• High school drumline marks Oak Terrace Preserve phase •

A few “neighbors” from quaint downtown North Charleston joined a builder to unveil its model home and sales center.

The partners who make up Charleston Landmark Builders sponsored a grand opening weekend Nov. 17-18 to provide home perusers a glimpse of the company’s new phase at Oak Terrace Preserve.

Guests included North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey, who lives a few blocks away, and the North Charleston High School Drumline in a special performance. The high school is less than a mile from Oak Terrace Preserve, which is just west of Park Circle.

Charleston Landmark supplied down-home cooking from North Charleston’s Barbecue Joint and apple pies baked by EVO Craft Bakery — both in the heart of the city.

The new sales center and model home highlight American Craftsman-style construction, with many features sought by today’s buyers, according to Charleston Landmark.

The company is one of several builders in Oak Terrace Preserve. According to Charleston Landmark, the village “is a prime example of the reinvigorated Park Circle community.” Craftsman homes “reflect the style and quality of homes originally built in the neighborhood decades ago.”

Charleston Landmark’s sales center is open every day 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, contact John Sweeney, sales associate at Re/Max Advanced Realty at 843-469-5646 or Marty Sorrentino, broker associate of Re/Max Innovations and director of sales and marketing for Charleston Landmark Builders at 516-221-7362, 516-551-0082 or www.martysorrentino.com.

• Weinreich, Able take home awards •

Education and marketing units of the local Realtor’s association recently landed countrywide honors — specifically a gabby winner and a rising star.

Awards for the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors were handed out during the 2012 National Association of Realtors convention in Orlando.

Lora Able, the Charleston Trident association’s director of education, won the 2012 Resort and Second Home Property Specialist “Rising Star Award.”

Each year, the award is presented to someone who stands out among the more than 1,600 real estate professionals who have earned the national association’s RSPS certification.

Also, Meghan Weinreich took home a “Gabby Award” for best email newsletter by a local Realtor association. The Gabby Awards are handed out yearly to recognize the best use of Convio email marketing to talk with, educate and quickly reach Realtor members when needed.

• Foreclosures drop statewide, nationally in October •

The number of homes in October going through foreclosure in South Carolina sank to 3.3 percent, mirroring the national downward movement.

The state total was down .5 percent from a year ago, but still placed tied for 10th highest across the country.

About 1.3 million homes nationwide, or 3.2 percent of all houses with a mortgage, were in the national foreclosure inventory as of October compared with 1.5 million, or 3.6 percent, a year before.

“A lower foreclosure inventory is a good indicator of improving housing markets,” says Anand Nallathambi, president and chief executive of CoreLogic.

“The downward trend in foreclosure inventories over the past year is yet another signal that a recovery in housing is gaining traction,” he says.

At the same time, there is a lower share nationally of completed foreclosures — cases where deals collapse and owners actually lose their homes.

According to CoreLogic, completed foreclosures declined 17 percent to 58,000 in October from 70,000 a year previous.

“As a result of completed foreclosures and alternative disposition methods (such as short sales), the foreclosure inventory has declined by 9 percent year-to-date. This is good news for housing markets as we look forward to 2013,” says Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic.

States with the highest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of all mortgaged homes were Florida, at 11.1 percent and New Jersey with 7.7 percent. The lowest foreclosure inventories were in Wyoming, 0.5 percent and Alaska and North Dakota, at 0.7 percent each.

Five states account for nearly half of the completed foreclosures: California, Florida, Michigan, Texas and Georgia.

• Fox Hollow community slips onto James Island •

This new neighborhood may sound like the name of a backwoods stomping ground, but it’s really in a stretch of James Island that’s downright suburban.

All the same, Fox Hollow takes a shine to natural surroundings. New Leaf Builders LLC is designing the neighborhood as a “low impact development — disturbing as little of the natural vegetation and wildlife habitat as possible.”

Fox Hollow, which is off Woodland Shores Road, showcases nine bungalow-style craftsman homes nestled beneath century-old trees, according to the builder.

Homes are in the 1,750-2,550 square foot range, and prices run from the low $300,000s to the low $400,000s.

Residences sport eco-friendly innovations such as Insulating Concrete Forms. Instead of using lumber for exterior walls, the ICF walls are five inches of steel re-enforced concrete with two inches of polystyrene foam on each side of the concrete, says New Leaf and its marketing group Charleston Pier Partners. Air-tight walls can cut down on power bills while providing muscular construction that’s resistant to storm damage.

New Leaf Builders searched far and wide to find certain materials to craft the eco-friendly homes. Bungalows in Asheville that were reclaimed provide the James Island houses with a one-of-a-kind vintage door.

The three and four bedroom homes, according to Charleston Pier Partners, are “warm and inviting.” Power-saving perks are energy-efficient windows, tankless water heaters, low-flow plumbing fixtures, home energy monitors, rain barrels and composters, protective radiant-roof barriers and natural bio swales geared to handle storm water runoff.

Typical features are cozy front porches; crown molding throughout the homes; hardwood floors in main living areas; screened porches with ceiling fan and light package; and kitchen stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and 42-inch cabinets.

This is the second project involving New Leaf Builders, a design and build firm of business partners Adam Baslow and Grant Zinkon, and Carolina One Real Estate’s Charleston Pier Partners. They first got together to market, build and sell Eaglewood Retreat on James Island in 2011. The Fox Hollow development was a natural progression.

Randall Sandin and Matt Poole of Charleston Pier Partners-Carolina One are the exclusive listing agents. For more information, contact Sandin at 843-209-9667 or rsandin@carolinaone.com or visit www.FoxHollowSC.com.

• Former franchise owner signs on with Prudential Southern Coast •

Connie White knows the real estate business from the agent side but more than that, as an owner, too.

She recently joined Prudential Southern Coast Real Estate, bringing a background as a Realtor and as a franchise holder with Exit Realty.

White specializes in “short sales,” investor properties and assisting first time home buyers.

“I am excited with the opportunity of joining such a distinguished and highly professional organization as Prudential Southern Coast Real Estate,” she says. The agency’s marketing program “is an aggressive approach that meets the needs of today’s buyers and sellers,” White says. The program, she says, “blends perfectly with my philosophy.”

White and her husband Brian White, a finance officer, live in Crowfield in Goose Creek. They are proud of their two children, Ronnie, a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina, and Michael, a freshman at Stratford High School.

“We are honored Connie chose to join our team,” says Linda Collins, owner of Prudential Southern Coast. “Her love of helping her clients is her mission.”

For more information, contact White at 843-532-3356 or via email at cwhite.pscre@gmail.com.

• Retail real estate activity picks up in Charleston area •

A reinvigorated King Street is helping to boost the retail market in metro Charleston, surpassing most other cities, a broker’s report has found.

“With higher levels of retail activity compared to other retail centers in the state and nation, the Charleston Metropolitan Statistical Area retail market appears to be moving in a positive direction,” says Ruth Marie Embler, retail specialist with NAI Avant.

The overall Charleston market in the July through September third quarter recorded a low 5.3 percent vacancy rate, compared with 5.5 percent as of the end of the second quarter. The volume of newly leased properties over recent vacancies was 135,212 square feet, compared with a 90,606-square-foot net absorption from April through June.

“The vitality of King Street, in particular, is playing a large part in the low vacancy rate for the overall retail market,” Embler says. “Downtown Charleston alone is experiencing a vacancy rate of 1.6 percent, the lowest it has seen in a long time. Both existing and planned retail space in this area command higher rental rates, in some cases as high as $40 per square foot.This has created a buzz of extreme demand and excitement that continues to capture the attention of national retailers,” she says.

At the end of September, more than 166,000 square feet of retail space was under construction in metro Charleston.

Founded in 1966, NAI Avant is headquartered in Columbia and has an office in Charleston. For more information, visit www.naiavant.com or contact David Grubbs, managing principal of the Charleston Office at 843-814-6111 or dgrubbs@naiavant.com.

• Coldwell Banker agent awarded buyer’s certification •

Herb Uthlaut has landed one of the more prestigious real estate titles, joining more than 30,000 fellow professionals after passing an extensive course.

The agent, with Coldwell Banker United, Realtors earned the Accredited Buyer’s Representation designation. The Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council of the National Association of Realtors grants the designation.

In securing the ABR certification, Uthlaut had to successfully finish a comprehensive course in buyer representation and an elective course focusing on a buyer representation specialty. At the same time, he was required to submit documentation verifying his professional experience.

Formed in 1988, the council is the world’s largest association of real estate professionals focusing specifically on representing the real estate buyer, according to the NAR. There are more than 40,000 active members of the association worldwide.

The NAR is the largest professional association for Realtors, representing more than 1 million members worldwide.

For more information, contact the council by phone at 800-648-6224, email at rebac@realtors.org or visit the website at www.REBAC.net.