Isle of Palms Office

1400 Palm Boulevard Ste. M
Isle of Palms, SC 29451

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Folly Beach Office

31 Center Street
Folly Beach, SC 29439

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Dunes Downtown

11 Fulton Street
Charleston, SC 29401

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Kiawah Seabrook Office

1887 Andell Bluff Boulevard
Johns Island, SC 29455

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Mount Pleasant Office

835 Coleman Blvd Ste. 200
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464

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Category: News

Charleston Area Market Statistics through September 2014

Sales continue to grow in the Lowcountry and were ahead by 6% this September compared to September 2013. The tri-county area passed 10,000 home sales in September with the help of significant sales gains from Dorchester and Berkeley counties, according to the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors®. Additionally, the median sales price rose from $205,000 to $214,500. This increase in activity indicates a healthy and sustainable level of growth. 2014 CTAR President Corwyn Melette noted that with more companies moving to Charleston, we can also expect to see more jobs and investing in the Charleston region.

Click on Area for Detailed Analysis

Mount Pleasant (North of IOP Connector)
Kiawah & Seabrook Islands

The Real Estate Studio’s Touch Screen Real Estate Search

Check out our touch screen real estate search! We are so excited to now feature a wonderful, fun way to search for real estate: right from our storefront window in historic Charleston at The Real Estate Studio. This real estate touch screen is an interactive tool that allows you to search for property anywhere in the Charleston area and look at details, a map, and large pictures. It’s also very easy to navigate and extremely responsive to touch. Located right outside our storefront at 214 King Street, this new addition to our office gives you an idea of what The Studio has to offer before you even walk in the door.

If you see something you like, or prefer to sit down and continue your real estate search, you can walk right in and sit down with on one of our comfortable chairs and look at property on one of our multiple large screens. Check out some of our agents trying out the new technology!

The Real Estate Studio window touch screen search The Real Estate Studio window touch screen real estate search  The Real Estate Studio window touch screen real estate search

Come and see us at 214 King St. and check it out for yourself!

New paintings by Crystal Miller at The Real Estate Studio

The Real Estate Studio welcomes local artist Crystal Miller’s beautiful collection of abstract paintings. The show will be on display at The Studio from July 17 – August 26, 2014.

Crystal Miller The Studio, Homeland

Crystal Miller is a professionally trained decorative painter with over 15 years of experience. She began her work as an artist in Boulder, Colorado, where she grew up sketching at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. After extensive traveling, she ended up in the Lowcountry, where she is inspired by our coastal landscapes.

Currently a resident of West Ashley, Crystal has transformed homes throughout the tri-county area and beyond. She focuses on color, blending, and developing impressions of things that inspire her. Her company, Newlook Finishes, can transform any space into a work of art using walls, ceilings, and now, paintings on canvas.

Crystal Miller at The Studio, Joyful Refuge

Crystal Miller at The Studio, Joyful Refuge

Crystal is self-taught, incorporating the influence of her certified training of specialty finishes to create truly unique paintings. The beauty of sunrises and sunsets are often represented in her work.

“I have been trained to do finishes that sell, so I look at canvas artworks the same way.  People will invest in what they love and what they are drawn to,” says Crystal.  Whether standing on a ladder bringing a European influenced ceiling to life or adding splashes of color to a canvas, she feels truly fortunate to be able to do what she loves every day.

An Artists Reception is planned for Friday, August 8 from 5-8pm. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served.

What’s your reason for moving?

It turns out that from 2012 to 2013, millions of people moved primarily for housing-related reasons. The U.S. Census Bureau found that people who moved in the past couple of years were moving because they wanted a new or better home/apartment, wanted less expensive housing, were renters that were ready to become owners, or wanted to live in a better neighborhood.

There are plenty of other factors that play into the decision to move. Family-related reasons, such as a change in marital status, accounted for 30%, while employment and other reasons like a new job, to be closer to work, or to look for a new job made up almost 20% of the reasons why people moved.

David Ihrke, a demographer for the Census Bureau and the report’s author, says that there is usually more than one factor to motivate someone to move, and the decision depends on the most important one.

“If one’s primary reason for moving is to be closer to work or having an easier commute, they may have to sacrifice other preferences. This could include forgoing cheaper housing options or settling for a different neighborhood. If they mainly want cheaper housing, they may have to deal with a longer commute,” says Ihrke.

Reasons for moving 2012-2013

Reasons for moving 2012-2014

New law benefiting owners of vacation homes

South Carolina legislators are pushing a new law through that will allow home owners the availability to rent their primary residences as vacation rentals for up to 72 days from the current 14, without effecting their primary status. This means that home owners may elect to have their properties work more efficiently for them and earn their keep in offsetting ownership costs without having to worry about losing their 4% ratio and additional tax breaks.

A similar law was proposed several years ago, but was not successful getting passed. Now the law is coasting through with unanimous approval for vacation homes.

The County Assessor estimates that just under 500 homes will benefit from this plan and that about $1 million a year will be lost in tax revenue, according to the Post and Courier. However, what is not being stated is how this incentive will boost home sales in vacation areas around the Lowcountry, which will, in turn, provide a return in tax revenue to the state.

So, who wins with this program? Just about everybody. Homeowners will be able to better offset expenses, while home sales will boost the economy, aiding restaurants, retail, construction, and every other facet that benefits from a strong home market.

Good job S.C. Lawmakers!

-Brian Caldwell  843.224.7948

Inventory and home prices increase in the Charleston area

With mortgage rates at a six month low, a slight increase in inventory, and an increase in home prices, the buying season is getting off to a good start in the Charleston area. According to the Charleston Trident Association of REALTORS®, 1,143 homes sold at a median price of $215,000 in April, which is up from 1,028 homes sold at a median price of $200,000 in April 2013. In Charleston County, 656 homes sold at a median price of $268,500.

Charleston County April 2014 Market Report

Mt. Pleasant was the most active area in Charleston County last month, with 208 homes sold at a median price of $368,224. West Ashley and James Island followed.

Mount Pleasant April 2014 Market Update

Mount Pleasant April 2014 Market Update

To Buy or to Rent?

That is the question! Many often wonder which is less expensive, to rent a home, or to own a home? The answer helps families make the decision whether or not to buy. There are some obvious reasons to own instead of rent, like being able to customize the space and not having a landlord. When you are renting, the space is not actually yours, so if you want to paint some of the walls or do some minor renovations, that is not an option. You also have a landlord, which means that when something is broken, it is out of your hands.

Some benefits of becoming a home owner in today’s market include low mortgage rates and tax deductions. A huge benefit of home ownership is being able to deduct things like mortgage interest payments and property tax payments. Itemizing deductions, or even taking the standard deduction, saves money and makes buying cheaper than renting in some cases.

Interest rates have risen, but still remain historically low. If you choose a fixed mortgage rate then your monthly payment will not change, unlike most rents, which tend to rise every year.

Another factor to consider is how long you plan on living in the home. If you are uncertain about whether or not you may want to move again soon, then renting is probably the route to take. If you are certain that you will stay put and decide to purchase, then the longer you stay in that location, the lower the cost of owning, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

“The numbers on housing have an important message for American families today, and particularly young families setting out on life’s great adventure: Five years ago, at the peak of the home buying euphoria, it was emphatically a time to rent. Today, when home ownership is depreciated more than ever before, the numbers tell us it is time to buy. Before it increases by leaps and bounds as predicted.” — Keeping Current Matters

If you’re thinking about buying in the Charleston area, we would love to hear from you! Whether it’s to chat or to browse our real estate listings, dunes properties has over 40 licensed, experienced real estate agents that are here to help.

Vacation-Home Sales up almost 30% in 2013

Not only did the vacation-home market have its largest gain since the National Association of REALTORS® started tracking home sales in 2003, but the market also accounted for 13% of home sales in the U.S. last year. Additionally, nearly half of vacation sales last year were in the South.

In their 2014 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey, the NAR shows vacation-home sales jumped 29.7% to an estimated 717,000 last year from 553,000 in 2012. This boost in vacation-home sales can be attributed to last year’s stock market gains and rising home values, which brought buyer’s more wealth and confidence in the housing market, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Vacation property sales

Vacation property sales

The combination of buyer’s confidence and rising wealth of high-income households is what The Wall Street Journal calls the “wealth affect,” where people are willing to spend more money because they feel more wealthy. Many households last year earned more income, with the top 60% of earners seeing a 2.3% rise in income, according the U.S. Census Bureau.

So, why were buyers purchasing vacation homes? The majority of buyers want to use the property for vacations or a family retreat, while a small percentage may use it as a primary residence in the future or plan to rent it to others. These are all great reasons to invest in a vacation home, and there isn’t a better place to look than Charleston. With gorgeous beach communities like Isle of Palms, Wild Dunes, Folly Beach, or Kiawah Island, there are plenty of great options for a vacation rental. Come stop by one of our offices and chat with our experienced real estate agents or vacation rental management team!

Growing Pains for Mount Pleasant

In recent years the popularity of Mount Pleasant, especially the area near Coleman Blvd. and Shem Creek, has skyrocketed. This has created a tug of war between existing homeowners in the Old Village, Old Mt. Pleasant, and Shem Creek neighborhoods south of Coleman Blvd., and the developers hoping to cash in on all of this love. Add a town government ready for a bigger tax base with the desire to stop urban sprawl toward Awendaw and you have a perfect storm for a classic “us against them” fight.

Shem Creek Mount Pleasant SC

Beautiful Shem Creek

Everything started nicely enough: improve the way Coleman Blvd. looks, encourage developers to invest in the town, and more people get to live their Mt. Pleasant dream. Sounds good, right? As The Boulevard apartment complex and the Earl’s Court development became reality, the distressed cries started. Things didn’t turn out as well as they looked on paper.

The most common complaints are that The Boulevard’s 4-story structure is too tall, it is too close to Coleman Blvd., pedestrians have to cross the busy street, and the biggest issue: where are all of these people going to park? Next, add the Earl’s Court debacle where one house in the development actually touches the sidewalk and parking for those narrow little houses doesn’t really exist. The battle flag went up!

Most recently, the topic of discussion is how the overlay plan should be altered. Residents would like to see developers offer 2 off-street parking spots per unit, eliminate one-way streets for future developments, reduce the number of homes per acre, and extend the setback from 5 feet to 20 feet. The developers are fighting back and will probably continue planning for one-way streets. The residents made it clear that none of the developers live in Mt. Pleasant, and that first and foremost, the loyalty of our town government should be with its residents. The developers hold out the carrot of greater tax revenues, an age of old story.

I live in this area and believe that it’s time for some compromise to ensure that Mt. Pleasant, The Old Village, and Shem Creek remain the fun and quirky places that they are, while acknowledging that some growth and change is inevitable.

Please attend the next meeting about this development on April 8th at 6pm in council chambers. This debate won’t be over anytime soon and I personally hope that there will be no more developments with the density of Earl’s Court. Let’s grow, but let’s expand in a way that respects the community and tax payers who have made Mt. Pleasant one of the hottest residential spots in Charleston.

– Vannessa Carter, Realtor®



New listings galore, and at desirable prices

As Spring begins and Winter is behind us, the real estate market is heating up! Compared to this time last year, there are more homes on the market nationwide, and in Charleston median home prices rose 15%. According to the National Association of Realtors®, inventories are still low by historical standards, but have increased by 10% year-over-year. This increase is great news considering the severe weather that this past winter brought to practically every part of the country. Despite the bad weather, more sellers are putting their homes on the market than at this time last year.

In South Carolina the median home price rose 5.1% among residential homes, condos, and villas. Charleston had a promising winter with an average median price of $209,000 last month, 15% higher than February 2013 . Additionally, the average number of days properties were on the market dropped by 14.5% to less than 90 days, according to the Columbia Regional Business Report.

While the median price of homes may be rising in Charleston, dunes properties has quite a few new listings ranging from condos to vacant land that are quite affordable. dunes properties has experienced agents that serve all over the Charleston coast, particularly in the luxury real estate market in places such as Sullivan’s Island, Kiawah Island, and Isle of Palms. While we have a variety of homes for sale starting at the $1 million price point, this list of newly added properties are all under $600,000.

18 Linkside Wild Dunes

The exceptional view from 18 Linkside, Isle of Palms

Not only do our agents have new listings at desirable prices, but they are also located in practically every area of Charleston. This includes Mount Pleasant and Historic Charleston along with Folly Beach, Wild Dunes, Seabrook Island, and our newest area of expertise, Dewees Island. Whether you’re looking for a condo in Wild Dunes, a 4 bedroom house in Mount Pleasant, or vacant land near the beach, we’ve got plenty of options, and all for under $600,000. Take a look!

Details: 18 LINKSIDE CT, ISLE OF PALMS, SC – $585,000
Details: 845 DETYENS RD, MOUNT PLEASANT, SC – $419,000
Details: 5 SEAGROVE LN, #C, ISLE OF PALMS, SC – $535,250
Details: 21 MAPLE ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $429,000
Details: 213 LITTLE OAK DR, FOLLY BEACH, SC – $239,000
Details: 105 OLD HOUSE LANE, DEWEES ISLAND, SC – $50,000
Details: 2845 CAPN SAMS RD, SEABROOK ISLAND, SC – $249,000