•FrontDoor Communities branches out to second East Cooper village•

Shortly after building its first homes in the Charleston area at Rivertowne, a new regional builder is expanding to Watermark in Mount Pleasant.

FrontDoor Communities is set to construct four homes, two apiece on interior and lakefront lots. The neighborhood is in what’s known as Central Mount Pleasant.

According to backers, the company designs sustainable, custom-quality houses. It will join a handful of other builders at Watermark. Work should begin in the next two to three weeks, featuring custom detailing and use of local craftsmen, FrontDoor says.

A similar strategy has been employed by the builder in Tributary at RiverTowne — a single-family neighborhood off S.C. Highway 41.

“We want people to identify FrontDoor with high quality construction,” says Mark Lipsmeyer, vice president. “Our focus is on in-fill projects that bring needed new construction to Mount Pleasant without contributing to sprawl.”

For information, contact the local FrontDoor Communities’ office at 843-849-2353.

•Major local brokerage picks up four new associates•

An equal number of salespeople are joining separate offices of Carolina One Real Estate.

Sarah Minter and BJ Rodgers have signed on with Carolina One in its Goose Creek Metro North center while Anna Allen and Andrew Smith will work from the Mount Pleasant Longpoint building.

A Baton Rouge, La., native, Allen holds a bachelor’s degree from LSU and a master’s degree from the College of Charleston. She was employed at a mortgage business in Charleston before joining Carolina One. She lives in Mount Pleasant with husband Del and their two daughters.

Smith, born in Charleston, graduated from Clemson University and worked for a large, local landscape-architectural firm before choosing to pursue real estate. Smith and his wife Amelia reside in Mount Pleasant.

Minter, who has an associate’s degree in business, has been a Realtor since 2005 — spending the past six years in new home sales. She considers herself an “outdoors” person. Minter lives in North Charleston with her husband Westin and their two Boykin Spaniels.

A business owner and investor for more than 25 years, Rodgers is a recipient of the Center for Women’s “Power-Up” award. She attended the College of Charleston and Trident Technical College. Rodgers lives in Goose Creek with her husband Jim and their six daughters.

Along with 11 residential real estate offices, Carolina One Real Estate touts a mortgage division and relocation, new homes, insurance, commercial real estate, property management, resort rentals and title services departments.

To learn more, visit www.carolinaone.com.

•Realtor Bryan makes challenge to help raise funds for children with cancer•

An East Cooper agent has extra motivation to sell homes in the next few months: Each deal will result in $1,000 donations to fight cancer in children.

Becca Bryan of Prudential Carolina Sun Real Estate in Mount Pleasant says she has adopted The Sunshine Kids foundation, a national nonprofit that “provides positive group activities and emotional support” for kids with cancer.

To launch the program, she is offering a short term promotion. For every home she lists and sells between now and July 31, she will contribute $1,000 to the foundation in the buyer client’s name. A Sunshine Kids special rider can also be added, says Bryan, a fine homes, luxury resort and investment specialist for Prudential.

Across the country, Prudential Real Estate agents have raised more than $1.7 million for the charity. At the recent Prudential National Conference, Grammy Award winner Celine Dion put together a 25-song repertoire and poignant tribute with pictures of Sunshine Kids appearing on a screen behind her.

Prudential considers itself a family-oriented organization, and helping to raise funds for The Sunshine Kids seems like a natural extension, she says.

Bryan has a second company that’s also involved with the fundraising program. Bryan Development Group, which specializes in providing customized real estate programs for developers and builders, is also joining the fundraising effort and teaming with businesses on events for children with cancer.

It is also involved in sending children to vacation spots throughout the country. Last year, youngsters went on trips to New Orleans; Steamboat Springs, Colo.; Washington D.C.; San Marcos, Texas; Orlando; Los Angeles; and New York City.

For more information on Sunshine Kids, visit www.sunshinekids.org.

“The physicians who have watched the kids participate in these activities are convinced that the recreation and the ability to meet with other children who have similar problems, is one of the best medications possible,” says Sean Leighton, broker-owner of Prudential Carolina Sun.

Separately, Bryan is offering to compile reports on the valuation of anybody’s home in the Charleston area. The combination of Prudential now being owned by the nation’s largest relocation company, and the rise in real estate sales locally means Bryan has many shoppers looking for properties. Popular markets include Mount Pleasant and to town’s Old Village sector, Summerville and downtown Charleston.

To learn more, call 843-906-1440, e-mail BeccaBryanRealEstate@gmail.com or visit www.BeccaBryanRealEstate.com.

•East Cooper brokerage lands former police officer•

She’s a mentor and has a background in human resources and in hospitality. Oh, and one more thing, she’s a former cop.

Dena Metzler, who is also a Realtor, recently came onboard with Weichert, Realtors – Palmetto Coast as part of the sales team.

The Charleston Trident Association of Realtors member will assist homebuyers and sellers in the Charleston vicinity. She has lived in the area for nine years and now resides downtown.

Metzler, who holds a master’s degree in human resource management and a bachelor’s degree in the hospitality industry, is a Run Buddies mentor.

Prior to real estate, she was a police officer for five years, according to Weichert, Realtors.

For more information, visit www.weichertpc.com.

•CoreLogic: Home prices in region, state, nation soar in February•

For anyone eying further evidence of a rebounding housing market, here’s three such figures in terms of prices:

• Home values in Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville climbed 11.5 percent in February from a year before.

• South Carolina recorded a 9 percent gain in the yearly Home Price Index change by state for single-family properties as of February. The state placed 13th highest, including District of Columbia.

• Prices country-wide jumped 10.2 percent in February from February 2012, the highest rate in nearly seven years.

The numbers are from California-based CoreLogic, a noted analyst of real estate information.

“Home prices continued their march upward in February,” says Anand Nallathambi, president and chief executive of CoreLogic. “Nationally, home prices improved at the best rate since mid-2006, marking a full year of annual increases and underscoring the ongoing strengthening of market fundamentals.”

He adds, “Continued home price appreciation will provide fuel needed to drive further recovery in the home purchase market.”

The price surge in the Charleston area was even stronger when distressed sales, which include short sales and foreclosures, were factored out. The increase was 15.1 percent in February from the previous year.

Greater Charleston posted a slight drop, 0.4 percent, in home prices in February compared with January, although it rose 1 percent from a month before when distressed sales weren’t included.

Meanwhile on a statewide basis, South Carolina showed one of the strongest rates of price appreciation excluding distressed properties. It ranked sixth of the 50 states and D.C. with an 11.5 percent boost.

“The rebound in prices is heavily driven by western states,” says Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Eight of the 10 highest appreciating large markets are in California, with Phoenix and Las Vegas rounding out the list,”

On a month-over-month basis, home prices nationwide increased by 0.5 percent in February compared with January, according to CoreLogic.

The five states with the highest home price appreciation were Nevada, up 19.3 percent; Arizona, up 18.6 percent; California, plus 15.3 percent; Hawaii, up 14.6 percent; and Idaho, with a 13.5 percent gain.

Just three states reported depreciation: Delaware, down 4.4 percent; Alabama, off 1.5 percent; and Illinois, down 1 percent.

CoreLogic also supplies a look into the very near past in its Pending HPI (Home Price Index). The pending HPI for March forecasts a 10.2 percent rise from a year ago — the same jump as February from February 2012. The monthly increase in March from February is expected to be 1.2 percent.

The analytical company describes its pending HPI as a “proprietary and exclusive metric that provides the most current indication of trends in home prices.” It is based on Multiple Listing Service figures that measure price changes for the most recent month.

•Carolina One, three builders team up in large Mount Pleasant village•

The latest section of a master-planned community near Wando High School is sprouting up, with a trio of Charleston area and regional builders involved.

Showing the early stages of construction work is Riverside at Carolina Park.

Local companies Cline Homes and Sabal Homes LLC and Charlotte-based Saussy Burbank have been invited as members of the Carolina Park family of “superior” builders, according to backers.

The three builders will be represented by the New Homes division of Carolina One Real Estate.

They bring distinct perks to their sites.

“Cline Homes’ market niche of combining the flexibility and personal attention of a custom builder with the processes and efficiencies of a volume builder will provide yet another alternative for the Carolina Park customer,” partner Jeff Cline says. The builder will be offering 6-7 home plans starting in the high $400,000s in price and ranging in size from 2,500 to 3,900 square feet.

“We are not limited in providing only a select few home designs for buyers to choose from, but rather we’ll treat every customer in Riverside as an opportunity to create a lasting Lowcountry retreat,” says Matt Jones, managing member of Sabal Homes.

And Joe Kirk, vice president and general manager of Saussy Burbank, says that Mount Pleasant is the builder’s central location in the Charleston market.

“We’ve recently opened our brand new Design Studio right on Coleman Boulevard, so Carolina Park is a natural fit for us,” Kirk says. “We are very excited to become the newest member of the Carolina Park guild of quality builders.”

Carolina One New Homes represents 37 new-homes communities in Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties. For more information about Carolina One New Homes, contact Kris Kordonowy at 843-202-2025 or kkordonowy@carolinaone.com.