Gatehouse Realty opens in Mount Pleasant

Two long-time real estate professionals have swung open the entryways on a new East Cooper venture geared to help people buy and sell their homes.

The "boutique real estate firm," Gatehouse Realty LLC, launched May 1 in the Shelmore Village live-work development off Mathis Ferry Road.

Chris Calabrese and Rex Coyne opened the Mount Pleasant business.

"Rex and I are excited to be part of the growing Mount Pleasant real estate market," Calabrese says.

"We are Mount Pleasant residents and love living and working here, but we also chose a location with easy access from other areas," he says. "We're less than a mile from the (Ravenel) bridge."

The company will assist residential buyers, sellers and investors while offering "high-end, modern services" such as staging consultations and professional photography.

Coyne, whose real estate career spans 25 years, will be recruiting and marketing director. His background includes seven years in new home sales as well as relocation, investment properties and renovation.

Taking the post as broker-in-charge, Calabrese brings "a varied career prior to real estate" including as an engineer and country club manager.

According to Gatehouse Realty, the pair's diverse backgrounds "serve them well in the ever-changing real estate world."

Adds Calabrese, "The small, local atmosphere of our company will allow us to provide personalized service to our clients."

The co-founders have worked together before on successful real estate ventures, the company says. They operate an investment company in which they have purchased, remodeled and sold more than 30 homes in greater Charleston.

"Our renovation experience gives us a unique perspective when listing a home. We know how to prepare a home to sell for top dollar," Coyne says. "We have contacts in all the construction trades who can help fix any problems before you sell."

For more information, visit www.gatehousecharleston.com.

Builder 'rolls' out promotion at Strawberry Station neighborhood

Ashton Woods Homes will present a "model grand open event" 12-4 p.m. Sunday, June 29 where house hunters can win up to $10,000 in cash.

The open house will be in Strawberry Station, a new community from Ashton Woods at 101 Cypress Plantation Road in Moncks Corner.

According to the builder, attendees roll five dice at the model event and can win the money if they spell out H-O-M-E-S in any combination of letters.

"No strings attached, no purchase necessary," the builders say. For more information, visit www.ashtonwoods10k.com or call Amy McMullen at 843-568-0674 or Eric Bailey at 919-455-5841.

Avison Young picks new real estate chief in Greenville

A master's of business administration holder and experienced agent will run the Upstate operations for a nationwide commercial brokerage firm.

Rob Howell has been named managing director of Avison Young's Greenville office.

According to the company, he brings nine years of experience in real estate investor services with a "focus on multifamily, office and industrial" properties.

"We are excited about having Rob on board and having him lead our Greenville team as we grow our firm," says Chris Fraser, Certified Commercial Investment Member and principal and managing director of the company's South Carolina region.

Howell holds a bachelor's of science degree in natural resources and Spanish from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., and an MBA from Emory University in Atlanta.

The former managing director, Reggie Bell, will remain as a principal with the Greenville office, according to Avison Young.

National builder unveils Eagle Landing neighborhood

Homes from the $250,000s are available at a new community from D.R. Horton situated in a quiet enclave east of Northwoods Mall.

The home builder in late May held a grand opening for Eagle Landing in Hanahan. According to a community map, D.R. Horton offers 65 home sites in its first phase, constructing both the Renaissance and Masterpiece series' of houses. A handful of the Renaissance floor plans border on Hanahan Recreation and Parks green space.

There's a sales model on Bird Key Court and houses for sale on Raven Road. To get to the neighborhood, take a right on Eagle Landing Boulevard off Rivers Avenue.

The builder provides 11 floor plans from 1,922 to 3,686 square feet and $251,900-$362,900 base prices. Homes range from three-to-five bedrooms and two-and-a half to three-and-a-half baths. There are four ranch designs and seven two-story styles. Models are the Bluffton, Litchfield, Dorchester, Cumberland, Citadel, Forrester, Crepe Myrtle, Barnett, Tillman, Murray II and McCall II - which is the sales-model design.

Included features in the Eagle Landing homes are 9-foot ceilings on the first floor; tankless gas water heater; private patio or lanai; fully sodded yard with irrigation system; and granite countertops, 36-inch cabinets, smooth top range, dishwasher and microwave in the kitchen.

D.R. Horton's "The Great American Home Sale" continues through Monday, June 30. It includes a 5 percent commission on "specific home closings."

Josh Donovan, sales representative, can be reached at 843-901-9463. For more information, visit www.drhorton.com.

Customer loyalty award goes to regional builder's local operations

Mungo Homes' unit that focuses on greater Charleston and environs won a trophy based on favorable surveys of people who recently bought residences.

The honor stemmed from the recent 11th annual Avid Awards presented by Wisconsin-based Avid Ratings. The 22-year-old company handles custom loyalty research, marketing and training for the residential construction industry, serving more than 2,750 home builders in the U.S. and Canada.

Among its honors, the business "distinguishes top building companies on a local level" with the Avid Gold Awards. The prize goes to "leading builders" who scored highest in four distinct regions on its New Home Move-In Experience Survey based on the first 90 days in the home.

Mungo Homes Coastal Division of South Carolina won for the Southeast region. "Award recipients were chosen from a record number of 747 qualifying builders, making it the largest assessment of home buyer satisfaction in North America in 2014," according to Avid.

"We are thrilled to honor the winners of the 2014 Avid Awards, who have all set the highest standards for home quality and customer service across North America," says Paul Cardis, chief executive of Avid Ratings. "These awards give future buyers the confidence that there is a builder in their region who will deliver an exceptional new home and buying experience," he says.

For more information, go to www.avidratings.com.

Pound joins major Charleston-area real estate agency

Attracted by her skills as an "idea generator," Carolina One Real Estate has named Heather Parker Pound to a novel position with its New Homes Division.

The agency hired Pound, a multimedia account executive with The Post and Courier for the past 11 years, as Marketing and Events Coordinator for its unit specializing in just-launched and expanding neighborhoods.

At Carolina One New Homes, Pound will be responsible for "developing marketing strategies for the division's new-homes communities scattered throughout the metro Charleston area."

She also will be involved in agent outreach, strategic planning and designing materials to assist in sales and marketing of the more than 30 new-homes neighborhoods.

"Working with Heather, we recognized early on that she was an idea generator," New Homes Operations Manager Kris Kordonowy says. " She will use her creative thinking to maintain our New Homes unique presence in the market."

An Asheville, N.C., native, Pound graduated from the College of Charleston in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in English. The 20-year Charleston area resident is married with two children and lives on James Island.

Carolina One New Homes dates to 1994 as a division of Carolina One Real Estate, the local real estate market leader by sales volume.

For more information, visit www.CarolinaOneRealEstate.com.

Foreclosures drop in U.S., state in April; locally in first quarter

The number of repossessed homes nationwide continued its two-year long drop this spring, according to the latest figures from CoreLogic residential analysis firm.

Foreclosures also fell in South Carolina in April. And they sank in the Charleston area as of March.

According to the firm's National Foreclosure Report, there were 46,000 "completed" foreclosures - where owners actually lose their homes - in April nationwide. That total was down 18 percent from 56,000 a year before.

Completed foreclosures were off 0.4 percent from 47,000 reported in March.

Meanwhile as of April, 694,000 homes in the U.S. were in some stage of foreclosure - known as the foreclosure inventory. That's compared with 1.1 million a year before, a 35 percent slide.

The national foreclosure inventory as of three months ago represented 1.8 percent of all homes with a mortgage, compared with 2.7 percent a year earlier.

"Over the last 12 months, completed foreclosures fell to the lowest level since the Great Recession began in 2007," says Sam Khater, deputy chief economist for CoreLogic.

"At the current pace of completed foreclosures, and given the current foreclosure inventory, it will take 14 months to move all of the foreclosed inventory through the pipeline," he says.

"We have now registered two and a half years of continuous decreases in the number of homeowners who are in some stage of the foreclosure process. This consistent decline means fewer Americans are experiencing the distress of delinquency and default," says Anand Nallathambi, president and chief executive of CoreLogic. "The recovery may be slow, but it is steady."

On a state level, South Carolina placed 12th highest among judicial states in terms of foreclosure inventory at 1.8 percent. In the year ending in April, total completed foreclosures stood at 8,942 in South Carolina, or 7th most. Nationwide, there have been 598,725 completed foreclosures during that period. In judicial states, foreclosures tend to be subject to court proceedings rather than private dispositions.

The April serious delinquency rate - mortgages that are at least 90 days past due - in South Carolina was 4.4 percent, placing 15th highest out of 24. The national figure was 4.5 percent.

CoreLogic also reported figures from earlier in 2014, including March:

. Foreclosures in Charleston-North Charleston as a share of all outstanding mortgages was 2.05 percent, a 1.25 percentage point decrease from a year ago at 3.3 percent. In South Carolina, the rate was 1.84 percent, off from 2.99 percent in March 2013. And nationwide, the figure fell to 1.86 percent from 2.85 percent a year earlier.

. The 90-day delinquency rate in metro Charleston was 4.5 percent, compared with 5.96 percent the previous year. By contrast, the rate in South Carolina was 4.54 percent, down from 5.64 percent a year before; and in the U.S. 4.66 percent, off from 6.03 percent 12 months earlier.

Also cited were February totals, including:

. Foreclosures in greater Charleston-North Charleston as a rate of all mortgages was 2.12 percent, a drop from 3.34 percent a year ago. Statewide, the share was 1.88 percent, down from 3 percent. And the national rate stood at 1.93 percent compared with 2.86 percent a year before.

. Mortgage delinquency shares in Charleston-North Charleston were 4.66 percent of all home loans, well off from 6.12 percent for the same period last year. In the state, the rate fell to 4.83 percent from 6.22 percent a year ago; and in the U.S., it sank to 4.69 percent from 5.82 percent a year previous.

Mount Pleasant, Daniel Island areas recognize top real estate salespeople

Producing a host of home sales and giving back to charitable groups were common themes of the 2014 "Leaders in East Cooper Real Estate."

A total of 146 Realtors made the list, according to the East Cooper Top Producers Club.

The group's officers this year are Tommy Lovett, Carolina One Real Estate, who is the president; Barbara McCullough, ReMax Pro Realty, vice president; Steve Kaul, Carolina One, treasurer; Faye Merritt, Carolina One, secretary; and Sally Castengera, Daniel Island Real Estate, chaplain.

The club says it contributed to the following organizations in the past year: East Cooper Community Outreach, Realtor Housing Opportunities Fund, Helping and Lending Outreach Support, East Cooper Habitat for Humanities, Windwood Farm Home for Children and Lowcountry Aquatics Project Swimming - which offers college scholarships for high school seniors.

Group holds party to raise funds for homeless vets

Family Services Inc. and Mad River Bar & Grille are sponsoring "Party for a Purpose" 6-9 p.m. Thursday, July 3, with money going to help homeless veterans.

For $5, donors get one free drink and a discounted food menu during the three-hour time frame, according to Family Services. There also will be raffle prizes given away throughout the night and a grand prize at the end. Mad River Bar & Grille is at 32 N. Market St. in Charleston. Proceeds benefit Family Services' One Less Homeless Vet program.

In 2009, Family Services launched the program "to help low-income veterans obtain household items and furniture to make their home a place of pride," the organization says.

"Without worrying about affording small supplies like bedding, towels, and kitchen utensils," participants can focus on becoming financially self-sustaining and personally fulfilled, according to the group.

Family Services say it "believes in supporting our former service members long after their days in uniform." For more information, visit www.OneLessHomelessVet.org.