolina has been hit hard by foreclosures. While the local economy has made great improvements in recent years, there’s still plenty of ground to be made up. As a result, a larger percentage of homeowners have found themselves underwater compared to a majority of markets across the country. That said, real estate in Columbia has become a commodity for today’s budget-conscious investors. Both traditional sales and distressed properties appear to offer investors a lot of potential. There’s no doubt about it: the Columbia housing market is improving, and should continue to do so for the foreseeable future. As a result, the Columbia real estate investing community hopes to capitalize on a situation the continues to improve.

Columbia Real Estate Market 2020 Overview

  • Median Home Value: $138,100

  • 1-Year Appreciation Rate: +6.1%

  • Median Home Value (1-Year Forecast): +2.8%

  • Median Rent Price: $1,175

  • Price-To-Rent Ratio: 9.79

  • Average Days On Market: 66

  • Percent With Negative Equity: 14.6%

  • Unemployment Rate: 2.8% (latest estimate by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics)

  • Population: 133,451 (latest estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau)

  • Median Household Income: $43,650 (latest estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau)

  • Percentage Of Vacant Homes: 12.25%

  • Foreclosure Rate: 1 in every 1,216

Columbia real estate investing

2020 Columbia Real Estate Investing

The Columbia real estate investing community, not unlike others across the country, favors distressed assets over those that are priced more traditionally. Placing an emphasis on distressed homes increases their odds of locating deals with potentially larger profit margins. With that in mind, there are a couple types of distressed properties real estate investors should pay special considerations to: pre-foreclosures and auctions. If for nothing else, pre-foreclosures and auctions make up the overwhelming majority of distressed homes in the Columbia real estate market — 41.5% and 39.0%, respectively. Constituting 80.5% of the distressed property market, Columbia real estate investors will have an easier time finding deals with attractive profit margins if they prioritize these motivated sellers. Investors should focus their acquisition efforts on local courthouses and auctions. If for nothing else, that’s where they will find the majority of the city’s distressed homes.

Fortunately, pre-foreclosures are public knowledge, which means investors in the Columbia housing market simply need to take a trip to their local courthouse and look for homes that are late on mortgage payments. This process takes some times, and investors need to know what they are looking for, but the information is all there. In identifying the homes which have neglected to keep up with payments, investors will most likely find motivated sellers. Those missing payments may be inclined to sell for a discount than face the ramifications of an impending foreclosure.

In addition to the local courthouse, the Columbia real estate investing community should also check local auctions. The homes being sold at auction have already been repossessed by local banks and will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. That said, auction homes can often be had at a discount in the Columbia real estate market.

Of course, knowing where to find real estate deals in the Columbia housing market is only part of the equation. Once investors secure deals, they need to know what to do with them, which begs the question: Which exit strategies are working the best for the Columbia real estate investing community? Where is the best place to buy an investment property in Columbia, SC?

Local affordability tells investors everything they need to know about local investing. Since it is actually more affordable to buy than rent, a great deal of the market leans heavily in favor of purchasing. Not only that, but a larger contingent of buyers is actually more ready to buy today than in years past. The strengthening economy has enabled more buyers to actively participate in the market, which bodes well for wholesalers and rehabbers. While it is possible to execute long-term rental property strategies, investors will find more demand from buyers.

2020 Foreclosure Statistics In Columbia

According to RealtyTrac, a nationally recognized real estate information company that specializes in distressed properties, Columbia has a very high distribution of distressed properties. With approximately one out of every 1,216 homes in some stage of distress (default, auction or bank owned), the South Carolina boasts a foreclosure rate of about 8.2%. At that rate, it boasts one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country. The country as a whole, for that matter, has an average foreclosure rate of 3.9%.

It is worth noting, however, that while the Columbia real estate market may have a foreclosure rate that more than doubles the national average, foreclosure activity is on the decline. “In September, the number of properties that received a foreclosure filing in Columbia, SC was 24% lower than the previous month and 6% lower than the same time last year,” according to RealtyTrac. The drop in foreclosure activity may be attributed to a strengthening economy, which has enabled more homeowners to get out from underwater.

As the economy continues to strengthen, foreclosure activity should continue to drop. That said, real estate in Columbia has a long way to go. There are still several pockets across the city with higher foreclosure rates, not the least of which include:

Foreclosures in Columbia

Data provided by RealtyTrac

2020 Median Home Prices In Columbia

The median home value in Columbia is approximately $138,100. While well below the national average, real estate prices in Columbia have made up a lot of ground over the course of a decade. Since the beginning of January 2016, in fact, home prices have increased 29.0%. In the last year (alone), median home prices have jumped 6.1%. The increase is most likely the result of three specific indicators: demand, supply and the city’s strengthening economy. Stronger economic fundamentals have enabled more people to actively participate in the market. However, available inventory levels have restricted the number of buyers that can actually follow through with a purchase. As a result, competition for housing has jumped, along with home prices. There doesn’t appear to be an answer to the inventory shortage coming in the near future, which will push prices higher for the foreseeable future. Therefore, it’s same to assume prices will continue to rise, somewhere around 2.8% in the next 12 months.

Median home prices Columbia

Data provided by Zillow

The Columbia real estate market has been hampered by foreclosures, more so than the majority of cities across the country, which bodes well for the whole Columbia real estate investing community. In fact, only a handful of cities have a higher foreclosure rate than Columbia. However, recent progress has fostered optimism for buyers, sellers. Investors, in particular, have found real estate in Columbia to be particularly attractive. The city’s foreclosure activity suggests below-market deals are more abundant, which is great for profit margins. Not only that, but demand for houses is on the rise. Those investors who are able to meet that demand could find Columbia to be a great city to invest in.

Columbia Real Estate Market: 2016 Summary

  • Current Median Home Price: $165,500

  • 1-Year Appreciation Rate: 5.2%

  • 3-Year Appreciation Rate: 11.7%

  • Unemployment Rate: 5.9%

  • 1-Year Job Growth Rate: 2.7%

  • Population: 133,358

  • Median Household Income: $40,550

Columbia Real Estate Investing 2016

Columbia real estate news was relatively encouraging in 2016. The median home price was $165,500 during the second quarter, compared to the national average of $239,167. Although price growth was slowing down at the time, home prices were up from the previous year. The Columbia housing market also witnessed minimal gains in terms of total equity during the first-half, which saw properties appreciate at a much slower rate than the rest of the country.

Approximately halfway through 2016, there were 1,873 properties in some stage of foreclosure. The number of foreclosures at the time was 13.0% lower than the previous month and 5.0% lower than the same period in 2015. The number of REO properties fell 4.3% from the previous month, but skyrocketed 187% from the same time last year.

The Columbia real estate investing community and homeowners paid 8.7% of their income to mortgage payments in the second quarter of 2016, while the national average was upwards of 15.8%. At that rate, the Columbia housing market was one of the most affordable in the country.

The level of construction at the time was 26.1% above the long-term average, and single-family housing permits grew at a rate of 8.5%. Construction was on the rise relative to the previous year, which suggests the local inventory had begun to stabilize.

Unemployment in the Columbia housing market trailed the national average, as the city’s unemployment rate was 5.3% versus the national average of 4.9%. On the bright side, however, one-year job growth outpaced the rest of the country.

Columbia Real Estate Market: 2015 Summary

  • Current Median Home Price: $152,800

  • 1-Year Appreciation Rate: 3.2%

  • Unemployment Rate: 6.3%

  • 1-Year Job Growth Rate: 1.3%

  • Population: 133,358

  • Median Household Income: $48,672

Columbia Real Estate Investing 2015

In 2015, sales were up nearly 31.0% from when the recovery really started to take off. The Columbia housing market, like most markets at the time, was the beneficiary of historically high appreciation rates. In fact, appreciation rates in the previous three years were responsible for extending the trend of price growth since the downturn, which brought the median home price to $152,800.

Despite the appreciation that took place in 2015, homes were considerably below that of the national average ($216,567). Over the previous three years, Columbia and the national average saw home prices rise, 9.4% and 28.0% respectively. Consequently, home prices were not able to keep pace with the rest of the country.

According to Columbia real estate news at the time, the local economic outlook was not as encouraging as one would have liked to see. While the unemployment rate improved year-over-year, it was left behind by the national average. However, the city improved its unemployment rate to 6.3%.

Columbia Real Estate Investing Statistics In 2015

Statistics regarding the Columbia real estate market

Columbia County Map:

Map of Columbia neighborhoods

Have you thought about investing in the Columbia real estate market? Do you want to become a part of the Columbia real estate investing community? If so, what are you waiting for? We would love to know your thoughts on real estate in Columbia in the comments below.

*The information contained herein was pulled from third party sites. Although this information was found from sources believed to be reliable, FortuneBuilders Inc. makes no representations, warranties, or guarantees, either express or implied, as to whether the information presented is accurate, reliable, or current. Any reliance on this information is at your own risk. All information presented should be independently verified. FortuneBuilders Inc. assumes no liability for any damages whatsoever, including any direct, indirect, punitive, exemplary, incidental, special, or consequential damages arising out of or in any way connected with your use of the information presented.
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