Real Estate News — Brokerage cites first decade of luxury sales; report upbeat about Charleston rentals

Carriage Properties’ founding partners are (seated from left) Thomas Bennett and Judy Tarleton and (standing from left) Olin Chamberlain, Melinda Laurens, Lynn Hanlin, and Charles Sullivan. Agent Laurie Tarleton is at far right (Photo provided).

• Carriage Properties celebrates 10th year in high-end real estate •

A downtown realty that’s tallied close to $1.3 billion in sales, many involving 19th century Charleston homes, has logged a decade in business.

Carriage Properties LLC, located at 19 Exchange St., is marking 10 years as a luxury real estate market specialist. In that time, the company has posted 1,286 transactions as listing agent, selling agent, or both. That averages more than $1 million per transaction on $1,292,439,641 in sales.

The deals involve “some of the city’s most significant properties,” notably well preserved early-American and antebellum homes, the firm says.

Local real estate professionals Thomas Bennett, Olin Chamberlain, Lynn Hanlin, Melinda Laurens, Charles Sullivan and Judy Tarleton founded Carriage Properties in March 2002. They are still actively involved with the agency.

“We all had worked together and found that we worked well as a team,” Hanlin says. “We decided to combine our experience, knowledge, and connections to provide the best service possible to our clients.”

Since 2002, the firm has expanded to 22 agents and three staff members. Its distinctive sign features a horse-drawn carriage against a bright red background.

According to Carriage Properties, the agency has held the top rung in luxury properties since 2008, holding down 18 percent market share in transactions of $2 million or more. The closest competitor is 11 percent, the company says.

In 2011, the agency sold $64,266,868 in metro-Charleston luxury homes priced at $1.5 million or more. Carriage Properties currently offers 130 exclusive listings, 56 priced at more than $1 million and 24 at more than $2 million.

Carriage Properties recently listed its top 10 transactions. They are:

• First sale, March 8, 2002 — 21 Elliott Street, $569,000.

• First in-house sale above $1 million, 2002 — 7 Ladson St., $1.7 million.

• Calhoun Mansion sale (24,000 square feet built circa 1876 by businessman George Walton Williams), 2004 — 16 Meeting St., $3,750,000.

• Patrick O’Donnell House sale (highest at time in Charleston history), 2007 — 21 King St., $7.2 million.

• White House Plantation sale (Ashepoo River former rice plantation), 2008 — 5877 Clover Hill Road, $6,225,000.

• Governor’s House Inn sale (built by James Laurens around 1760; Declaration of Independence signer Edward Rutledge an owner), 2007 — 117 Broad St., $5,125,000.

• 60 Montagu St. sale (built in 1801; Robert E. Lee addressed well-wishers there after Civil War), 2004 — $3.5 million; now for sale for $12,950,000.

• Isaac Jenkins Mikell House sale (visually imposing residence dates to 1853), 2008 — 94 Rutledge Avenue, $4.8 million.

• The 1743 George Eveleigh House (bought lot across creek that later became Water Street), 2009 — 39 Church St., $4.2 million.

• C. Bissell Jenkins House (first home built on Murray Boulevard), 2012 — 52 Murray Blvd., $5,975,000.

Carriage Properties says it excerpted historic information from Jonathan Poston’s “The Buildings of Charleston.”

For more information, contact Carriage Properties at 843-266-8000.

• Rental snapshot shows leases rising in Charleston area •

The 2012 calendar change didn’t do anything to slow down the local market for matching tenants with properties, according to a new report.

“It continues to be an exciting time for rentals in 2012,” says Carolina One Real Estate in its latest look at the residential leasing business locally.

There are 753 active rentals on the market in Charleston, the snapshot says. All told, 866 properties rented since Jan. 1. Meanwhile, 730 properties rented in the first two months of 2012. “This is a 14 percent increase from 2011, which bodes well for the rest of 2012,” the agency says.

The median rent has held steady at $1,200 a month.

Carolina One offered a note of caution: “More properties have already rented this year than are currently available, which could lead to a shortage of available units in the busier summer months.”

Among leased properties, single family homes dominate with 471 residences renting in the first 60 days of the year. Townhomes are next at 133 properties, while condominiums recorded 126 leases.

The report does not focus on apartment rentals.

• Builder’s informational model opens in Cane Bay •

Lennar has framed its latest “information center” at Lindera Preserve, its new neighborhood in Berkeley County that’s planned for 500 homes.

The centers are sales models that include residential extras and financial information to help buyers pick out their “dream house,” the company says.

Lindera Preserve at Cane Bay Plantation boasts close to 500 home sites and nearly 20 different home plans, according to Lennar.

The variety of lots and designs gives buyers the chance to build homes that suit their specific needs and wants. Those purchasers can be “a young couple looking for their first home and lots of fun amenities, or a large family seeking an affordable, spacious home and great schools,” the builder says.

Set up in a natural setting, Lindera Preserve showcases walking and biking trails, multiacre nature preserve and a community lake with fishing pier. There’s also a resort-style swimming pool, two playgrounds, a pavilion with picnic areas, multiple parks and a community dog park.

“From mature regional trees and large green spaces to the integrity of the gorgeous landscape, residents will enjoy the benefits of outdoor living,” says Ann Ivey, Lennar’s Coastal Carolinas director of sales.

Buyers can choose from three of the builder’s design groups. The Sandpiper Collection offers one- and two-story homes from the $160,000s. Houses are 1,400-2,100 square feet with three or four bedrooms, two- or two-and-a-half bathrooms and two-car garages.

In the Arbor Collection, homes cost from the $180,000s. They include one- and two-story home plans from 1,800 to 2,600 square feet. Houses sport three to five bedrooms, two to three bathrooms and two-car garages.

The Coastal Collection, meanwhile, starts in price in the $220,000s and displays one- and two-story home plans from 2,400 to 3,700 square feet. Homes have four or five bedrooms, two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half bathrooms and a two- or three-car garage.

The new community features Lennar’s signature “Everything’s Included” program: some collections provide luxury features such as General Electric stainless steel appliances and hardwood floors in the foyer, dining room and living room.

The information center in Lindera Preserve at Cane Bay Plantation is at 1535 Cane Bay Blvd. near Summerville. Center hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Wednesday and Sunday.

For more information, call 843-761-8880 or visit

• Video contest launched at “island town” •

To help get word out about Daniel Island, its real estate folks are seeking residents who can express on video what they love about the place.

Daniel Island Real Estate is sponsoring the “My Island Town Video Contest.” Participants can win up to $1,500.

The agency says it “wants to see and hear what residents and others love most about living, working and playing on Daniel Island.” Fans are invited to create and share a short video about life on the island.

“Your creativity could pay off: More than $3,000 in prizes are being given away to winners in two age categories (adult, age 15 and up; and youth, from children to eighth grade),” the real estate company says.

The contest runs to May 1 and will be open to all ages. Entrants are asked to submit high-definition video segments shot on Daniel Island that are up to three minutes in length and answer, “What I love about my island town.” According to the agency, entries can be simple clips or fully-edited segments “as long as they depict life on Daniel Island.” That can include nature and activities in parks and on the trails, island events, businesses and neighborhood gatherings.

Videos will be judged for originality and effectively telling a “great Daniel Island story.” Winners will be announced in mid-May on Daniel Island Real Estate’s YouTube channel and via Facebook and Twitter.

“The best way to get a feel for what it’s like to live on Daniel Island is to talk with a resident or someone who spends a lot of time here,” says Rick Vale, broker-in-charge at Daniel Island Real Estate.

“And since that’s not easy for our clients who currently live elsewhere to do, we want to use video to help tell the story,” he says.

For more information, visit

• Handsome Properties offers prize: one-week rental in Paris •

A local agency is offering an on-line sweepstakes where the winner can spend seven days in France.

Handsome Properties International, a subsidiary of Charleston real estate company Handsome Properties Inc. is offering the sweepstakes through April. The winner will receive a one-week stay in a luxury apartment in Paris.

People may enter the contest by visiting, “liking” the page and then filling out the entry form.

The prize includes a one-week stay, paid for by Handsome Properties International, at a luxury apartment in Paris that sleeps up to four people. The apartment has a high-speed Internet/Wifi, washer-dryer, full kitchen and cable television access.

Close by are Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre Museum and the Tuileries Garden.

No purchase is necessary to enter the sweepstakes. For full terms and conditions, visit

Handsome Properties is a boutique real estate firm based in downtown Charleston. Founded by Broker-in-Charge Debbie Fisher, the agency grew into an international company handling waterfront and historic real estate to French chateaux and ancient Italian villas.