April 2, 2018

Lowcountry Notes and Charleston Housing Update

Your April edition of Lowcountry Notes is attached. Spring is here and the azaleas are in bloom! April is such a great month in Charleston. We start off with a bang with the WTA Volvo Tennis Tournament on Daniel Island.  Of course, one of the biggest events each year is the Cooper River Bridge Run. And just down the road in the sleepy town of Augusta Ga, they have a little golf tournament called the Masters.
Here is your April calendar of events:
1-8: Volvo WTA women’s tennis tournament, Daniel Island
5-8: Masters Golf Tournament, Augusta GA
6: Jimmy Buffett, N Chas Coliseum
6-8: 46th Annual Flowertown Festival, Summerville
7: Cooper River Bridge Run
8: 7th Annual Honey and Bee Expo, Cinebarre Mt Pleasant
8: Cajun Festival, James Island County Park
10: Dweezil Zappa, Chas Music Hall
12-15: Sperry Charleston Race Week
13: Gillian Welch, Chas Music Hall
14: Wynton Marsalis, Gaillard
14: Plane Pull, Yorktown Aircraft Carrier
14: Plantasia 2018, Old Town Creek Park
15: REO Speedwagon and Styx, N Chas Colieseum
15: 14th Annual Blues by the Sea, Freshfields Kiawah
20: Carmina Burana, Gaillard
20-22: East Coast Paddlesports Symposium, James Island County Park
21,22: 28th Annual Charleston Outdoor Festival, James Island County Park
21: Cars on Kiawah, Kiawah
21: 6th Annual Barrier Island Earth Day 5k, Seabrook
21: The Road Less Traveled(private country gardens tour), St Paul’s Parish
22: Blue Sky Endurance Fest-Swim and Run, Trophy Lakes Johns Island
27: Lowcountry Boil on Morris Island
28: All You Need is Love Chas Jazz Orchestra, Chas Music Hall
28: Joint Base Charleston Air and Space Show
28: Southern Flame BBQ and Music Festival
29: Blessing of the Fleet, Mt Pleasant Waterfront Park
Charleston was again voted Best City in the US by Travel and Leisure Magazine. They also rated Charleston as the #2 City in the World.  Charleston is booming.  However, year to date through February, real estate transactions are down 4.1%.  That is probably due mostly to lack of inventory rather than lack of demand.  Demand is very high, but inventory is low. That means that prices are rising.  YTD, our market is up 6.8% in median sales price.  The median sales price is now over $260k.  While many think that is high, we are still slightly undervalued based on sales numbers back to 1991. New construction is abundant and popular, albeit not able to keep up with demand.  Johns Island sales are up 75% in transactions year to date with an 18.5% increase in median sales prices.  Goose Creek and Moncks Corner are seeing a boom in new construction due to the building of the Volvo plant.  One of the Goose Creek MLS areas is up 21% in transactions and 8.9% in median sales price. And Moncks Corner has 35.1% more sales YTD.  Days on market for new listings is averaging about 3 weeks.  That’s extraordinary. I've also attached a chart comparing 2017 values to those of 2006.  A lot of people bought houses at the peak of the market in the 2005-2007 time frame.  Most of those have just recently gotten back to those values.
Thanks to Doug Holmes
Keller Williams Realtor,


Posted in Events
March 12, 2018

Your March edition on Lowcountry Notes is attached.

Your March edition on Lowcountry Notes is attached.  Sorry I'm a few days late this month. 

Spring has come early.  February was the exact opposite of the dreadful January.  It’s been over 70 degrees most of the month!  March is upon us and brings the official opening of spring and a longer day with Daylight Savings Time. The Food and Wine Festival continues through March 4. The big holiday in March is St Patrick’s Day. It will be a bit crazy in Charleston, but nothing like the party in Savannah.  Here is the March calendar of events:


1-4: Charleston Food and Wine Festival Continues

1: When We Were Kings, Chas Music Hall

1: Owls at Midnight: Center for Prey

2: Artwalk, downtown

3: Front Beach Fest, IOP

3: Darren Knight, Chas Music Hall

3-6: Colonial Athletic Association Basketball Championship, N Chas Coliseum

4: Lewis Black, Gaillard

4: Graham Nash, Chas Music Hall

5: Dixie Dregs

6: Fleet Foxes, N Chas PAC

6: Venice Baroque Orchestra, Gaillard

7: Spinal Tap, Chas Music Hall

9-10: Celebration of Quilts, Omar Shrine Temple Convention Center

10: ArtFest, Mt Pleasant Towne Center

10: St Patrick’s Day Block Party and Parade, Park Circle

13-17: 12th Annual Fashion Week

15-21: Annual Festival of Homes and Gardens, downtown

16-18: Charleston Antique Show, Gaillard

17: St Patrick’s Day Parade, King Street

18: Travis Tritt, Chas Music Hall

20: Ovation Concert Series, Dock Street Theatre

20-25: Beautiful-The Carole King Musical, N Chas PAC

22-24: 83rd House and Garden Tour by the Garden Club of Charleston

24: Harlem Globetrotters, N Chas Coliseum

24-25: Thumbelina Ballet, Sotille Theatre

24-25: Pet Fest 2018, Palmetto Islands County Park

27: Million Dollar Quartet, Gaillard

27: The Pretenders, N Chas PAC

31: Hat Ladies’ 17th Annual Easter Promenade


Charleston is simply booming. YELP ranked Charleston as the 5th Best City for Economic Opportunity. MUSC is opening a medical facility in the old JC Penny space at Citadel Mall. Real Estate sales are booming. The Johns Island Community Association has asked for a 6 month moratorium on new permits for residential units. 2017 was the busiest year ever for Charleston real estate with almost 18k sales.  Jan 2018 was better than Jan 2017 by 7.5% in terms of transactions. So 2018 is on its way to exceeding the records of 2017.  Median sales price was up 7.8% for Jan 2018 versus Jan 2017. Inventory continues to be at historically low levels.  This causes buyers to be more urgent.  Buyers are also sensing urgency now because of rising interest rates.  Remember that a 1% increase in mortgage rates reduces a buyers buying power by 10%.  Instead of looking for a $300k home, they can only afford a $270k home and keep the same payment.  If you’ve thought about selling your home, this year is a golden opportunity.

Posted in Events
Dec. 28, 2017

Lowcountry Notes and Housing update

January is here and it is cold!!  January and February are usually the coldest months in Charleston.  But we know that spring is just around the corner.  Of course, there are some great things to do inside in Charleston during January.  Restaurant Week, Stanley Kubrick Film Festival, Jazz Festival, and Shen Yun should keep your mind off the cold. Don’t forget to have your greens and hoppin’ john on New Year’s Day for money and good luck in 2018.  Here is your January calendar of events:
1: Bill Murray Look-a-Like Polar Bear Plunge, Folly Beach
1: Dunleavy’s Pub Polar Bear Plunge, Sullivan’s Island
4: Travis Tritt, Chas Music Hall
5: Henry Rollins, Chas Music Hall
5,6: Charleston Symphony Orchestra’s(CSO) Brahms’ Symphony #2, Gaillard
7: Chamber Music with violinist Karen Kim, Dock Street Theatre
9: River Dance 20th Anniversary World Tour, Gaillard
10-21: Charleston Restaurant Week
10,11: Charleston Health and Wellness Expo, Gaillard
12: Charleston Magic Parlor Dinner Theatre, 82 Queen
13,14: Beginner’s Beekeeping course, Gazes Auditorium MUSC
17: Dr Strangelove, Chas Music Hall
18: Nnenna Freelon, Chas Music Hall
18-21: Charleston Jazz Festival
18: CSO Gershwin and Bernstein Take New York, Gaillard
19: The 5 Browns, Gaillard
23: They Might be Giants, Chas Music Hall
23,24: Shen Yun, N Chas PAC
25: A Clockwork Orange, Chas Music Hall
25: Pink Martini, Gaillard
26: Del McCoury Band, Chas Music Hall
26: A Night in the Valley, 15th Annual Dinner and Auction, Trident Tech Culinary Institute
27: John Mulaney-Kid Gorgeous, Gaillard
28: Charleston Trees Oyster Roast, Lowndes Grove
28: Cabaret, Gaillard
28: Lowcountry Oyster Festival, Boone Hall
31: The Shining, Chas Music Hall
Charleston is doing so well.  This will likely be the busiest year ever for Charleston real estate with close to 18k transactions.  Median sales price is up 4.3% over 2016 at an all time high of $255k.  Goose Creek and Summerville are really taking off with the building of the new Volvo Plant.  Folly Beach just got a boost from Trip Advisor.  It was named to the Most Charming East Coast Beach Vacations list.  Mercedes is building a new plant for its Sprinter van here in Charleston.  Thermo King, a temperature control and refrigeration systems manufacturer, will open a new plant in Berkeley County to supply the new Mercedes plant.  Cypress Creek Renewables is building a $115M, 75MW solar facility in Orangeburg Country.  CARTA has installed a bus shelter at the airport to handle the ever increasing passenger load.  Deytens Shipyard has received a $7.8M contract to service the USNS Big Horn.  Heatworks will create 60 jobs when it moves its tankless water heater facility to a larger plant in Mt Pleasant.  Welcomemat Services has ranked Mt P the 6th best place for small businesses of the 375 neighborhoods it researched.  The SC Dept of Commerce has established a $2M aerospace endowment at USC’s College of Engineering and Computing to enhance the college’s partnership with Boeing here in Charleston.  It may be cold outside, but Charleston is on fire!!


Posted in Events
Nov. 14, 2017

17-52: Freddie Mac 2017-12: Rental Income

Due to the complex nature of the changes, Lenders are encouraged to review both Freddie Mac Bulletin 2017-12 and Section 5306.1 in Freddie Mac’s Guide for complete details.  High level summary of the changes include:


  • Rental income calculation updated to detail how the principal portion of the mortgage payment is accounted for in the DTI.
    • Freddie Mac is more closely aligning with Fannie Mae in the treatment of the principal portion of the mortgage for rental properties. 
    • Net cash flow from the tax returns is calculated and then the PITIA is deducted from the net cash flow.
    • Rental income allowed up to a maximum of 30% of the qualifying income when the borrower does not have a documented one-year history of investment property management experience.



Non-Rental Income

Net Rental Income

Total Income


Eligible Amount of Rental Income

Eligible  Amount of Total Income




$6,500 x 30% = $1,950



($5,000 + $1,500)




$5,125 x 30% = $1,537.50



($2,500 + $1,537.50)


  • Additional guidance on how to document and calculate rental income from short term (e.g. AirBnB) vs long term sources.
    • Short term rental sources, such as nightly or weekly rentals, require minimum two years’ tax returns to support income stability and continuance.
    • Long term rental sources may be eligible with one year’s tax returns with an original lease agreement of at least 12 months.
    • Form 998 is retired, and form 1000 with comparable rent data re-introduced.


Posted in finance
Sept. 5, 2017

Lowcountry Notes and Charleston housing update

Your September edition of Lowcountry Notes is attached. September is finally here and we can start looking for some lower temps in anticipation of a beautiful fall here in the #1 city in the US.  September has Jazz Fest, Charleston Restaurant Week, and Charleston Beer Week all in the same month.  Here is your September calendar of events:
1-3: 9th Lowcountry Jazz Festival, N Chas PAC
5: Ed Sheeren, N Chas Coliseum
6-17: Charleston Restaurant Week
8: Mike Birbiglia, Gaillard
9-16: Charleston Beer Week
15: Moonlight Mixer, Folly Beach Pier
15: John Prine, N Chas PAC
14-16: Charleston Scottish Games and Gathering of the Clans
16: Cars and Coffee, Freshfields Kiawah
16: FamJam, Marion Square
17: Kiawah Island Triathlon
19: UB40, N Chas PAC
20: Tony Bennett, Gaillard
21: LGBTLOL, Chas Music Hall
22: Trevor Noah, N Chas PAC
23: Deer Tick, Chas Music Hall
28: Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Chas Music Hall
28-8: MOJA Arts Festival
29: Free Verse Poetry Festival
30: Peppa Pig, Gaillard
30: 2nd House that Beer Built, Bohemian Bull
30: Hall and Oates, N Chas Coliseum
The total eclipse brought a lot more national attention to Charleston.  Not that we really needed it.  Being voted #1 City in the US so many times has taken care of that.  Our real estate market has responded by building new homes all over the tri-county area.  New construction is certainly a favorite among buyers.  Currently one third of the homes under contract are new construction.  In certain areas, that percentage is well over 50%.  Year to date in 2017, we are up 6.8% in number of transactions over the same time period of 2016.  It looks like we may sell 18k homes for the first time in our history.  And median sales price is up a modest 4.9% to an all time high of $255k.  But there appears to be more room for appreciation based on regression analysis of our yearly prices back to 1991.  Many people are thinking our market is overheated, but a 4.9% appreciation rate is just barely above the national average.  A booming port city like Charleston could easily be appreciating faster than that.  Credit has relaxed a bit, but is still very tight in general.  It’s not easy getting a loan these days. 
The West Ashley area is now getting a Whole Foods!!  Our new mayor has made West Ashley’s revival a priority.  West Ashley has been a very nice place, but who wouldn’t like to get even better.  A local group has purchased the Citadel Mall area there and should be announcing some big changes there soon.  Mt Pleasant continues to be the most popular place in all of Charleston, especially for those with some extra income.  Goose Creek is really starting to see a boom with the coming of Volvo.
Courtesy of Doug Holmes 
Posted in Events
April 26, 2017

Trails & Ales | 5K and Beer Fest Share: Advertising

Name: Trails & Ales | 5K and Beer Fest
Date: May 6, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM EDT
Event Description:
BIG Thank You to our Sponsors:
OVM Financial

Trails & Ales

?5k on the Nexton Trails at 10:00AM
Beer Fest gates open at 11:00AM

Live Music by HoneySmoke
Local Breweries
Food available with Bac'n Me Crazy

Join us for fun in the sun in Summerville!  Event open to the public.  

HoneySmoke performing live!  

Purchase a ticket to support U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations Forces through the  MARSOC Foundation!  Includes 5 extra drink tickets!
Posted in Events
Nov. 29, 2016

December Lowcountry News

December and the holiday season is upon us. Most of the events in town this month are holiday related. The Sound of Charleston from Gospel to Gershwin will be at the Circular Congregational Church all month.  The Holiday Festival of Lights at the James Island County Park is always a favorite. There will be plays, music, parades, and tree lightings all month.  What a great time of the year in Charleston with temperatures in the mid 60’s. Here is your December calendar of events:


1-3: Holy City Messiah, CSO, Various Lowcountry Churches

2: Melissa Etheridge’s Holiday Trio, Chas Music Hall

2-4: 4th Annual Made in the South Weekend, Charlestowne Landing

3: N Charleston Christmas Parade and Festival

3: IOP Holiday Street Festival

3: 26th Annual Reindeer Run, starts at Southend Brewery

3: Holiday Swing w/ Chas Jazz Orchestra, Chas Music Hall

3,4,10: 33rd Annual Spirituals Concert, Drayton Hall

3: Pint of Hope, Hoppy Holiday Market, Freehouse Brewery

4: Charleston Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting

8-21: 21st Annual Charleston Christmas Festival

9-11: Nutcracker by Charlotte Ballet, Gaillard

10: Folly Beach Christmas Parade

10: Holiday Parade of Boats

11: Mt Pleasant 21st Annual Christmas Light Parade and Tree Lighting

11: Summerville Christmas Parade

14: Elf, Chas Music Hall

15: Skylark Vocal Ensemble Christmas, Grace Cathedral

15: CSO String Quartet, Historic Library Society

15: The Tenors, Gaillard

17: CSO Holiday Pops, Gaillard

17: Night Before Christmas by Charleston Chamber Music, Sottile Theater

20-21: Christmas in Wales, Circular Congregational Church

21: Special Holiday Extravaganza, Gaillard

21: It’s a Wonderful Life, Chas Music Hall

28: Blue Dogs, Chas Music Hall

30,31: Shakey Graves, Chas Music Hall

31: 4th Annual Charleston Rose Ball, Johnson Hagood Stadium

31: 5th Annual Yorktown Countdown

31: Folly Beach Flip Flop Drop

Jan 1: Bill Murray Look-a-Like Polar Bear Plunge



The Charleston real estate market continues to do extremely well and reflects the wonderful state of the economy overall here.  Overall, we are up 10% year to date in the number of transactions and we may sell over 17k home this year.  It will either be the busiest or the second busiest year ever.  And median sales price is up almost 5% to $244k.  40% of the properties currently under contract are new construction.  And this new construction is spread out over the entire tri-county area from Summerville to Johns Island and from Mt Pleasant to rural West Ashley.  The Volvo plant has brought several new subdivisions to the Summerville area and a new interchange on I-26 is being added.  Boeing is continuing to expand and seems very pleased here.  Some people are just beginning to figure out that they call us Silicon Harbor because there are so many software and digital IT companies here.  Of course, new restaurants and breweries continue to open daily and the cruise ships continue to bring new tourists into town.

Posted in finance
Nov. 10, 2016

November Real Estate

November is the beginning of holiday season and we have lots of events in Charleston to keep you busy including the opening of the Festival of Lights at James Island County Park and the Turkey Day Run and Gobble Wobble.  Looks like we’ll be starting the month off with really nice weather with temperatures in the low 80’s!  Here is your November calendar of events:
2-6: Charleston International Film Festival
3-6: Dracula, King of Vampires, Dock Street Theater
3: Lovin’ the Lowcountry Fall Festival, Daniel Island
4: A night of Culinary Stars, Cigar Factory
5: Party for the Parks, Colonial Lake
5-6: Charleston Mac Off, Grove at Patriots Point
5-6: Folly Jazz Festival, Folly Beach
5: Harvest Festival, Mullet Hall
5: Lowcountry Hoedown, Visitor’s Center
5: Jeff Dunham, N Chas Coliseum
10-13: Disney on Ice, N Chas Coiiseum
10: Taste of Hutson Alley
11: Festival of Lights opens at James Island County Park
11-12: Smoke on the Harbor BBQ Throwdown, Chas Harbor Resort
11: Eric Johnson, Chas Music Hall
13: Drive By Truckers, Chas Music Hall
13: Charleston Horicultural Society Oyster Roast, McLeod Plantation
13: 3rd Annual Coffee Cup, Memminger Auditorium
15-16: Annie, N Chas PAC
17-20: Charleston Classic Basketball Tournament, TD Arena
17: Drivin’ N’ Cryin’, Chas Music Hall
18-19: Miss SC, N Chas PAC
18: Dolly Parton, N Chas Coliseum
20: Oh Happy Day Gospel Music Experience, Circular Congregation Church
21: Blues Traveler, Chas Music Hall
24: 39th Annual Turkey Day Run and Gobble Wobble, Marion Square
25: Goo Goo Dolls, N Chas PAC
25: Motown Christmas, Chas Music Hall
27: WWE Holiday Tour, N Chas Coliseum
28: Mannheim Steamroller, N Chas PAC
Speaking of holiday season, my Rotary will again be giving away a Seafox boat.  Tickets are $100 each and a max of 1000 tickets will be sold.  I've attached a flyer.  There is a link on the flyer where you can go to purchase tickets or you can contact me directly. If you purchase online, there will be a place for you to put my name so that I get credit for the sale.  We have a little competition going on to see who can sell the most tickets.  I was one of the top sellers for the last 2 years, but I think you guys can send me to the top of the list this year.  Rotary is a fantastic service organization and we do so many great things with your contributions.
Our real estate market here continues to do very well.  I've attached the year to date stats. New construction is prominent in several MLS areas including Johns Island and Mt Pleasant.  However, new construction seems to be making its biggest strides in the Jedburg area near the new Volvo plant.  The Nexton community is going to dwarf the already sizable Cane Bay subdivision.  They’re actually building a new exit ramp off I-26!  Overall, the tri-county areas are up 10.5% in number of transactions YTD over 2015.  2016 will likely see over 16k transactions and it will probably be the 2nd busiest year ever.  Median sales price is up 5.1% to $244k.  I hear many people concerned that this may be too inflated and that we may be experiencing another bubble in the housing market.  However, there are still several MLS areas whose median $/sqft values have still not gotten back to the 2006 levels.  These are most notably in the Summerville and Goose Creek areas.  And a 5.1% increase in prices is not that much more than the national average of 4%, especially considering that we are a coastal town with so many good things happening economically.
Posted in Events
Nov. 10, 2016

signing a Closing Disclosure on Refi

Do both borrower have to receive and e-sign on a refi?

11.6 What if there is more than one consumer involved in a transaction? (§ 1026.17(d))


In rescindable transactions, the Closing Disclosure must be given separately to each consumer who has the right to rescind under TILA (see § 1026.23), although the disclosures required for adjustable rate mortgages need only be provided to the consumer who expresses an interest in a variable-rate loan program. (§ 1026.19(b)).



In transactions that are not rescindable, the Closing Disclosure may be provided to any consumer with primary liability on the obligation

Posted in finance
Aug. 18, 2016

August Lowcountry notes

Your August edition of Lowcountry Notes is attached. 
Oh dear, Charleston has been voted #1 City in the World by Travel and Leisure Magazine again!!  As if we didn’t already have enough good press.  Wow!  48 people make the tri-county area their new home each day. Our area is growing 3 times faster than the US average.  744k live here and the median age is 36.5 years.  The average household income is $75k/year.  None of this would be true if we didn’t have a lot going on.  Your August calendar is below.  You can enjoy the Starlight Cinema at Freshfields at Kiawah each Wednesday night and Music on the Green there each Friday night.
August calendar:
3 – Blue Velvet, Chas Music Hall
5 – Reggae Night, James Island County Park
5-7 – Gullah/Geechee Nation International Music and Movement Festival
5 – Sam Bush, Chas Music Hall
7 – Latin Jazz, Kiawah East Beach Conference Center
7 – Sister Hazel, Chas Music Hall
7-9 – Sales Tax-Free Holiday
10 – Ray Lamontagne, N Chas PAC
13 – Jackie Robinson Ken Burns documentary film, Joseph Ravenel Baseball stadium
14 – Toad the Wet Sprocket, Chas Music Hall
15 – Charleston and Dorchester County Schools start back
17 – Berkeley County schools start back
19 – Moonlight Mixer, Folly Pier
19 – Margarita Festival, Charleston Maritime Center
19 – Boney James, Chas Music Hall
28 – Lebowski Bash, Chas Music Hall
30 – Nathalie Dupree, Mercantile and Mash

Of course, all of this makes the real estate market here go crazy.  But not too crazy.  Things seem to be very sustainable.  At midyear through June, we are up 10% in the number of transactions over the same time period from 2015.  We will most likely have over 16k transactions this year and it will be the 2nd busiest year ever. Only 2005 will be better.  Median sales price is only up 5.4% at $243,500.  That seems very reasonable.  We are actually slightly undervalued according to the trend line going back to 1991 when we started keeping the MLS on the computer.  Inventory is still low and it’s a seller’s market in most of our MLS areas.  Mortgage rates are low and it’s allowing everyone to buy more home than they normally would.  What used to be considered rough areas of town are now being transformed into gathering places where great restaurants and businesses are opening up with abandon.  Our new mayor, John Tecklenburg, seems energetic and there are new projects all over the area.  A new bike lane just got approved over the Ashley River Bridge into downtown.  It’s a very exciting time for Charleston!!

Posted in Events