• Brokerage’s tournament raises funds for schools •

Dozens of golf rounds played on one of the more popular local courses yielded a tidy sum to be doled out to teachers for class supplies.

The fifth annual Schools Benefit Golf Tournament took place Oct. 16 at Crowfield Golf & Country Club in Goose Creek.

Carolina One Real Estate’s Metro North office in Goose Creek sponsored the event.

Each participating team backed a local school of their choice. The benefit collected $5,523.73. According to Carolina One, “Checks were presented directly to teachers to be used as needed for class support.”

This year’s sponsors were Stephanie Davis, A Community Lock & Safe; David Bourdik, Palmetto REO Services; Prime Lending; Sabal Homes; Chem-Dry of Summerville; Accucheck Home Inspection; David Weekley Homes; David Weekley Homes/Daniel Island; South Seas Marketing; Ryland Homes/Charleston Oaks; Super Carpets; Carters Handyman; W.R. Starkey; B Sure Home Inspection; Charleston Property Services; C.T. Lowndes; Charleston Pest & Lawn; Sing Heating; Charles Towne Montessori; Jim Williams; Dean Shuey; Dan Ryan Builders; Frank Inspections; Crescent Homes; First National Bank; Lennar Homes/Sam Broadway; Weeks & Irvine Law Firm; Michael Scarafile; Wasabi; Payne Homes Group; David & Veronica Rudick; Ladies Crowfield Golf Association; Crowfield Golf & Country Club; and Louise Voelker.

In alphabetical order, the benefiting schools are:

• Alston Middle

• Berkeley High

• Bonner Elementary

• Charlestowne Montessori

• College Park Elementary

• Hanahan High

• Hanahan Middle

• Howe Hall AIMS Elementary

• Marrington Middle School of the Arts

• Northside Christian

• Stiles Point Elementary

• Stratford High

• Trinity Classical Academy

• University School of the Lowcountry

• Westview Elementary

• Westview Middle

• Westview Primary.

The Metro North real estate office has set next year’s outing for September 2013.

• Agent unveils fourth quarter real estate picture, eyes future •

Bart Jackson is pleased not only that his Charleston real estate market forecast proved prescient, but that the news is so uplifting.

“As 2012 draws to a close, I’m happy to see that my prediction from earlier this year was correct: 2012 brought significant improvements to the Charleston real estate market,” he says.

Jackson, a buyer representative with Charleston Preferred Properties, publicized his latest Market Report this month. The study among other things scouts the fourth quarter housing landscape.

“There have been steady signs of recovery evident on many levels throughout the year, including a decreasing number of listings and increase in market activity, with buyers writing contracts at a pace that has not been seen since 2007” — the end of the boom market, he says.

Citing reports that housing market growth has been sustained for the last two to three years, Jackson says he finds “it increasingly evident that sometime between late 2010 and early 2011 will historically be seen as the bottom of the market downturn.”

Along with his retrospective on this year’s real estate market, Jackson provided observations on housing’s state of affairs heading into 2013.

Notably, the volume of residential sales is rising. Buying activity “has made big strides during the past year,” the best since 2007 when just more than 11,200 homes sold in Berkeley, Dorchester and Charleston counties, he says.

By comparison, just 8,100 residential sales were posted in 2009, inching up to 8,900 sales in 2010 and 9,900 last year.

Totals are not completed for 2012, but as of mid-November, more than 10,500 residences sold in the three-county area.

Looking at the numbers a different way, 33 weeks in 2011 finished without topping 200 residential properties under contract, while this year just three weeks passed that did not log more than 200 properties with a contract, Jackson says. In two of the three weeks that fell short, 199 properties apiece went under contract, he says.

Another sign of an improving market is that the median sales price in metro Charleston is moving upward.

The midpoint price through Oct. 31 on a single-family home in the region is $209,000, a boost of 5 percent compared with the same period last year, says Jackson, who has been a certified residential appraiser working full time in the Charleston market for 20 years.

“If trends continue, then 2013 should be the year that we see a noticeable increase in median sales prices.”

Also encouraging is that banks, buyers and sellers are adjusting to the new market, he says.

By the beginning of 2013, Jackson says, “Banks will have had five to six years to deal with the majority of their toxic write-offs from the risky loans of 2000-2007.” Since they weren’t being paid interest or fees on the risky loans, banks eventually struck them from their financial books as uncollectible. He says they’ve had time to move past the troubled loan period and “create portfolios of more solidly underwritten loans.” Not only that, many banks are showing a willingness to lend again and are offering historically low interest rates, Jackson says.

As banks were mending their fences, home sellers and buyers were acclimating themselves to the new real estate market, in which prices dropped drastically from historic highs and banks faced significant new lending requirements.

“These shifts have taken some time, but the worst is in the rear view mirror and improving trends are emerging,” Jackson says.

In a separate note, homebuilders are active again, he says. “Some builders in 2012 built more new homes than they did in 2009-11 combined.” Contractors are taking down lots to begin framing houses and have started building at an increased rate. “Builders are anticipating a continuation of new home sales right into 2013,” he says. The construction jump should help absorb available lot inventories that “still outweigh demand at the present time,” he says.

Additionally bolstering the market is a decline in home inventories.

“For the final quarter of this year, the Charleston market has been hovering around 6,000 single-family residential listings,” Jackson says. That’s almost in balance with demand. The rate needs to be 1,000 sales a month — or 12,000 sales a year — for there to be a six-month absorption rate for an inventory of 6,000 properties. Half a year’s worth of inventory is considered to be the balance point for most healthy markets, he says.

“Market activity typically slows down during the Thanksgiving to Christmas season, so I anticipate that the Charleston market will end up with around 11,000 sales this year — just short of a balanced market.”

Based on the latest housing figures, Jackson offers advice to buyers and sellers.

“As I survey the horizon, the outlook is positive, but buyers and sellers have to be aware of future inflation and interest rate increases,” he says.

Buyers should look to make a purchase now while prices are still near the bottom “and interest rates are the lowest they have been in our lifetime,” Jackson says.

Sellers, by contrast, “should wait as long as possible to put a property on the market to take maximum advantage of the improving trends.” Prices may not reach their all-time highs of early 2007, but trends show “the market is finally coming to you and not going away,” he says.

• Beaufort pair signs on with Weichert coastal team •

It’s Sing and Joye time at one Mount Pleasant-based real estate agency.

The Beaufort County duo of Elizabeth “Sing” Pappas and Carl Joye have hooked up with Weichert, Realtors-Palmetto Coast.

The long-established Realtor pair, who market themselves as The Apex Team, became affiliated with Weichert in 2004. This month’s change involves joining the East Cooper office.

Joye and Pappas serve clients from the company’s satellite location at 1503 Paris Ave. in Port Royal. Both Realtors have “worked together under the same roof” for the past eight years, Joye says.

The team will continue to represent buyers and sellers throughout the market, “where they have earned stellar reputations as agents and for their contributions to the community,” says Annalisa Jordan, broker-owner of Weichert, Realtors-Palmetto Coast.

Pappas and Joye are members of the Beaufort and Hilton Head Multiple Listing Services.

The Weichert office in Mount Pleasant is home to sales associates across the South Carolina coast.

Pappas, a Low Country native, entered the real estate trade in 1986. She has maintained her status as a top producer, notably ranking in the top 10 real estate agents in the Beaufort MLS from 2007 to 2011. The ranking stems from her closing nearly 150 transactions totaling more than $32 million in sales.

Since joining Weichert, she has been honored 2004-11 as a member of the Weichert Real Estate Affiliates President’s Club — the top yearly award presented to agents by the national franchise organization.

Joye, meanwhile, landed with Weichert after a 20-year career as custom builder and designer. The Realtor and community advocate, who is a lifelong Beaufort resident, is likewise a top sales achiever.

“We are excited about our affiliation with Annalisa,” he says. “We have been proud to observe Annalisa and her Charleston area agency’s growth since she took the reins in 2006.”

For more information on The Apex Team, call 843-770-5100 or visit www.weichertpc.com.

• Veteran agent Magraw joins Keller Williams •

After residing in a Paris suburb for five years, Bambi Magraw eyed a place with similar charm, beauty, culture and great food on her return to the U.S.

She chose greater Charleston.

That was in 2003. Soon after, she became a real estate agent. Magraw recently changed affiliations and is now a Realtor with Keller Williams.

An agent for close to nine years, Magraw specializes in downtown properties and homes in Mount Pleasant, Daniel Island and the beaches. She is a member of the Charleston Trident, South Carolina and National associations of Realtors.

Born in Kansas, Magraw grew up in Seattle and on the east coast, including the South. As a child, she was interested in cooking, reading and horses, according to Keller Williams.

Magraw didn’t visit Paris until she was an adult with three children. But when she took the rip, she was enamored with the city, food, people and ambience. She moved to France in 1998, living in the town of Maison Laffitte outside Paris.

According to Keller Williams, she decided to “fully immerse herself and her family in the culture.” She strolled old city streets, took French classes at the Sorbonne, enrolled in cooking classes and shopped in outdoor fresh markets. Magraw and her husband Kim Magraw live in Mount Pleasant. She has three grown children, a cat named “Napoleon,” and a dog named “Buddha” that she takes for walks on the beach at Sullivan’s Island.

She enjoys tennis, golf, cooking and walking around downtown visiting different shops and galleries. She still keeps up with her French and is fluent, according to Keller Williams.

Her favorite things about Charleston are its history, character, charm, great food and beautiful architecture.

“It has the culture of a European city twice its size. Top that off with a great climate and friendly people, and it is the ideal place for anyone to live or raise a family,” Magraw says.