For sale: A Pawleys Island original

sjones@thesunnews.comJuly 12, 2013 

It’s not often that buyers get a chance to buy a home with its own historic marker and even less frequently that the home sits on a beach.

But buyers who can spend $2.98 million can snap up the Joseph Blyth Alston House, also known as the Pawley House, on Pawleys Island, up for sale for the first time in more than two decades.

The house was originally built on the mainland in the mid 1700s, said Nancy Siau, a Realtor with The Lachicotte Co., which has the listing. She said it was moved to the island in the mid 1800s and Roman numerals put on the house to reconnect parts disconnected for the move are still visible.

Siau said that the current owner was advised to tear it down when she bought the property in the 1980s, but “she saw the historic charm of it and wanted to preserve it.”

The original house was four rooms that today are the living and dining rooms and two upstairs bedrooms. An addition was put on the house in a renovation completed in 1992 that updated the home with modern amenities and added four more bedrooms, six bathrooms and a section of the wraparound porch. An elevator that goes from the parking area under the house to the first floor was added later.

The renovation was done to meld the new with the old appearance-wise, Siau said. For instance, all interior walls are wood, which was the composition of those in the original construction.

“It has a very rustic feel to it,” Siau said.

When it was moved from the mainland, it was barged across a creek to get it to the island and reconstructed on land once owned by S.C. Gov. R.F.W. Alston. It is believed to be one of the first, if not the first, summer residence on Pawleys Island.

Siau said that potential buyers must be pre-qualified before they can see the home, which is shown by appointment only. It was listed in mid-June and Siau said there has been a healthy amount of interest in it. Those who have toured the property so far have included South Carolinians and people from out of state.

Any buyer of oceanfront property considers the potential of storm damage, but Siau believes that is minimal for the Alston House. It is protected from the ocean by large dunes and a copse of trees. On the creek side of the house is a broad area of marshlands to absorb storm-driven hazards coming from that direction.

After all, Siau said, “The house has survived two centuries of storms.”

No sweat

Area real estate pros say there’s nothing to worry about with South Carolina lingering in the top 10 states in foreclosure rate or Horry County having the fifth highest rate in the state.

The June statistics from RealtyTrac show that one in every 755 housing units statewide is in foreclosure while the number is one in every 556 in Horry County.

There are a couple of things that could make that so, according to Laurence Bolchoz, president of Coastal Carolina National Bank, and Laura Crowther, CEO of the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors.

Bolchoz said that because the Grand Strand is a real estate driven area and because all types of properties are part of the mix, it’s not surprising that the foreclosure rate would be higher than other, less diversified markets. His bank, he said, has not had to do any foreclosures.

Crowther noted that this area had a lot more foreclosures driven by second home mortgage failures so it should be expected that it would linger near the top of the list. But the numbers of foreclosures on the market is declining, she said.

“I don’t think that we have any shadow inventory where we can expect to see a jump in numbers,” Crowther said.

A report done recently for the association shows a continuing decline in the number of homes and condominiums on the market, down 6.1 percent and 14.1 percent respectively in the last year.

Additionally, there is an even greater decline in the number of months it would take to sell the current supply of each if no new properties were added to the list and demand remains where it is now. There are enough homes on the market to last 8.6 months, down 23.1 percent from the same time in 2012. The decline for condominiums over the last year was 23.1 percent to 10.1 months.

South Carolina’s rate ranked sixth nationwide, behind Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Ohio and Nevada. Topping Horry in the S.C. county rankings were, from 1 to 4, Dorchester, York, Lexington and Berkeley.

The RealtyTrac report said that states that require foreclosures to be done by courts, known as judicial states, are the ones now leading the list. South Carolina is a judicial state, which Bolchoz and Crowther agreed could be a reason for South Carolina’s high ranking.

The report said that while foreclosure activity decreased by 14 percent nationwide in June to its lowest level since 2006, there was a 34 percent increase in judicial scheduled auctions.

Among the elite

Two Grand Strand real estate companies are among the top 250 nationally in the number of transactions representing either a buyer or seller, according to a 2013 ranking from REAL Trends and the Wall Street Journal.

According to the rankings, Blake Sloan of Sloan Realty Group in Myrtle Beach ranked No. 43 with 449 transaction sides, the industry term for representing either the buyer’s side or the seller’s side in a real estate transaction. Jerry Pinkas Real Estate Experts, also of Myrtle Beach, ranked in a four-way tie for No. 159 with 252 sides.

REAL Trends is a Denver-based communications and consulting company that is a leading source of analysis and information on the residential brokerage and housing industry.

Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.

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