MCVL Realty Blows the Lid Off McClellanville’s Luxury Market

In August of 2017, MCVL Realty represented the sellers of a waterfront home at 508 Romain Road in McClellanville. The property closed with a sales price of $1.25M,
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97% of the 1.29M list price after just 3 months on the market. The average for homes over $1M in the area is 90.8% sale-to-original-list-price ratio and 430 cumulative days on market.
MCVL Realty has sold a majority of the waterfront homes and land in the area in the last 5 years, but this sale set an important mark as the first residential sale in McClellanville over $1 million in a decade and symbolizes a resurgence in the luxury end of the market. This is not to say that there are no other homes in McClellanville in this price range, but this sale’s importance is as a “stepping stone” sale. That is to say, it’s difficult to jump from homes selling in the $6, $7, and $800,000’s to above $1.5M with nothing in between. In fact, since this sale another home in the area sold at $1.35M and MCVL Realty has pocket listings for two other homes above $1.7M from sellers who prefer to maintain their privacy and withhold their properties from the MLS. As the saying goes, you have to crawl before you can walk and this was McClellanville’s luxury market taking its first baby steps in a decade. Now buyers have at least one reasonable comparable sale in the immediate area to provide them confidence in market’s stability and we should see more similar sales in the near future.

Spring 2018 Market Update

The Law of Supply and Demand in Bulls Bay

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One trend that continues is the increasing number of sales and the decreas-ing inventory of property for sale. We’re starting to see new listings put on the market at fair market value receiving multiple offers in the first few days where in the past they were not. You can see in the chart on the left that the number of sales of homes and land in McClellanville and Awendaw has been steadily increasing. Sales doubled in the area from 2010 through 2013 and then almost doubled again the following year. Since 2014, we’ve held fairly constant at these sales levels.
From an inventory perspective, there is a direct correlation between these increased number of sales. The chart on the right shows
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how the number of homes and land for sale in the area remained fairly consistent from 2010 through 2014, meaning that for every property sold
another person would list theirs for sale. But in 2014 we can see that both the number of homes and land has been decreasing. This
decreasing inventory creates a greater feeling of scarcity and without scarcity, you can not see price increases.
It takes a little time for that scarcity to sink in and reach across the pool of buyers. Some buyers have to lose out on a couple of opportunities in which they either underbid a property and lose to a better offer or drag their feet making an offer only to find that someone else has already scooped up their dream property. It doesn’t take long to feel that burn of regret until you are ready to pounce when new listings hit the market and that is the point that we have finally reached. If you’ve been sitting on the fence to buy, get more
involved and let us know what you’re looking for so we can keep an eye out for you in this quick moving market. If you’re looking to sell, let us properly market your property and negotiate offers so that you can ensure you get top-dollar!

Building Boom

With every builder that I know in McClellanville committed to projects for the next 6 to 12 months, it’s safe to say that we are in the midst of a building boom the likes of which we haven’t seen since 2005-2006. Nearly every neighborhood has a house being built and a lot being cleared for another to start. It’s a lagging effect that I predicted from the land sales boom that we saw in 2016 and 2017. There is a shortage of turn-key homes on the market that buyers, such as those from Mount Pleasant (read more on op- posite page), are in search of. The spec home we have listed at 325 Mercantile is nearing completion and its sale will undoubtedly lead a few more investor/builders to start spec home projects of their own. We have seen that this building boom has started to increase the price per square foot of construction, due in part to both an increase in material costs as well as the higher demand of skilled workers and builders having enough jobs that they are no longer having to bid jobs as competitively.
I have previously mentioned the extremely high demand for long-term rentals and predicted investors even coming into the area to build rentals. I personally acquired a piece of land last month for future rental investments and have worked with numerous other buyers who have bought or are buying fixer-uppers or land to build rentals. A lot of these investors are pulling their money out of the stock market with fears that it can only rally for so long. With people ready to rent or buy, you really can’t go wrong investing right now. Keep in mind that “building” doesn’t just have to mean on-site stick-built construction. New or used mobile homes can create great rental or sales opportunities when placed in a desirable area. Modular homes can also be a way to reduce building time and costs and end up with the same product. These homes are sometimes confused with mobile homes, but are constructed much the same as a traditional custom-built home but are simply built in a factory located in areas where the labor and cost of living is lower and are then trucked here to be set and finished.

The Draw of Rural Life

For the past few years, Mount Pleasant residents have been the overwhelmingly largest demographic of buyers in McClellanville and Awendaw. This demograph- ic was less than 5% when I started in real estate more than a decade ago, but has risen to roughly 50% in recent years and doesn’t show any signs of lessening.  Rarely does a week go by that someone living in Mount Pleasant  doesn’t walk into our office and begin to tell us about how they want to move to get away from the traffic congestion, overcrowding, and rampant development. It doesn’t seem to matter whether they moved there 5 years ago or 50, for many it seems to have reached a tipping point where the conveniences of city living and proximity to work have become outweighed by these constant annoyances.  Not only are people wanting to escape the growth of the area, but they also want to start a new chapter in their life. They are coming from yards that are just a fraction of an acre or no yard at all in the case of apartment and townhome dwellers and they want to spread out and have a little room to breath. They often talk about finally getting a dog, growing a garden and even hav- ing chickens, horses, or livestock. There is a whimsical romance of country life that makes people feel more free, more alive.  Sometimes it’s the simplest thing that are taken for granted my whole life, like the ability to park a boat in your own yard. I’ve also heard nightmares of one crazy person on a homeowners association board with nothing better to do than going around looking for ways to pester people and wreak havoc on their daily lives.
I joke about the time that I was working with a client that came to me adamantly stating that he wanted at least a 5-acre lot for his new home. As we were on our way to the first listing, we passed a nice cleared lot with a for sale sign on it. “What about that one?” he asked. I was puzzled, knowing that the lot was only an acre in size. Before I could answer he said, “Let’s go look at that one”. We walked around the property for a moment and he exclaimed, “This is more than enough space!” “OK”, I said, “Well this lot is an acre, so maybe we should expand our search parameters going forward”. He knew how big his small fenced lot in the city was and he just couldn’t imagine that if you put five of them together it would amount to much space at all, but he had never really seen one cleared acre! He also overestimated the amount of buffer you need between yourself and your neighbors to enjoy a little privacy. Just 20 or 30 feet of woods can really block out your neighbors and change the entire way you feel about the solitude enjoyed from your personal space.

Fall 2017 Market Update

2017 showed steady sales throughout the year matching our performance to this point last year. Following the rollercoaster ride of the last decade, it gives me confidence to see stability returning to the market. That stability will be reflected in consumer confidence. As the stock market soars, many are looking to pull out some of those gains and diversify them into the real estate market. I am a big believer in the long-term holding of land as an asset as well as long-term rental properties which are fetching great returns right now. As inventory slowly diminishes the values increase in the region across all areas and types of property. Volume9charta.jpg
Looking forward, we expect the typical holiday lull that often occurs when buyers stray from home shopping and focus on their families between Thanksgiving and New Years. However, the last few years have all seen huge spring buying rallies that have begun as soon as February if the weather warmed up. The land-buying boom that began in 2016 is starting to have an effect on the area as many of the people that bought are moving into their new homes. So don’t be surprised to see more new smiling faces around town!
In examining the market data this issue, I want to focus on a single measuring stick, known as “Months of Inventory”. This data takes the number of active listings at a point (I chose the 1st of each month for consistency) and divides that by the number of sales per month. I have used the average of each year to normalize the data and show the simple trends. Months of Inventory is commonly used to gauge the health of real estate markets. It’s a snapshot statistic and obviously changes as the number of properties being listed (supply) and the number of properties being bought (demand) fluctuate.
If we look back at 2012 we will see that there was an average of 48 active lots for sale in Awendaw and only 8 sales that year or 0.67 sales per month. 48 ÷ 0.67 gives us 72 months of inventory, meaning that if that pattern continued it would take 72 months (6 years) to sell off all of the current active land inventory in Awendaw.
We use Months of Inventory data to label markets as a “buyer’s market”, “seller’s market”, or “balanced market”. As a general rule, 5 to 6 months of inventory is considered to be a balanced market. Inventory over 6 months is defined as a buyer’s market and less than 5 months is a seller’s market. Whoever’s market it is is generally in the driver’s seat and calling the shots. Back in 2012, we had some very strong buyer’s markets, especially with land. So at that time buyers were dictating greater concessions from sell- ers. After all, if the seller didn’t accept their terms, they could go next door and offer the next seller the same thing and probably get it. The trend has been consistently moving down but we’re still in a buyer’s market across the 4 major segments of the market; homes and land sales in McClellanville and Awendaw. In the chart, you will see that homes are hovering close to a balanced market with months of inventory currently around 8.5 for both McClellanville and Awendaw. Volume9chartb.jpg
In our area, land will probably always read higher than homes for the simple fact that it’s easy to list a piece of land for sale. Call any agent, they put a sign in the yard, snap a picture and put it in the MLS. At MCVL Realty, we add a lot more steps, but I’m simplifying for the sake of this example. and you don’t have to worry about it anymore. Many people own their land free of a mortgage, so the only time they may even think about it is when they get a tax bill once a year. Listing a home, however, is much more complex as the home must be kept in good showing condition, repairs made, and mortgage payments made every month. Because selling a house is much less of a “set it and forget it” process, you won’t see fewer overpriced listings and people “testing the market”.
While the first graph shows the months of inventory across the major segments, the second chart breaks down home sales in the area by price range (the trend tracked fairly consistently between Awendaw and McClellanville, so I used both combined). So while I indicated that we’re in a buyer’s market for homes in McClellanville, that really isn’t the case across the board for all homes. Homes under $100,000 (which aren’t very common in our area and are typically mobile homes) were at just 1.71 months of inventory and homes for sale between $100,000 and $200,000 had just 3 months of inventory placing them squarely in the seller’s market category along with homes $300-500K. Homes in the $200-300K range came in this year with 6 months of inventory, which we would call a balanced market. Only homes above $500,000 were actually in a buyer’s market with their 12 months of inventory. So you can see that the supply and demand within a particular price range also plays a vital roll in the answer to the question, “How’s the Market?”

What Does All of this Mean to Me?

If you’re selling, you need to understand that you may have significant competition within the market. We don’t only analyze sold data, but active competition as well when determining our listing price recommendations for clients. Pricing is crucial but price alone won’t sell a property. You must also take steps to maximize interest in your property by improving marketability. If you are selling your land, clearing it of underbrush and obtaining a septic permit are often our first recommendations. Homes need great curb appeal and decluttering on the inside. Hiring MCVL Realty to properly market your home is also an excellent step. We will take professional photos, write an intriguing property description and get your listing in front of every possible buyer through our comprehensive marketing system, proven to sell more properties in McClellanville and Awendaw than anyone else. Just because you are in a seller’s market and can sell your home quickly on your own doesn’t mean that you can’t come out much better with the help of an agent. MCVL Realty properties sell for an average of 6% more than our competition so our commission is typically paid in full by simply choosing us!
If you’re buying, you need to understand that just because it may be a buyer’s market does not mean that you can go around writing low-ball offers. Most sellers in this area are used to higher than normal months of inventory and a house being on the market for 90 days doesn’t make that seller desperate or mean that there is something wrong with the property. We are in a niche market which will always have fewer buyers than our more urban neighbors and that sometimes means pricing a home at market value and waiting for the right buyer. Strengthen your offer with a pre-approval letter or proof of funds if making a cash offer and reasonable terms. We have seen more and more buyers who must sell their home in order to buy. Understand that a seller is going to be more willing to accept an offer with the contingency of your own home sale if you have already listed your home with an agent and it can be seen in the MLS. If your home is already under contract, that is even better, but be prepared to disclose the terms of the offer, because if your home is contingent on the sale of your buyer’s home, that creates a chain of deals (I refer to them as “piggy-backing”) that many aren’t excited to gamble on. The knowledgeable agents at MCVL Realty will ensure that you find the perfect property for your needs and get the best deal possible for it.

“I Don’t Want a Homeowners Association”

Volume8-articlea.jpgAs more and more people move from the cities and suburbs to McClellanville and Awendaw to find their piece of the country, we are hearing an all too common theme that they do not want to be in a Homeowners Association or HOA. They recite stories of psychotic HOA presidents who hide in the bushes and live to make their life a daily hell, fines for trash cans not being rolled in, grass an inch too tall, or boats temporarily parked in the yard, and rules telling them what color their mailbox must be. Did I forget to mention the fees? The HOA fees in some of the neighborhoods are more than the mortgage on my first home. “BUT”, I tell them, “there’s just one problem… you see, a lot of the listings that match the criteria you gave me, such as being secluded, wooded, and no mobile homes nearby… well those listing do have HOAs”. When creating a neighbor-hood, whether it be just a few homes or several blocks, developers can spend an enormous amount of money to bring the roads up to county standards in order for them to be adopted as public roads or they can keep them private. If they are going to remain private an agreement should be put in place to ensure the future maintenance of the roads so that they don’t deteriorate. You may not even be so worried about the roads, but if you’re financing the purchase, you can bet that your lender will want to see a road maintenance agreement spelling out the upkeep of all common areas.
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Enter what I have coined the “Pass-the-hat HOA”, at least in our area. While some may have a slightly higher accounting process, why I refer to them as such is because in most cases they literally go door to door (perhaps send a letter to land owners) telling them it’s time to pony up for the year. Because the fees only go to maintain a road, which may typically involve buying a load or two of gravel and grading it with a tractor a couple times each year, the fees are commonly between $100-500. Make a note: that’s PER YEAR, not per month. So when one neigh-bor doesn’t pay when they are passing the hat around, everyone else just pitches in a little more and the job gets done. It’s the country, we know how to adapt and overcome and we don’t often need to make a federal case over someone being down on their luck. They aren’t going to slap a lien on your property when you don’t pay your dues, but they might not invite you over for supper if you’re not paying because you’re a jerk. You’ll probably live a pain-free life until perhaps you go to sell your home and the attorney calls the HOA president to verify all fees have been paid and they tell them that you are actually 3 years behind and those dues have to get paid at closing. Being an HOA, these neighborhoods also have rules known as Conditions, Cov-enants and Restrictions, or CC&R for short. Because lawyers are usually involved in this part, the CC&R reads like an operators manual for an unwieldy piece of ma-chinery, but they are the law of the land, so read them carefully. Unfortunately, they are often a boiler plate set of rules that the attorney copied and pasted from their big book of legal documents and you are lucky if the developer actually read them before putting them in place. They often mention architectural review boards, which are rarely ever formed, and prohibit things like satellite dishes in the front yard. No, not your DirecTV dish on the roof, they’re talking about those old-school 10 feet tall metal dishes that no one has seen for 20 years. When you read these rules, what you want to look for is whether the CC&R are really limiting your peaceful enjoyment of the area or your building plans. You should find that they don’t contain rules against parking boats in you yard, the height of your grass, or raising chickens or even horses.  If they don’t, you now have to ask yourself whether you are willing to break your promise to never live in another HOA even if it is the means by which you finally find the peace and quiet of country living.

For a list of neighborhoods in the area with HOAs and their CC&Rs visit MCVL.net/HOAs

Spring 2017 Market Update

Volume8charta.jpg2016 was an incredible year for real estate sales in the Bulls Bay area with activity surpassing pre-recession rates. MCVL Realty led all other offices in the area in sales for the 3rd year in a row and more than doubled last years sales with 53 sides totaling over $7.5 million in sales. These sales represented a 24% share of the McClellanville / Awendaw market, twice that of the closest competitor. A majority of these sales came from within McClel- lanville, where we dominated the market with a commanding 36.7% share. This chart shows the number of sold properties each year bro- ken down by location. While cumulative sales in the area rose from the year before, you can see a slight dip in Awendaw’s sales, though McClellanville’s sales more than made up the difference and showed a 60% increase in sales over the previous year. Awendaw’s decline was due not to a lack of interest, because that market grows hotter by the day, but was brought on only by a lack of inventory.
The next chart shows how the inventory of properties for sale has changed during this same period of time. You can see before the recession, inventory was below 40 properties (that’s homes and land) in each area, but as sales slowed there was a tremendous backlog of properties sitting and sitting on the market. We are still selling off much of this inventory and as prices regain footing, peo-ple are now listing new properties for sale as well. The number of properties for sale in McClellanville has generally hovered between 100 and 125 for the last 5 years with about 80% of that inventory being land for sale. Awendaw, on the other hand, has declined from its high of 128 listings for sale to a recent low of 55, of which land also represented about 80%. This difference between these two markets has led us to see the price of property climb more rapidly in Awendaw than in McClellanville. The law of supply and demand dictates whether we refer to a market as a “buyer’s market” or a “seller’s market” and I would say that for the time being we are still in a “buyer’s market” in McClellanville and Awendaw is fairly bal- anced but leaning toward a seller’s market especially with homes where there were only 11 houses for sale at the time of publication, one below $200K and 2 more in the $200-$300K range.
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The final chart shows the breakdown of sales by property type with residential sales remaining fairly level over the last 3 years, but the area picking up an extra 21 land sales from 2016 over 2015.
So far in 2017 11 lots and 7 homes have sold and 28 properties (14 homes and 14 lots) are under contract. January set an all time record in the area with 10 sold properties. Looking forward to the rest of the year, everything points toward a continued rally in the market which will only be limited by the supply of great proper- ties, so give us a call today to discuss listing your property! Or if you are a buyer, let the local experts help you navigate these tricky waters and still find you an outstanding deal.
 
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Summer 2016 Market Update

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This spring brought with it a very active time for real estate in the Bulls Bay area. For the first half of the year, MCVL Realty, once again, held the top position claiming over one quarter of the sales in McClellanville and Awendaw. In fact, at the half way point in 2016, we have surpassed the total number of sold properties for the entire year of 2015!
When we compare sales in the area for the first two quarters (Q1 and Q2) to historical data, we see that the real estate market continues to rally. As a whole, the market is only slightly behind pace of the stellar performance put up last year. While Awendaw has been producing a larger and larger portion of the sales in the area the past few years spurred by people escaping the growth of Mount Pleasant, a dip in Awendaw’s inventory of low- to mid-priced homes and land led to fewer sales so far in 2016. We are expecting this to change as more properties come to market and more and more people take an interest in the area. The luxury end of the market is also starting to pick up pace, which will mean lots of waterfront sales along the Intracoastal Waterway and Awendaw Creek.
McClellanville, on the other hand, is seeing its strongest sales numbers ever. When we break sales in McClellanville down into homes vs. vacant land sales, we can see that while the number of homes sold in the area during the first half of the last 3 years has remained approximately the same, vacant land sales nearly doubled over the last year. MCVL Realty was especially busy in this part of the mar- ket, involved in over half of the McClellanville land sales in Q1 and Q2.
Although the number of sales has returned to pre-recession levels, we are still not seeing sale prices of properties back at their 2006 heights. I attribute this largely to the backlog of inventory of properties which grew for most of the last decade and can’t be expected to disappear over- night. This spring, we did however begin to see a decline in new listings. When coupled with these high sales rates, we should start to see the inventory of properties for sale finally begin to diminish. It is only after this decline that we will start to see a transition from the buyer’s market that we are still in and the seller’s market that many other parts of the country are experiencing. That being said, some segments of the local market, such as interior (non-waterfront) land in Awendaw and homes under $300K in Awendaw and Mc- Clellanville are experiencing scarcity causing a high demand for such properties. Volume7chartb.jpg
We are also beginning to see an increase in investors looking in the area for opportunities, especially long-term rental properties, for which the prices have simply exploded in the past years under extremely high demand and nearly non-existent supply. With fewer options of existing housing and great land prices, I am expecting to see more investors turn toward building new rental properties in the area, which would be a completely new movement for this area, but one that seems to have a lot of great potential. This would also have a positive effect on home sales in the long run, because there is a segment of home buyers who like to rent in an area before buying who have not been able to do so. There are also a lot of people purchasing land in the area with the goal of building a home, however with no rentals, some find it is more difficult to transition from a home owned outside of the area to a finished new construc- tion home in this area without renting locally during the construction period.
Whether you are looking to buy, sell, or rent, you can trust the agents of MCVL Realty to listen to your concerns and issues and de- velop a plan that is custom tailored to your needs. Call us today for a free, no-pressure consultation to discuss your situation and how we can best help you navigate the real estate world.
 

North of “East of the Cooper”

Volume6-articlea.jpegWhen I began my real estate career a decade ago, I would estimate that only 5% of buyers in the Bulls Bay area were moving from Mt. Pleasant. In recent times, people leaving Mt. Pleasant are making up roughly half of our buyer activity. The explosive growth of that area has people looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Mt. Pleasant. We speak with people every day and whether they moved to the city 5 years ago or 25 years ago, they are saying that it just isn’t the same place anymore. The common theme in their request is peace and quiet that comes with more land, lower home density, and less commercialization and the Bulls Bay area delivers exactly that.
Based on this growing demographic, I thought it would be good to address some of the frequently asked questions we hear from people looking at homes and land in the area and these are certainly not specific to only those moving from Mt. Pleasant.
Future Growth – If your reason for moving is to escape overdevelopment, the first question you may ask is whether or not the Bulls Bay area will suffer the same fate in a few years if everyone moves here next. While I can’t predict the future, I can discuss some of the factors protecting the area and guiding future development. The protected lands of the Francis Marion National Forest and Cape Romain Wildlife Refuge bring with them groups fighting for preservation of the area such as the Coastal Conservation League. Unincorporated Charleston County and the Towns of Awendaw and McClellanville share a common goal in preserving the existing way of life through conservation and zoning. Awendaw has some large tracts of land which may be developed and increase the population and services, however home density plans to remain rural. The Town of McClellanville has passed numerous rules to protect its rural nature including maximum home size limits of 3500 sq.ft., 1 acre lot minimums, and commercial and sign restrictions to protect the highway corridor from becoming over-commercialized.
Well and Septic Systems – With few exceptions, the Bulls Bay area is served by well and septic systems which also serve to protect our rural nature. Paradise Island has public water and sewer and the Town of Awendaw has begun extending public waterlines from their Town Hall to residents on parts of Doar and Seewee Roads and is seeking funds to continue this project, but there is currently no public sewer system. Wells in the area are typically dug to a depth of around 60 feet (costing around $3,000) and produce clean drinking water. Traces of sulfur are common in Awendaw and iron is common in McClellanville, however both can be treated and removed with on-premise water treatment. There are several types of septic systems that can be approved depending on the soil condition and their costs can vary from $3,500 to as high as $20,000 in some rare cases. Volume6-articleb.jpg
Commuting – Many people moving here will continue to commute to Mt. Pleasant or Charleston for work and they fear moving farther away and increasing their drive. I put together the picture on the right to illustrate how long it takes to drive from different locations into or out of Mt. Pleasant and although the distance is much greater to McClellanville and Awendaw, the actual commute time isn’t so bad because you are driving on open roads with no traffic or stop lights. The most common thing that I hear echoed from commuters from Awendaw and McClellanville is that the drive is worth it when they get to come home to a place that is truly relaxing.
Modern Conveniences – Those used to the conveniences of city life may find moving out of the range of pizza delivery a scary thought. McClellanville is nearly a half hour drive to the closest grocery store, fast food, bank, etc. Many residents become more self-sufficient and group their errands together rather than making lots of trips; an extra fridge, chest freezer, or large pantry doesn’t hurt either. It’s not uncommon to hear, “I’m going to town, do you need anything?” in McClellanville and it is implied in the statement that Mt. Pleasant is said “town”. McClellanville and Awendaw also each have a local Dollar General, which probably won’t suit all of your shopping needs, but is great at supplementing the basics like bread, milk and toilet paper between trips when you just need a few things to pull dinner together.
Also on the note of modern conveniences are household services. Most of the area is serviced by TDS Telecom who offers home phone and hi-speed internet, which is fast enough to stream Netflix. There is not a cable company, so Dish Network and DirecTV are common providers of cable television channels. Residents of McClellanville enjoy free trash collection as part of their taxes, but the rest of the area takes their waste and recycling to Charles- ton County convenience centers.
Schools – Mt. Pleasant schools are known for their exceptional test scores and scholastic opportunities and if you have children enrolled there, moving out of the district is an understandable concern. McClellanville and most of Awendaw make up Charleston County School District 1 and are served by St. James Santee Elementary and Lincoln Middle-High School. There is also top-ranked Cape Romain Environmental Education Charter School (or CREECS for short) in McClellanville which serves K-8th grades. Future plans for the district are currently under discussion, however historically, trans- fers by District 1 residents to attend schools in District 2 have been approved.
Final Word – MCVL Realty was founded on serving this rural niche and we are experts in all aspects of sales in the area from homes to land, residential to commercial, waterfront, acreage and more. We live and breathe it every day and make our livings helping newcomers to the area find their dream property. Agents not knowledgeable about construction, septic systems, wells, wetlands, docks, local zoning, restrictions, etc. can unintentionally do a lot of harm to their clients through their inexperience. We have seen first-hand these mistakes cost buyers thousands and also make them miss out on the property of their dreams. Before signing anything with an agent you should always explore how many properties (especially land if you are buying land) they have sold in the specific area you are looking in and determine their local knowledge of that area. We’re always happy to meet for a cup of coffee and discuss your goals with no commitment needed.

Spring 2016 Market Update

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2015 was another fantastic year for real estate in the Bulls Bay area and also for MCVL Realty! We led the area in sales volume, selling 25 sides worth over $5 Million. A majority of these sales came from within McClellanville, where we dominated the market with a 40% share of the dollar volume of sold properties. Daniel Bates was again #1 sales agent in the area by sales volume.
All signs point toward a healthy recover as we climb back to pre- recession sales levels. The chart on the left indicates yearly sales in the region in the last decade and how they are split between McClellan- ville and Awendaw. You will see that Awendaw continues to become a larger part of the market, which I attribute to two major factors. First, Awendaw has grown in size through annexation of more land and has had more growth, so there are simply more listings being logged as “Awendaw”. In fact, the numbers could be even higher depending on whether you were to define Awendaw by zip code, town limits, or rural vs. urban (meaning that many agents will list a property with an Awendaw zip code within the Mt. Pleasant MLS region). The second factor is the growing demographic of buyers that work in Mt. Pleasant and Charleston moving to the area to escape the overdevelopment. These buyers continue to represent the largest driving force in the Bulls Bay real estate market leading me to write the North of “East of the Cooper” article on the following page.
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Prices are still below 2005-06 highs, but it is not something that I can indicate on a graph, because the sample size is too small and property prices too varied to produce accurate data. If there were just a few more waterfront or large acreage sales in one year the data would be com- pletely skewed. “Days on market” (or DOM for short), which tracks the number of days between a property being listed for sale and the date that it goes under contract, is also an unreliable measure of the health of the market, because as listings which have been on the market for a long time through the recession finally sell, they register as high DOM’s even though the average new listing is selling faster than in previous years.
As the market has become more stable and sales have increased, one of the factors that I have been watching closely is the amount of inventory for sale in the region. The laws of supply and demand dictate that as the supply of properties decreases and demand increases, the price of properties will also rise. What is interesting in our market is that the number of sales of homes and land in the last 5 years has steadily climbed, however the number of active listings of each has remained very stable (compare graphs to the right). I believe this reflects pent up supply in which sellers were waiting to list their home until the market reached a point at which they were able to recooperate the money they had invested in it. In other words, every time we sell a property and the market values creep up, there is a seller who is ready, willing, and able to fill that empty listing’s place.
When we step back from our market and look at other markets across the nation we may get a glimpse at the future of what’s to come. Most real estate market trends start on the West Coast and in the Northeast and
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work toward the Southeast. In some of these markets, they are experiencing a crippling lack of inventory leading to multiple offers over asking price on every new listing that hits the market. Are we there yet? Far from it, but we have started to see certain segments of our mar-ket with very low inventory increase in price rapidly. Acre sized lots in Awendaw and small 2 and 3 bedroom homes come at a premium now. One local builder has capitalized on this by building several spec homes (meaning they are built on speculation, without a buyer at the time construction begins) and had all four under contract before they were finished being built.
The scales are not strongly tipped for buyers or sellers now and it’s a healthy market with a lot of positive signs that it will continue to climb throughout the year. If you are considering buying or selling, give us a call to discuss your specific situation and how we can help you. I’ve talked to a lot of people who sat on the fence too long and let the market pass them by. Don’t let the same happen to you.
 

Summer-Fall 2015 Market Update

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Having just passsed the halfway mark in the year, I thought it would be helpful to compare the number of properties sold in the McClellanville / Awendaw area in previous Q1 and Q2 periods to see how this year is stacking up. As you can see in the graph, we are off to a great start, even exceeding sales numbers from 2005 and 2006 when the market was red hot. This May accounted for 21 of the 65 total proper- ties sold, the single highest month of sales ever for the area. By mid-June we had already sur- passed the year-end sales numbers in 2007-2013. The phones are ringing off the hook at MCVL Realty and we’re staying very busy showing land and homes across all price ranges. At the time of publishing, MCVL Realty had 5 properties under contract. Daniel Bates wrapped up Q1/Q2 period leading all other agents in terms of sales volume for properties sold in McClellanville / Awendaw region and represented nearly a third (32.6%) of the total sales volume of properties sold in McClellanville alone.
Factors attributing to the growth include a rallying stock market, low interest rates, and recovering economy and jobs market. We are also starting to see Generation Y (people born from the early 1980’s through early 2000’s) buyers start to set their sites on the area for the first time. The largest driving force however has been the incredible growth of neighboring Mt. Pleasant. What we are finding is not so much the people who are moving to the area now, but those who moved to Mt. Pleasant previously are escaping this ongoing growth and looking to get into a more rural market where they can enjoy less traffic, larger lots for gardening and pets, get more for their money, and be closer to outdoor activities on the water or in the forest all within an easy commuting distance to work in the “city”.
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Sellers – Whether you are ready to list or still getting things ready, give us a call to discuss your property and how we can market it best for a sale that meets your needs. A lot of buyers are looking for turn-key homes right now, but we have had success moving fixer-uppers with sound strategies and excellent marketing. Interest in land has risen sharply in the past year, if you’ve been sitting back waiting for your property values to rebound, now may be the time.
Buyers – Create a list of “must-haves” and a list of “want-to-haves” and a budget. We can show you the properties which match that description and keep you updated on new arrivals the instant they come on the market so you don’t miss an opportunity. Buyers who have gotten accustomed to moving at their own pace to see properties are finding that some are selling before they have a chance to take a look. Land prices have been stable for the past year, but as supply of attractive properties declines and buyer activity builds, I definitely see those prices starting to move upward. Decisive buyers are making fair offers and getting the properties they want before the best deals are gone.
Renters – With the same inventory of homes for rent and a 10 fold increase in demand over the last few years, finding a rental in the area is becoming nearly impossible. I keep a waiting list of of active renters, but pets or a small budget puts you at the back of the list for land- lords looking for a tenant willing to pay top dollar (often putting 2 months rent up front as a deposit) and keep their home in top notch condition. Talk with a lender candidly about your finances and see if there are any programs which will allow home ownership instead of renting.
 
 

Spring 2015 Market Update

November through February are traditionally very slow real estate months. Between the holidays, the cold weather, and the upcom-ing tax season, there is typically just not a lot of buyer activity. It’s normally served as a time for me to check off a long list of tasks that have been stacking up on my to-do list throughout the year, but I can tell you that I haven’t had time to glance at the list this winter. Buyer activity is at levels not seen since before the downturn in the market nearly a decade ago and if it’s like this in the winter, I can only say “hold on” when spring and summer arrive!
The passing of another year gives us a great time to look back at the past decade of sold property data for the McClellanville and Awendaw area. In the chart to the left, we can see that 2014 brought us nearly back up to the number of sales that we saw before the downturn in the real estate market. Interestingly, today more of those sales are coming from homes than they were a decade ago. I attribute this to two fac- tors. First, there was an undeniable rally on land going on at the time and financing of land much more plentiful. The second factor is that a much higher percentage of homes were foreclosed and sold for cheap than land over the past few years. With those foreclosures mostly drying up and lending on land loosening up, we are starting to see more land buyers to even out these numbers a bit.
 
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Breaking that same data down a bit further into the McClellanville and Awendaw regions a few more patterns also begin to emerge. First and most important, you can see that the number of properties sold in all 4 sectors are on an increase, but Awendaw homes which once represented the lowest number of sales now accounts for the highest. A pattern that we are certainly observing in our office is an increase in the number of buyers coming from Charleston and Mt. Pleasant. It’s not a number I track, but I would say 5+ years ago, prospective buyers from Mt. Pleasant may have made up a whopping 5% of our client pool, recently however, that number has climbed to 15 or 20%. The reason we are hearing time after time is that they want to get out of the city. Too much traffic, too much noise, and not enough breathing room. As most of these buyers still work in the Metro area, Awendaw offers shorter drive which most find attractive and is therefore feeling the brunt of this wave. You can see on the graph that Awendaw land sales are also not far behind as a result of this same trend. Mc- Clellanville homes displays the most stable timeline of them all, which certainly dipped and is rising again, but it goes to prove one of my favorite sayings: “Nobody HAS to move to McClellanville, BUT there are a whole lot of people that WANT to move here”. What I mean by this is that McClellanville offers no Boeing manufacturing plant or booming job surplus, but it offers a simple attractive life that many say they are unable to find anywhere else in the world.
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MCVL Realty proved to continue to gain a larger share of the market in 2014 and we are proud to say that we ended the year as the #1 real estate office in terms of sales volume in McClellanville and Awendaw. This is quite a feat for a two-person office, but our two agents finished the year neck and neck in the top two positions for individual agents in the area as well.
Furthermore, MCVL Realty represented one third of those buying and selling properties valued over $200,000 and 5 of the 6 sides buying and selling waterfront in McClellanville. We started 2015 off with the first two sales of the area and also lead all offices in the number of listings in the area and sales volume for McClellanville. We are continually thankful for the support of our community and the trust of our clients.