Announcing our #MakeItUniquelyYours Photo Contest!

Seabrook Photo Contest Flyer 2014_rev5_JPEG 700x906



Proud to announce our #MakeItUniquelyYours photo contest!

This is your chance to show us how you make Seabrook Island Uniquely YOURS!

Enter on our Facebook pages, or visit our website www.discoverseabrook.com/news-and-media.php and add your pictures! You can also enter on Instagram or Twitter by simply hashtagging #MakeItUniquelyYours

Deadline to enter is October 15th. Winners will receive a Seabrook Island Gift Bag filled with goodies! Make sure to hashtag #MakeItUniquelyYours and VOTE for your favorite pictures!

End of Summer Update

Except for a weird two week period in early July, the Seabrook Island Real Estate market continued to be quite active over the summer. Right now there are 101 properties either closed or waiting to close in 2014, with almost four full selling months remaining in the year.

The most improved portion of the market is single family homes. In 2013, a total of 46 single family homes were sold, while in 2014 that number is already 44 and is on a track to be about 60 by year end. Villas are on track with 2013’s numbers, when 61 were sold. So far there are 46 villas either closed or waiting to close, again with four sales months remaining. Continuing on this track would mean an increase in residential sales of about 10% by year end. At the writing of this article, there were 91 single family homes on the market and 96 villas. This translates to about a year and a half supply, well down from the highs.

Sales of homesites are lower than last year with 13 sites closed or waiting to close. There were 30 closed homesite sales in 2013 and now 105 homesites on the market.

In the meantime, our marketing efforts and those of our Sales Executives continue to bear fruit, and your real estate company has generated the highest market share of sold properties in the history of the company. Real Estate produced a healthy profit for the first half of the year and helped to generate a significant increase in Club membership. We expect that to continue in the 2nd half based on the number of sales already waiting to close at this time.

A detailed comparison of the first half of the year shows that the Seabrook Island Real Estate market was in line with or better than our main competitor communities in the Charleston area and significantly better than competitors South of us in the Hilton Head/Bluffton markets. Inventory backlogs are also in line or better than in those markets.

As an added service to our current and future clients, Seabrook Island Real Estate is looking into programs to help owners of older properties, those built in the 1980s and 90s, to find ways to efficiently upgrade features of their homes in order to generate a higher return when they are ready to sell and to get their homes sold quicker. You will hear more about this in the near future!

Hope y’all had a great summer and as always, please feel free to call me to talk about the Seabrook Real Estate market.

You Are Our Best Ambassadors.

Recently a very nice, happy couple came into our lobby in the middle of the mid-February ice storm. Of course, I immediately apologized for the weather. They let me know that it was all relative and that, back home in Cleveland, it was 5 degrees and they were perfectly happy with 35 and raining, knowing that by Saturday it would be 65 and sunny.

This was their first time on Seabrook and they were staying for a week. They told me they were blown away by the beauty and friendliness of the island. During their bike ride the day before, at least five friendly Seabrookers along the route stopped to talk with them. On that ride, they also happened to meet a couple who were looking at property with a Seabrook Island Real Estate agent. That couple invited them to join in as they looked at villas.

So here they were, 9 o’clock the next day, in a driving rain and sleet storm going out with that same Seabrook agent to find their Seabrook dream property. As a friend of mine often says, “you never know who is watching” or in this case, with whom you will be talking. The biggest concern people have when making a major move to a new community is how will I fit in and will I make friends. We are learning this more and more as we talk with prospects at the Ideal Living Expos. So, we offer to set up conversations with Seabrookers who have recently purchased, knowing they will have the same experience as this couple from Cleveland.

I want to thank all of you for your help! Whether it’s talking with guests at the Lake House, Island House, Pelican’s Nest, or just on the beach, you are our best ambassadors.

We have had a very active January and perhaps that can be attributed to the even worse weather up North. Feel free to call anytime if you would like to talk about real estate on Seabrook!

Joe Salvo, Broker-In-Charge
(*excerpt from the Veranda – March)

EDITED_WEB

2014.

We here at Seabrook Island Real Estate are excited to wish you and your families a happy 2014!
The island is buzzing with excitement this new year and we are anxious to see where 2014 will take us.
2013 ended with no new surprises in numbers, we ended with about 136 closings vs the 121 in 2012. A healthy 14% increase, which makes this the 4th straight year of sales increases since 2009!
Here are the numbers from 2012 and 2013.

2012 Homes: 46 Villas: 52 Lots: 22 Total: 121
2013 Homes: 46 Villas: 58 Lots: 29 Total: 136

This makes the average sale price of the 46 homes this year about $750,000, villas about $290,000 and lots about $240,000.

We will continue to keep you updated, so keep checking back! Also be sure to “like” our Seabrook Island Real Estate page on Facebook for weekly updates on listed and sold houses!

Happy New Year!

DSC_0046

Market Trends that will lead us into the New Year

DSC_0025

Even after the government shutdown, and a less than ideal economy standing, the housing market has made great improvements in the last months of the year. The housing market will see this increase continue through the end of the year and into early 2014. So despite the economic pitfalls, our housing market continues to chug along. Freddie Mac’s vice president, Frank Nothaft, says that the housing recovery should continue to absorb the economic shocks in stride and improve next year.

As of right now, the house price index has increased 12.8% since last year, which is the biggest increase since before the bubble burst. A slow increase in housing prices is not a bad thing though. To avoid another housing bubble burst, the increase is better left in a slow state. The prices are still relatively lower, but by the end of 2014, it is expected to increase enough to get everyone above water.

For buyers, this is the best market to buy in. Even though the inventory is tight, the buying market is looking at it’s best options now. There are plenty of good interest rates available for the interested buyer.

Thanks for reading!

Why Seabrook Island Real Estate?

It’s an interesting question. Why would you choose Seabrook Island Real Estate over national real estate brands such as Coldwell Banker, Century 21 or other local real estate agencies like Pam Harrington, or Akers Ellis?

National brands have preference in many situations because they are usually more trusted. It is simple marketing 101. Brand recognition generates a feeling of trust, especially if you’ve never bought in such a market before. Big branded companies put a lot of money into making sure that their agents are trained and educated on the current market and trends. These brand companies also put a lot of money into marketing and exposure. It’s natural that the question about how efficient Seabrook Island Real Estate can be for you.

Seabrook Island Real Estate prides itself on being more than just a brand. Seabook Island Real Estate is part of this community. Seabrook Island Real Estate has a leg up, so to speak, on national and other local real estate agencies because almost all of our agents live and work on the island. This real estate company is more than just your real estate agency, they’re your neighbors, they’re your bridge team, your golf partners, and your weekly dining group. This real estate company offers more than just basic information, when you choose our company, you’re choosing to hear it from the horse’s mouth. Who are you going to trust more, someone that visits Seabrook Island occasionally or someone who’s life is already here? When you choose us, you’re learning about the island from real islanders.

As for marketing and exposure, Seabrook Island Real Estate puts big money into trainings, and marketing. Our marketing staff puts tremendous effort in making sure that your listings and are getting maximum exposure and your options for buying are specifically geared towards your preferences.

So when you’re deciding on which agency to choose, and why, keep these things in mind. And most importantly, keep in mind that almost 90% of homes sold on Seabrook Island are listed and sold with us!

Seabrooker Ad_September 2013 issue_PDF

Thanks for reading! Comment below!

The continuing effects of the government shutdown.

After my last blog about the government shutdown and real estate world, the effect has continued to interest me.

This week, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have loosened up on the rules for the banks to approve mortgages. Before, Fannie and Freddie required that borrowers must verify their incomes with the IRS before being able to close on a mortgage. However, due to the government shutdown, the IRS has been having trouble getting through all of these verifications.

Now, Freddie and Fannie have decided to allow the lenders to do loan the money without waiting for the IRS to verify. To me, this raises some red flags and some banks agree. Many of the lending banks are concerned about the lack of IRS credibility for borrowers that claim to be making x amount of money from self employment income sources. For an economy that already has a low-risk attitude after the recent fiscal crisis, some lenders may decide to wait until the shutdown is over.

Wells Fargo, who originally said that they would wait until the shutdown was over to continue mortgage applications, has decided after Fannie and Freddie eased up on the rules that they would continue to push applications down the line without IRS verifications.

What this could mean for the economy is interesting. The risk is high, and after the bubble bursting and the real estate market taking a catastrophic hit, why would you cut down on procedures on an already sensitive market?

Just my thoughts, share yours!

Federal Housing Administration will continue to lend.

I’m sure that everyone has heard of the news this morning. With the government under a shutdown process, I decided to take a look into how that affects the current housing market.

As of Monday night, the House and Senate remained at a standstill over the funding for Obama’s new health care law, sending the government into a shutdown. Because of this shutdown, we’re seeing many federal run places take a hit. As of today, the Statue of Liberty, National Zoo, Grand Canyon and parks across the country will be closing its doors. The entire DC area is seeing massive door closings due to this indecision.

Luckily for us in the Real Estate world, it looks like the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will not stop working on applications for housing loans like it previously said it would do. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has retracted its previous statement saying that they would completely shut down all applications. And given the fact that FHA will be working with a much smaller staff than the normal staff, 96% less actually, at least we aren’t seeing a complete shut down.

That’s all for now! Thanks for reading, and please comment!

This month in real estate…

Last month, Marketing Director, Kristina Skalak and Broker In Charge, Joe Salvo, traveled to Washington DC to promote Seabrook Island at the Ideal Living Resort and Retirement Real Estate Expo. Some 900 registrants from the metro area signed up to attend and about 50 other communities from the South East were represented.

It was a great opportunity to talk “one on one” with folks who are getting ready to retire to our part of the country. One thing quickly became clear, but not a surprise, to us as attendees visited our beautiful Seabrook Island booth. The big draw is our unbeatable combination of our Ocean Beaches, Privacy and proximity to Charleston.

They spent hours in very detailed discussions with attendees and came back with hundreds leads from potential Seabrookers with whom we will follow up. There is nothing better than face to face contact with prospects and we will be doing more of these shows in the coming year, while adding the new Seabrook Island branding messages at the same time.

In the meantime, the number of sales on Seabrook Island will grow for the fifth straight year in 2013. Right now Joe projects it to be up about 15-20% from 2012, with some 140+ closed sales versus last year’s 119. This is great progress from the low of 79 at the depth of the national recession in 2009 as we move toward getting back to annual sales of 200 plus.

That’s all for now!
Thanks for reading!

Good News for Charleston/Seabrook Area

At the risk of sounding overly positive at a time when it is not fashionable, there has been some recent good news. For those who have not heard, Charleston has now overcome San Francisco as the #1 tourist destination in the country. This, along with the coming PGA tournament, bode well for the Charleston area in 2012.

At the same time the Real Estate inventory in the greater Charleston market is down by some 20% from the high. That’s about 8000 properties on the market versus 10,000 at the high water mark. However, this is still double what the inventory was when sales were at peak numbers in 2005 and 2006.

While most of Charleston real estate statistics do not relate directly to our coastline resort and second home market, the second half of 2011 has also been more positive for Seabrook Island than the first half of the year. In the third quarter, Seabrook Island saw 6 properties sell that were listed over $1 Million, two of which were listed over $2 Million.

Market Messages!

One day the Wall Street Journal says that “Energy is increasing in the second home market” and that the higher stock market is providing cash to buyers who see the best bargains in years in vacation properties.

The very next day a Bloomberg article told us that theUS housing market is “Crawling up from rock bottom” but we still have to deal with the “foreclosure mess” and 2011 will be the year to do it.

It’s clear that market forces on both sides are working hard to get back the balance between real estate buyers and sellers. More and more “experts” are saying that 2011 is the transition year that will bring us back to a more balanced market.

To current sellers unfortunately it means that prices are still the driving force and all properties must be priced correctly and aggressively in order to sell.For buyers it means that “now” is the time and short of another economic collapse, next year might be too late.

On another note, the final market share numbers are in and thanks to all of you, Seabrook Island Real Estate maintained its’ market dominance with 69% of all Seabrook Island sales listing volume sold by our Sales Executives.

This loyalty meant that in 2010 Seabrook Island Real Estate turned over to the Club a pre-depreciation year-end profit of more than $100,000 – which was $250,000 better than the loss budgeted for 2010.

Thanks again and please feel free to call me directly to discuss anything regarding the current real estate market. (843) 768-7796.