Sold sign for new home (copy)

Homes continue to sell across the Charleston region, though at a slower clip than last year. Mortgages delinquencies and foreclosure rates are at or near 20-year lows as the economy continues to expand. Warren L. Wise/Staff

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Mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures hold at 20-year low

With the economy churning out jobs and putting more money into people's pockets, the number of those falling behind on their mortgage payments plummeted in the Charleston area and across the nation in February to the lowest level in 20 years, matching January's dip. Foreclosures are down as well.

The mortgage delinquency rate - those 30 days or more past due on payments - plunged to 4.0 percent in Charleston and the U.S. during the second month of 2019, according to property information service CoreLogic. In Charleston, that's down from 4.6 percent in February 2018. The U.S. rate a year earlier was 4.8 percent.

The foreclosure rate held steady at 0.4 percent in February from 0.6 percent in February 2018 in Charleston and across the nation.

“The persistently impressive economic expansion continues to drive down housing market distress, with delinquencies and foreclosures hitting near two-decade lows,” said Ralph McLaughlin, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic.

“Furthermore, with unemployment at a 50-year low, wage growth nearing double inflation and a positive demographic structure that will drive housing demand upwards, the future of U.S. housing and mortgage markets look bright even if short term indicators suggest cooling,” McLaughlin said.

Further declines in delinquency and foreclosure rates are expected.

"We are on track to test generational lows as delinquency rates hit their lowest point in almost two decades," said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic. "Given the economic outlook, we are likely to see more declines over the balance of the year."

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Fingerprints of enslaved children imprinted on Charleston bricks show city's dark past

On many of the city's older buildings, fingerprints can be found that are believed to have been made by slave children who turned the man-made bricks to help them dry.

By the numbers

208: Address of the new fast-casual seafood restaurant coming to King Street in downtown Charleston. And other new real estate ventures for retail in the metro area.

2,030: Number of housing units slashed from a development plan for Park West in a lawsuit settlement with Mount Pleasant, where the town paid out $2.6 million and the developer donated more than 350 acres.

46,200: Square footage of new arcade and bowling venue coming to Northwoods Mall in North Charleston.

This week in real estate

+Office space: A 60,000-square-foot former building supply warehouse on Charleston's upper peninsula is being transformed into a multi-tenant structure for office and other uses.

+Bankrupt shopping center: The owner of a recently redeveloped South Carolina retail center has filed for bankruptcy protection, saddled with more than $32 million in debt from the project.

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+Taller buildings?: Mount Pleasant considers allowing a 55-foot building in an area on Coleman Boulevard where it has limited structures to 45 feet tall.

$50M investment in convenience stores

Parkers Kitchen (copy) (copy)

Parker's Kitchen CEO Greg Parker explains why the Savannah-based convenience store chain is coming to the Lowcountry with nine new stores by the end of the year. One of the first sites to open will be in front of Knightsville Crossing Shopping Center in Summerville this summer. Brad Nettles/Staff

Parker's Kitchen CEO Greg Parker is investing $50 million to bring nine of his Savannah-based convenience stores to the Charleston area by the end of the year.

Upcoming real estate events

  • Home ownership workshops: Origin SC offers free workshops on home ownership, credit and budgeting; May 19-25 at various times. 
  • 3 Ps of professionalism: A class offered by Charleston Trident Association of Realtors covers principles, practices and pitfalls of real estate professionals in South Carolina; 2-6 p.m., Tuesday, May 21; Cost: $55/members, $70/nonmembers.

Charleston-area transactions

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Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524. Follow him on Twitter @warrenlancewise.