Charleston home rental rates 11th highest in U.S.

Home rental rates continue to rise in the Charleston area. Shown is the Isle of Palms.

Rental rate increases for single-family homes in the Charleston-North Charleston area came in 11th highest in the U.S. for the fourth quarter of 2015 compared to the same period a year earlier.

Those are the findings from RentRange, a rental market service that’s part of Luxembourg-based Altisource.

It ranked the top 25 metropolitan statistical areas in America based on the average rental rate hike and the average gross yield by rental properties in the October-December period.

The rental rate in the Charleston area jumped 10.6 percent while the gross yield came in at 8.9 percent.

The gross yield is the total annual income an investor receives from an investment property divided by the price or value of the property. The figure does not account for any operating expenses, including property taxes.

“The single-family rental market remains strong across the U.S. as the home ownership rate continues to decline and a higher percentage of the population migrates to rental housing,” RentRange CEO Walter Charnoff said. “As the real estate market continues to improve, we are seeing significant rental price increases in many markets, which bodes well for investors in this space.”

The report showed markets across the South are ripe for investment and account for the highest gross returns among the top 25 cities. Eight of the top 10 are in the region. Elsewhere in South Carolina, Columbia made the list at No. 19 with an 8.5 percent growth in rental rates during the past quarter and a gross yield of 12.2 percent.

A Daniel Island shopping center sold this month for a handsome markup.

Florida-based Publix Super Markets Inc. bought the 5-acre Daniel Island Town Center it anchors at 162 Seven Farms Drive for $13.825 million under the name Real Sub LLC from Aetna Life Insurance Co. Aetna paid $8.5 million for the property in 2010. Southeast real estate firm Crossman & Company handled the sale of the 68,688-square-foot shopping center.

Property sales on Kiawah Island near Charleston climbed 5.1 percent in 2015.

Kiawah Island Real Estate reported 287 sales last year compared to 273 in 2014. Of those, 132 were single-family homes, selling at a median price of $1.4 million, up 10 percent from 2014. The rest were villas, cottages and lots, which sold at median prices from $410,000 to nearly $500,000.

Dollar volume jumped 17 percent to $363.5 million. Eight of the sales were for more than $5 million and one sale of more than $20 million helped boost the overall dollar volume in 2015.

Buyers last year came from 24 states and two nations that were undisclosed. Overall, property owners on the upscale resort island come from all 50 states and more than a dozen countries.

It was the strongest year for sales on the island since 2007, when the last recession started.

“Based on early indicators, real estate sales activity in 2016 is expected to continue this positive trend on Kiawah,” said Chris Drury, Kiawah Island Real Estate president.

The agency handled 85 percent of all Kiawah sales last year.

A new report found the number of borrowers defaulting on home loans in the Charleston-North Charleston area continues to decline and is below both the state and national averages.

The foreclosure rate in December was 1.03 percent, a drop of about a half a percentage point compared to December 2014, according to property information service CoreLogic.

The national foreclosure rate was 1.20 percent and the South Carolina rate 1.14 percent in December.

The number of people in the Lowcountry behind on their mortgages more than 90 days also came in below the state and national averages, CoreLogic reported.

The region’s mortgage delinquency rate was 3.04 percent in December, down from 3.87 percent a year earlier. The U.S. rate was 3.28 percent while the statewide. rate was 3.45 percent.

Tour model homes and sip on wine while checking out a new housing development near Summerville. Kolter Homes at The Ponds will host a wine-tasting event 6-8 p.m. Thursday in the welcome center at 151 Village Ponds Drive. Home prices start at $270,000.

Reach Warren L. Wise at (843) 937-5524 or