Real Estate News — Commercial real estate firm brings on more staff; Summerville area agency lines up three associates

The Charleston Apartment Association is seeking nominees for its Diamond Awards to honor local apartment home communities. The Channel at Bowen Apartments is a newer complex in Hanahan. (Photo by Laura Olsen/Olsen Imagery).

Two administrative specialists have joined the local center of a Columbia-based commercial real estate group.

NAI Avant’s office in Charleston has added Stacey Riederer as office manager and Kinsey Scroggs as senior administrative assistant.

As office manager, Riederer will oversee daily office operations and provide brokerage and administrative support, according to NAI Avant.

She previously held the post as executive assistant and office manager for Curtain Wall Design & Consulting Inc. in Purcellville, Va. She brings more than 17 years of management, administrative and project support background.

Scroggs, meanwhile, has built up “extensive, real estate industry specific” experience in senior-level administration, NAI Avant notes.

She was a senior administrator with Charleston-based investment real estate firm Holcombe, Fair & Lane and an intern with Shoreline International Real Estate.

In her senior administrative assistant post, Scroggs will provide executive-level broker assistance and support to the brokerage team.

Headquartered in Columbia, NAI Avant has grown its commercial real estate business over the decades to become one of the largest in the Southeast.

The venture counts more than 65 professionals while providing “comprehensive brokerage, leasing, development, property and project management services,” it says.

According to NAI Avant, the group over the past 30 years has had more of its brokerage professionals recognized as top producers or recipients of top awards than any firm in South Carolina.

The company stands as a member of the NAI Global Network, which sports more than 350 offices and 5,000 professionals in 55 countries. According to NAI Avant, the network considers itself the largest independent commercial real estate service provider worldwide. It’s also a wholly owned subsidiary of C-III Capital Partners.

NAI Avant embraces varied commercial real estate endeavors. The affiliate’s Property and Project Management Group oversees a multimillion square-foot portfolio of properties in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. The Avant Healthcare Division provides “comprehensive services” to hospitals, clinics and physician groups.

Founded 49 years ago, NAI Avant has its home base in Columbia and significant satellite operations in Charleston.

For more information, go to www.naiavant.com or contact David Grubbs, managing principal in Charleston, at 843-814-6111 or dgrubbs@naiavant.com.

Four professionals with one of the more established real estate offices in Dorchester County have variously taken over new posts or earned kudos.

David Baird, who boasts more than 30 years’ experience in the “new home building and remodeling” industries, gained his broker associate license with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Southern Coast Real Estate.

The agency credited Baird, a member of the Stabenau Group, on his effort. Peers say his extensive knowledge has brought respect from both buyers and sellers.

“David has a vast amount of experience that he gladly shares with our associates,” says Linda Collins, company owner. “It is an honor to congratulate David with his broker associate license,” she says.

Reach Baird at d.baird@bhhsscre.com or 843-514-6526.

Meanwhile, Cary Collins has become training director at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Southern Coast Real Estate. The company offers weekly training courses “to ensure that the agents understand every aspect of the real estate business.” According to the Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, Collins oversees training for newly licensed agents as well as focusing on seasoned top producers. The agency cites its goals as providing continuous training for its associates.

Contact Collins at c.collins@bhhsscre.com or 843-851-5604.

Also, Demi Tiqui has been tapped as the agency’s new “relationship developer.” She personally assists Linda Collins with company recruiting, press releases and brand marketing. Tiqui can be found at d.tiqui@bhhsscre.com or 843-371-7452.

And, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Southern Coast Real Estate has named Julie Schmutzler as its new “listing sales and closings coordinator.” She’s available at j.schmutzler@bhhsscre.com or 843-857-5091.

A new survey shows that 7.6 percent of houses with a mortgage locally owe more than the property’s value as of September, which is down from a year ago.

The findings by Irvine, Calif.-based CoreLogic note that 8.3 percent of residential properties in metro Charleston-North Charleston found themselves in negative equity, also known as “underwater” or “upside down,” as of the end of June.

In real numbers, 11,631 of all residential properties with a mortgage were in negative equity as of the third quarter of 2014, which concludes Sept. 30. That compared with 12,231 properties in the second quarter, which ends June 30.

At the same time, another 3.4 percent, or 5,189 residential properties, were in “near negative equity” for the third quarter of 2014 compared with 3.8 percent, or 5,518 homes, in the previous three months.

CoreLogic released the local, statewide and national figures earlier this month.

South Carolina ranks above average in the share of mortgages either underwater or upside down, or close to it.

As of the third quarter, South Carolina placed 19th highest in terms of negative equity at 8.5 percent of all mortgages in the state. It ranked tied for ninth in the share of near-negative equity cases as 3.5 percent. Also, the state placed 24th highest with 699,847 mortgages and 22nd most with 59,372 negative equity mortgages and with 23,000 near-negative equity mortgages.

Nevada had the highest percentage of mortgaged properties underwater or upside down at 25.4 percent. By contrast, Texas had the highest share of mortgaged residences above water at 97.4 percent.

Seven states weren’t included in the findings because they have insufficient data at this time, CoreLogic notes.

Among national results, nearly 273,000 properties bounced back to positive equity during the July through September time frame. That brought the number of homes in the black to 44.6 million, or 90 percent of all mortgaged properties. Also nationwide, borrower equity grew year over year in the third quarter by $800 billion.

According to the CoreLogic analysis, 5.1 million homes in the U.S. or 10.3 percent, were still in negative equity as of the end of September. That compared with 5.4 million homes, or 10.9 percent, three months earlier; and 13.3 percent, or 6.5 million homes, a year before.

Often referred to as being financially underwater or upside down, negative equity means that borrowers owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, CoreLogic says. Homeowners can wind up having their properties upside down or underwater due to a decline in value, a rise in mortgage debt or a combination of both, the company says.

“Negative equity continued to decrease in the third quarter as did the level of homes mired in the foreclosure process,” says Anand Nallathambi, president and chief executive of CoreLogic. “This should hopefully translate into less friction in the housing market as we move forward,” he says.

“Better fundamentals supporting homeownership in the face of higher rents should attract more first-time home buyers to the market this year and next,” Nallathambi points out.

Adding up all the properties underwater or upside down, the total value was $338 billion at the end of the third quarter, off $10.2 billion from $348.2 billion three months before and down 16.2 percent from $403.2 billion a year earlier.

About 9.4 million, or 19 percent, of the 44.6 million residential properties above water may still face credit troubles. They possess less than 20 percent equity, referred to as “under-equitied.” Of these, 1.3 million hold less than 5 percent equity, known as “near-negative equity.”

CoreLogic says that “under-equitied” borrowers may experience a tougher time refinancing existing homes or obtaining new financing to sell or to buy another home. Borrowers with near-negative equity, meanwhile, are considered “at risk” of slipping underwater or upside down if home prices fall.

At the same time, another 1 million homeowners now upside down or underwater could cross back into positive territory if home prices rose by even 5 percent.

“Nationally, the negative equity share is down over three percentage points over the past year. Declines were concentrated in a handful of states, such as Nevada, Georgia, Michigan and Florida,” says Sam Khater, deputy chief economist for CoreLogic.

“Forecasted house price appreciation of about 5 percent over the next year suggests that negative equity should be at about 8 percent a year from now, still above average, but approaching the pre-crisis level,” he says.

CoreLogic further drilled down in the figures, finding:

- First liens without home equity loans made up 53 percent or $178 billion of the $338 billion underwater. First liens with home equity loans accounted for $160 billion, or 47 percent.

- About 3 million borrowers who are upside down hold first liens without home equity loans. Their average mortgage balance is $230,000, and the average amount underwater is $58,000. At the same time, 2.1 million upside down borrowers hold both first and second liens. Their average mortgage balance is $299,000, and the average underwater amount is $78,000.

- The bulk of above-water mortgage properties are higher valued. For example, 94 percent of homes worth more than $200,000 have equity, compared with 85 percent worth less than $200,000.

Experts in apartment leasing, life management and chocolate have signed on recently with one of the largest real estate companies in the Charleston area.

Carolina One Real Estate Services says it welcomes Shannon Powell to the Folly Road office and Lisa Brown and Stephanie Lynne Walters to two offices in Summerville.

Powell is identified as a “master chocolatier” who produced a food show for Georgia Public Broadcasting. She also owned a gourmet foods store specializing in southern confections and was a food column writer in Augusta, Ga.

Based in the Folly Road office, Powell also touts vast experience in art direction and in sales and marketing. She’s married and has a son in his freshman year at the College of Charleston.

Brown, who works from the Summerville Trolley Road office, is new to real estate. She owned and ran a Domestic Divas franchise for 12 years in Greenville. The outfit “assists homeowners with cleaning, organizing, event planning and life management,” according to Carolina One Real Estate, noting that those are skills that are readily applicable to a career in real estate.

Brown lives in Summerville with her husband Danny. They have a son at The Citadel.

At the same time, Walters will begin her real estate career with the Summerville Main Street office of Carolina One Real Estate. The Greenville native moved to Charleston two years ago. Before getting into real estate, she worked as an apartment leasing agent in Columbia and for Consolidated Electrical Distributors in North Charleston.

Walters, who has a 6-year-old daughter, is engaged to be married.

Carolina One Real Estate Services describes itself as “metro Charleston’s real estate market leader.” Along with 11 sales offices spread about the Lowcountry, the agency counts a full-service mortgage division as well as departments specializing in new homes, relocation, commercial real estate, property management, vacation rentals, insurance and title services.

To learn more, visit the company website at www.carolinaone.com.

The chief local trade organization for rental communities has launched plans for its yearly gala to honor top performers in the business.

The Charleston Apartment Association will host its Diamond Awards in early spring. The awards are a “yearly celebration recognizing excellence in the industry,” according to the association.

Based on information from the group, the Diamond Awards tout the four “Cs”: Commitment to Service, Community Quality, Champion Team Effort and Creative Application of Knowledge and Skills.

“With the four Cs in mind, members are asked to nominate property management professionals who excel in these areas,” the organization notes.

The association requires a written statement for nominated people explaining why they warrant awards. The trophies will be presented at the Diamond Awards ceremony March 27 at the Francis Marion Hotel. All nominees are required to attend.

Interested parties should submit nominations to KChapman@CharlestonApartmentAssociation.com. All members are welcome to submit names and descriptions of property management pros that they believe will excel.