Real Estate News — Local builder Finlaw joins Lennar; countrywide brokerage office adds associate

Edward “Meredith” Jones III (Provided).

•National company names land finder for Charleston-Myrtle Beach•

In seeking a boss for securing coastal Carolina property, Lennar Corp. chose a home-raising executive with an extensive local background.

The builder named Frank Finlaw as Director of Land for its Coastal Carolina division. He has spent more than 25 years in real estate, planning and acquisition and residential development, according to Lennar.

In his new position, Finlaw will head up the coastal team in planning and buying up land for new communities. He will be involved in projects throughout the area, including greater Charleston and Summerville as well as Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand.

Sam Sparks, Coastal Carolinas Division president for Lennar, says the group is “very excited” to have Finlaw join up.

“His wealth of experience in the real estate industry, as well as deep knowledge of land investments, will bring invaluable experience to Lennar’s new product in the Lowcountry,” Sparks says.

Finlaw, who lives in Summerville, previously worked with Beazer Homes in South Carolina, Ryland Homes in Pennsylvania and Toll Brothers in New Jersey. He was the Charleston area chief with Beazer.

The Pennsylvania native is a graduate of The Citadel and returned to the Charleston area in 1996 after stints in New Jersey and Philadelphia. He has been accorded a number of honors in his career including two-time Builder of the Year recipient from the Charleston Trident Home Builders Association and the Living and Giving award from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Finlaw says, “It’s exciting to work for a great company and a great team. I’m looking forward to expanding Lennar’s presence in this market.”

The appointment comes as South Carolina coastal markets and those across the country show distinct signs of recovery after a national recession in 2008-09 and four-year housing downturn.

“We’re coming out of difficult economic times but people still want their piece of the American dream and for many, owning a home is a big part of that dream,” he says.

For more information, visit or

•New agent signs on with Weichert in Mount Pleasant•

A Charleston area native whose professions range from interior designer to actor has landed with an East Cooper real estate firm.

Edward “Meredith” Jones III is now an agent with Weichert, Realtors - Palmetto Coast. The lifelong local resident will assist homebuyers and sellers in Charleston, Summerville, Mount Pleasant and surrounding areas.

Jones, a Realtor, brings years of experience in client service and sales earned through a background as a professional interior designer. He is a member of the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors.

According to Weichert, he is also a photographer, writer, and actor.

Weichert, Realtors - Palmetto Coast is at 1035 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite B2 in Mount Pleasant with a second office in Port Royal. For more information visit or call 843-375-2075.

•Open house set in preparation of Custom Home + Remodel Show•

The group organizing a major residential show this summer is sponsoring a “pre-home” event Thursday to lure ventures catering to wealthier shoppers.

The Pre-Home Show Open House will be 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m at The Citadel’s Johnson Hagood Stadium.

That’s the site of the Custom Home + Remodel Show and Charleston Hurricane Expo to be held Aug. 16-18. Charleston Home + Design Magazine is hosting the yearly show.

The sponsor is encouraging business owners who “market high-end custom home related products and services to affluent homeowners” to drop by to view available spaces for the home and remodel show. Lunch will be served.

Organizer Tim Barkley of Charleston Home + Design Magazine says the August event will be “bigger and better than ever.”

Highlights are:

• Outdoor Living Experience Pavilion featuring remarkable outdoor kitchens and outdoor rooms.

• A $10,000 Backyard Makeover Contest that organizers say will be won by someone local.

• Eighth annual Charleston Hurricane Expo on Friday, Aug. 16. It will feature the giveaway of 500 free hurricane kits.

• Homes By Architects Tour on Saturday showcasing a host of architect-designed homes. The event is open to the public.

“By spending just one weekend at the Custom Home + Remodel Show, (vendors say they) can generate enough business to keep them busy through the fall,” Barkley says.

For more information, e-mail or call 843-577-7652.

•Ryland to build, sell townhomes at 656 Coleman in Mount Pleasant•

Ideal places for get-togethers such as watching this fall’s NFL games are new townhomes in Mount Pleasant’s traditional business district.

That’s one of the pitches from builder Ryland Homes, which says it will start sales of “eye popping” three-story luxury residences before June 1.

The townhomes are at Six Fifty Six Coleman, a gated community under construction at 656 Coleman Blvd.

“Six Fifty Six Coleman will appeal to successful young professionals who want a carefree lifestyle with an emphasis on style,” says Gayle Jinks, vice president of sales and marketing for Ryland Homes in the Charleston region.

The townhomes will offer plenty of living space at 2,100 to 2,400 square feet, which is larger than the average single family home, she says. In addition, the Six Fifty Six Coleman residences tout covered porches and two-car garages, which aren’t included in the square footage figures.

Interiors were designed to emphasize space and privacy, according to Ryland.

“The open floor plan makes Six Fifty Six Coleman the perfect home for social occasions with friends and neighbors, family gatherings or Sunday afternoon football games,” Jinks says.

Among the townhome features are chef’s kitchens; energy efficient appliances; wood and tile floors; top notch cabinets, counters and faucets; and optional bonus rooms and lofts.

“Six Fifty Six Coleman offers a range of exciting choices for every home owner,” Jinks says. Optional attractions are private elevators, which may appeal to some empty-nesters and active adults who want to downsize their maintenance chores without downsizing their lifestyle, according to Ryland.

Jinks says the layouts are potentially award-winning, which should attract visitors as word of the floor plans and interior designs gets out.

To learn more, contact Jinks at 843-375-5555 or visit

Headquartered in Southern California, Ryland Homes is among the country’s largest homebuilders, constructing residences in 13 states.

•Southern Palms owner buys ‘all ages’ community in Aiken County•

One of the first companies in the U.S. to launch manufactured housing villages has acquired its 31st community, in the Aiken area.

Jensen communities, based in Southington, Conn., says it now owns “Crossroads,” an all ages community. The village is in the country but a short drive to shopping, restaurants, medical services and entertainment. It’s also not far from “lively but quaint” historic downtown Aiken, the company says.

Among the features of Crossroads are one level layouts, low maintenance and “affordable living in single family homes for all ages in a private and friendly community,” according to Jensen. The community also showcases a 22-site RV and camper area for monthly and seasonal rentals.

Among Jensen’s other holdings is Southern Palms, a gated age 55 and above community off Jamison Road in Ladson.

Jensen communities, which started in 1927, says it was one of the first businesses with manufactured home communities that offered a “viable ownership option” of affordable single-family homes.

The company owns and manages communities in eight states from New Hampshire to Georgia. For more information, call Community Manager Larry Jordan at 803-642-5202 or visit

•Real estate prognosticator: Charleston market on a roll•

Numbers crunchers aren’t usually the type to exclaim about a set of figures.

Still the Lowcountry home sales totals for the start of the year got Bart Jackson, who periodically reports on the local housing market, a bit excited.

“Wow! The activity levels for the first quarter of 2013 were like none we have seen in recent history,” says Jackson, of Charleston Preferred Properties. He says the number of properties going under contract each week increased throughout the first quarter from January through March.

In 2012, the Charleston market did not have one week with more than 300 properties going under contract, he says. “So far this year there have already been four weeks with more than 300 properties going under contract, and six weeks with more than 275 properties going under contract. That’s definitely a jump in activity,” Jackson says.

Contributing to the boost in properties in line to sell is a healthy interest in new homes. The number of new homes under contract in the first quarter is the highest total since 2007.

Two other indicators give rise to a strengthening market.

“There has been an increase in contracts on properties listed for more than $1 million, indicating that demand for higher-end properties is on the rise,” Jackson says.

At the same time, bank-owned sales and short sales are decreasing at the fastest pace since 2008, “when they first began flooding the market,” he says.

Jackson says some bargains remain but they’re growing fewer.

“For now, the last remaining ‘low-hanging fruit’ is keeping median prices level overall, but these bottom-end listings are getting much harder to find and going under contract much faster than before. I predict it will not be long before we start to see those median prices increase,” he says.

•South Carolina, Charleston area among best business places•

At least based on a development guide, South Carolina is one of the better states for a company to choose, while metro Charleston is a top 10 pick.

The information stems from Area Development Magazine and is circulating among real estate agencies.

According to the magazine, South Carolina places eighth best among the “Best and Worst States for Business” in 2013. That’s down one spot from the year before. The best state to do business in is Texas, according to Area Development. The top five did not change from last year. They also include Florida at 2; North Carolina, 3; Tennessee, 4; and Indiana, 5. Arizona jumped four places to 6, while Virginia is 7; Nevada, 9; and Georgia, 10.

At the same time, metro Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville placed 10 out of 91 “midsize cities” as the best for job growth.

Midsize cities are those with a base of 150,000 to 450,000 jobs. Large areas have at least 450,000 jobs and small areas count as many as 150,000 jobs.

The rankings reflect the size in 2013 of each metro area’s employment.

Greater Charleston’s base employment is 304,400, falling five places from 5th spot in 2012. Moving up eight notches to first is Boulder, Colo. The rest of the top 10 in order are Provo-Orem, Utah; Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Ark.; Corpus Christi, Texas; Bakersfield-Delano, Calif.; Lafayette, La.; Lexington-Fayette, Ky.; Grand Rapids-Wyoming, Mich.; and Baton Rouge, La.

Greenville-Mauldin-Easley ranked 35th in the Area Development study, and Columbia placed 38th.