Commercial agency names new property manager in the Lowcountry

A specialist in overseeing medical facilities has signed on with Lee & Associates Charleston commercial real estate firm.

Carla Fix joins the property management team at Lee & Associates. She will be one of three commercial property managers for Lee in the three-county Charleston area.

According to Lee & Associates, Fix has focused extensively on healthcare property management throughout her career — in particular keying on beefing up tenant relations and retention.

Foreclosure inventory drops dramatically in state, nationwide

The percentage of South Carolina homes in any stage of foreclosure dipped below the national rate in November, a real estate information firm shows.

Foreclosure inventory in South Carolina works out to 2 percent of mortgages, down 1 percentage point from a year ago. It’s tied for 12th highest among “judicial” states that rely on the courts to remedy problem home-loan cases, according to Irvine, Calif.-based CoreLogic.

Nationwide, foreclosure inventory fell to 2.1 percent, off 0.9 percentage points or 34 percent. The inventory, which stood at 814,000 as of November compared with 1.2 million a year earlier, includes all types of foreclosed mortgages.

Completed foreclosures, cases where property owners actually lose their homes, stood at 9,552 in South Carolina for the year ending in November, placing the state seventh highest among judicial areas. Across the U.S., 622,686 foreclosures were completed for the year. There were 46,000 completed foreclosures in November, down 29 percent from 64,000 a year earlier. Meanwhile, completed foreclosures decreased 8.3 percent month over month from 50,000 in October. By comparison, completed foreclosures averaged 21,000 per month nationwide between 2000 and 2006. The housing market decline started in 2007.

South Carolina likewise posted a lower share of serious delinquencies, 4.8 percent of all home loans; than the nation as a whole. The U.S. rate was 5 percent, or fewer than 2 million mortgages. Serious delinquencies are home loans that are 90 days or more past due.

The national rate of seriously delinquent mortgages is at its lowest level since November 2008.

Meanwhile, the country’s “shadow inventory” fell to 1.7 million homes as of October, down 24 percent from a year ago and the lowest level since August 2008, CoreLogic disclosed in its National Foreclosure Report for November. The report came out last week.

America-wide, the inventory was valued at $256 billion, down 26.4 percent from $348 billion a year ago.

The shadow inventory consists of loans that are delinquent or otherwise troubled but not yet in foreclosure.

“Consumer confidence is definitely up as the economic rebound gathers more steam,” says Anand Nallathambi, president and chief executive of CoreLogic.

“As the negative equity crisis abates and home prices continue to rise, most people are prioritizing the payment of their mortgage obligations. The result is a double-digit drop in the inventory of seriously delinquent homes in 48 states as of October,” he says.

“Nationally, loan performance continues to improve. The rate of seriously delinquent loans is at a new five-year low, down 26 percent relative to a year ago,” says Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic.

“The shadow inventory continues to decline as well, decreasing at an average monthly rate of 46,000 units over the last year. Healthy market levels of shadow inventory are around 650,000 units, so there is more to be done, but the trend is in the right direction,” Fleming says.

The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures in November from a year ago were Florida at 115,000, Michigan with 54,000, California at 42,000, Texas at 40,000 and Georgia with 36,000.

The highest foreclosure inventory rates as of November were Florida, at 6.6 percent of all mortgages; New Jersey at 6.5 percent; New York at 4.7 percent; Maine, 3.5 percent; and Connecticut with 3.5 percent.

Cane Bay moves up among top 50 master-planned communities

A burgeoning Charleston area neighborhood jumped to 24th largest nationwide last year among villages that map out designs, layouts and covenants up front.

Cane Bay Plantation, situated off U.S. Highway 176 in Berkeley County, climbed 26 spots from No. 50 in 2012, according to a report on master-planned communities from John Burns Real Estate Consulting in California. The company bases its rankings on 2013 net sales.

Gramling Brothers Real Estate & Development launched Cane Bay Plantation seven years ago. Original plans calling for expanded public education have culminated in the opening of new elementary, middle and high schools.

Home sales rose 59 percent in Cane Bay to 341 in 2013, compared with 214 a year earlier.

According to John Burns Real Estate Consulting, master-planned communities make up a sizable share of housing growth each year. The top 50 “masterplans” accounted for 5.4 percent of 2013 new home sales nationwide. Also, the 23,463 new home sales in the 50 largest master-planned neighborhoods amounted to a 12 percent increase from 2012.

Texas tallied the most master plans in the top 50 at 17. Florida totaled nine and California, seven. Cane Bay wound up as the only South Carolina development in the top group.

Among other report findings:

- New home sales slowed down in the final six months of the year. The consulting group’s builder survey “revealed slowing sales and weaker pricing beyond seasonal expectations since September.” No region avoided the housing pause “as buyers assessed the impacts of higher rates and home prices,” according to John Burns Real Estate Consulting.

- The top 50 list attracted a host of new communities; more than 20 percent were new to the ranking in 2013. “We expect that some of these new communities will rise in the ranking as they gain momentum and older communities reach completion,” the company says.

- Tracking builder activity can prove insightful. The consulting group says “a small but growing” number of master-planned community developers do not track the builders’ activity. “As the housing recovery progresses, developers who are not tracking builders’ sales and inventory will not have a good read on when to develop more lots,” the consulting operation says.

Lennar names sales manager for coastal Carolinas

The new chief of a leading national homebuilder’s Grand Strand territory arrives with a notable lineage in real estate sales and marketing.

Bob Peiffer has joined Lennar as area sales manager in its Coastal Carolinas Division. He will head up the company’s sales team in the Myrtle Beach area.

According to Lennar, the manager has amassed in-depth real estate experience and extensive time in marketing and sales.

Peiffer previously held positions with national builders Pulte and Centex, as well as Barefoot Realty in Myrtle Beach.

“We are excited to welcome Bob Peiffer to our team,” says Jason Byham, director of sales with Lennar’s Coastal Carolinas division.

“His strong background in sales and marketing bring a valuable skill set to our team,” Byham says, “and his wealth of knowledge of Myrtle Beach communities will be essential to Lennar’s rapid growth in the area.”

Peiffer says it’s “great” joining Lennar and working with its top-notch team.

“I’m looking forward to driving sales in such a strong market for Lennar,” he says. “Knowing the area well, I know there is great opportunity for the communities Lennar can deliver and I am excited to be a part of it.”

Founded 60 years ago, Miami-based Lennar builds affordable, move-up and retirement homes in 18 states. For more information, visit www.LennarMyrtle Beach.com or www.Lennar.com.

New agents join dunes properties in King Street digs

Two South Carolina natives with backgrounds as advocates have hooked up with a local agency touting offices from downtown to the beaches.

As an authority in eco-friendly buildings, Bryan McElveen brings a unique perspective to the real estate market in Charleston, according to dunes properties.

At the same time, Catherine Scurry showcases experience as a paralegal, which has helped her transition to a career in real estate.

The pair will join the sales team at The Real Estate Studio, situated at 214 King Street.

According to dunes properties, McElveen elicits “a love for the natural environment,” making Charleston a great place to live. He specializes in downtown Charleston, North Charleston and Mount Pleasant communities. “His knowledge ranges from high-performance homes in Park Circle to faithfully preserved historic homes on the Charleston peninsula,” the agency says.

McElveen since 2012 has authored Charleston EcoRealtor, a website pertaining to “eco-conscious retrofitting and sustainability-minded real estate,” the residential brokerage notes. “He is an advocate for the restorative balance of the places in which we live, work and play.”

The Realtor’s hobbies include gardening, cooking and enjoying the area’s rivers and beaches.

He can be reached at bmcelveen@dunesproperties.com or 843-276-0352.

Scurry, who grew up in the Midlands, spent summers with her large family at Pawleys Island.

She moved to the Charleston area with her husband, Jerry, after many years as a Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate for the State of South Carolina, according to dunes properties.

After seven years in the Charleston area, she has “cultivated a love for the historic charm of Charleston and the Lowcountry,” the agency says.

Scurry, as a former paralegal, uses her legal knowledge to help clients negotiate successful real estate contracts and “realize their dream of a beautiful home in Charleston,” the brokerage points out.

Her off-the-job pursuits include reading at the beach, hiking, and cooking and entertaining with friends and family.

She can be reached at cscurry@dunesproperties.com or 803-331-7671.

dunes properties is a boutique real estate, vacation rental and property management company launched in 1989. Its offices are in downtown Charleston, Folly Beach, Isle of Palms and the Kiawah/Seabrook area.

For more information, visit www.dunesproperties.com.

Magazine names David Weekley Homes builder of year

In an open letter, David Weekley commended colleagues for their “continued support and partnership” while touting the builder’s award-winning season.

Weekley founded and now serves as chairman of Houston-based David Weekley Homes. The company, which dates to 1976, builds across the country including in the Charleston area.

According to the chairman, “2013 was an outstanding year for David Weekley Homes, and I am proud to say we have reached some remarkable milestones and achieved amazing success across the country.”

The year’s highlights include:

- Being named 2013 Builder of the Year by Professional Builder magazine, making the company one of only two double-recipient homebuilders.

- Entering its latest market last summer in Salt Lake City. The builder has opened four, fully furnished model homes and has counted numerous sales.

- Making a profit in all 16 of its established markets for 2013. He credited the company’s “team members” for the top-notch financial perofrmance.

- Attaining an objective of 90 percent satisfied customers for the year. He said customer satisfaction can be challenging as the real estate market picks up and housing starts increase. “Regardless of the market conditions, we met our goal,” he says.

- Receiving its first public corporate credit rating and successfully issuing public bonds, raising $200 million of growth capital at six percent interest for 10 years, Weekley says.

- Adding to its “in-house expertise” by acquiring the high-density land planning and architect firm Preston Wood & Associates.

- Keeping the company’s Noble Journey 2025 growth targets in the forefront. “This past year, we made great strides in reaching those goals and look forward to another record-breaking year,” the chairman says.

Weekley says the builder’s success is “a direct reflection of the incredible team who stands behind the David Weekley Homes brand each and every day.”

The company, he says, stays excited about the future and a “successful and prosperous 2014.” The builder’s on track for $1.4 billion in sales this year, he says.

“Rest assured, as we continue to grow, we will never lose sight of our purpose: “Building Dreams, Enhancing Lives!” Weekley says.