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Post And Courier 2014 ~ This Week In Real Estate

COVER STORY: "Investment Properties"

by; Jim Parker

featured; Dawn & Chris Marquez, Troy Ahyo


Charleston Business Journal Dawn & Chris Marquez House Flippers .



Post And Courier ~ This Week In Real Estate
December 2014
"Investment Properties - PROFIT CENTER"

Real estate paying off for savvy Charleston area investors seeking rental income or properties that'll rise in value

Homebuyers once overlooked areas such as Eastside and Park Circle but now the places are trendy,and residential shoppers peruse them with a fine tooth comb.

Those are the type of places that Dawn Marquez checks out. She and her husband Chris Marquez run Charleston HOME Properties, which specializes in communities that show promise as hot locales. "Absolutely" she says, citing neighborhoods such as WestsideEastside and Wagener Terrace. “You can’t keep listings on the market".  Marquez says, “Downtown, it’s a younger, ‘hipster’ group that's buying.

Figures back up the real-life observations.  In the upper Charleston Peninsula, sales jumped 28.1 percent from 2012, and last year’s $276,250 market price rose 20.1 percent in a year, according to the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors.

Charleston HOME Properties, too, invests in Park Circle in North Charleston, another undervalued yet chic place to live.  Buying properties for investment has become popular again locally as the real estate market recovers from the housing slump of the late 2000s.  Many purchasers are looking for houses, condos or townhomes to lease out so they can collect the rental income.  Others are eager to move into the emerging neighborhoods, while at the same time expecting to earn a profit as the properties appreciate over the years.

Figures on the size of South Carolina’s residential investment market weren't readily available. But recent numbers on the percentage of cash sales as a share of total sales can act as a guide, since investment properties readily involve cash deals.  According to a report by real estate analytic firm CoreLogic, South Carolina's share of cash sales was 36 percent as of August.  The percentage ranked in the top 20 nationwide and higher than neighboring North Carolina and Georgia.

Another investment angle in greater Charleston stems from the area's growing student population.  Bloomberg business publication in late 2012 named Charleston in an article on "investing in college towns!".  Other cities included Tucson, Ariz., Eugene, Ore., and Madison, Wisc.  Charleston was the only college town profiled in the Southeast.  The report cited the College of Charleston, which had 11,649 students, and listed the city's median home value at $193,100.  It noted how Charleston’s real estate market had been strengthening, the college's enrollment was up and “one- third of the students live in school dorms or historic homes turned into student housing.”  The Bloomberg article also computed that monthly mortgage payments on buying a home to lease would be more than covered by the rental income, based on Zillow Rent Index’s $1,440 median rent at the time.

The Realtors association statistics for the upper peninsula show that 10.5 percent of sales involve new construction.  Dawn Marquez says their husband and wife company lists four investment properties and has sold two homes in upper peninsula Charleston [SOLD ~ 46 Aiken St. 29403] and Park Circle [SOLD ~ 1734 Wasp St. 29405] that were framed recently.  Troy Ahyo and his company CSC Home Builders LLC is the contractor. “'They are roughly the same size, three to four bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths or occasionally three baths, 1,700 square feet,” she says. The downtown homes are priced in the low $400,000s, while the Park Circle properties are in the low $300,000s.

Four listed properties will be rentals. The two sold homes went to people who live in the houses and believe they will recoup their money, and then some, within five years, she says.  Marquez says she can't predict the next big market - the agency relies on the latest Multiple Listing Service sales and prices to determine popular neighborhoods - but she’s intrigued with James Island: “We haven't had that one.


For more information and photos, visit www.postandcourier.com/realestate.

Reach Jim Parker at 843-937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com

Reach Dawn & Chris Marquez at 843-642-6655 or marquez@buysellchs.com