Charleston Real Estate

Hi y'all,

The real estate market in Charleston continues to rage on.  Buying activity was at unprecedented levels through the November through January months, where we normally see a bit of a slowdown.  2016 will surely set many records. The end of the year numbers are in and we had a great 2015.  We sold 15,490 homes and condos for a 13.9% rise over 2014 and the 3rd busiest year ever.  7 MLS areas were up over 20%. Median sales price rose to an all time high of $235k, 5.9% above 2014. 8 MLS areas had median prices that were up over 10% over 2014.  Boeing is adding more buildings and seems very happy here in Charleston. Volvo noticed that and announced their plans for a plant here.  The software and IT industry is booming and earning Charleston the nickname of Silicon Harbor.  New restaurants are opening every day and that is being noticed in foodie magazines everywhere.  We were just ranked as the 2nd hottest real estate market in the US and the 2nd most moved to city in the US.  Things are good here in the Holy City.

Call me when you're ready to buy or sell. I have the advantage of knowing what values actually are since I am a Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser as well.

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Posted by Joe Kavanagh on February 1st, 2016 10:36 AMLeave a Comment

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October 31st, 2015 1:09 PM

November is here and we didn’t have any hurricanes!!  We did have a tornado and a lot of rain though.  But Charleston has weathered the storm nicely, as always.  The weather is incredible right now.  The humidity has gone and we’re in the 70’s during the day and the 50’s at night.  Having said that, the Coastal Carolina Fair starts this weekend and lasts through Nov 8.  That is usually the locals’ sign for a cold snap.  We’ll see.  We didn’t have one last year.  Disney on Ice will be at the N Chas PAC from the 19-22. The Charleston International Film Festival is also going on at the Charleston Music Hall Downtown until Nov 8.  You’ll also notice a few events at the re-opened Gaillard. 


Here’s your calendar for November’s events:


1- 5th Annual Pig Roast and Bourbon Sip, Poogan’s Porch

1- Peking Dreams Chinese Circus and Acrobats, Gaillard

5- Last Comic Standing, N Chas PAC

5- 10th Annual Taste of the World, Patriots Point

7- 14th Annual Harvest Festival, Mullet Hall

7,8- 2nd Annual Jazz on the Edge, Folly Beach

8- Charleston Cup Steeplechase, Stono Ferry

8- Symphony’s Kiawah Island Tour of Homes

8- Grace Potter, N Chas PAC

9- Ben Folds, Chas Music Hall

10- Milk Carton Kids, Chas Music Hall

10- Boz Scaggs, Gaillard

13- Holiday Festival of Lights begins, James Island County Park

13- Robert Cray, Chas Music Hall

13,14- 4th Annual Smoke on the Harbor BBQ, Chas Harbor Resort

14- Gabriel Iglesias, N Chas PAC

14- Munich Symphony, Gaillard

14- 3rd Annual Rockabillaque, Park Circle

18- Rick Springfield, Chas Music Hall

19- Brian Regan, N Chas PAC

19- Chris Thile, Chas Music Hall

20- 3rd Anniversary of the Alley, Studio 54 Disco Night

20,21- Miss SC USA, N Chas PAC

21- Charleston Jazz Orchestra, Chas Music Hall

24- Billy Gibbons, Chas Music Hall

26- 38th Annual Turkey Day Run and Gobble Wobble, Marion Square


With all that this city has to offer, you might imagine that the real estate market is doing well.  And you’d be right.  We’re setting records for this time of year.  This will be the 3rd busiest year ever for Charleston real estate and median sales price is about $235k.  While that’s the highest it’s ever been, it’s still below where we should be.  We’re catching up to the trend line though.  I expect the median sales price to be over $250k next year.  We won’t remain undervalued for long.  Conde Naste no longer allows us to compete with big cities for the best tourist city in the world.  They’ve created some new categories and they just voted us #1 small city in the world.  I just hope we remain a small city.  Seems like half the population of Ohio is moving here!!

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Posted by Joe Kavanagh on October 31st, 2015 1:09 PMLeave a Comment

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April 29th, 2015 3:03 PM

Well, Charleston continues to get accolades from everywhere, whether it be about the historic appeal, the food, the people, or the housing market. A friend of mine puts out a newsletter at the beginning of every month and I thought I'd share this months' newsletter with you. The following is an excerpt from it;

"The weather is simply spectacular and it’s a great time to enjoy the greatest city in the world.  May brings one of Charleston’s premier events in Spoleto.  But there’s also the Greek Festival and the North Charleston Arts Festival among others.  Here’s a calendar:



1-9 - North Charleston Arts Festival

2 -  Fleecing of the Sheep, Middleton Gardens

2 -  8th Dragon Boat Charleston Festival

2 - 39th Lowcountry Shrimp Festival, McClellanville

3 – Bands, Brews, and Burger Throwdown

8-10 – 45th Greek Festival, Greek Orthodox Church on Race Street

May 22 – June 7 – Piccolo Spoleto and Spoleto USA


North Charleston Performing Arts Center:

5 – Ryan Adams

7 – Marvin Sapp

9 – K Michelle

11 – Pixies

12 – Old Crow Medicine Show

19 – Beck      


Charleston Music Hall:

1 – Leo Kottke

2 – Elise Testone

7 – Town Mountain and Barefoot Movement

9 – Pat Conroy

10 – Ani DiFranco

15 – Marc Maron

16,17 – Cinderella Ballet

30,31 – Beauty and the Beast Ballet



The Charleston real estate market just set a record for the 4 busiest weeks of buying activity in our history.  We’ve only had a handful of weeks ever where over 350 residential properties went under contract and we’d never had over 400 in one week.  Well, the last 4 weeks saw 439, 397, 421, and 399.  Wow!!  Inventory is fairly low and it can be quite difficult to find a home that fits a buyer’s needs.  Some of the better agents are being proactive and asking other agents to let them know if they’re about to list a home that matches their buyer’s needs.  Many frustrated buyers are opting for new construction.  As I’ve mentioned recently though, prices are rising at only a moderate pace.  Overall, our $/sqft prices are still 5-10% below where we were at the peak in 2005-2007, and that was 10 years ago.  So, we still have a lot of room for much more appreciation.  Our median sales price is now about $220k, but statistical analysis shows that we should be at around $250k, more proof that we still have plenty of room for appreciation.  Credit is available, but it takes a lot more than fogging a mirror now.  You have to have good credit scores, good employment, and the determination to work through the process.  The lenders have been given a lot of new rules to follow to prevent what happened in 2007."

Well, there you have it. Nothing to add except "why aren't you here?" Contact me today so I can assist you in relocation to this most beautiful part of the world. Not only am I a Realtor/Broker, I am also a Certified Real Estate Appraiser. So I know the true value of a property, not just what the seller is hoping for! Call me today @ 843-345-8506 to get started in your search.

It's a beautiful day here in Charleston, SC. I hope it's beautiful where you are! 

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Posted by Joe Kavanagh on April 29th, 2015 3:03 PMLeave a Comment

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March 2nd, 2014 10:00 AM

Portions of the following is copied from a newsletter put out by a fellow Realtor and statistician, Doug Holmes. He has given me permission to copy and share it with you.

March is here and the weather will get better. We had 2 ice storms during February. Are you kidding? That never happens here. Anyway, there's lots to do in Charleston these days. Second Sundays on King Street will be more enjoyable with the warmer temps. Lots of people will be getting ready for the April 5th Bridge Run as well. The biggest upcoming event is the Family Circle Tennis Tournament which starts at the end of March and goes well into April. Serena and Venus will be here again and Serena is the defending champion. They always say how much they love Charleston. Well, lots of others do too. Charleston has been voted #1 US city by Conde Nast Magazine for 3 years in a row and Travel and Leisure just ranked us #10 most romantic city. Here’s a YouTube video on our Conde Nast achievement: March will also host the Food and Wine Festival, a St. Patrick’s Day Festival, and the 67th House and Garden Tour. At the North Charleston Performing Arts Center you can see the Circus, Stingrays Hockey games, Hootie and the Blowfish, the Oak Ridge Boys, and Bill O’Reilly and Dennis Miller. Umphrey's McGee, Nickel Creek and Tony Bennett are on tap for April. At the Charleston Music Hall, you will be able to see comedian Aziz Ansari, Widespread Panic, Jason Isbell, and comedian Mike Burbiglia. Hate to get ahead of myself here, but already received an early birthday present; tickets to see Dropkick Murphy right here in Chucktown on my birthday, May 8!

The real estate market is starting 2014 out with a bang. Buying activity is just as good as 2013 when we were up 22% in terms of number of transactions over 2012. Median sales prices continue to rise as we make our way back to those peak levels we saw in 2006/7. We shouldn’t have too many under water anymore by the end of 2014. Those closest to downtown and the ocean have seen the best appreciation. Mt Pleasant, James Island, West Ashley, and downtown have all done very well. North Charleston has recovered nicely as well, in large part due to Boeing. Summerville and Goose Creek continue to improve but have been a little slower to recover since they are further from downtown. There are still great buying opportunities all over the city, but the bottom has certainly passed. Sellers are less motivated now that the market is definitely appreciating.

As always, feel free to contact me with any real estate related questions you may have or issues you would like to see discussed in my blog and I will try to keep you updated and interested!

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Posted by Joe Kavanagh on March 2nd, 2014 10:00 AMLeave a Comment

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February 22nd, 2014 9:07 AM

So, already I've broken my New Year's resolution of blogging frequently! I promised I would try to blog at least once a week and here I've missed two weeks in a row. Not to make excuses, but was busy the first week and took a vacation to Florida the second week. Am I the only one to break their resolutions?

The hot button topic, at least in our market, seems to be the spike in flood insurance premiums. Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 in an effort to pay down the National Flood Insurance Program's roughly $24 billion debt. Catastrophic events such as Katrina and Sandy have devastated these funds and they are now operating heavily into the red (what else is new with our government?). Anyway, some homeowners could see their annual rates spike from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars in 1 year! Obviously, this will make some properties un-marketable as buyers don't want to purchase a home with an annual flood insurance premium of $10,000-$20,000, or more. Yes, many will have premiums in this range.

Lobbyists for the SC Association of Realtors and our local Charleston Trident Association of Realtors have been advocating for Congress to delay full implementation of the flood insurance changes for four years. This would allow FEMA to complete an affordability study that was mandated within this bill, as well as give Congress adequate time to review those regulations. Both the House and Obama Administration have indicated they will not support delay of full implementation. This law will remove subsidies that kept flood insurance premiums artificially low for policyholders who own homes that were built before the federal program went into effect in certain communities.

In Charleston County, homes built prior to 1971 received subsidies. In Berkeley County, it is homes built before 1983 and in Dorchester County, it is homes built before 1982. Under the new law, those subsidies will go away and premiums will increase significantly. Those that have a flood policy in effect prior to July 6, 2012 will see their rates increase by an average of 10% annually, starting at their renewal date.

Incremental increases will continue until rates reach levels that would reflect the actual risk from flooding. Rates are determined by the home's elevation in relation to the base flood elevation level for that property. To determine rates, homeowners will need an elevation certificate completed. But, the biggest problem is the new rates will be instituted immediately and in full if coverage lapses, the property is sold, substantially damaged, or improvements occur, or if a property was uninsured when the new law was enacted, according to FEMA.

So what should a homeowner do? First, look at your current flood maps. Then obtain an elevation certificate, if you think you're impacted. Or better yet, call your insurance agent for details on your policy.

Visit my website as well to find out more, and feel free to contact me anytime to discuss real estate matters that are on your mind.

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Posted by Joe Kavanagh on February 22nd, 2014 9:07 AMLeave a Comment

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First of all, we saw some crazy weather in Charleston and the rest of the Southeast this past week. Bridges were shut down all over town and just about everyone took a couple snow day. Wow! That doesn’t happen often here. About as often as a northern college football team wins the national championship! Jim Cantore from the weather channel was here and a youtube video went viral.

February is upon us and there’s a lot to do in Charleston. The month starts off with Charleston Mardi Gras week with a Grand Masquerade Ball and a Fais do-do(a Cajun dance party.) Feb also includes the Southeastern Wildlife Expo from Feb 14-16, the Blue Oyster Bash, a disco party on Feb 7 at Gibbes for Studio 58, the Chocolate Affair on Daniel Island on Feb 8, and the 40th annual Snowstorm Chess Tournament. Musical acts this month include George Benson, Darius Rucker, Arlo Guthrie, Jake Shimabukuro, Dave Mason, Merle Haggard, Buddy Guy, Johnny Lang, the Temptations, the 4 Tops, and the Broadway musical Memphis. Wow! And then there’s the fifth annual Brewvival on Feb 22.

Real estate activity and prices are doing quite well in Charleston. There was a 22% increase in buying activity in 2013 and we saw median sales price rise about 8% for the year. We usually see a slowdown in January and February, but not so far this year. January 2014 was one of the best January’s ever. We are anticipating that we will have a very strong spring and a very strong year. Median sales prices in 2013 got back to the all time high for Charleston of almost $210k. Homes are going quickly and the prices are almost back to 2006/7 levels! Short sales are becoming extinct and new construction is popping up all over the place. Charleston has an incredible economy right now with the combination of Boeing, the software companies, the Digital Corridor, BenefitFocus, tourism, the restaurants, etc.

And as much as I dislike Peyton Manning (cuz I'm a New England fan), I will be rooting for him in the Super Bowl because of the great accomplishments he's had this year.

Feel free to contact me anytime to discuss real estate matters that are on your mind.

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Posted by Joe Kavanagh on February 2nd, 2014 10:11 AMLeave a Comment

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January 18th, 2014 2:14 PM
Hello, This is my inaugural blog. I've been told numerous times to start one and this year I finally decided to make the time for one. I thought the best news to start with would be a health status of our residential market here in Charleston. I just attended a conference called the "Annual Report on the Charleston Housing Market". A summation of the facts are as follows. It was a banner year for residential real estate across America. Nearly every metropolitan market is on the road to recovery. South Carolina was #1 in this category, and the Charleston, SC tri-county area led the way statewide! Locally, foreclosures are being absorbed and there are less and less short sales on the market. Many market areas transitioned from buyers' markets to sellers' markets. Continued low mortgage rates, affordable prices, and a much better job scene has bolstered consumer confidence. 2013 saw the highest number of closed sales in 5 years! Listing inventory fell drastically thru the year as well, dropping from an average 10-12 month supply to below a 6 month supply. Some of the hottest areas are as low as a 2-3 month supply! New construction is seeing a resurgence as well. Median prices rose 8.7% in 2013 as compared to 2012. This all bodes well for the job market and health of the economy. Stronger consumer confidence means homeowners are more likely to make bigger purchases like a house or car. These homes need furnishings and appliances too, which translates to stronger sales and more jobs, etc. I would caution sellers that this does not necessarily mean you can list your home for a high price and expect buyers to come up to your price. You still have to "beat the competition" out there as buyers are very astute these days and will not overpay for a home. And buyers, don't panic thinking you 'missed the boat'. There is no second 'housing bubble' on the horizon in the near future. I hope you find this blog entertaining as well as educational. I will endeavor to keep it up and look forward to your feedback. While I have your attention, let me remind you that in addition to being a Certified Residential appraiser with 20+ years experience in the Charleston, SC market, I am also a licensed Broker/Realtor. I am a member of the local MLS system and can market your property as well as anyone, with the added knowledge only an appraiser can have as well as a strong pulse on current market conditions and trends. Visit my website as well to find out more, and feel free to contact me anytime to discuss real estate matters that are on your mind. Here's to a happy, healthy, and successful 2014! Joe Kavanagh, CREA, BIC

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Posted by Joe Kavanagh on January 18th, 2014 2:14 PMLeave a Comment

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