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      U.S. housing prices hit new low

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Kathi Dominguez learned the hard way that selling a house right now is not an option she can afford.

      We kept it with a realtor for a little awhile then we listed it on, says Dominguez, "then we tried rent-to-own and unfortunately, we finally had to start renting it.

      Dominguez put her West Columbia home on the market in 2009 shortly after purchasing a new property in Lexington.

      In less than two weeks we had a buyer and several others that were interested in it. The guy that was going to buy it offered to pay the full price and didn't want us to do anything, so that sounded wonderful.

      Unfortunately the deal never happened. Dominguez believes the buyer ran into problems with his credit.

      Real estate experts point out that's one of the reasons holding people back from buying, as many lenders want larger down payments.

      Since this time last year, U.S. home prices in the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index plunging five percent.

      In a report released this week, the index, which tracks residential prices in the country's major metro areas show home values are down 33 percent from their 2006 peak.

      However, the index doesn't show is what is happening in South Carolina.

      These national statistics don't take into account the number of foreclosed properties that are on the market, which tend to skew the numbers down, according to CEO Nick Kremydas of the South Carolina Association of REALTORS.

      He adds home values in Columbia have fallen less than one percent during the past year.

      South Carolina's real estate market is healthy and we are looking forward to a brighter future."

      Kremydas says it is a good time to buy with a large inventory of homes for sale.

      As for Dominguez, she doesn TMt want to own two houses again, and hopes a family will soon call her old residence home.