Category Archives: Charleston South Carolina Real Estate

Seller’s Market in Charleston, SC?

By most accounts Charleston, South Carolina has been the one glimmer of hope throughout the country in the housing sector. We have been on top of the housing recovery almost from the start. If you live here then you are not surprised by this. The area’s most populous county accounted for 502 homes sold, 57 percent of all homes that changed hands last month within the three counties, according to the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors’ monthly home sales report released Wednesday.

Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties combined for 876 sales in September, 13 percent more than the same month a year ago.

Seller’s Market in Charleston

The association’s monthly reports have been showing encouraging residential real estate trends since the fall of 2011. Sales have been rising, inventories have been falling and the uptick in median sales price suggests that broader real estate values are starting to rise.

The Charleston area sold 7,879 homes through September, a nearly 11 percent increase compared to the same period a year ago. The median sale price also has risen to $190,000, up from $179,850 a year ago, according to the association.

Charleston County also is leading the charge in slimming the average number of days a property sits on the market before being sold, bringing it to some of the shortest spans since before the last recession. All three counties averaged house listings before sold in 100 days or less on average. In Charleston the average was 87 days.

Charleston SC home builders even have reason to be excited as  national new homes at an annual rate of 750,000, up 29.1% compared with a year earlier. They applied to build another 803,000 new homes on an annual basis, a 24.5% jump compared with August 2011.

Charleston SC Home Builder’s Happier

Home builders have become increasingly bullish — a confidence index from the National Association of Home Builders reached its highest level since June 2006.

Excerpts by the Post and Courier used:
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Cheaper to Own House then Rent

Buying a house in Charleston, Mount Pleasant, or even Daniel Island is now cheaper then renting according to a new report from the real estate website Trulia. In virtually every U.S. city it’s better to buy a house then to rent.

“Despite the recent home rebound, rents continue to rise faster then do home prices, and mortgage rates are at record lows,” said J. Kolko, Trulia’s chief economist, in a news release by The Daily.

On average, buying is now 45% cheaper then renting in the 100 largest U.S. cities – a savings of almost $800 a month. With more and more home owners having to leave their homes due to job loss, and a poor economy forces those same people to rent thus increasing the demand for rental properties forcing rent costs upward. Furthermore, mortgage lending is still very tight and less people are qualified to purchase.

These factors result in an almost 5% surge in  rental rates in the past year and a glut of 30 yr mortgages around 3.5 percent. Trulia looked at the average age price of all homes for sale and the average rent of all homes for lease between the beginning of June and the end of Aug. It spread its search from the inner cities to the suburbs. Trulia also baked in various expenses like closing costs, maintenance, renter’s insurance, and taxes.

After the analysis was completed in the winter, it was better to buy in 98 of the top 100 markets including Charleston, South Carolina’s. Purchase mortgage rates have dropped while rents have increased. The study however, is built on some big assumptions, primarily that the hypothetical buyer puts down 20% and qualifies for a great mortgage AND doesn’t sell for 7 years.

With that said, even in a case where the homeowner got just a 4.5% mortgage and only stayed in the home for 5 years, the result was still almost the same. It was cheaper to buy in 96 markets.

Nevertheless, some 6 million properties remain close to foreclosure, and most potential buyers still find it difficult to save up the 20% for down payment. Although there are still loans that only require 3.5% down.

Mortgage Rates in Charleston Stay Low

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA – Average mortgage rates on fixed mortgages fell this week and are just slightly above record lows reached earlier this year. The low rates have contributed to a modest housing recovery.

GSE Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on the 30-year loan declined to 3.59%, down from 3.66% last week. Five weeks ago, the rate fell to 3.49%, the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.

The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage, a popular refinancing option, slipped to 2.86%. That’s down from 2.89% last week and from the record low of 2.8% five weeks ago.

Cheap mortgages are a key reason the housing market is finally started to rebound five years after the bubble burst. However, another large factor is banks are not releasing the foreclosed homes they have on their books, and are sitting on them thus reducing the inventory and increasing demand. 

Sales of newly built and previously occupied homes are well above last year’s levels. Prices have increased consistently, largely because the supply of homes has shrunk while sales have risen. And Charleston SC builder confidence is at its highest level in five years.

Still, the  Charleston housing market has a long way back to full health. Some national economists forecast that sales of previously occupied homes will rise 8% this year to about 4.6 million. That’s well below the 5.5 million annual sales considered healthy. Many people are still having difficulty qualifying for home loans or can’t afford larger down payments required by banks. If you need help with home financing in Charleston South Carolina and need advice contact me at.

Charleston SC Mortgage Rates

National overnight averages Today +/-
30 yr fixed mtg 3.54%
15 yr fixed mtg 2.89%
5/1 ARM 2.86%
$30K home equity loan 5.68%
$30K HELOC 4.58%
About these rates

Mortgage rates in Charleston SC are low because they tend to track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. A weaker U.S. economy and uncertainty about how Europe will resolve its debt crisis have led investors to buy more Treasury securities, which are considered safe investments. As demand for Treasurey’s increase, the yield falls.

To calculate average rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country on Monday through Wednesday of each week.

The average does not include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1% of the loan amount.

The average fee for 30-year loans was 0.6 point, down from 0.7 point last week. The fee for 15-year loans also slipped to 0.6 point from 0.7.

The average rate on one-year adjustable rate mortgages fell to 2.63% from 2.66% last week. The fee for one-year adjustable rate loans was unchanged at 0.4 point.

The average rate on five-year adjustable rate mortgages declined to 2.78% from 2.80%. The fee held steady at 0.6 point.

Most Article Content By USAToday.com

Home Sales Brighter, prices on rise.

Existing-home sales kept up their recovery in July, rising 2.3% as prices jumped 9.4% from a year ago, according to the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors, but the market’s progress disappointed analysts who expected more.

Smaller inventories of homes for sale let sellers push prices higher, the association said. The average price of a new home rose 9.4% to $187,300, aided by a shift in the mix of homes sold, with fewer low-end units included. “I am seeing multiple offers within in first week a nice home comes on market,” Isle of Palms Realtor, James Schiller.

Nationally, the number of homes sold rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.47 million. The numbers missed economists’ expectations of about 4.52 million home sales, according to Drew Matus, an economist at investment bank UBS.

Mortgage interest rates have been at record lows this year while rents have been rising at faster rates,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in a statement. “Combined, these factors are helping to unleash a pent-up demand. However, the market is constrained by unnecessarily tight lending standards and shrinking inventory supplies, so housing could easily be much stronger without these abnormal frictions.”

Independent economists are looking for the housing market to begin slowly reversing its more than 30% slide in prices, though most do not expect substantive price gains until at least 2013 or 2014.

“It was a little below expectations but still good,” said Mike Zoller, an economist at Moody’s Analytics. He said the sharp gains in prices reflect the smaller percentage of foreclosure-related distress sales included in the numbers, as well as the shift to more higher-end home sales.

Tight credit or worries about jobs may be prompting buyers to stay on the sidelines, said Patrick Newport, an economist at IHS Global Insight. The gain in home sales was the second-smallest reported this year, he added. As long as the buyer has good credit, money to put down, and good job security getting a loan is still easy by most standards.

“These are not great numbers,” Newport said. “We have record-low mortgage rates. Something is going on.”

The economists also disputed the Realtor association’s argument that sales might be stronger if more homes were available.

Nationally, inventories of available homes work out to about six months’ worth of expected sales, Zoller said, a level he called “reasonable.” The proportion of homes that are vacant is still above 2%, Newport said, citing Census data. That’s higher than a historical norm of about 1.7%, he said. Locally,  Charleston, SC homes sales appears to be improving as inventory stays lower than normal.

The bright side is that the overhang of foreclosures are finally seeing a decline, relieving an overflow that pushed prices lower, Barclays economist Michael Gapen wrote in a note to clients. About 24% of sales were foreclosure-related, down from 29% last July, he said.

Most Content Courtesy of USA Today

Pricing Home in Charleston to Sell

A first-quarter survey of home buyers and sellers done by HomeGain.com, a real estate services website, revealed that 76 percent of homeowners believe their home is worth more than the list price recommended by their real estate agent. To See Charleston SC First Quarter Sales

Home buyers usually have a better grasp of current market value in the area where they’re looking to buy than do sellers who own and live there. Buyers look at a lot of new listings. They make offers, know what sells quickly and for how much, and what doesn’t and why. HomeGain reported that homebuyers still think sellers are overpricing their homes.

* Your home is worth what a buyer will pay for it given current market conditions.

This may not be the same as your opinion of what your home will sell for, or what you hope it’s worth. Relying on emotion rather than logic when selecting a list price can lead to disappointing results.

The prime opportunity for selling a home is when it’s new on the market. This is when it is most marketable. Buyers wait for the new listings. Usually, listings receive the most showings and have the busiest open houses during the first couple of weeks they are on the market.

Real Estate Charleston SC

By: Inman News

Investment Property Charleston SC

For investors in Charleston SC the real estate game is a tricky one. We all made thousands and — probably millions if you add it all up — flipping houses, leasing offices and renovating condos. Then the real estate market collapsed, throwing the U.S. into the 2007-2009 recession.

Now the prognosis for real estate investments is looking much better, though it’s anything but simple. Some commercial real estate has rebounded, with investors craving income that real estate provides, while Lowcountry residential Charleston real estate — particularly single-family homes — may be at once-in-a-lifetime bargain prices.

Four top experts were asked for their take on the the opportunities and potential pitfalls facing real estate investors in the coming years. Edited excerpts of their interviews follow:

Jim Sullivan, managing director of REIT research, Green Street Advisors

Every diversified investor should have some exposure to commercial real estate, and REITs [real estate investment trusts] provide a terrific, transparent and liquid way to get that exposure. Operating fundamentals in most property types range from good to great, with good being the shopping center business and industrial business and great being the apartment business. The economy is not doing great, but the silver lining for commercial real estate is how little new supply is coming on the market. Too much new commercial construction is typically what puts a halt to real estate recoveries. This time around, it’s just not an issue.

REITs tend to be specialized by property type. You can pick and choose, depending on what your economic outlook might be. If your forecast is a little rosier, you’d want to be in property types that respond well in economic recoveries — hotels, for example, or REITs that own shopping centers with lots of small tenants. If you wanted to be a bit more defensive, health care REITs are a terrific place to be. When investing in Charleston real estate the safe bet would obviously be in tourism based avenues considering that is the most consistent driver of revenue.

James – Charleston Real Estate Consulting

The biggest opportunity is buying distressed single-family homes, because that market has been completely beat up. The next biggest opportunity is buying land because very few people have been focused on it. If you have a long-term view, you’ll probably see a significant multiple return. Buying land is a complicated business, though. Mom-and-pop investors should not be buying land.

Lauren Pressman, director of investment research at wealth management firm Aspiriant

The U.S. is in a period of sustained but very slow growth. Job reports are huge factors for real estate, because jobs create demand for housing, for offices, for travel and at retail establishments. We’re wary of things like retail and office, except in very unique circumstances. Multifamily real estate (apartment buildings) arguably had all the tail winds at its back to do the best of all asset classes. However, be careful. There is so much capital chasing multifamily, and that can lift prices beyond a point where your return is commensurate with risk.

No matter what your strategy is always be careful and have a good local agent to help you navigate through the maze of options out there for investing in real estate in Charleston or anywhere. Find a great contractor in Charleston and let them help you with the renovations, and repair necessary to get a C.O. and move onto the next real estate opportunity.

There has never been a better time to pull money out of the equities market and into real estate, rates are low, and prices are too.

 

Foreclosures on the Decline

Although Charleston SC real estate is performing better then most cities around the country, the good news is that foreclosures are on the decline.

(article by:  Ester Cho of DS News)

In June, 60,000 homes turned into completed foreclosures compared to 80,000 foreclosures a year ago, CoreLogic reported Tuesday.

 

The analytics company stated the yearly drop puts completed foreclosures at 2007 levels. Month-over-month, there was no reported change in completed foreclosures for June. Since September 2008, 3.7 million homes have been lost to foreclosure.

“The decline in the flow of completed foreclosures to pre-financial crisis levels is more welcome news pointing to an emerging housing market recovery,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “However, we believe even more can be done to reduce the inventory of foreclosures by decreasing the level of regulatory uncertainty and expanding alternatives to foreclosure.”

The number of homes in national foreclosure inventory in June stood at 1.4 million, or 3.4 percent of all homes with a mortgage. June’s figure is a slight drop from a year ago when the total was 1.5 million, or 3.5 percent. From May, the figure was unchanged. CoreLogic defines foreclosure inventory as the share of all mortgaged homes in some stage of the foreclosure process.

“While completed foreclosures and real-estate owned (REO) sales virtually offset each other over the past four months, producing static levels of foreclosure inventory for most of this year, they are beginning to diverge again,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Over the last two months REO sales declined while completed foreclosures leveled out. So we could see foreclosure inventory rising going forward.”

The states that saw the highest number of completed foreclosures over a one-year period since June 2012 were California, leading with 125,000, followed by Florida (91,000), Michigan (58,000), Texas (56,000) and Georgia (55,000).

The top five states accounted for 48.4 percent of all completed foreclosures nationally.

Florida (11.5 percent) led as the state with the highest share of inventory in foreclosure, with New Jersey (6.5 percent), New York (5.1 percent), Illinois (5.0 percent), and Nevada (4.8 percent) taking the next four spots.

Meanwhile Charleston SC has one of the lowest foreclosure rates in the United States.

James Schiller – Charleston SC Real Estate Agent

Housing Market Still Little Iffy…

Story By USA Today

The National Association of Realtors says sales of previously occupied homes fell 5.4% in June from May, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.37 million homes. That’s the lowest rate since October.

“It is only one month and the rest of the housing indicators have all continued to show improvement,” saidJennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets. “Let’s hope this June decline is a blip.”

Where as  here in CHARLESTON, SC—(July 10, 2012) Home sales in the Charleston region maintained their consistent and steady pattern in June, with continued growth in sales volume and ongoing stability in pricing. 1,033 homes sold at a median price of $200,000 in June according to preliminary data released today by the Charleston Trident Association of REALTORS® (CTAR). Last month, adjusted figures show 1,002 homes sold at the same median price.

National real estate sales are up 4.5% from a year ago, evidence that the market is recovering. But the annual sales pace is well below the 6 million that economists consider healthy.

First-time buyers, critical to a housing recovery, made up just 32% of sales. That’s down from 34% in May. In healthy markets, first-time buyers make up more than 40% of the market.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $189,400 in June, up 7.9% from a year ago, according to the NAR.

Here in Charleston SC – Inventory declined again, with 6,277 homes listed as actively for sale in the Charleston Trident Multiple Listing Service (CTMLS) as of July 10, 2012.

How you should present an offer to buy home in Charleston SC

Learn the Do’s and Don’ts when trying to buy.
  • Don’t offend. Unless you are offering on a property which has been held purely for investment, the seller is emotionally invested in his property. Do not try to be Donald Trump; trash-talking the seller’s shelter is not a winning strategy. Statements like “This offer reflects the fact that the premises will require professional cleaning with a blow torch prior to possession” may just get you and your offer kicked to the curb.
  • Do get personal. Write a cover letter summarizing why you believe this is the right home for you. On many occasions, I have seen sellers accept a lower offer because they felt a connection with the buyer. The seller has a dog? It never hurts to mention that your own Scruffy, who has been on Prozac since moving to your current top floor studio apartment, is (or soon will be) “digging” the large rear yard. The seller raised his children in the home? Why not mention that the glow cast by the cozy brick-trimmed fireplace will be the ideal backdrop for your own little Einsteins to read Tolstoy aloud as they so often do? It may not help, but it can’t hurt.
  • Don’t defend your offer the wrong way. As in, by saying it is all you can afford or that you are basing it on what you believe values will be during the next lunar cycle. This approach will likely leave the seller with the notion that there is a buyer out there, one who isn’t you, who can afford his home and at the price it is worth now.
  • Do know the seller’s circumstances. Does the seller want to move or does he need to move? Does he need to be out of Dodge by sundown, or is he just toying with the idea of relocating to the Catskills if he can get “his” price? Circumstances will dictate whether there is a bargain on the horizon, and knowing this in advance can save everyone the aggravation of a long trip to nowhere.
  • Don’t preach. Your Charleston SC real estate agent has given you information on comparable property sales. Beating the seller over the head with your 16-column spreadsheet will not endear you to him. He has set a price, presumably after having taken this same data under consideration. You may believe his price to be high, but it is his price. Insulting his intelligence (even if you believe this intelligence, based on the price he is asking, is of the artificial variety) will not further your cause.
  • Do be prepared to negotiate. No buyer wants to think they paid too much, and no seller wants to think he sold out. Expect to go a round or two. “Take it or leave it” offers are rarely met with high-fives and bear-hugs from the seller, regardless of the price and even in this market. In negotiations, everyone wants to feel like they were in control and that they prevailed.
  • Don’t be unreasonable. There is value, and then there is crazy-talk. If a home is offered for X, and you are willing to pay 10% less than X, do not offer X minus $2 million and then ask the seller to throw in his bedroom furniture and a pony. You will not be taken seriously.

Lets sell your home

Today’s real estate market in Charleston South Carolina is teeming with opportunities for the buyer. Great values, values relative to prices a year or two or more ago, are plentiful. But, insanely great “deals” are still needles in the proverbial haystack, because market value will always be determined by what a buyer is willing to pay. This buyer might be you, but if you are unrealistic or even simply careless with crafting your offer, it will probably be someone else.

James Schiller Charleston’s best Real Estate Agent

Charleston South Carolina Housing Improves Faster then National Average

If you live in Charleston S.C and are considering selling your home, now is as good time as ever. According to USA Today the Charleston SC area is performing better than the national average.

“Inventories also shrank faster than the national average in Minneapolis; Charleston, S.C.; Seattle; Washington, D.C.; Miami; and parts of Southern California, Zillow says”.

Change from a year ago in the number of homes for sale in May by price tier in 100 top markets:
Market
Bottom third
Middle third
Top third
Average
Charleston, SC
-41%
-22%
2%
-20%
United States
      -12%
-17%
-17%
-15%

It now costs more to rent than to own a home in 98 of the top 100 U.S. metropolitan areas, says real estate website Trulia, which tracks rents and home prices. In some of those markets, however, the inventory of homes for sale has shrunk.

But low interest rates are luring more buyers, as are home prices that are down 35% from their 2006 peak.Nationwide, 35% of existing single-family home buyers in April were first-timers, according to the National Association of Realtors. In healthier times, first timers account for 40% to 45% of the market, says NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. Tight credit and a still-shaky economy have kept many first-timers out of the housing market, he says.

Rising prices could boost supply

Home inventories have shrunk because fewer foreclosures are coming to market. Many homeowners don’t want to sell, because they don’t have enough equity in their homes. Others are waiting for higher prices.

“They’ve waited out five years of declining prices and don’t want to sell at the bottom,” says Stan Humphries, a Zillow economist. As home prices increase, more sellers will likely emerge, he says, which will add inventory. Or, buyers might back off if the economy softens.

If you are in need of Charleston area real estate advice please feel free to contact me.

James Schiller – Realtor in Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Isle of Palms.

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