Charleston Property Market Leads to Confusion

February 1, 2011

Investigative Reports

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The NerveBy Warwick Jones
Citizen Reporter

Property markets presently can be described in many ways. By viewing the valuations and bids for properties that Charleston County plans to sell, you could add the word “confused.”

At a recent county council committee meeting, three properties up for sale were the topic of discussion because the differences appear extraordinarily high. The appraised values and bid prices are as follows:

  • 9986-9988 Randall Road: Appraised value, $100,000; bid price, $76,000;
  • 164 Maple Street: Appraised value, $355,000; bid price $101,101; and
  • Fickling Hill Road: Appraised value, $9,000; bid price $30,000.

According to the accompanying documents, the Maple Street property had been put up for sale earlier. The bid at that time was $420,000 and the appraised value $789,000.

Charleston County Council on Jan. 20 decided to retain the Maple Street property until the real estate market improved, but opted to sell the others.

The point in highlighting the differences is not to criticize the county or the appraisers, but to point out the difficulty in determining market values in these uncertain times.

A valuation is supposed to ignore distressed sales, but when nearly all sales are the result of distress, what is the market?