SC #2 Move-To State

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Based on an annual moving study by United Van Lines, South Carolina is 2nd on the list for move-to destinations for the second year in a row. #1 is Oregon.  According to the survey, nearly 63% of all moves in the Palmetto state were inbound, meaning more people moved from a different state to SC.  The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce estimates the Lowcountry is attracting about 43 newcomers per day!

Carolina Park Breaks More Ground

Cumberland_334_800x600_webCarolina Park, Mt. Pleasant’s fastest growing master-planned community, has broken ground on three new neighborhoods – two in The Village and one in Riverside. Builders for The Village include Ryland Homes, Saussy Burbank, Sabal Homes, and David Weekley.  Riverside has a number of preferred custom builders to build the perfect home for you. In 2015, work began on the Outdoor Pavilion, the new Mount Pleasant Fire/EMS Station, new trails and even a new lake! Planning is well underway for the new elementary school (slated to open in Fall 2017) and a new public library.  Search Carolina Park listings with the link below, and contact me if you would like to schedule a tour.

Search Carolina Park listings

2015 Year In Review Residential Market Update – Charleston, SC

2015-year-in-reviewThe outlook for South Carolina and the Lowcountry is positive and “rosy”, according to two economists that spoke at the Year In Review Residential Market Update at Trident Technical College a couple weeks ago. Stephen Slifer, Economist/Owner of NumberNomics and Dr. Joseph VonNessen, research economist at the University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business, presented their annual market forecasts to Charleston area realtors.

VonNessen said that South Carolina’s economy is faring better than the US average. He also said that 2015 was the 6th year of expansion and the best year yet since 2010. Higher wages and creation of new jobs have contributed to the housing market growth. Construction is currently the #1 industry.  Real estate sales in the Charleston area increased approximately 20% over the past year, and median price rose about 6% from the year before. VonNessen anticipates sales to increase an additional 10% in 2016, while Slifer predicts home prices will go up an additional 5%.
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Slifer said that rent has increased by about 3.2% and the 30-year mortgage rate will probably end up around 4.5% by the end of the year.  The following chart shows Slifer’s predictions for GDP, unemployment, inflation, Fed. funds rate, 10-year Note, and 30-year mortgage.

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Read full slide presentation

New Development in Mt. Pleasant: Oyster Point

1208151517A new large development opened earlier this Fall off of Rifle Range Road in Mt. Pleasant called Oyster Point that has homebuyers excited.  D.R. Horton and its sister high-end builder Emerald Homes are the builders and plan to erect almost 600 homes.

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The neighborhood includes townhomes and single family detached.  Currently the townhomes start in the mid $300,000’s; many of the single story homes start in the low to mid- $400,000’s; and the two story homes start in the upper $400,000’s on up.  The homes are constructed with cement hardi-plank siding, Energy Star heat and air, Energy Star appliances, Energy windows, tankless water heaters, and in-ground irrigation systems.  Standard features also include granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, hardwood, (in foyer, powder room, dining area and choice of hardwood or tile in the kitchen) and crown molding in the foyer and dining room.

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Although the homes are constructed with great quality and features, the land and location are really what make this neighborhood attractive.  It has beautiful ponds, wooded lots, and marsh views to offer, and it’s just a mile north of the Isle of Palms Connector making it an easy bike ride to the beach.  Residents are already enjoying the Oyster Point Amenity Center which has an oversized swimming pool, playground and four tennis courts.  A second set of tennis courts also will be added near a 960-foot community dock to a tidal creek.  But even more unique is the 30 acres that the developer turned over to the Town of Mount Pleasant to create Fort Palmetto Park.  This area comes complete with a newly built tower, three miles of walking trails and more than 150-year-old earthenworks that Confederates under Gen. Robert E. Lee had slaves construct to ward off Union attacks from Charleston’s northern flank in the Civil War.

Call me if you would like to schedule an appointment to tour Oyster Point homes.

Caution! Higher Interest Rates Ahead

higher interest ratesWhen things are good, there’s always something around the corner to change it.  And so it goes with interest rates.  With good economic conditions and financial markets Americans are currently experiencing, the Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates for the first time in nine years next week.  We knew this was coming.  We just didn’t know when.

Even though we’ll see increases in mortgage rates, it’s likely that they will come in small increments and at a slow pace.  But it may cause some buyers to buckle up and proceed with caution by reducing their sales price budget while shopping for a home.  For example with a $300,000 loan with 30 year fixed mortgage at 4% interest, the monthly payment would be $1432.  Increase the interest by a full 1%, the buyer is now paying an extra $178/month.

The Charleston area has seen a 14% increase in sales and about 5% increase in median price when comparing the month of November sales to same period in 2014.

SCE&G Free Energy Audit Well Worth The Time

photo-thermostatIf you’ve experienced higher than normal power bills this past summer and want to see if there is anything you can do to lower them, I recommend scheduling a free SCE&G energy audit.  It’s easy to schedule online, and it only takes about a week for the auditor to pay you a visit.  My husband and I are pretty conservative when it comes to using energy, and we’ve been using less since our children have left for college, but for some reason the power bill was the highest it’s been since living in the house for 12 years.  I scheduled for the SCE&G energy audit and was very impressed with the suggestions the auditor made.  I was even surprised by some of the things he found too.  In the attic we have several thin spots of insulation; the new HVAC unit we just had installed wasn’t attached to the duct properly; the vapor barrier in the crawl space needs to be attached to the foundation walls and piers to truly encapsulate the space since we just added a dehumidifier;; and we should buy a remote temperature gauge for the dehumidifier so we can monitor it closely and not waste unnecessary energy.  So, why was our bill so high?  He thinks it is was a combination of having the new dehumidifier and an old HVAC unit that was overworking itself before we changed it out.  Just having him inspect the HVAC installation was well worth my time.  Oh, and he left a box of 5 compact fluorescent bulbs as a gift!

https://www.sceg.com/…/save-energy-mon…/home-energy-check-up

Tax Bills Are Out!

Property_TaxCharleston area homeowners received their real estate tax bills this past month.  If your property is a primary residence, make sure you are being assessed at the 4% rate.  If it’s investment or 2nd home, then it would be at 6%.  Also, if you are 65 or older you can qualify for the homestead exemption rate which will cut your bill by about 2/3.   I’m available to look up comparables for your appraised value should you think you are being overcharged.  Remember that properties were reassessed at 2013 values just recently, so your tax bill will reflect these new values.

Tri-County Charleston Area 3rd Qtr Real Estate Stats

The following stats were provided by the Charleston Trident Multiple Listing Service.  It shows figures from third quarter of this year as compared to last year’s third quarter.  The number of units sold in all counties for the quarter has gone down by 1-6% from a year earlier.  The median price for all counties has increased 4-13% over same time last year with the highest increase being in Berkeley County.  And inventory has dropped in all counties with the lowest drop being 33% in Charleston County when compared to 3rd quarter 2014. The Charleston area in general has seen a 16% rise in sales through September 2015 compared to what it was same time last year.  And the median price for the year is $221,000, up 2.8% from September 2014.  Normally, when heading into the Fall season we expect buying activity to slow.  It has slowed somewhat when compared to summer activity, but compared to last year’s start of the Fall season, we are seeing high traffic and more closings.

 

2014 Charleston County

Sold 2614 units

Median Price $273,000

Inventory 3502 units

2015 Charleston County

Sold 2569 units

Median Price $294,345

Inventory 2347

2014 Berkeley County

Sold 1117 units

Median Price $180,890

Inventory 1247

2015 Berkeley County

Sold 1104 units

Median Price $205,000

Inventory 1174

2014 Dorchester County

Sold 960 units

Median Price $182,250

Inventory 969

2015 Dorchester County

Sold 904 units

Median Price $190,000

Inventory 937

Property Tax Reassessments On The Way

The Post and Courier published information stating that Charleston and Berkeley County homeowners will soon receive the dreaded property tax reassessment notices telling them how much the local government thinks their land, home, and businesses are worth. Reassessments are done every five years and tend to make a lot of homeowners nervous about how much their property tax may go up.  Some find out that their values have decreased, thereby reducing the taxes owed.  But others find out their property has appreciated in value and so the tax man wants his share.  The assessments will be determined from values in 2013, not as they are now.  Charleston County says that there was an average of about 7% gain in property values from 2008 to 2013.  Dorchester County says that the higher-end homes tended to decrease in value, whereas the middle-range homes increased.

Closing Time Is Changing Oct. 3rd

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Real estate consumers are about to see some changes to their closing process.  Already, back on August 1st, the Good Faith Estimate and the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) disclosure form have been replaced with two new forms: the Closing Disclosure and the Loan Estimate.  But the biggest change coming Oct. 3rd is that all forms are required to be ready three days prior to closing. This will allow the consumer a longer period of time to review and ask questions about their financing and closing costs, rather than have a quick review of settlement document the day prior or perhaps the day of closing.