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.

Bluffton Growth News

A recent message from Bluffton Mayor Lisa Sulka indicated the following:

  • A total of approximately 1059 applications were received from January 1, 2012, to October 31, 2012, as compared with 842 from the first three quarters of 2011. This represents a 25% increase in overall submittal activity.
  • The total value for permits for new construction, additions/remodels and pools for 2012 was $97,779,500 as opposed to $88,653,000 for 2011. This represents a 10.3%  increase.
  • The total number of building permit  applications increased by about 21% and planning applications increased by about 39% in the first three quarters of 2012.

Bluffton is growing! Let us know if we can help you find your place in the sun.

Investors see shrinking 2-year window to buy up REOs

NEW YORK – Nov. 16, 2012 – The big discounts in the housing market are fading, and investors are taking notice that time is ticking. Blackstone Group LP, one of the world’s largest private-equity firms, says that investors likely have less than two years to buy up foreclosed U.S. homes as prices rise and supplies shrink.
“Prices are starting to move faster,” Jonathan Gray, global head of real estate for Blackstone, told Bloomberg. “That’s one of the risks that emerge as more people like us get into the space and as individual homeowner confidence grows. Frankly, buying a home today is pretty compelling.”
Blackstone has spent about $1.5 billion on 10,000 foreclosed homes this year alone. It is the biggest buyer of single-family homes in the nation. According to Blackstone, the investment firm purchases $100 million in these kinds of properties per week. The strategy is to purchase foreclosed single-family homes at steep discounts and turn them into rentals.
“The recovery in house prices could surprise people,” Gray told Bloomberg. “They have just gotten beaten down so much and we’re not building enough to keep up with the population growth. Affordability is there. I think as homeowners get a little bit of confidence, we will steadily have more people lean toward buying homes, faster home-price appreciation, which will be good for this investment strategy and good for the economy at large.”
Source: “Blackstone Sees 2-Year Window to Buy Distressed Homes: Mortgages,” Bloomberg (Nov. 14, 2012)

Looking for some positive signs?

Why Buy Now? 

  • Positive housing news:
    • Housing starts surged 15% in September (fastest pace in more than four years signaling housing is recovering).
    • Home prices have increased from levels since last year with median prices gaining 7.8%.
    • Inventory levels have declined by 29% since last year.  Lower inventories have actually spurred on bidding wars in certain sectors around the nation and Short Sales and Foreclosures are down 28%.

Current interest rates remain at historic lows

We’re here to help you find your place in the sun.

September Sales Figures In!

We have just received the monthly sales figures for September, 2012 and are encouraged as the villa market continues to show signs of improvement with a 38% increase in sales. Average sale prices are holding steady as inventory levels continue to trend down.

Home sales have stalled from the summer activity highs but still there has been a 3 fold increase in the total number of sold homes in Shipyard 2011 v. 2012. Due to the number of lower priced homes sold (Kingston Cove), average sale prices have slipped from last year. That said, inventory levels remain stable and the forecast moving forward is looking positive as mortgage interest rates continue to be at all time lows and increasing consumer confidence has caused more and more buyers to decide now is the time to buy.

If you feel the same way, contact us today and put the all time Shipyard sales leaders get to work finding your place in the sun!

August Sales Numbers

Looking over the sales numbers from the Hilton Head MLS for Shipyard villas and homes sold in 2012, we see some encouraging signs.

Villa inventory is down, sales are up 32% over 2011 levels with prices still under pressure but holding.

Home sales are up almost 3 fold from 2011 with average prices less and taking longer to sell.

Contact us for a complete overvierw of the market or for a copy of our monthly eNewsletter with more data and helpful information to keep you up to date and in the know.

Hilton Head Island Open in Shipyard starts today!

We’re a part of this event and hope you can make it.

From today’s Island Packet-

Nothing was going to keep Jim Stubbs away from one of his prized ideas for the future of tennis on Hilton Head Island. His plans were too big to be pushed aside by any potential conflict.

Stubbs, the events director at Van Der Meer Tennis Academy, was looking to create a tournament where the area’s most talented players could compete against one another for the right to be named the sport’s best on Hilton Head.

But after the event — appropriately dubbed the Hilton Head Island Open — failed to stir much interest prior to its spring debut, Stubbs pushed the tournament back to September. Since then, it has gained some traction, more participants have signed up, and the inaugural event is set for its anticipated launch this afternoon at the Van Der Meer Shipyard on Hilton Head.

“I’m certainly excited for the event for the coming years,” Stubbs said. “I like the idea of building a tradition.”

Challenges like the one the Hilton Head Island Open faced are expected of a new tournament, something Stubbs certainly realizes. But more than 50 players will take part in this year’s event, which will feature singles, doubles and mixed doubles.

Stubbs expects those participation numbers to grow in the coming years.

“One of the ideas behind the tournament, in calling it the Hilton Head Island Open, is to try to promote all the tennis players that live on the island and find out who is the best of the best,” Stubbs said. “It’s a lot of the players that play in the local tournaments, that’s the backbone of it.”

The upside of the event’s early road block is it actually helped establish an official date for future tournaments, as the Hilton Head Island Open will continue to take place in September for the foreseeable future, Stubbs said.

“I feel like it’s a really good time for a tennis tournament,” he said.

The initial tournament also will be a valuable primer for the youngsters who will compete in next weekend’s USTA sanctioned event on Hilton Head.

“At the end of the day, it’s going to be a nice little tournament,” Stubbs said. “It’s a good warm-up for some of the juniors to play in the open division, because next weekend we’ve got the Van Der Meer Classic.”


Today through Sunday, Van Der Meer Shipyard, Hilton Head Island

Schedule: Play is expected to start this afternoon with finals matches set to begin at 9 a.m. Sunday.

Admission:Free, and open to the public

Read more here:

Lt Dan coming to Beaufort!

Gary Sinise and his Lt. Dan Band will be returning to nearby Beaufort, SC on September 14th & 15th, 2012 for the Third Annual Lt. Dan Weekend.  Once again the Independence Fund will host Gary Sinise as he and his Lt. Dan Band honor our severely injured and disabled veterans with a concert.  This year’s events includes free accommodations at a resort for attending vets and their caregivers, speaking engagements at local venues, fishing clinics, a golf tourney , The Independence Ride and a 5K Run.  It’s all about giving back to those who gave it all for us.

One of the most special of the weekend’s events includes a family-friendly concert on Friday, September 14 at 7PM at the Waterfront Park.  Vetpalooza will feature performances by musicians such as Rockie Lynne, Mike Corrado,  and Machine Gun, as well as Dale Beatty and Outlaw.  These performers share more than a stage – they are disabled veterans who share a part in the legacy of our great nation.  Come hear their voices as the voice of all who serve.  Come to commemorate and to celebrate.  Admission is $10 per person.  For more info please visit The Lt.Dan Weekend website.

Rental Insurance Info

Our friend Ray Craver, from Seacoast Insurance here on Hilton Head writes to remind us of the insurance impact of changing your home from primary to a rental-

If you have decided to rent your primary home out, you need to let your insurance agent know.  A typical homeowners policy is written for the owner living in the house as his primary residence.  Renting it out creates circumstances that need to be addressed with a different type of insurance policy that we in the industry usually refer to as a “Dwelling” policy.   This policy still provides the essential coverage’s for your home including liability, but it takes into consideration the fact that you the owner are not living there, thus changing the exposure.

Thanks for the good advice Ray.

Call the Shipyard Real Estate specialists if we can help you with rental information about your Shipyard home or villa, or if you re looking to rent long term, seasonal and weekly.


Thinking of buying a rental income producing property?

Thinking of buying a rental income producing property here in Shipyard or the Hilton Head Island area? Be sure to give us a call first, and here is some helpful information to consider from a copy of a recent article in the Island Packet written by Robert Stenhammer, President of Hilton Head Accomodations-

With interest rates at historic lows and prices still in favor of the buyer, owning a vacation rental property is less expensive than at many times in the past. The short-term vacation rental market in our area is off to a strong start in 2012 and positive growth in number of renters and rental rates (compared to last year) is expected for the remainder of the year.

If you plan to buy a property that will be used as a second home for your family and as a vacation rental, it’s important to choose a house or villa that will meet your family’s needs and be attractive to renters. Here are some tips:

  • Make a list of your priorities, including desired neighborhood, square footage, budget and rental income expectations
  • Decide if you’re interested in a fixer-upper, as well as how often you intend to use the property; if you want a home or a villa; and whether you will retire there or eventually sell the property.
  • Work with a Realtor who has experience with vacation rental properties. (That would be us!)
  • Meet with at least one vacation rental manager to learn more about the short-term rental market and to help you decide if you are prepared to manage the property yourself or will hire someone to do so.
  • Consult your accountant and lawyer to understand the tax and insurance requirements, tax implications, how to structure your mortgage loan, whether or not to set up an LLC and whether it makes sense for you to purchase a property out of your IRA. Get these details worked out at the beginning of the vacation rental purchase process.

To be attractive to renters, Lowcountry rental homes and villas should have easy access to the beach and other key activities that vacationing renters enjoy. The view from the property is important, so be sure to check this while visiting potential homes. Higher rental revenue is determined by location, view from the property, size and condition of the home and villa.

If you are purchasing a single-family home, make sure that the community allows short-term rentals and that the home has a heated private pool. (Alternatively, you should have access to a community pool less than five minutes away from your property.) Avoid homes with too many stairs, as this can detract multi-generational travelers.

If you are purchasing a villa, consult the complex’s rules and regulations first before setting your heart on a particular property. The monthly fees for common area amenities such as a pool, hot tub, tennis courts, grill area or playground can have a big impact on rental revenue.

If the property you are considering has been a vacation rental before, be sure to obtain the last two years of revenue intake from the current owner so that you have an accurate picture of income potential.