2012 Year in Review for Shipyard Sales Activity is in

We have sent out the latest numbers for the 2012 sold homes, Villas and lots in our 2012 Year in Review -Shipyard Real Estate Report. Send us an email if you haven’t received yours and we will gladly get it to you. No Spam, no unnecessary emails in your inbox – just the facts!

Evian villa damaged by fire

A fire Monday damaged one of the Evian Villas in Shipyard Plantation, according to the Town of Hilton Head Fire & Rescue Division.
Firefighters arrived at 12:14 p.m. to find smoke and flames shooting from the first floor of the two-story condominium, according to a news release. The flames were extinguished within a half-hour but damaged the kitchen on the first floor and the stairwell leading to the second. The second floor also had heavy smoke damage, the release said.

The condo was unoccupied at the time of the fire, which the division said originated inside a wall.

Thanks to the Island Packet for this story.

SC Vacation Rental Act Conflict!

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans now require a buyer to take occupancy within 60 days of closing, including second homes.  Buyers purchasing a property where the SC Vacation Rental Act (90 days) applies and obtaining one of these loans will have a conflict for loan approval.   REALTORS® will be working closely with buyers, lenders and rental companies to orchestrate the transaction.

If you have been thinking of buying or selling in today’s market, be sure to contact us today to help insure a smooth transaction.

Thinking where to retire? Think the Lowcountry!

Spend a day or two in the Palmetto State, and you may quickly understand the state slogan—“smiling faces and beautiful places.”

The state’s Lowcountry region, which extends 150 miles along the state’s coast, is renowned for its miles of sugary white-sand beaches, historic architecture and abundant golfcourses.

But there is so much more to do than just enjoying a day at the beach or on the links.

Checkout this recent article about retiring to Bluffton and the Lowcountry.

If you need information about retiring or relocating to the Lowcountry be sure to contact us. We have been helping folks find their place in the sun since 1995 and would love to help you, too.

Merry Christmas!

We here at Shipyard Real Estate want to take a moment and wish you and yours a blessed Holiday.

We will be working and are here to assist you should you have any questions about or interest in viewing the homes, villas and lots available here in Shipyard.

Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy 2013!

Act 388 needs repeal

Act 388 shifted the burden of the school operating budget from primary homeowners, who pay at a 4 percent assessment rate, to second-home owners, who pay at a 6 percent rate, as well as commercial property owners.

As a result, property taxes for 6-percent owners are almost three times more than taxes for 4-percent owners.

Before Act 388 all property owners (4 percent and 6 percent ) paid in to the school operating budget. Even then, 6-percent taxpayers paid more toward operations than did the 4-percent taxpayers.

No one wants to pay higher taxes. A huge mistake was made in 2006 with the passage of this law. Mistakes need to be rectified. The 4-percent property owners who live here, many of whom have children or grandchildren going to school here, have seen their property taxes go down approximately 25 percent. Individuals who do not live here full time and who do not use the schools are being asked to pay 75 percent of the school operating budget.

While no one wants to see taxes go up, how moral is it to ask another class of property owners to pay for our children’s education? This is not a shell game. This is outright legalized thievery imposed on individuals who do not vote here, do not have children in school here and do not operate businesses here. There is more than just the morality of the situation. There are real economic consequences to every one of us living here who are benefiting from the current tax structure.

According to the policy brief “State Property Tax Comparisons: Residential Property,” released in November 2009 by the nonpartisan Jim Self Center on the Future at the Strom Thurmond Institute: “South Carolina’s very unusual taxation of rental and second-home residential property will further erode the property tax base for all local governments.” And it will do this by:

  • Discouraging private investment in rental residential property, which is a necessary component of the state’s housing stock, as well as an important resource for the state’s tourism industry.
  • Encouraging investment in low-cost but owner-occupied housing as an alternative to rental housing.
  • Encouraging conversion of higher-value second homes to primary residences and vice versa

It is now 2012, and what was predicted in 2009 has come to fruition. More than 6,000 taxpayers who once paid in to the school operating budget have now chosen to become 4-percent property owners, according to the Beaufort County Assessor’s Office. Those 6,000 taxpayers pay no property taxes toward the school operating budget. This translates to fewer 6-percent taxpayers paying even higher taxes.

This situation is not sustainable. I agree with state Sen. Tom Davis when he calls for tax reform. Act 388 should be amended so that the 4-percent property owners pay their fair share toward the school operating budget.

This is not asking the 4-percent owners’ taxes to go up when one considers the fact that they should never have gone down in the first place. I want my grandchildren and their children to have the opportunity receive a superb education. The residents of South Carolina should be first in line to pay for their children’s education.

Thanks to Charlie Reed who wrote this piece in today’s Island Packet and who is a Hilton Head Island Realtor and a member of the advisory board for the Property Tax Equalization Initiative.

Beaufort County releases online tax bill explainer

Beaufort County Treasurer Doug Henderson’s phone usually rings constantly this time of year as residents struggle to understand their property tax bills.

Some are curious about stormwater fees, homestead exemptions or the difference between assessed value and taxable value.

Most just want to know, “Why is my bill so high?” he said Thursday.

To help demystify the annual tax bills, county officials created a sample bill online with clickable “bubbles” that explain things such as millage, credits and assessment ratios. It also breaks down how a property owner’s bill is tallied.

The feature was first posted on the county website about a month ago.

“Basically, it was informational for the taxpayer,” Henderson said. “In past years, we would get calls for every little thing on the tax bill. We put it on the Web so people can look at it and point to different things and understand what it is.”

This is the first year the county has used the sample bill, and the results have been promising: Tax related inquiries to the department’s staff have fallen sharply from nearly 1,200 a month at the  same time last year, Henderson said. He didn’t have specifics on the number of calls so far this year. Meanwhile, tax collection rates are higher than last year.

“This is the first time we have put it out on the website,” he said. “We are just trying to think of new ways to do things different and better.”

Tax bills were sent out last month, and property owners have until Jan. 15, 2013, to pay and avoid a penalty. Penalties are added for payments received later than that date.

Bills can be paid online, in person at county treasurer’s offices in Beaufort, Bluffton and Hilton Head Island, or at BB&T Bank branches in Bluffton, Beaufort, Hilton Head and Yemassee.

If you have questions about your Tax Bill, give us a call. We’re here to help. Let us know how we can be of assistance.
Thanks to the Island Packet for this information.

Palmetto Bluff to limit new homes near May River

The developer of Palmetto Bluff will limit the number of homes it builds near the May River, but will be allowed to build substantially more houses in other, less environmentally-sensitive parts of the upscale community or in other parts of Bluffton.

On Tuesday, Bluffton Town Council and Crescent Resources LLC, developer of the community off S.C.. 46, agreed to limit the number of futures homes by at least 1,300 and as much as 2,064.

The developer will also donate six acres the town will use to build a stormwater pond to limit runoff that would otherwise end up in the river.

In exchange, town leaders agreed to increase the number of homes Crescent Resources can build to 4,000 as long as they are built in other parts of the community or in other parts of town. Until Tuesday, Crescent Resources  was limited to 2,920 homes.

“It provides us with flexibility going forward,” said Gerrit Albert, Palmetto Bluff’s general manager who attended Tuesday’s meeting. He said it would take many years to reach the 4,000 home limit. He said the goal remains to create a low-density community.

Palmetto Bluff is undergoing a building boom with 46 homes currently under construction — more than at any time since building began in 2003.

Town Council’s decision drew mixed reactions.

Reed Armstrong of the Coastal Conservation League applauded the decision as a way to manage stormwater that will help restore the river’s watershed and prevent further degradation.

“We can hope these actions will serve as examples for other projects in the watershed,” he said.

But Lim Matthews, a Palmetto Bluff resident, worried about the loss of trees and other greenspace in the 20,000-acre community and thinks Crescent Resources  plans lack specifics.

“We property owners chose to live in Palmetto Bluff because of the natural environment and the preservation and conservation commitments,” Matthews told Town Council. “Allowing an unrestricted 1,080 units to be placed anywhere will significantly alter (natural spaces.)”

If you would like to know more about the communities on the Mainland and/or new construction, be sure to let us know!
Our focus is Shipyard, but we list and sell throughout the Lowcountry of SC!
Thanks to the Island Packet for this story.

Sale of high end homes, lots making a comeback

High-end residential real estate is making a comeback in parts of Beaufort County, as more buyers are purchasing lots and constructing custom homes in upscale communities.


  • Palmetto Bluff has more houses under construction than at any point in its nine years of selling homes, according to the community’s broker in charge, Bryan Byrne. Forty-six homes, the majority of them custom, are being built, and 22 more are in the design-review phase. And they’re not little bungalows — homes of 10,000, 11,000 and 18,000 square feet are among those permitted since November 2011.
  • Although Colleton River Plantation has just 15 homes under construction or in the permitting stage, the home-building trend is on the rise. As of the end of October, the upscale community in greater Bluffton had closed on 38 lots and 10 homes — more than double the 23 lot and home closings from all of last year.
  • A similar increase is taking place in Hampton Hall and other southern Beaufort County developments, according to Ashley Feaster, executive officer for the Hilton Head Area Home Builders Association.

“For this type of (high-end home) buyer, it’s a matter of consumer confidence,” Feaster said. “We’re finally getting to a point where they’re starting to feel confidence that the market is revitalizing itself.”

Building permits in Bluffton have increased nearly 15 percent when comparing permits issued from January through October 2011 to the same period in 2012, according to Feaster’s records. Estimated prices for the majority of those Bluffton homes are in the $400,000 and up range, Feaster added.

Activity in the high-end market is increasing in other areas of Beaufort County, although not as dramatically, according to Eric Gnau, a real estate agent with Cora Bett Thomas Realty in Beaufort.

“We’re having more showings in those higher-priced homes, say $1 million and up, and soon, more transactions,” said Gnau. He added that six homes in northern Beaufort County have sold for $1 million or more so far this year compared to six for all of last year. Most of those were in Beaufort’s historic district.

The trend is a shift from the past few years when homes priced at more than $1 million were taking two to three years to sell, said Alan Coyne, broker in charge at Keller Williams Realty on Hilton Head.

Construction of high-end homes is particularly strong in Bluffton, Coyne said, because Hilton Head is mostly built out, making undeveloped lots increasingly hard to find.

“The people who have the money to spend are looking for new,” Coyne said. “And they are spending it in Bluffton where they can pick their own lot and build their dream home.”

It’s a stark contrast from the more than 30 lots in greater Bluffton’s golf communities listed as of Sept. 1 for less than $10,000, and a dozen listed for $1 in Belfair Plantation, Colleton River Plantation and Berkeley Hall as lot owners attempt to escape pricey association fees and club memberships. Coyne says those property owners represent a small portion of the market.

He and other Realtors believe that many potential owners with the money to spend are feeling better about the housing market and are ready to take advantage of low interest rates.

Of course, should you have an interest or need more information about available new homes, villas or homesites in the Hilton Head- Bluffton- Sun City area give us a call.

Our focus is Shipyard but we sell everywhere and no one knows the market better!

Thanks to the Island Packet for this story.