Repossessed home totals drop in Lowcountry

Jacob Willis

So says CoreLogic in its latest foreclosure figures for the Lowcountry. Based in California, the company describes itself as a provider of analytic information on the real estate industry among other fields.

Figures for Charleston-North Charleston in March — the latest available — show 1.45 percent of mortgage loans are in the status at which borrowers could lose their residences due to nonpayment.

The figure is off 0.61 percentage points from the previous March, when the local foreclosure rate was 2.06 percent.

Foreclosure activity in Charleston-North Charleston was higher than the South Carolina rate of 1.39 percent in March, off 0.45 percentage points from 1.84 percent a year earlier. The local foreclosure rate was also above the 1.39 percent national figure for March, down 0.47 percentage points from 1.86 percent a year ago.

Also in greater Charleston-North Charleston, the mortgage delinquency rate fell sharply in March from a year ago. CoreLogic counted 3.42 percent of mortgage loans as 90 days or more delinquent locally in March, compared with 4.51 percent for the same period last year. The year-to-year decrease was 1.09 percentage points.

By comparison, the state mortgage delinquency rate was 3.64 percent in March, off 0.90 percentage points from 4.54 percent a year before. And the national rate was 3.73 percent, down 0.93 percentage points from 4.66 percent a year ago.

Local outlets of a noted eco-friendly construction backer will be more closely tied to home office operations, if an effort that includes South Carolina works.

The bid will link up the South Carolina chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council with the national organization for certain programs that can be handled across regions.

“We are thrilled to announce that we are working with USGBC to pilot a new model for USGBC chapters and local market engagement,” says Douglas K. Rackley, 2015 board chair of the South Carolina chapter.

“This will provide an exciting opportunity for our local regions to enhance their operations and focus on the mission-work that really matters,” he says.

Until now, each chapter across the USGBC network has operated independently, Rackley says. That’s created “unnecessary inefficiencies and overhead costs.”

As part of the chapter evolution, many “back office” functions will shift over to integrated systems that can handle numerous chapters’ jobs at one time.

“This will allow our staff and volunteers to engage in more meaningful work and tackle some of the big ideas on our list,” he says.

“We are excited about this next phase for our chapter, and we are confident that the improved tools and access that will be available through this integration will provide inspiration to reinvigorate (local chapter members’) commitment to our shared mission,” Rackley says.

For more, email Rackley at

Toting a financial degree, an Ohio native recently moved to the Charleston area to take a position with one of the newer agencies in Mount Pleasant.

Jacob Willis has signed on with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Carolina Sun Real Estate.

He grew up in Sandusky and graduated from Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in finance.

Willis moved to Charleston with his fiancé, who attended MUSC’s College of Pharmacy and is now a pharmacist.

According to Berkshire Hathaway Carolina Sun, he’s glad to be “escaping from northern Ohio’s brutal winters into the mild Charleston climate and beautiful landscapes. Plus, it’s been known that Charlestonians enjoy a better quality of life.” In his spare time, Willis enjoys Lowcountry-friendly hobbies such as golf, paddle boarding and going to the beach, according to Berkshire Hathaway Carolina Sun.

After months of gradual cost increases, houses locally jumped in value as the spring season swung into gear.

The prices in greater Charleston-North Charleston in April, however, still didn’t keep pace with South Carolina as a whole, which lead the nation in cost rise.

CoreLogic, a global property information and analytics company, released the April figures earlier this month as part of its Home Price Index.

Among the findings, house values in Charleston-North Charleston bounced up 9.7 percent in April from a year earlier and gained 4.3 percent from March.

The California-based data provider also computes the price change when excluding “distressed sales” such as foreclosed properties and short sales. With distressed transactions removed, year-over-year prices in metro Charleston increased 8.1 percent in April compared with the same period of 2014 and rose 3.8 percent from March.

While the Lowcountry’s one-year price jump was significant, the percentage pales compared with the entire state’s price surge.

South Carolina placed highest in home price appreciation nationwide, up 11.4 percent in April from a year ago. The rate easily topped Colorado, up 9.7 percent; Washington, up 9.1 percent; Florida, with a 9 percent gain; and Texas, rising 8.3 percent.

Excluding distressed sales, South Carolina still lead with a 10 percent boost followed by Florida, up 9.5 percent; Colorado with a 9.3 percent increase; Washington, up 8.7 percent; and Texas, jumping 8.2 percent.

CoreLogic also found that home prices nationally rose 6.8 percent year over year as of April. From the previous month, costs went up 2.7 percent.

With distressed sales excluded, U.S. home prices increased also by 6.8 percent in April from a year earlier and gained 2.3 percent from March.

The company in its looking-ahead CoreLogic HPI forecast projects home prices to move up 5.3 percent from April to April 2016 and inch up 1.1 percent as of May.

Excluding distressed sales, home prices were projected to rise 4.9 percent between this April and next, and increase by 0.9 percent from April to May.

“For the first four months of 2015, home sales were up 9 percent” from a year ago, says Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic.

“One by-product of the increased sales activity is rising house prices, and, as a result, month-over-month home prices are up almost 3 percent for April and up more than 6 percent from a year ago.”

According to president and chief executive Anand Nallathambi, “Old-fashion supply and demand, fueled by historically low mortgage rates and improving consumer finances and confidence, continue to push home prices up. We expect continued price appreciation throughout 2015 and into next year,” he says.

A Charleston area home remodeling pro filled a new post recently, joining Peninsula Residential as a real estate agent.

Patterson Milbourn works from Peninsula’s office at 654 Coleman Blvd. in Mount Pleasant.

Along with his agent assignments, Milbourn is a “certified residential builder” renovating homes in the Lowcountry. He specializes in downtown Charleston and Park Circle in North Charleston.