Single-family homes are increasing in Beaufort, but demand is strong
New single-family homes are being built in Beaufort, but the city still faces a severe shortage — especially of units middle-income workers can afford, according to a longtime realtor.
Pulte Homes, a national builder, opened two designer-decorated model homes in Salem Bay, a new community with marsh views and some home sites with docks.
The development is located on Salem Farm Road, approximately 2 miles from downtown Beaufort.
In the 95-acre Salem Bay, 298 homes are planned, ranging in size from two to six bedrooms with two to five bathrooms, all with two-car garages.
The housing development is one of two major subdivisions underway in Beaufort. The other is Camellia Banks by Logan Homes off Miller Drive East, where 50 homes are planned.
Mike McFee, a real estate broker who sits on the city council, said housing inventory in the city was extremely low, calling the situation “a pretty incredible moment actually”.
“In my 30 years in real estate,” McFee said, “I’ve never seen this kind of inventory shortage.”
The median price for an average-sized home in Beaufort has risen to $256,000 from $200,000 a year ago, McFee said.
The higher prices, adds McFee, “are really hurting our first-time home buyers and those who need ‘workforce housing.’
“There’s very little out there,” McFee said. “If you can get something in the $200,000 range now, that’s great.”
But $200,000 is not affordable for many residents based on the area’s median incomes, he added.
Salem Bay homebuyers can choose from nine one- and two-story “modern open concept” single-family designs starting in the upper $300,000s.
The perimeter of the development will provide access to water, with possible docks at some sites, Pulte Homes said. Facilities will include a swimming pool, pickleball courts and a community dock.
The two-story Rosella and single-story Prestige, both decorated models, are considered new floor plans. Both start in the $400,000 range.
Housing inventory is so low in Beaufort relative to demand, McFee says, that new listings now come with offer deadlines, and offers that are $10,000 to $15,000 above the list prices are not uncommon.
Housing starts are down nationally, McFee said, due to supply chain issues and other factors, which have inflated values and reduced inventory.
The Beaufort market has been active since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, McFee said, when many people decided to move from large urban areas to smaller towns where they can find a lower cost of living and a better quality of life.
Now that supply chain issues are improving, builders are starting to build new homes, which should help dampen demand, McFee said, but the question is whether residents who need housing for labor will be able to afford the new homes that come on the market.
“The workforce housing concept is almost non-existent in Beaufort now,” McFee said.
This story was originally published May 4, 2022 4:55 a.m.