•Isle of Palms agency buys management assets of Sullivan’s office•

A beachside real estate venture is exiting the property-oversight side of the business by selling those holdings to Island Realty, while remaining in sales.

Island Realty recently purchased the property management assets of Exit Ocean Isles Rentals, based on Sullivan’s Island. The holdings total nearly 90 long- and short-term properties.

Exit Ocean Isles Rentals will continue as a residential sales brokerage, according to Isle of Palms-based Island Realty.

“With the change for the positive in the sales market, it was just natural to want to focus all our energies on our sellers and buyers and expand our sales force in the community,” Exit Ocean Isles personnel say in an Island Realty release.

“We recognized that Island Realty and its employees would have the best interest of our owners, guests and community in their services and marketing.”

According to Island Realty, the seller recognized the company’s marketing ability and “felt its personal attention to owners and guests would be a good fit for owners, tenants and guests.”

•Hunley Waters developer rolls out financing plan•

Teachers, city employees and military personnel are among those who could be eligible for borrowing options at an emerging North Charleston village.

Cobalt Developments LLC says six new homes are on the market at its Hunley Waters neighborhood, located off O’Hear Avenue.

Special financing choices are available for public service employees with the city of North Charleston, Charleston County, Charleston County School District and Joint Base Charleston as well as private defense contractors affiliated with Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic (SPAWAR).

New houses in the gated, waterfront community include two Extended Ashepoo models and completed Cooper and Ashepoo floor plans. An Ashley plan and another Extended Ashepoo model should be completed by late February.

Models range in cost from $209,900 to $299,900. Southcoast Community Bank of Mount Pleasant financed two of the models.

According to Cobalt Developments, each residence features “Green Homes” certification via the National Association of Home Builders. The program saves on energy bills.

Other distinguishing features of the Hunley Waters homes are expansive front porches in a neo-traditional Lowcountry design, nine-foot ceilings designed to cool the house during the summer, Energy Star-rated appliances, storage and abundant ground level parking, the company says.

Hunley Waters sports a community dock and pavilion on Noisette Creek.

Cobalt Developments says its financing options include a company incentive of $10,000 off the price of a home.

In late 2012, the nonprofit Lowcountry Housing Trust disclosed a financing offer for prospective homebuyers.

The LHT Homebuyer Assistance Program provides up to $20,000 in down payment assistance at Hunley Waters. Possible buyers can’t earn more than 120 percent of the area median income to qualify.

“This package represents a tremendous opportunity for public service employees, like policemen, firemen, school teachers, SPAWAR and air force personnel,” says Chris Swan, chief executive of Cobalt Developments LLC.

“This down payment assistance puts a new home within the reach of many workers who would not otherwise have a chance to buy a house,” he says.

“For workers at the Navy Yard, the city of North Charleston, Charleston County, Charleston Air Force Base and the Charleston County School District, an affordable home is now within reach at a central location near their workplace,” Swan says.

Hunley Waters homes are built by Old Man Construction. North Charleston-based Carolina Elite Real Estate is the broker.

For more information, visit www.hunleywaters.com.

•Less than 20 percent of mortgages “underwater” in Charleston•

The share of local mortgage holders owing more than the value of their homes is edging downward, a sign of a healthier housing market.

In the Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville metro area, 19.3 percent, or 28,308, of residential properties were in “negative equity” as of third quarter 2012, according to CoreLogic research firm.

By comparison, 19.7 percent, or 29,025 properties, were in negative equity — commonly referred to as “underwater” — a quarter earlier.

At the same time, 6.7 percent of properties in the third quarter were considered in “near negative equity,” in which home values barely outpaced loan amounts. The metro Charleston rate was 6.8 percent a quarter earlier, according to CoreLogic.

The Charleston area figures tend to follow the movement of home loans nationwide.

CoreLogic says about 100,000 additional borrowers in the U.S. reached a state of “positive equity” — where their homes again are worth more than the mortgages — in the July through September quarter.

The company analysis also found that 10.7 million, or 22 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage, were in negative equity at the end of the third quarter, which was down slightly from 10.8 million properties, or 22.3 percent, the previous quarter.

Another 2.3 million borrowers had less than 5 percent equity in their home, referred to as near-negative equity, at the end of the third quarter.

Homeowners wind up underwater on their mortgages either from a decline in home value, an increase in mortgage debt or a combination of both, according to CoreLogic.

Financially-underwater homes by dollar amount decreased to $658 billion in the third quarter from $689 billion a quarter before. The $31 billion decline was driven in large part by an improvement in house price levels, CoreLogic says.

“Through the third quarter, the number of underwater borrowers declined significantly,” says Mark Fleming, the analytical company’s chief economist.

“There has been steady progress relative to reducing negative equity and its effects in 2012, but with nearly one quarter of borrowers still underwater, we have a long way to go,” says Anand Nallathambi, president and chief executive of CoreLogic.

“As we look ahead into 2013, we expect to continue to see more borrowers escape the negative equity trap,” he says.

The bulk of negative equity is concentrated in the lower end of the housing market, CoreLogic says. The underwater share of homes valued less than $200,000 is 28.7 percent, close to twice the 14.6 percent for borrowers with home values greater than $200,000.

On a statewide basis, Nevada had the highest percentage of mortgaged properties underwater at 56.9 percent, followed by Florida at 42.1 percent; Arizona, 38.6 percent; Georgia, 35.6 percent; and Michigan, 32 percent.

•Mungo launches second phase of the Cottages•

A South Carolina builder is getting ready to deliver more homes in a neighborhood that’s already one of Johns Island’s fastest-growing.

Mungo Homes is introducing 23 homesites with seven floor plans in the Cottages at Johns Island, a wooded community off Maybank Highway.

The suburban development tallied 63 home sales in just more than a year in 2010-11, ranking The Cottages as one of the big sellers on the island.

In the new phase, homes will range in size from 1,620 to 2,750 square feet and prices will start at $184,900.

Many of the Charleston “single house” plans feature two- to three-story models, some with two-story front porch designs and with one- and two-car detached garages, according to Carolina One New Homes, exclusive marketing agent. Construction is set to begin early this year.

The neighborhood comes with a host of spiffs: fishing pond, walking paths, landscaped common areas and a children’s playground.

To reach the Cottages, take Maybank Highway just south of River Road and turn right on Towne Street at the All Seasons True Value Hardware store.

For more information, contact Neil Shepard at 843-364-6873 or by email at nshepard@carolinaone.com.

Carolina One New Homes represents 33 new-home communities.

•Lee and Associates adds broker•

Boasting of an economic background and market experience, Jonathan J. Chalfie has signed on with Lee & Associates Charleston.

Chalfie, formerly with Avison Young, is an associate specializing in office space with Lee & Associates. He has more than 12 years’ experience working in greater Charleston commercial real estate market.

The University of Wisconsin economics graduate resides in Mount Pleasant with his wife and two children.

Chalfie represents businesses that are looking for advice on site selection, negotiation and lease evaluation, according to Lee & Associates. He also assists landlords in receiving premium visibility of their properties and ultimately the highest returns on their investments.

•Lennar hosts grand opening at new neighborhood in Summerville•

First-time homebuyers and growing families are expected to hone in on Braeland, a start-up Dorchester County village priced from the $130,000s.

Miami-based Lennar Corp., one of the country’s largest homebuilders, held a grand opening at the Summerville community in late January.

Lennar marketing professionals say the neighborhood should capture some of the quickly growing residential market for couples purchasing their initial homes and those with children or kids on the way.

“Summerville is a growing area of the Lowcountry, and we are excited to officially launch this community as a part of that growth,” says Jason Byham, director of sales and marketing for Lennar’s Coastal Carolinas

division.

Braeland, he says, offers engaging homes and top-notch values as a result of the builder’s signature Everything’s Included program.

Lennar has 40 home sites available at Braeland. Houses are 1,403-2,069 square feet and up and starting in cost in the low $130,000s.

The floor plans consist of one- and two-level homes with three or four bedrooms, two baths and two-car garages. House hunters benefit from the Everything’s Included offerings, in which buyers receive desirable luxury features such as upgraded flooring and appliance packages with refrigerator, all at the base price of the home.

Braeland is situated in near downtown Summerville, minutes from restaurants and shopping.

For more information, visit www.LennarCharleston.com.

•Company names sales director at The Tides condos•

A veteran of luxury properties from North Carolina to the Virgin Islands has been named to a key position at a standout Mount Pleasant mid-rise.

East West Partners says that Mac Triplett is the new Director of Sales for the Tides condominiums.

Triplett comes onboard with more than three decades of experience in luxury real estate sales, marketing and development. His areas of expertise include community development; and sales, marketing and management of commercial and residential real estate, according to East West Partners.

Triplett has worked at various luxury developments in the continental United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In his most recent stint, he oversaw sales of two of the Cliff’s Communities in western North Carolina — Walnut Cove and High Carolina. Site prices ranged from $450,000 to $3 million.

The Tides is situated at the base of the Ravenel Bridge and adjacent to the new Mount Pleasant Waterfront Park. The condos were completed in the mid 2000s and were nearly sold out when the national real estate downturn interrupted the sales closing process, according to East West Partners.

The company is partnering with a group of investors who took title to the remaining unsold residences through foreclosure. The partner group says it will soon be reintroducing a select number of residences to the market at “very competitive” prices. The residences offer quick access to downtown Charleston, Mount Pleasant shops and beaches at Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island. The community also features a pool, fitness club and clubroom.

In welcoming Triplett to his new post, East West Partners project manager Miller Harper says, “His wealth of experience working in our industry and passion for the Charleston area makes us even more excited about reintroducing the Tides residences to the market.”

East West Partners describes itself as a family of related but independent companies devoted to building, selling, managing and supporting high-quality real estate.

For more information, visit www.TidesCharleston.com or www.ewpartners.com.

•Last lots being marketed at Battery Gaillard west of the Ashley•

Set along Church Creek, a neighborhood sprung up eight years ago with 54 lots edging the water and community amenities.

Nine of the homesites remain in the West Ashley subdivision, Battery Gaillard, and seven of the lots are approved as joint docks — providing privacy and pristine views.

Battery Gaillard, situated off Ashley River Road in the South Carolina Heritage Corridor, sports a community dock and a walking path to nearby West Ashley Parks and Playground sports fields, recreation and family complex.

Carolina One New Homes is promoting the sales of the final lots, which range in price from $70,000 to $100,000.

“The developers have taken great care to preserve the integrity of the land,” marketing executive Sunday Lempesis says. “Green spaces, beautiful waterfront vistas and stately oak trees abound.”

For more, contact Lempesis at 843-371-1076 or via email at sunday@carolinaone.com.

•Beazer looking for buyers to “Get More” during sales promotion•

In the Charleston area and markets nationwide, one of the country’s largest homebuilders is offering incentives to people looking to buy.

Beazer Homes USA Inc. is launching its “Get More Sales Event” on Monday. The blitz will continue through Feb. 17 in its 16-state region including South Carolina.

The promotion takes place at an opportune time, according to the Atlanta-based contractor. Steadily low mortgage rates, combined with rising demand for newly constructed homes, is creating a promising outlook.

Beazer is one of the larger new-home builders in metro Charleston and ranks in the top 10 nationwide, it says.

The sales event encourages buyers to take advantage of favorable market conditions by finding the right home at the right place, according to Beazer.

“The housing market continues to gain momentum; and buyers can take advantage by finding a Beazer home that is personalized to the way they live and saves them money on their energy bills,” says Kathi James, chief marketing officer and senior vice president for Beazer Homes.

James says the builder is also urging shoppers to choose the best-suited lender when buying a Beazer home, while providing them with a list of partners. “By doing so they may be able to save hundreds of dollars on their loan monthly,” she says.

Beazer says it wants the buyer to get more out of the home buying process. The company says it offers more mortgage choices, flexible floor plans and built-in energy efficient features to save people money on utility bills throughout the year.

As listed on Beazer’s website, local communities are Bolton’s Landing west of the Ashley, with starting home prices at $186,990; Cypress Manor at Spring Grove in Moncks Corner, starting at $136,990; Drakesborough in Summerville, beginning at $125,490; Felder Creek in Jedburg, starting at $148,490; and Lieben Park in Mount Pleasant, beginning at $198,990.

The company builds homes in Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia as well as South Carolina.

For more information, visit www.beazer.com.