Archive for September, 2008

Sep
30

Home Sales Fall 29 Percent in Columbia

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September 30, 2008

By Kristy Eppley Rupon – The State

Columbia suffered its biggest monthly setback in home sales this year in August.

Sales of new and existing homes tumbled 29 percent compared with August 2007, according to a report released Monday from the S.C. Realtors trade group.

Sales have, for the most part, gotten progressively worse each month in 2008 as real estate agents and builders contend with overbuilding in a sluggish market. Sales so far in 2008 are down 18percent in Columbia.

“Builders a lot of time have the tendency to try to build themselves out of recession,” said Wade McGuinn, president of Columbia’s McGuinn Homes.

Home builders in the Columbia area have taken out 35 percent fewer permits for single-family homes in the first eight months of 2008.

But that strategy backfired this year as the subprime lending market crashed and banks tightened lending standards, making it harder for buyers to get a loan.

“There’s money, it’s there, but I think that there’s a lot more credit challenges,” said Diane Martin, a real estate agent with Century 21 Bob Capes Realtors.

ARTICLE SHORTENED DUE TO LENGTH….

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:

http://www.thestate.com/business/story/539891.html
Categories : Columbia
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Sep
30

Report: Jasper Terminal Could Earn $2.3 Billion By 2020

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September 30, 2008

By Molly Parker – Charleston Regional Business Journal

A port in Jasper County could generate about $2.3 billion in net earnings by 2020, enough to pay down the bonds for the first stage of construction, according to a preliminary analysis from a nationally recognized port consulting firm.

Without it, demand will exceed shipping capacity in Georgia and South Carolina by 2024, says the study, conducted by Moffatt & Nichol’s Savannah office.

The ongoing study was paid for by the Jasper Ocean Terminal Joint Project Office, the bistate venture charged with determining how and when South Carolina’s and Georgia’s port authorities should go about building a terminal on the S.C. side of the Savannah River on roughly 1,500 acres they jointly own.

The point of the analysis was to forecast demand and associated revenue and determine the point in time those lines would cross to support the initial phase of construction, said Bill Bethea Jr., the project office’s vice chairman.

ARTICLE SHORTENED DUE TO LENGTH….

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:

http://www.charlestonbusiness.com/dailyjournal/3_242/full-issue.html#12880
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Sep
30

Ziff Properties Acquires Shopping Centers In Spartanburg And Greenwood, S.C.

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September 30, 2008

Charleston, S.C.-based Ziff Properties has acquired two shopping centers totaling more than 220,000 square feet.
CB Richard Ellis represented an undisclosed seller in Ziff’s purchase of the 208,703-square-foot Cedar Springs Shopping Center in Spartanburg for $10.8 million. The property features a 34,928-square-foot Food Lion.

Ziff also purchased the 16,144-square-foot Greenwood Commons, located on the Interstate 72 Bypass in Greenwood, for $2.75 million. Marcus & Millichap represented the undisclosed seller in the Greenwood transaction.

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:

http://www.rebusinessonline.com/news_southeast.shtml
Categories : Greenwood, Spartanburg
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Sep
30

Construction Loan Performance Not as Bad for Smaller Banks

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September 29, 2008

By: Barbra Murray – Commercial Property News

The credit crunch and the downturn in the economy have had the inevitable negative impact on the real estate industry, leaving banks that have handed out construction loans facing their share of delinquencies and the like. On certain levels, however, the situation is far worse for banks with assets exceeding $50 billion or more, than smaller banks with assets under $1 billion, according to a new study involving federally insured banks by Oldwick, N.J.-based credit rating firm A.M. Best Company.

For smaller banks, those with assets under $1 billion, the construction loan sector comprises a greater portion of business than it does for lending institutions with assets over $50 billion. The numbers break down to an average 15.14 percent and 4.73 percent, respectively.

Regardless, banks of all sizes–the two aforementioned groups as well as the $1 to $10 billion and the $10 billion to $50 billion asset groups in the middle–have taken a hit in the construction loan sector. Size always matters but, with regard to recent construction loan performance, it appears that smaller is better–at least for now.

During the first quarter of 2008, the average rate of construction loan net charge-offs for banks with less than $1 billion in assets was 0.16 percent, compared to 0.28 percent for the group of lenders with assets exceeding $50 billion. The rate of non-current construction loans for the smaller banks was 4.21 percent, while the figure reached 4.40 percent for the largest banks.

Additionally, the emerging 39-89-day past due construction loan rates were a respective 2.31 percent and 2.45 percent. “The results did seem different from what has expected,” Diane Goodheart, senior financial analyst with A.M. Best, told CPN. “The prediction was the smaller banks would have more trouble with construction loans.” Potential factors that could have helped spare smaller banks from becoming the biggest victims of increases in charge-offs and delinquencies, according to the report, include their possible superior knowledge of their borrowers or tighter underwriting standards.

ARTICLE SHORTENED DUE TO LENGTH….

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:

http://www.cpnonline.com/cpn/content_display/business-specialties/development/e3iac830de737fb32122d5d006d1e6cffb8
Categories : National News
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Sep
29

Wachovia Merger Makes Citigroup S.C. Banking Leader

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September 29, 2008

By James T. Hammond – Columbia Regional Business Report

Citigroup Inc.’s takeover of Charlotte-based Wachovia Corp. will make the big New York bank a retail-banking leader in South Carolina, and remove the corporate headquarters for the successor to the old South Carolina National Bank even further from the state.

When Wachovia took over South Carolina National Corp. in 1991, SCN was the largest bank based in the state, with more than $7 billion in assets and 164 offices statewide.

Today, Wachovia has 137 branches in South Carolina. It has 14 branches in Richland County and nine branches in Lexington County, with $2.9 billion total deposits in the two counties, said Christine Shaw, a spokeswoman for Wachovia.

According to Wachovia’s Web site, it has 30 branches in the Midlands of South Carolina. In 2007, FDIC figures ranked Wachovia No. 2 in South Carolina in terms of total deposits, behind only Charlotte-based Bank of America.

ARTICLE SHORTENED DUE TO LENGTH….

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:
http://www.columbiabusinessreport.com/news/164-wachovia-merger-makes-citigroup-s-c-banking-leader

Categories : South Carolina News
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Sep
29

Appraisal Agreement (HVCC) to be Delayed

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September 25, 2008

Associated Press

An agreement to reshape the appraisal industry is being delayed up to three months, a federal regulator said Thursday.

James Lockhart, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, told the House Financial Service Committee that the agreement with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is still being worked out.

Lockhart said the agreement will be delayed by one to three months from it’s original Jan. 1 start date. While the agreement should be finalized in the coming weeks, “it’s taken us longer than we expected to do it,” he said.

Widespread complaints of problems with the appraisal process and its impact on the nation’s housing market led Cuomo to reach a deal in March with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are regulated by Lockhart.

The agreement will create a watchdog – the Independent Valuation Protection Institute – to monitor the appraisal business. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will spend $24 million to create the institute, which will accept complaints from consumers and appraisers. It will also monitor the enforcement and report to Cuomo’s office.

Earlier this year, federal bank regulators and mortgage industry interests protested the agreement, saying it violates federal law and could have an unintended negative impact on the mortgage industry.

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:
http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2008/09/25/ap5472950.html
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BLOG NOTE:
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If you are a lender, especially a mortgage broker, I hope that you are familiar with the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC). This will drastically change the way real estate mortgages are done. Call or e-mail me with any questions on the appraisal side of the regulation. Integra and IRR-Residential have several scenarios that may prove to be very beneficial to mortgage lenders.
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Mike Dodds

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Sep
28

New Grocery Store Coming To Aiken

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September 26, 2008

April Bailey – Aiken Standard, S.C.

A new supermarket is making its way to Whiskey Road.

Construction has recently begun for an Aldi grocery store located on Whiskey Road in between Lowe’s and Hobby Lobby. According to Tina-Marie Adams, a spokeswoman for the supermarket, the store should be complete by next spring.

Adams said Aldi offers shoppers high quality items at a low price. At Aldi stores, food is priced up to 50 percent below traditional supermarket prices.

“It’s funny, we appeal to traditional supermarket shoppers that want high quality but don’t want to pay too much for it,” Adams said.

The store will offer low-priced meats, dairy products, frozen foods, produce, bakery items, wine and beer, snacks, beverages, pantry items and household items. Most of the items sold will be Aldi brand-named products.

“The economy has been an interesting dynamic for us,” said Adams. “The prices get people in there and the quality keeps them coming back.”

Aldi is said to be the leader in the international grocery retailing industry. The store entered the U.S. market in 1976.

ARTICLE SHORTENED DUE TO LENGTH….

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:

http://www.plainvanillashell.com/article.asp?ID=10818
Categories : Aiken
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Sep
28

Retail Spaces Going Fast At McBee Station

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September 27, 2008

By Angelia Davis Greenville News

Hampden Clothing store; Design On Tap, an upscale kitchen and bath gallery; and Go Tri Sports triathlon sporting goods are among the retailers coming soon to the 1-year-old mixed-use development between McBee Avenue, East Broad Street, Church Street and David Francis Court in downtown Greenville.

All three retailers have a site in the Lowcountry.

Magic Touch Cleaners and The Joint chiropractic practice opened in McBee Station recently.

The only remaining retail space in McBee Station is 1,915 square feet in building 500 and 1,176 square feet in building 400.

“We’ve got a lot of interest and we’re actually negotiating with a lot of potential tenants,” said Snow Parrott, managing partner of Greenville-based SE Retail Advisors, which is working to lure more national retailers to McBee.

McBee Station, anchored by Staples and Publix, opened in summer 2007.

Parrott said she believes the development is doing well because “Greenville doesn’t have anything like this.”

ARTICLE SHORTENED DUE TO LENGTH….

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:
http://www.greenvilleonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080927/BUSINESS/809270304/1003

Categories : Greenville
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Sep
26

Port Royal Panel Gives OK to Industrial Park Designation In Order To Lure More Businesses

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September 25, 2008

By Alexis Garrobo – Beaufort Gazette

The Port Royal Redevelopment Commission wants to blanket the town’s growing districts with a designation that the town can use to entice businesses and improve infrastructure.

Most of the land designated for commercial use on Port Royal’s main roads will be considered for designation as industrial parks, a joint effort of Beaufort and Jasper counties. The park, which is not a physical place but a designation, allows businesses in it to pay fees in lieu of taxes.

The Port Royal Redevelopment Commission unanimously approved inclusion in the multi-county industrial park.

“It’s just really a legal mechanism to convert (taxes to fees),” said Lowcountry Economic Network Executive Director Kim Statler.

The town can use those fees to improve its infrastructure to attract more business growth.

A multi-county industrial park also allows municipalities to offer businesses incentives, such as state tax credits, if a business locates in the specified area, Statler said. Businesses already in the park’s boundaries would not be affected, but there would be incentives for improvement or increasing jobs.

ARTICLE SHORTENED DUE TO LENGTH….

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:
http://www.beaufortgazette.com/local/story/567241.html

Categories : Beaufort
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Sep
26

PKF Capital Says "Green" Hotels Can Boost Value and Attract More Customers

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September 23, 2008

H&MM Week In Review

Investing in renovations that make hotels more sustainable will increase their value, slash operating costs and attract customers who are trending toward more sustainable hospitality experiences, PKF Capital Managing Partner Henry Bose told a conference here on green hotels.

“For every dollar you can add to the bottom line of a San Francisco hotel, more than $11 is added in value,” says Bose.Bose said that so far there are too few hotels that have earned the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification to compare their financial performance against traditional hotels. But he indicated that his firm, in conjunction with PKF Consulting and Research, is planning to produce a study on the issue.

He noted that the USGBC has recorded dramatic savings in large green commercial buildings the size of hotels—30% energy savings, 35% less carbon output, 50% less water and as much as 90% less waste. USGBC also reported a decrease in operating costs of as much as 9% for sustainable commercial buildings and an increase of 7.5% in value and a 6.6% higher return on investment.
“It is important to note that hotels are extremely resource intensive, open 24 hours, 7 days a week, whereas commercial buildings are used primarily only during business hours. That means the financial benefits of operating a green hotel are likely to be much higher than what USGBC says about the commercial office sector,” says Bose. “Hotels that are less costly to operate are simply more valuable to owners.”

ARTICLE SHORTENED DUE TO LENGTH….

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:
http://www.hotelmotel.com/hotelmotel/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/552409

Categories : National News
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Sep
25

Appraisal Trade Groups Call For Valuation Provisions in $700B Government Bailout

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September 25, 2008

The Appraisal Institute and several other appraisal groups are urging House and Senate lawmakers to include valuation-related provisions in the proposed Troubled Asset Relief Program, the bailout program under which the government will purchase mortgage securities from lenders. Read on to learn about their suggestions.

The Appraisal Institute (AI) and several other appraisal groups are urging House and Senate lawmakers to include valuation-related provisions in the proposed Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the $700 billion bailout program under which the government will purchase mortgage securities from lenders.

According to the AI, it’s critical that decision makers spell out the many valuation issues involved in the bailout. The group stated in a Sept. 24 letter sent to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Jr., and Federal Board Chair Ben Bernanke that the TARP program in its current form does not adequately address such issues.

The American Society of Appraisers, the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers and the National Association of Independent Fee Appraisers joined the AI in sending the letter.

According to Bill Garber, director of government relations at the Appraisal Institute, practically every level of the program, including the purchase and management of assets, will require specialized appraisal expertise to ensure taxpayers are protected.

“However, the current proposal pending before Congress does not sufficiently address valuation concerns, an issue in which the consumers and businesses in this country need restored confidence,” Garber stated on the AI Web site.

ARTICLE SHORTENED DUE TO LENGTH….

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:

http://www.valuationreview.com/ME2/Audiences/dirmod.asp?sid=270E8EBA5AF64172B917EBD588EDB85A&nm=&type=news&mod=News&mid=5F249E552B2C49509BC41751816632F3&tier=3&nid=5D080CB871034336BDEA96160269A3E8
Categories : National News
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Sep
25

Office Operating Income, Costs Relatively Unchanged: IREM Report

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September 25, 2008

By: Adam Perrotta – Commercial Property News

Total collections for suburban office complexes nationwide in 2007 dipped less than 1 percent from 2006 levels to $19.31 per square foot of net rentable area, whereas those for downtown properties increased 3.1 percent to $19.85 per square foot. Total actual collections for downtown properties were 2.8 percent more last year than their suburban counterparts, according to the 2008 edition of the Income/Expense Analysis: Office Buildings, a new benchmarking study published by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM).

The annual report analyzed operating income and costs for 1,549 private-sector office complexes–some containing multiple buildings–in major metropolitan areas and regions in the United States.

Total operating costs for suburban buildings in 2007 rose just 2.1 percent from the prior year to $8.47 per square foot, while operating costs for downtown properties increased 6.6 percent to $9.43 per square foot of rentable area.

Nationally, net operating costs for suburban buildings increased a slight 2.8 percent to $6.19 per square foot in 2007 vs. 2006, whereas those for downtown properties increased 3.9 percent to $6.90 per square foot.

All major expense categories for suburban properties rose last year except for janitorial/maintenance costs, which remained the same. Insurance costs saw the largest increase, 7.7 percent, followed by real estate and other taxes, up 4.7 percent, utility costs up 3.1 percent, and administration/benefits costs up a slight 0.9 percent.

Similarly, all major expense categories for downtown properties increased except for insurance costs, which remained the same. Utility costs increased 3.4 percent in 2007 vs. 2006, janitorial/maintenance costs increased 2.8 percent, and administrative/benefits costs increased 1.8 percent.

ARTICLE SHORTENED DUE TO LENGTH….

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:

http://www.commercialpropertynews.com/cpn/content_display/property-types/office/e3i145a1d5cabedb4a1ddbf87d69678390f
Categories : National News
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Sep
25

Bailout Plan’s Mystery: What’s All This Stuff Worth?

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September 24, 2008

By Vikas Bajaj – New York Times

What would you pay, sight unseen, for a house that nobody wants, on a hard-luck street where no houses are selling?

That question is easy compared to the one confronting the Treasury Department as Washington works toward a vast bailout of financial institutions. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. is proposing to spend up to $700 billion to buy troubled investments that even Wall Street is struggling to put a price on.

A big concern in Washington — and among many ordinary Americans — is that the difficulty in valuing these assets could result in the government’s buying them for more than they will ever be worth, a step that would benefit financial institutions at taxpayers’ expense.

Anyone who has tried to buy or sell a house when the market is falling, as it is now, knows how difficult it can be to agree on a price. But valuing the securities that the Treasury aims to buy will be far more difficult. Each one of these investments is tied to thousands of individual mortgages, and many of those loans are going bad as the housing market worsens.

“The reality is that we are not going to know what the right price is for years,” said Andrew Feltus, a bond portfolio manager at Pioneer Investments, a mutual fund firm based in Boston. “It might be 20 cents on the dollar or 60 cents on the dollar, but we won’t know for years.”

ARTICLE SHORTENED DUE TO LENGTH….

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/25/business/25value.html?_r=2&ref=business&oref=slogin&oref=slogin
Categories : National News
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Sep
24

Construction Begins On $12M Behavioral Health Center

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Staff Report – Columbia Regional Business Journal

The Lexington Richland Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council broke ground Tuesday on its new $12.2 million 60,000-square-foot behavior health center.

The new facility is being built on Colonial Drive near Baptist Richland Hospital and will combine services and staff from three different offices throughout Richland County.

“The new Richland County facility will allow us to continue providing the same high-quality, accredited services that this community has come to expect from LRADAC, but within a new atmosphere and structure that will improve how we protect the confidentiality and meet the unique treatment needs of each of our clients,” said President and CEO Debbie Francis.

The multilevel facility will include a detoxification unit, administrative offices and a 125-seat training room, which will be available for rent by community groups. The center is seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification for the facility.

“We’ve specifically designed this building to allow for separate and distinct areas for the varied client populations that we serve through counseling groups, community groups and other agency programs,” said Leslie Hipp, the center’s vice president of treatment services.

ARTICLE SHORTENED DUE TO LENGTH….

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:
http://www.columbiabusinessreport.com/news/134-construction-begins-on-12m-behavioral-health-center?rss=0

Categories : Columbia
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Sep
24

Economic Officials Gear Up For Jasper Port

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By Lolita Huckaby – Bluffton Today

The Jasper Port project on the Savannah River is moving forward, but Beaufort County economic development officials are trying to get ahead of that ball by making sure the work force is ready when the port opens.

“It’s not ‘if’ the port happens, it’s ‘when’ and we’re working hard to make sure this whole region is ready,” Lowcountry Economic Network Executive Director Kim Statler told members of the Beaufort County Council’s Economic Development Committee on Tuesday.

The County Councils of Beaufort and Jasper counties recently endorsed a resolution asking for state dollars to develop a strategic marketing plan for the Lowcountry’s relationship with the bi-state port project.

Gov. Mark Sanford, in a letter to Jasper County residents last week, said momentum on the project, which has been discussed for more than 20 years, “has gotten to a point of critical mass in a political sense.”

Development of the 1,515 acre tract in lower Jasper County is expected to generate hundreds of jobs, and that’s where Statler said she and others already are working to make sure local residents are prepared for those jobs. “We know an experienced work force is going to be crucial, just like it is for the other job prospects we work with,” Statler said. “We know this project is a ‘Jasper port’ but we’re working to have regional discussions on what we need to do.” Committee chairman Jerry Stewart and Councilman Rick Caporale stressed the importance of getting representatives from the school district, the Technical College of the Lowcountry and the University of South Carolina Beaufort to work on a collaborative plan of training not just graduating high school students but local adults as well. “Many don’t realize the training opportunities are here for them. We need to address that mindset,” Caporale said. Statler said she’d like to employ a coordinator or case worker to work with individuals identified for further technical training.

The port project has a goal of opening by 2014, the same time expansion of the Panama Canal is completed.

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:

http://npaper-wehaa.com/bluffton-today;see-A20IixiQDb7q305b;html;page-1;c-75091?z=2
Categories : Bluffton
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