A big sale in Beaufort County reflects a national real estate trend.
The Preserve at Port Royal was sold in May to Atlanta-based Prominent Realty Group for $38 million, according to Jim Sewell, who sold the property. Sewell is president of Coastal Apartment Advisors, a multifamily brokerage firm based on Hilton Head Island.
The 400-unit property was built in two phases, in 2004 and 2006.
According to Sewell, the multifamily unit industry -- that is, apartment, condo and townhouse rentals -- is on fire, both locally and nationally.
"The market is red hot," Sewell said. "Interest rates are incredibly low and properties are performing at high levels."
He predicted it will be a banner year nationally for the industry.
That success is being felt in the local market, with up to 1,500 units planned for the Beaufort County area in the near future, Sewell said. Those units will be in developments including the Parc at Broad River in Port Royal, the Shelter Cove Towne Centre apartments on Hilton Head and the apartments proposed for Bluffton's Hampton Lake.
Both the Shelter Cove and Hampton Lake properties are being developed by Blanchard & Calhoun. Development Resources LLC in Alabama is developing the Parc at Broad River.
"It's a very quiet and private industry up until late," he added. Typically, he said, his company works outside of the Beaufort County market, in other parts of the Carolinas, but there has been a lot of local activity recently.
Sewell said PRG has planned upgrades to the Preserve, including an already-underway renovation to the community's clubhouse. Unit upgrades are also on the way, which he said will likely mean a hike in rental rates. One- and two-bedroom units currently rent for between $800 and mid-$1,000s monthly.
The decision to make these types of renovations is being driven by the need to stay desirable in the multifamily unit industry locally.
"(PRG) is renovating (the Preserve) to make the property more competitive," Sewell said. "They want to hold their spot in the market."
In Sewell's estimation, PRG is particularly interested in competing with the Parc at Broad River, a luxury rental community with an estimated $30 million price tag under construction in Port Royal off of Savannah Highway.
Sewell said that property is expected to have a double A rating -- the most prestigious grade a multifamily property can receive. The Parc at Broad River has planned amenities including an "upscale" pool area, an outdoor pavilion, a cyber cafe, a drive-thru mail center and boat storage.
Attempts to reach Prominent Realty Group on Friday were unsuccessful.
Follow reporter Ashley Fahey at twitter.com/IPBG_Ashley.
- Updated: Luxury apartments planned for site off Broad River Bridge, August 14, 2015
- Apartments coming to Hampton Lake in Bluffton, August 7, 2015
- Shelter Cove switching up plans for once-debated apartment building, June 9, 2015