If 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!
Charleston 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.
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
|2014 Berkeley County
Sold 1117 units
Median Price $180,890
|2015 Berkeley County
Sold 1104 units
Median Price $205,000
|2014 Dorchester County
Sold 960 units
Median Price $182,250
|2015 Dorchester County
Sold 904 units
Median Price $190,000
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.
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.
Construction on new single-family homes across the country soared nearly 13% in July from June to the best level since December 2007, the beginning of the Great Recession, according to a new government report released Tuesday.
Here in the tri-county Charleston area, closings on new single-family homes increased 9.5% the first half of this year compared to the same period last year. That’s 935 new homes that were built and sold in just 6 months! On the flip side, resales of single-family homes have increased almost 21% the first half of the year compared to last year’s first half. That’s 8,732 pre-owned homes that have sold so far.
2015 has been a fantastic year so far in the Charleston Tri-county area! We’re up almost 14% in number of transactions, and our median sales price is up almost 4% over 2014 at $225,500.
The months of inventory is now around 4.5 for the entire MLS. Avg. is 6, so 4.5 means a very strong market. Many areas are definitely experiencing a seller’s market.
Buying activity continues to be very strong. Some of the stronger areas that have seen large median price increases over last year include:
|AREA||INCREASED % OVER LAST YEAR|
|N.Charleston Area inside I-526||182.6%|
|Folly Beach Area to Battery Island||26.9%|
|Goose Creek/Moncks Corner||21.3%|
|W.Ashley inside I-526||13.3%|
|Moncks Corner Above Oakley Rd.||11.6%|
A new, modern development called Fulton Neighborhood is underway in the center of Mt. Pleasant with semi custom homes, and you may not even be aware of it. Those that have stumbled upon it are able to take advantage of early bird discounts and will have built-in equity by the time their homes are complete. Fulton is tucked away off of Hwy. 17 North directly across from Boone Hall Farms. Turn right onto Fulton Ln. at the palmetto trees.
ALKA, a veteran of the high-end custom build home market, is the builder of this community. With nearly two decades of experience, ALKA builders say that, in Fulton, they would like to use their experience to simplify the process by doing the majority of the preparation and pre-selection work by their team. This frees the homeowner to focus on customizing finished rather than the development of plans and designs.”
Six floorplans are available, all with a modern twist on Lowcountry architecture, built with quality materials and an emphasis on low maintenance and energy efficiency. Raised slab foundations eliminate crawlspace humidity. Concrete porches have a tabby finish and brick borders. Metal roofs lend a historic vibe while adding to longevity and value. All homes feature 2 x 6 exterior walls, vinyl windows, increased insulation, tankless water heaters, high-quality garage doors, high-efficiency HVAC systems and more.
Fulton includes several well-planned, shared outdoor spaces for residents of all ages to enjoy, including the gathering area, fenced in playground, a park, and nature trails. The gathering area is designed for block parties and cookouts with cooking and lounging sections.
Home sizes range from 2251 sqft to 3186 sqft. Prices start at $629,000, but early bird discounts will be deducted from the listed prices.. If you’re interested, call me and I’ll set up an appointment to give you a tour of their model homes.
The last 12 months have seen a lot of buyer activity. Prices are up in most markets and buyers are hungry to purchase, yet inventory remains low. If existing owners will not sell, new construction is the next best answer to this dilemma. For the 12-month period spanning June 2014 through May 2015, Pending Sales in SC were up 19.2% overall. The price range with the largest gain in sales was the $200,001 to $300,000 range, where they increased 28.5%.
The overall Median Sales Price was up 3.3% to $218,000. The property type with the largest price gain was the Condos segment, where prices increased 5.2% to $175,000. The price range that tended to sell the quickest was the $150,001 to $200,000 range at 63 days; the price range that tended to sell the slowest was the $300,001 and Above range at 93 days.
Market-wide, inventory levels were down 16.9%. The property type that lost the least inventory was the Single Family segment, where it decreased 16.3%. That amounts to 4.0 months supply for Single-Family homes and 4.6 months supply for Condos.