Friday, 1 June 2012

Real Estate News — Rentals jump locally in quarter; study shows Charleston home prices edging up

• Local property leases surge, according to Carolina One report •

Home rentals are outpacing listings by a two to one margin, a sign that the leasing business is recovering in a big way from the housing downturn.

The numbers from the first quarter of 2012 are in and they are overwhelming, Carolina One Property Management says in its periodic report. The year is off to a strong start, it said, noting that rentals are more plentiful this year than either 2011 or 2010.

As present, 654 properties are listed for rent on the Charleston Trident Multiple Listing Service while 1,390 homes, townhomes and condos have been leased. That means twice as many properties have rented than are currently available, the report notes.

In first quarter 2012 alone, rentals were up by 200 properties from the same period a year earlier.

“If these numbers stay on track we can have a record-breaking year for rental properties in the Charleston area for 2012,” the property management group says. “This is great news for owners and renters alike.”

As of April 15, 290 single family homes were available for lease on MLS, while 833 homes have rented. There are 121 town houses and 112 condominiums available on MLS now, while 237 town houses and 280 condos rented in the first three and half months of 2012.

“The numbers of properties already rented exceed those available, which bodes well for the rest of the year,” the group says.

Meanwhile, Carolina One Property Management says it is seeing a trend whereby second homes are being purchased for eventual owner occupancy but first, “These homes are being rented until the owners can relocate to the Charleston area.”

Carolina One Property Management says it will manage the leases until the owners can retire and relocate to the Charleston area. They are intending to rent the homes for three to five years, the group says. “Since inventory is low while demand is high the owners can receive competitive rental rates as well as minimal vacancy loss,” the group says.

• CoreLogic: Home prices increase in greater Charleston •

The cost to buy a house rose from a year ago in the Charleston area in March, even including distressed sales.

That’s based on the monthly “home price index” from information company CoreLogic. By comparison, home prices nationally dropped a bit.

With distressed sales included, home prices in the Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville metro area inched up 1 percent in March compared with a year before. They climbed 5.4 percent when sales of foreclosed homes and other distressed properties are excluded.

CoreLogic says that home prices, including distressed sales, declined nationally year to year by 0.6 percent in March compared with the same month in 2011. They were up 0.9 percent when taking out short sales and transactions involving “real estate owned,” what banks and other lenders call foreclosed property.

Still prices rose 0.6 percent in March from February. It was the first month-over-month increase since July 2011, the group says. Excluding distressed sales, month-over-month prices have increased three months in a row.

“This spring the housing market is responding to an improving balance between real estate supply and demand, which is causing stabilization in house prices,” says Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic.

That’s happened the past two years, he says, but the difference this year is that stabilization is occurring without the support of tax credits.

“While housing prices remain flat nationally, in many markets tighter inventories are beginning to lift home prices,” says Anand Nallathambi, president and chief executive of CoreLogic. Those markets include Phoenix, New York and Washington, D.C.

By state, South Carolina ranked third in price appreciation with a 4.7 percent increase when distressed sales are not included. Idaho placed first, up 5.4 percent and Delaware had the biggest price decline, down 7.6 percent.

Including distressed sales, Wyoming posted the steepest gains, up 5.9 percent, while Delaware lead in depreciation, off 10.6 percent. South Carolina ranked 11th in price gain with distressed sales included, up 2.7 percent.

• Builder-sponsor of Southern Flame festival calls the fundraiser a hit •

A recent show at The Ponds was aimed at providing children with special needs a chance to play baseball, and HHHunt believed it did just that.

The event was the Southern Flame Food and Music Festival, which benefited the Summerville Miracle League. HHHunt Homes, which builds in The Ponds, was a sponsor.

Proceeds from the annual fundraising event, previously known as BBQ-4-Baseball, help the league. It is a local franchise of an international non-profit organization committed to giving children with special needs the opportunity “to enjoy the thrill of America’s favorite pastime,” the builder says.

Nearly 1,100 guests gathered together April 21 for the all-day festival offering food, music, fun and fellowship. The host site is a master-planned community noted for its history and natural surroundings with tall live oaks. The Southern Barbecue Network judged 19 teams during a sanctioned barbecue, and local restaurants competed for People’s Choice awards.

Musical headliners included southern rocker Eddie Bush and The Mayhem and live bluegrass from Boundless, DD Cumbee and Common Ground.

HHHunt Homes associates were on hand to provide information about the popular “destination” community and its top-notch line of homes.

HHHunt Homes and the Ponds developer Greenwood Communities and Resorts gave away prizes.

“We were thrilled to be involved, and we couldn’t be more excited for the kids, says Amber King, regional marketing director for HHHunt Homes. “The funds raised will go a long way for field and facilities maintenance, as well as uniforms. The Summerville Miracle League has worked hard and accomplished so much.”

For more information about the Summerville Miracle League, visit To learn more about HHHunt Homes, go online to

• Researcher finds home sales rise, prices dip in metro Charleston •

Townhomes proved the strongest market type for home transactions locally, while Dorchester County performed the best by geographical area, according to M.O.R.E.

Still, most of the sales of single-family homes and properties took place in Charleston County, the Rocky Mount, N.C.,company says.

M.O.R.E. is an acronym for Market Opportunity Research Enterprises, which compiles local real estate reports throughout the Southeast.

The latest findings are for first quarter 2012.

In greater Charleston, 2,155 properties sold from January through March. That’s up 12 percent from 1,925 sales a year earlier.

Meanwhile, the average first quarter home price in the three-county region was $265,754, off slightly from $269,646 a year ago. The median, or midpoint price was $184,000, was off 6 percent from $196,000 in first quarter 2011.

By type, more than 80 percent of sales were single-family homes, and overall prices were almost identical to last year. Single-family home sales were up 5 percent from 2011.

Condo sales rose about 22 percent but the average price was down and median price about the same. Townhome sales saw the biggest percentage increase, up close to one-third year-to-year. Average prices were up not quite 5 percent, while median prices were off about the same percentage.

Charleston County handled close to 60 percent of sales at 1,250, followed by Berkeley County at 500 and Dorchester County with 405. All three county figures were ahead of 2011.

Average and median prices dipped year-to-year in Berkeley and Charleston counties. The average price of $175,534 was less than $100 below the figure last year, and the $166,000 median price was up 5 percent.

• Foreclosure, delinquency rates drop locally but rise in many metros •

Contrary to lots of cities, the Charleston area’s “serious delinquency” rate that combines foreclosures and past due loans has continued to decline.

The same pattern is taking place in most of South Carolina, according to figures from national loan tracker

Serious delinquency is defined as the share of loans in foreclosure plus the share of loans delinquent 90 or more days.

The Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville metro area saw its rate drop 0.5 percent in March to 8.3 percent from 8.8 percent a year earlier.

Only one metro area in South Carolina posted an increase. Myrtle Beach-North Myrtle Beach-Conway was up 0.4 percent to a 9.3 percent serious delinquency rate, the 30th largest jump nationwide.

Spartanburg showed the largest decline, 1.1 percent to 8.2 percent. Anderson and Greenville-Mauldin-Easley were each off 1 percent in the past year.

The Myrtle Beach area also has the highest serious delinquency rate in South Carolina. Its 9.3 percent rate ranked 113th highest nationwide. Columbia placed 142nd at 8.3 percent and greater Charleston was 143rd also at 8.3 percent. Sumter and Spartanburg were 8.2 percent; Florence, 8 percent; Anderson, 6.8 percent; and metro Greenville at 6.4 percent, ranking 248th among all 366 metro areas.

Nationwide, serious delinquencies are increasing again after more than 18 months of declines, according to

The serious delinquency rate rose from 9.2 percent of all loans in June 2011 to 9.7 percent in December —- the same rate as the year before -for the nation’s 100 largest metro areas. The 90-day delinquency share is flat at 3.8 percent, but the foreclosure part continues to rise and is now at 5.9 percent.

According to, the figures suggest that the force behind rising foreclosure rates has been a buildup of foreclosed homes. That’s especially the case in states such as Florida that require courts to make a final decision about a property before it can exit foreclosure.

“We don’t mean to suggest that states with a judicial foreclosure process should end that practice,” says Maya Brennan, a Center for Housing Policy senior research associate and member of the team. She says, “Devoting more judicial resources to processing the high volume of foreclosures would help ensure due process without burdening homeowners, lenders, and neighborhoods with unreasonably long foreclosure timelines.”

The information is released quarterly by the Center for Housing Policy, Urban Institute and Local Initiatives Support Corporation. It provides numbers for the housing markets of all 366 U.S. metro areas.

For more information, visit


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