Record-low interest rates draw in home seekers; Gothic-style condos on way to Charleston | Real Estate



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Home showings surge in August amid record-low interest rates

Charleston-area home showings skyrocketed in August as prospective buyers tried to take advantage of record-low mortgage interest rates.

The region saw a 35.1 percent spike in people looking at homes for sale, either in person or online, after a 25 percent increase in July and a nearly 30 percent jump in June, according to the ShowingTime Showing Index.

The increases follow the pandemic-induced lost showings in March of nearly 14 percent, and a whopping 26 percent plunge in April when stay-at-home orders were in effect across the state and nation before being lifted in May and June.

Nationally, showings soared 62 percent per listing in August as droves of prospective homebuyers searched for residential properties.

“Mortgage rates set several record lows over the last few months and have remained low into September,” said Sam Khater, chief economist for home financier Freddie Mac. “While there is room for rates to decrease even more, higher home prices and low inventory could potentially stifle the high demand that we’ve been seeing.”

The rate on a 30-year mortgage has been averaging less than 3 percent in recent weeks while the rate on a 15-year loan has averaged less than 2.5 percent. 

The most recent insight into home showings across South Carolina shows them to be up by 13 percent as of Sept. 29, on par with last year at this time, according to the ShowingTime Showing Index.

Showings and sales are expected to continue to remain elevated into the fall, bucking what’s normally a slower time of year for the housing industry.





Shem Creek Bar & Grill

Shem Creek Bar & Grill has been a favorite seafood restaurant in Mount Pleasant since 1984. It will become Shem Creek Crab House in about three weeks after selling Wednesday for $4.9 million. Warren L. Wise/Staff


Shem Creek Bar & Grill sells for $4.9 million

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Started in 1984 with a $200,000 investment, the Mount Pleasant restaurant is now in the hands of a Charleston real estate investor. Longtime restaurateur John Keener will lease the property and change the name to Shem Creek Crab House.

By the numbers

293,700: Median price in dollars of a home in Hanahan, where some new owners are tearing down houses built in the 1950s and 1960s to build something from scratch.

4,145: Square footage of proposed new Kickin’ Chicken location in a former automotive garage at 45 Romney St. on Charleston’s upper peninsula. 

18: Number of months Madra Rua was closed in North Charleston after a fire heavily damaged the Irish pub in early 2019. It is now open again.

This week in real estate

+ Women without homes: Some are trying to help homeless women find a place to live in the Charleston area, but it’s often difficult for various reasons.

+ Option to buy: Charleston airport gives Boeing 10 more years to buy land under SC 787 plant.

+ Homebuying incentive: A new program launched by SC Housing offers extra-generous assistance to homebuyers in 20 rural counties, some which border the metropolitan areas of Charleston, Columbia and Myrtle Beach.

Pricey condos coming to downtown Charleston



71 Wentworth rendering

A rendering shows what the building at the corner of King and Wentworth streets in downtown Charleston will look like after renovations. Provided/East West Partners


The iconic building at King and Wentworth streets in downtown Charleston is undergoing renovations to its interior and exterior. Called 71 Wentworth, the upper two floors, with 12- to 18-foot windows as a focal point, will include 12 luxury condominiums with a starting price of $2.4 million each. 

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Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524. Follow him on Twitter @warrenlancewise.

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