In June, 1,587 homes changed hands in the region, a notable drop from the 1,923 sales in June 2019, the year before the pandemic. Sales volume is still higher for the first six months of 2024 compared to the same period of 2023 but barely, by less than 1 percent. 

“What’s happening is if somebody can’t sell their house in Ohio, they can’t move to Charleston,” Hodson said. “There’s been a heavy, heavy movement from the Northeast, the West, but as those markets take a hit (so does Charleston).”

As a result, home sale contingencies — where a would-be buyer can walk away from a sale if they can’t sell their home by a certain date — are rising, he added.

While some can’t move, other potential sellers are unwilling give up their low-interest mortgages in the 3 percent range that they locked in during and before the pandemic, said Tara Bittl, an agent with Realty One Group Coastal in Mount Pleasant. 

“We used to say people moved every five to seven years; now we’re trending closer to 11 because of that interest rate change,” she said.

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The lack of movement contributed to the local inventory level rising for the fifth month in a row to 3,813 properties, which is still considered low. A balanced market would have about 7,000 listings.

Bittl said the reduced inventory has a number of impacts, from bidding wars in certain areas to casual buyers putting their moving plans on hold.

Without genuine motivation, they really need their “heart to swoon” to commit in this market and there aren’t enough options out there right now, she said.

The Federal Reserve has yet to take action that would ease mortgage rates, which are making it more expensive for buyers to borrow at a time when real estate prices and home insurance premiums also are rising. 

The average 30-year-fixed mortgage rate sits at 6.95 percent and 15-year FMRs are 6.25 percent as of July 3, per Freddie Mac.

Median home prices in the Charleston area continued to rise in last month, increasing 4 percent to $425,000 and up 57 percent since mid-2019. Insurance runs about $3,400 on average in South Carolina, according to the National Association of Realtors.

“You have to consider the cost of everything, not just the interest rates,” said Stacy Smith, broker in charge of Smith Spencer Real Estate in Charleston. “A young person buying a home is now totally pushed and it’s daunting.”

Turnkey homes are selling quickly at every price point, she added.

Homes where sellers want top-of-the-market prices for even what they consider minimal work are sitting, pushing the average days on market in June to 35 days, up 25 percent year over year, according to the June sales report.

Homebuyers want houses they don’t have to fix up, Smith said. Borrowing money to replace a roof or refurbish floors comes at a higher cost, too.

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Apache is functioning normally

One of the most influential names in real estate is once again showing us how it’s done.

Influencer, motivational speaker, bestselling author, and prominent real estate investor Grant Cardone is selling his beachfront mansion in Florida for $42 million.

But throwing cash at the seasoned investor won’t do the trick.

He wants 646 Bitcoin for his one-of-a-kind house in Golden Beach, Florida — which was formerly home to fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger, who sold it to the billionaire businessman back in 2021 for $24 million.

Cardone, who founded Cardone Capital, a real estate investment firm that manages a portfolio of billions in assets, listed his Florida residence on PropyKeys, a leading blockchain-based platform for real estate transactions.

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The offering: what 646 Bitcoin will buy you in Florida

Photo credit: Elad Elkoubi / Swift Pics Photography

The Golden Beach residence sits on a 0.63-acre oceanfront lot, with its own private beachfront access and 100 feet of pristine shoreline.

Built in 2007, it features over 13,000 square feet of luxury interior space, with 7 bedrooms and 8 baths. Also on the grounds of the property, there is a heated saltwater pool and a private beach cabana.

The house has sophisticated interiors by Martyn Lawrence Bullard

Photo credit: Elad Elkoubi / Swift Pics Photography

Celebrity interior designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard — who was also one of the leading stars of Bravo’s short-lived Million Dollar Decorators — designed the interiors of the $42 million abode.

Bullard, who also decked out the homes of other celebs like Eva Mendes, Ellen Pompeo Kylie Jenner, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian, Cher, Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne, to name just a few, is known for his broad-ranging, sophisticated yet eclectic style.

The interiors were designed to accommodate an extensive art collection

Photo credit: Elad Elkoubi / Swift Pics Photography

Bullard is the one who fitted the now-famous residence with vibrant spaces filled with patterned ceilings, walls and floors, interesting sculptures, and bright carpeting — meant to highlight the previous owners’ extensive pop art collection.

Previously home to fashion mogul Tommy Hilfiger

Photo credit: Elad Elkoubi / Swift Pics Photography

Cardone bought the house from fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger and his wife, Dee Ocleppo, who had been trying for years to land a buyer for their Golden Beach house. They had listed it for as much as $27.5 million, before the 10x Rule author took it off their hands in 2021 for $24 million.

Bold interiors, artsy decor & sophisticated touches hint at its famous past owner

Photo credit: Elad Elkoubi / Swift Pics Photography

While under Hilfiger’s ownership, the Florida mansion graced the cover of many interior design magazines, and was heavily featured in the media — Architectural Digest included.

And it’s easy to see why. Even after the Cardones toned down the interiors slightly with modern upgrades, the house still features dramatic interior touches that include a black marble staircase, chevron-patterned marble floors in the dining room, and reflective ceilings, to name just a few.

It underwent extensive renovations in the past three years

Photo credit: Elad Elkoubi / Swift Pics Photography

Grant and Elena Cardone invested heavily in updating the 2007-built mansion.

Since they purchased it back in 2021, the couple has meticulously renovated the property, replacing some of the finishes (like the patterned walls and floors) designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard added for the Hilfigers, and replacing them with designer choices that can appeal to a wider demographic of potential buyers.

The outdoor areas have been spruced up the most

Most recently, in 2023, the two have been hard at work updating the property’s outdoor areas, including renovating the pool deck and bar/grill area and upgrading the landscaping. They’ve also added new ocean-side windows and doors.

Photo credit: Elad Elkoubi / Swift Pics Photography
Photo credit: Elad Elkoubi / Swift Pics Photography
Photo credit: Elad Elkoubi / Swift Pics Photography

There’s also a charming beach cabana

Impressive as the main house might be, it’s not the only structure on the property. There’s also a charming beach cabana that neighbors the heated saltwater pool.

See also: Larry Ellison’s house, the $173M Gemini Mansion in Florida

Photo credit: Elad Elkoubi / Swift Pics Photography

Cardone is embracing blockchain technology

“We are all in on blockchain revolutionizing real estate! We are leveraging top-tier technology to make transactions seamless and unstoppable,” Cardone said in a statement, providing insight into his decision to list the property via blockchain, as opposed to more traditional platforms.

“This is the future of real estate, and we’re leading the charge,” the Sell or Be Sold author stated.

Photo credit: Elad Elkoubi / Swift Pics Photography

The platform he chose to list his property

As one of the most prominent figures in real estate, Cardone could have partnered with practically any platform. But he went with Propy, a Silicon Valley-based proptech company that’s happy to partner with the seasoned investor:

“It is a privilege to us to be the platform of choice for high-end property sales that we offer to our community of HNWI investors and crypto buyers,” said Natalia Karayaneva, CEO of Propy. “The inclusion of Cardone’s listing in BTC and USD on Propy, minted with our latest privacy deed feature, highlights our leadership in the intersection of real estate and crypto.”

Photo credit: Elad Elkoubi / Swift Pics Photography

Also publicly listed with his wife as the listing agent

The Golden Beach house is also up on the MLS, with Zillow and other property websites showing the billionaire’s wife as the agent attached to the listing.

Photo credit: Elad Elkoubi / Swift Pics Photography

An eXp Realty agent, Elena Cardone got her real estate license just a few years ago, per her LinkedIn profile, but has already been making a splash on the Miami real estate scene. An older LinkedIn post shows that Elena and her team had over $840 million in sales volume in 2022 alone.

Rumor has it he’s also selling his Malibu Beach abode

Photo credit: Elad Elkoubi / Swift Pics Photography

Over on the other Coast, Cardone owns a $40 million “Castle on the Sand” in Malibu, California a 6-bedroom, 10-bathroom beachfront residence that might have a similar fate to his Florida abode.

The Undercover Billionaire star paid a whopping $40 million for the house back in 2022, which sits in the pricey Carbon Beach area of Malibu, also known as Billionaire’s Beach.

He reportedly wants $65M for that one — preferably in Bitcoin

Photo credit: Elad Elkoubi / Swift Pics Photography

Several news outlets, including the New York Post, have reported that Cardone has been quietly looking to offload his Carbon Beach house for an even more ambitious asking: $65 million, also accepting payments in Bitcoin.

That mansion isn’t being floated on the open market though, and is likely being offered as a pocket listing that only vetted buyers can access.

Who is Grant Cardone?

Photo credit: Elad Elkoubi / Swift Pics Photography

One of the biggest influencers, authors, and speakers in the real estate space, Grant Cardone has made a name for himself as a serial entrepreneur and financial guru. He’s the founder of Cardone Enterprises, Cardone Capital, Cardone Training Technologies, The 10X Movement, and The 10X Growth Conference — one of the world’s largest business & entrepreneur conferences.

He also famously authored several best-selling books, including The 10X Rule, Be Obsessed Or Be Average, Sell Or Be Sold, and Millionaire Booklet, as well as several bestselling business programs.

More stories

Where does Warren Buffett live? The billionaire’s modest house in Omaha

Bill Gates’ house near Seattle, nicknamed Xanadu 2.0

The Murdoch family’s lavish homes and vast real estate empire


Apache is functioning normally

As a type of alternative investment, real estate can add diversification to a portfolio and act as a hedge against inflation. Real estate investment trusts (REITs) and real estate crowdfunding offer two unique entry points to this alternative asset class.

Both allow you to invest in real estate without being required to own property directly. Comparing the pros and cons of real estate crowdfunding vs. REIT investing can help you decide which one makes the most sense for your portfolio.

Understanding Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

Real estate investment trusts are legal entities that own or finance income-producing properties or invest in mortgage-backed securities. The types of properties a REIT may invest in can include:

•   Hotels and resorts

•   Office space

•   Warehouses

•   Storage space

•   Multifamily apartment buildings

•   Data centers

•   Medical facilities

•   Retail shopping centers

•   Single-family homes

The primary attraction of REITs is the ability to enjoy the benefits of property investment — namely, dividend income — without purchasing real estate directly.

REITs are also considered a type of alternative investment. As with many alternative investments, real estate-based assets don’t tend to move in sync with the stock market. For this reason, investing in REITs may provide portfolio diversification.

REITs may be publicly traded, meaning they trade on an exchange like a stock. REITs must pay out 90% of their taxable income to shareholders as dividends, though some may pay as much as 100%.

If you compare REITs vs. real estate mutual funds, dividends aren’t always required with the latter. Real estate mutual funds can invest in REITs, mortgage-backed securities, or individual properties. While you may have access to a broader range of properties, you may enjoy less liquidity with real estate funds.

Recommended: SoFi’s Alt Investment Guide for Beginners

Alternative investments,
now for the rest of us.

Start trading funds that include commodities, private credit, real estate, venture capital, and more.

💡 Quick Tip: While investing directly in alternative assets often requires high minimum amounts, investing in alts through a mutual fund or ETF generally involves a low minimum requirement, making them accessible to retail investors.

Overview of Real Estate Crowdfunding

What is real estate crowdfunding? It’s a strategy that allows multiple investors to pool funds for property investment. In return, investors share in the profits generated by the investments. Regulation crowdfunding makes real estate crowdfunding possible, as entities can raise capital from investors without registering with the SEC, as long as they offer or sell less than $5 million in securities.

In terms of how it works, real estate crowdfunding platforms seek out investment opportunities and fully vet them before making them available to investors. Individual investors can then choose which properties they’d like to invest in.

Depending on the nature of the investment, you may collect interest payments, rental income, or dividends. Real estate crowdfunding can offer access to a variety of property types, including:

•   Multifamily housing

•   Industrial space

•   Build-for-rent projects

The minimum investment varies by platform — it is commonly upwards of $5,000, but may be $500 or even lower in some cases. Some real estate crowdfunding platforms require investors to be accredited, meaning they must:

•   have an income exceeding $200,000 (or $300,000 with a spouse or spousal equivalent) in each of the two prior years, with an expectation of the same income for the current year, OR

•   have a net worth exceeding $1 million, alone or with a spouse/spousal equivalent, excluding the value of their primary residence, OR

•   hold a Series 7, Series 65, or Series 82 license in good standing

Comparing REITs and Real Estate Crowdfunding

When choosing between a REIT vs. crowdfunding, it’s helpful to understand each option’s potential advantages and disadvantages.

Pros and Cons of REITs

Here are the main benefits of investing in REITs vs. crowdfunding.

•   Risk management. Alternative investments like real estate may help you balance risk in your portfolio. REITs and real estate in general have a lower correlation with the stock market.

•   Accessibility. Purchasing an actual investment property usually requires getting a loan and raising capital for down payments and closing costs. REITs can offer a much lower barrier to entry for investors.

•   Dividends. REITs must pay dividends to investors, which may be attractive if you want to generate passive income with investments.

•   Liquidity. Publicly traded REITs offer liquidity since you can buy and sell shares as needed, similar to a stock.

•   Returns. REITs can potentially generate significant returns in a portfolio compared to stocks or other investments.

Now, here are some of the drawbacks of REIT investing.

•   Fees. You’ll typically pay management fees to invest in REITs, as with any investment, but some may charge more than others. Paying attention to investment costs is key, as the more fees you pay, the less of your investment returns you keep.

•   Overweighting. You can choose which REITs to invest in, but you don’t have a say in the underlying properties. Investing in REITs that own similar properties could overweight your portfolio in a single sector (e.g., malls or office buildings) and thus increase your risk profile.

•   Interest rate risk. Changing interest rates can affect the value of REITs, which can influence the yield you might get. When rates rise, REIT values can decline, requiring you to adjust your expectations for a profit.

•   Taxes. REIT dividends are typically taxed as ordinary income, up to 37% (plus a 3.8% investment surtax). But investors may also see a short- or long-term profit from the REIT, which would be taxed as capital gains. There is also the potential for return on capital, which can be complicated. It may be wise to consult a professional.

Pros and Cons of Real Estate Crowdfunding

Here are the main pros of crowdfunding real estate investments.

•   Diversification. As with REITs, real estate crowdfunding allows you to diversify beyond traditional stocks and bonds.

•   Low minimums. Some, though not all, real estate crowdfunding platforms allow you to get started with as little as a few hundred dollars. That can make entering this alternative asset class or spreading your investment dollars out over multiple property types easier.

•   Geographic diversification. Real estate crowdfunding platforms can offer investors exposure to markets across the country. That can make it easier to target a specific region if you’re looking for the next “hot” market.

•   Returns. Crowdfunded real estate may generate above-average returns, or exceed the returns you could get with REITs.

•   Passive income. Owning a rental property can be time-intensive if you’re managing the property yourself. Real estate crowdfunding allows you to reap the benefits of rental income, without the typical headaches that go along with being a property owner.

And now, here are the cons.

•   Fees. Just like REITs, real estate crowdfunding platforms can charge fees. Fee structures can sometimes be complex, making it difficult to assess what you’ll pay to invest.

•   Illiquidity. Liquidity in the stock market is one thing, but when it comes to real estate crowdfunding, it’s an even bigger consideration owing to the length of time your capital may be locked into an investment. Once you invest in a property, you’re essentially committed to owning it for the duration of the holding period. It’s not unusual for real estate crowdfunding platforms to offer investments with holding periods of five years or more, making them highly illiquid.

•   Accreditation requirements. Some crowdfunding platforms only accept accredited investors. If you don’t meet the standards, you won’t be able to invest through those platforms.

•   Taxes. Income from crowdfunded real estate investments is taxable, though not always in the same way. You may be subject to different tax rates based on how dividends and interest are paid out to you. You may want to consult with a professional.

Which Investment Strategy Is Riskier?

It’s difficult to pinpoint which is riskier when comparing a REIT vs. real estate crowdfunding, as each one has different risk factors.

With REITs, the biggest risks may include:

•   Liquidity risk, which could make it difficult to sell your shares if you’re ready to leave an investment.

•   Changing market conditions or rising and falling trends, either of which could directly impact real estate values.

•   Interest rate sensitivity, which can influence REIT values.

The main real estate crowdfunding risks may include:

•   Platform risk, or the risk that the marketplace you’re using to invest could shut down before you’re able to withdraw your capital.

•   Poor vetting, which may allow unsuitable investments to make it onto the platform.

•   Changing regulations, which may affect the real estate crowdfunding space as a whole.

Whether you choose a REIT vs. crowdfunding, lack of education or understanding is also a risk factor. If you don’t understand the basics of how either type of investment vehicle works, you could be putting yourself in a position to lose money.

Due Diligence Considerations

REITs and real estate crowdfunding platforms should perform due diligence in vetting investments to make sure they’re suitable. However, it’s wise to do your own research to understand what you’re investing in, who you’re investing with, and the potential risks.

As you compare REITs or real estate crowdfunding platforms, keep the following in mind:

•   Minimum requirements to start investing, including accredited investor status

•   Range of investment options

•   Transparency concerning fees and investment selection

•   Holding periods

•   Performance track record

•   Overall reputation

Talking to other investors who have used a particular crowdfunding platform or invested in a certain REIT can offer perspective on the good and bad.

The Takeaway

Real estate can be an addition to your portfolio if you already have some experience in the market, and have an affinity for real estate. As a type of alternative asset class, investing in real estate can add diversification to your portfolio, and potentially act as a hedge against inflation. Both REITs and real estate crowdfunding enable you to invest in real estate without the hassle of actual property ownership and maintenance, but come with different risk factors than you’d find with traditional securities.

Ready to expand your portfolio’s growth potential? Alternative investments, traditionally available to high-net-worth individuals, are accessible to everyday investors on SoFi’s easy-to-use platform. Investments in commodities, real estate, venture capital, and more are now within reach. Alternative investments can be high risk, so it’s important to consider your portfolio goals and risk tolerance to determine if they’re right for you.

Invest in alts to take your portfolio beyond stocks and bonds.


What are the main advantages and disadvantages of investing in REITs?

Investing in REITs can offer the benefits of dividend income and portfolio diversification, without requiring you to own property directly. The disadvantages of REITs can include interest rate risk and market risk, both of which can affect the value of your investments.

How does real estate crowdfunding differ from traditional REIT investments?

Real estate crowdfunding allows investors to pool funds together to invest in property and collect interest, dividends, and/or rental income. REITs own and operate investment properties and pay dividends to investors. REITs and real estate crowdfunding can differ concerning the types of properties you can invest in, the minimum investment required, and the fees you’ll pay.

How are taxes treated for REITs and real estate crowdfunding?

REIT dividends are primarily treated as ordinary income for tax purposes (although you may face capital gains on any profits). Real estate crowdfunding returns may be subject to capital gains tax and/or ordinary income tax rates, depending on how they’re structured. Because the tax treatment of these two entities can be complicated, it’s probably wise to consult a professional.

Photo credit: iStock/kate_sept2004

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Alternative investments, including funds that invest in alternative investments, are risky and may not be suitable for all investors. Alternative investments often employ leveraging and other speculative practices that increase an investor’s risk of loss to include complete loss of investment, often charge high fees, and can be highly illiquid and volatile. Alternative investments may lack diversification, involve complex tax structures and have delays in reporting important tax information. Registered and unregistered alternative investments are not subject to the same regulatory requirements as mutual funds.
Please note that Interval Funds are illiquid instruments, hence the ability to trade on your timeline may be restricted. Investors should review the fee schedule for Interval Funds via the prospectus.

Investment Risk: Diversification can help reduce some investment risk. It cannot guarantee profit, or fully protect in a down market.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

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