Are rising interest rates discouraging homebuyers?

There’s been fears that rising interest rates could deflate the region’s rebounding home sales market.

But statistics thus far show buyers are thumbing their noses at the uptick in mortgage costs.

The Charleston Trident Association of Realtors reported in its August home sales report that 1,278 homes sold at a median price of $217,462, respective gains of 24 percent and 9 percent from the month a year ago.

Association officials said the data showed that the rising loan rates have had little to no impact on buyers coming to the closing table.

Long-term mortgages are up more than a point since May. Industry experts have said they still aren’t as high as they were before the recession.

Last week, the fixed-rate mortgages held steady near two-year highs — 4.57 percent for the 30-year variety and 3.59 percent for a 15-year note.

The real estate industry will be watching this week when the Federal Reserve revisits whether to ease off its bond purchase program, which has kept mortgages low.

Rising interest rates are one piece of the puzzle buyers have to figure out in the home-purchasing process. For example, the monthly payment on a $200,000 home with a 3.9% percent mortgage would be about $943. That would rise to about $1,013 on a 4.5 percent loan.

Interest rates aside, economists have warned that tepid job growth also could put the brakes on home sales.

Satellite space

Cornelius, N.C.-based residential property management firm Park Avenue Properties is opening a satellite office in Charleston, one of several new Southeast outposts it’s adding to meet the demands of the growing multifamily market.

In addition to Charleston, the firm is looking to expand into Greenville, Memphis, Raleigh and Greensboro.

“Opening the Park Avenue Properties’ satellite offices is an important step to realizing our goal of operating in major metropolitan areas throughout the United States,” said John Bradford, founder and CEO. “The satellite offices are vital to establishing a presence in the areas we do business.”

The announcement comes on the heels of a study by Colliers International showing the Charleston area’s apartment market is one of the most robust in the nation.

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