Charleston SC Real Estate
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
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Charleston SC Real Estate Market Report January - 2013 for Downtown Charleston SC - A value guide with current real estate market conditions - Market Report
Founded by English settlers in 1670, Charleston SChas played a major part in American history since its founding. The peninsular city is what most people think of when they hear "Charleston," and it is brimming with historic buildings and places to shop, dine and visit.
Charleston SC has had its natural disasters, including an earthquake that shook the city in 1886 and Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Through it all, the downtown district has been a symbol for the enduring strength of the city.
The Historic Downtown District has stood throughout Charleston's history as a cultural capital of the South and the cultural heart of the city. Many consider it a "living museum." The downtown district also boasts numerous art galleries that display the city's impressive appreciation for the visual arts.
Settings downtown including the Battery, with views of Charleston Harbor and Mount Pleasant beyond, the neighborhoods of Wraggborough, Radcliffeborough and Ansonborough, and the cobblestone streets of the French Quarter. Quiet garden courtyards form the "back yards" of single houses whose front doors open onto porches perpendicular with the sidewalks, and many a tourist-filled horsedrawn carriage can be spotted in traffic.
The main shopping districts are along Market and King Streets, but businesses and eateries are sprinkled throughout the peninsula. These busy main arteries are surrounded by street after street of quiet, stately residences, lush with crape myrtles, wisteria and the garden landscapes that put Charleston on the map.
Charleston SC Real Estate Market Report January 2013 for Daniel Island, S.C. - A value guide with current real estate market conditions - Market Report
A newly developed community, Daniel Island is part of the City of Charleston, although it is located in Berkeley County just a few minutes drive from the heart of Mount Pleasant. The island offers 4,000 acres of planned community living.
The island has only recently been developed. In 1947, the prominent Guggenheim family of New York purchased the entire island for cattle ranching and a family hunting retreat.
When Harry Frank Guggenheim passed away, the land passed to his foundation, which sponsored a group of some of the top urban visionaries from around the country to develop a master plan to ensure the island would be responsibly developed. The island was sold to the Daniel Island Company in 1997 and today is being developed in accordance with the vision outlined in the master plan.
Daniel Island offers a variety of shops as well as restaurants, banks, medical facilities and a grocery store. There are also a number of business and corporate offices in the center of town. Parks are plentiful here, with gardens and natural areas for families to enjoy.
The island is home to the Charleston Battery, the area's professional soccer team. Each year, the island hosts the Family Circle Cup Tennis Tournament, and concerts and cultural events are held at the stadium throughout the year.
The Club at Daniel Island holds events for its members and coordinates activities for both children and adults.
Charleston SC Real Estate Market Report January 2013 for Edisto Beach, S.C. Median Sold Price = $250,000.00
Edisto is a leisurely 20-minute drive along Highway 174 after its junction with Highway 17. Moss-covered oaks arch over the road as you pass historic country churches, working farms and antebellum estates. The Intracoastal Waterway at the McKinley Washington Jr. Bridge marks the gateway to Edisto Island. Edisto remains one of the few largely unspoiled beach areas on the East Coast, offering a casual, relaxed setting with something for everyone to enjoy.
Charleston SC Real Estate Market Report January 2013 for Folly Beach, S.C. - A value guide with current real estate market conditions - Market Report
The city of Folly Beach is located on Folly Island, a barrier island 6 miles long. It's the closest beach to historic Charleston, just about 15 minutes drive via the James Island Connector.
Although Folly Island today is a continuous island stretching from the Stono Inlet to Lighthouse Inlet, that has not always been the case. Many maps show Folly to have been considered two islands, commonly known as Big Folly and Little Folly.
Historical records from the time of the Civil War state that travel from Big Folly across the neck of the island, today called the Washout to Little Folly was possible only along the beach at low tide.
Folly Island played a historic part during the Civil War. Federal troops began occupying the island in 1863. At the height of the occupation, more than 13,000 troops were stationed on the island.
Folly Beach was devastated by Hurricane Hugo in 1989, but has since been rebuilt. Known for its eclectic vibe and small-village character, Folly Beach is home to a 1,045-foot-long pier that, along with the impressive pierhouse, was built in 1995. Visitors also flock to the beach for surfing, local eateries and various beach shops.
"The Edge of America" offers everything from crabbing, fishing charters, biking and waterskiing to shag dancing on the pier at the popular Moonlight Mixers.
Folly Beach County Park, part of the county parks system, is protected from development. Bottle-nosed dolphins often frolic off the beach, and a variety of shore birds make the park their home.
Charleston SC Real Estate Market Report January 2013 for Goose Creek, S.C. - A value guide with current real estate market conditions - Market Report
The source of the name "Goose Creek" has been lost to history. Some have theorized that the area was named after the gooseneck turns in the creek that extended off the Cooper River. Others say the name came from the prominence of geese in the waterway. It is possible that the name has Native American origins. Whatever the source, this area of the Lowcountry has been known as Goose Creek since the late 1600s.
As in many other areas in the Lowcountry, the Goose Creek area was home to various plantations, including Medway, Yeamans Hall, Windsor Hill, The Elms, Otranto, Martindales, The Oaks, Crowfield, Liberty Hall, Howe Hall and Brick Hope. The success of the area relied on rice, indigo and other crops grown on the large plantations.
The city stayed undeveloped until after World War II, when the military began to occupy and invest in the area. Secondary commercial interests and the subsequent flow of investment capital followed. The influx of new military and civilian personnel led to a rebirth of the area and was the beginning of a new Goose Creek.
In the early 1960s, the farmlands began to be subdivided to provide housing for the booming population. A 1969 survey rated Goose Creek the fastest-growing area in the United States. Today more than 30,000 people call Goose Creek home.
The new Municipal Complex built in 1999 is home to City Hall, the Police Department and the Municipal Court. The Department of Public Works continues to provide water, sanitation and maintenance service. The Fire Department has grown to staff two stations.
Charleston SC Real Estate Market Report January 2013 for Isle of Palms, S.C. - A value guide with current real estate market conditions - Market Report
Originally named Hunting Island and later Long Island, the Isle of Palms had no permanent inhabitants until the late 19th century when locals began to recognize the island as a refuge from the summer heat and tempo of Charleston.
The first home on Long Island was a summer getaway built by Nicholas Sottile in 1898. In 1899, J.S. Lawrence purchased the island and renamed it the Isle of Palms.
A bridge link to the islands was established in 1946. At that time, developer J.C. Long of The Beach Company purchased most of the island. He provided low-cost housing to veterans returning from World War II, and the Isle of Palms slowly developed into a residential bedroom community of greater Charleston while still maintaining its charm, natural beauty and desirability as a summertime getaway.
One of the most famous resorts in the Lowcountry is located on Isle of Palms. Originally called the Isle of Palms Beach and Racquet Club, it was renamed Wild Dunes Beach and Racquet Club in 1984 and today is simply called Wild Dunes. With nationally recognized golf courses and other resort amenities, Wild Dunes has become a major vacation locale on the South Carolina coast.
In 1989, Hurricane Hugo destroyed many homes and businesses on the island, and in the years since, a number of large new beach homes have been built. In the business district, popular Palm Boulevard has recently undergone a facelift with more parking and palm trees.
In 1993, the new Isle of Palms Connector opened, connecting the island directly to Mount Pleasant near I-526.
Charleston SC Real Estate Market Report January 2013 for James Island, S.C. - A value guide with current real estate market conditions - Market Report
James Island is a large triangular sea island that is framed by Wappoo Creek and Charleston Harbor on the north, Morris Island and Folly Beach on the east, and the Stono River and Johns Island on the west.
During the 19th century, plantations were built on James Island, along with the village of Secessionville, a summer retreat for plantation owners. The first shots of the Civil War were fired from the island's Fort Johnson onto Fort Sumter in 1861.
All but a handful of houses were destroyed during the war, and the island reverted to a rural farming area, much like its neighbor, Johns Island. Laced with creeks, and affording some spectacular views of Charleston, James Island became somewhat of a real estate secret just off Charleston Harbor.
The island began experiencing renewed growth during the 20th century, but the opening of the James Island Expressway in 1993 suddenly made James Island and the other islands west of Charleston prime locations for new development. Today many business and residential areas cover James Island, making it a popular place for a family-oriented lifestyle in close proximity to the city. The island's wide variety of housing options draws people from all walks of life.
James Island has all the conveniences and most of the pleasures of a larger city. There are many options for dining and shopping, as well as various recreational outlets.
Recently, James Island residents voted to incorporate as a town, but it is unclear whether the vote will stand because of legal questions being raised by the City of Charleston.
Charleston SC Real Estate Market Report January 2013 for Johns Island, S.C. Median Sold Price = $194,000.00
Johns Island is located due west of Charleston SC. For most of its history, Johns Island has been a coastal farming center, and it still boasts vast expanses of lush, unspoiled acreage only recently available to prospective real estate buyers.
The island serves as a gateway for its more famous neighbors, Kiawah and Seabrook. Althought it is technically an island because it is surrounded by the Intracoastal Waterway, Stono River, Kiawah River and Bohicket Creek, Johns Island is protected from the ocean by other islands surrounding it.
Laced with tidal creeks and surrounded by rivers and waterways, the island offers a variety of waterfront lots, and newly developed neighborhoods overlook Wadmalaw Sound and the Kiawah and Stono rivers.
Winding country roads bordered by great live oaks sport a series of game preserves and newly designed golf courses.
Abundant local farms are still in operation, growing tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, melons, winter greens and more. Year-round produce is offered in roadside markets and at restaurants on the islands and beyond.
The famous Angel Oak is located here off Bohicket Road, the main highway through the island. It is a massive, 1,400-year-old live oak, the oldest living tree east of the Mississippi.
Johns Island boasts a handful of fine restaurants and a number of small shopping areas near the heart of the growing population centers. Bohicket Road has been widened near the entrances of Kiawah and Seabrook, and two new bridges have been constructed, further attracting development.
Charleston SC Real Estate Market Report January 2013 for Kiawah Island, S.C. Median Sold Price = $449,000.00
Kiawah Island is a private residential resort community 21 miles south of Charleston SC. This 10,000-acre barrier island, just 1.5 miles across at its widest point, has more than 10 miles of beachfront.
Approximately 4,000 properties within 13 neighborhood villages and 28 regime associations make up the island. Most regimes (some are known as homeowners associations, or sub-associations) are governed by their own covenants and boards of directors. Independent management companies administer the business requirements of these properties.
Named for the Kiawah Indians who inhabited the island into the 1600s and deeded to George Raynor in 1699 by the Lords Proprietors (Charleston's founding fathers), the island has changed hands only four times since then.
The Vanderhorst legacy ended in 1951 when C.C. Royal, a lumberman, purchased Kiawah Island for $125,000. Just 23 years later, his heirs sold the same piece of property to a resort developer for $18.2 million and the land was developed into a world-class resort and residential area.
In 1993, the current ownership purchased the portions of Kiawah Island that compose the Resort, its most prominent residential feature.
There are more than 3,300 homes on Kiawah Island, and nearly 400 families make it their year-round home.
The Town of Kiawah Island takes an active role in managing the natural resources on the island. From the wooded uplands to the beaches, animals thrive in the rich natural environment. Deer, bobcats, gray foxes, raccoons, river otters and ospreys are just a few of the many animals that Kiawah visitors might see.
Charleston SC Real Estate Market Report January 2013 for McClellanville, S.C. Median Sold Price = $135,000.00
Rice planters established McClellanville after their summer colony at the mouth of the Santee River was destroyed by the hurricane of 1822. Several years later the town became a year-round home to the descendants of planters.
Today, the town's principal economic activity is commercial fishing. McClellanville, located on Jeremy Creek, is home port to a large fleet of shrimp boats.
Charleston SC Real Estate Market Report January 2013 for Moncks Corner, S.C. Median Sold Price = $135,000.00
Many historians agree that Moncks Corner, an early trading center dating back to 1738, took its name from landowner Thomas Monk (despite the difference in spelling). The town developed on the southeast corner of Monk's Mitton Plantation.
In its early days, Moncks Corner was more of a trading post than a town. There were three or four taverns and five or six stores. The usual practice of the area. Santee River planter was to take his crops to Moncks Corner, sell them there, receive cash or goods in exchange, dine and return home in the afternoon. It was not until 1856 when the Northeastern Railroad laid its tracks over portions of the former Mitton and Fairlawn plantations that five acres were set aside for a depot and the center of a new Moncks Corner.
The town today has a population of more than 6,000 people. With two medical facilities and Santee Cooper modern high-rise office complex, Moncks Corner serves as the Berkeley County seat. The citizens of Moncks Corner and the nearby area of Pinopolis enjoy outdoor activities such as boating, swimming, waterskiing, hunting and fishing. The town hall is located on Carolina Avenue with the fire department next door. The living around the town is quiet and easy.
Moncks Corner is the site of many historic churches, and the dam and locks of the mighty hydroelectric power plant are nearby. Mepkin Abbey, formerly a rice plantation, is a Cistercian Order (Trappist) monastery with a beautiful garden and chapel open to the public. Many fine examples of early rice plantations remain along the rivers and are still serving as residences.
First inhabited by the Sewee Indians, Mount Pleasant's first English settlers arrived in 1680. One of the earliest maps of the area calls it "North Point."
In 1770 Andrew Hibben obtained a ferry charter and bought land from Jacob Motte on the south side of Shem Creek. Hibben's ferry was the first to connect the town with the City of Charleston.
A newspaper article in 1889 reported, "The health of Mount Pleasant has been unprecedently fine for the past year. The town council expends about $2,000 on the streets and other necessary improvement, and the money is so judiciously applied that Mount Pleasant, in regard to general appearance, is one of the model towns of the state."
Today, with the crowning achievement of the Ravenel Bridge linking Mount Pleasant to Charleston SC, the town is known for its beautiful communities, great shopping and dining options, and proximity to beaches.
With a population of about 63,000, the town recently surpassed Greenville as the fourth largest municipality in the state. Money Magazine ranked it at No. 70 in its list of the 100 Best Places to Live in the United States.
At the heart of Mount Pleasant is the "Old Village," a National Register Historic District with gracious homes from the colonial and antebellum periods.
The town is also home to one of the world's largest naval and maritime museum complexes, Patriots Point, which is dominated by the famous World War II aircraft carrier Yorktown and houses several other ships as well. It is one of the top tourist destinations in South Carolina.
Charleston SC Real Estate Market Report January 2013 for Seabrook Island, S.C. Median Sold Price = $449,000.00
Seabrook Island is 23 miles south of the city of Charleston SC. It has 2,200 acres of lush maritime forest, beautiful salt marshes and pristine beaches. The Atlantic Ocean provides 3.5 miles of Seabrook Island's shoreline. Another mile of sandy expanse extends by the wide tidal North Edisto River.
Seabrook Island enjoys a colorful and varied history. Originally inhabited by Native Americans, the island was first discovered by settlers in 1666 when Lt. Col. Robert Sanford claimed the area for England's King Charles.
The island is a full-service resort boasting two championship golf courses, a tennis center, horseback riding, award-winning dining, a fitness center, shopping, a deep-water marina, children's programs and many other world-class amenities. Since its founding in July 1991, the Seabrook Island Club has grown to nearly 1,600 members.
Emphasis has been placed on ensuring that the natural resources of the island are protected and maintained. Recently, the Club at Seabrook Island's golf courses achieved the distinction of becoming South Carolina's first Fully Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.
The Town of Seabrook is the municipal body and is responsible for issuing business licenses and various types of permits. It also owns and operates the island water and sewer treatment plant. The town interfaces closely with other governmental entities, including the County and City of Charleston, the town of Kiawah Island and various Johns Island groups.
Charleston SC Real Estate Market Report January 2013 for Sullivans Island, S.C. - A value guide with current real estate market conditions - Market Report
Sullivan Island, a barrier island north of Charleston Harbor, is home to approximately 2,000 residents in half as many households. These are primarily full- or part-time citizens who enjoy the relaxed lifestyle of the island. There are very few short-term rentals and no hotels, motels, bed-and-breakfasts, or other transient lodgings.
The town, incorporated in 1817 as Moultrieville, did not allow lean-tos or shacks then or now. At that time lots were required to have a minimum of half an acre, and the same is true today.
Sullivan's Island is distinctive because the beachfront lands that have built up over the years are owned by the town and held in a perpetual easement by the Lowcountry Open Land Trust, thus protecting the natural environment along the Atlantic Ocean.
The island has a long military tradition of protecting the harbor from invaders, and many wonderful histories capture those stories. The island has played a part in fiction as well. Edgar Allan Poe was stationed at Fort Moultrie from 1827 to 1828 and used the island as the setting for his short story "The Gold Bug."
Remnants of the military are abundant in now-privately-held military housing; even former fortifications are now single-family residences. Many of these historic homes have withstood the test of time and ravaging weather.
The Sullivan's Island lighthouse, the most powerful in the world, was built in 1962. The 140-foot-tall triangular building boasts an elevator instead of the typical spiral staircase. It stands as a symbol of the island and can be seen from various points surrounding Charleston Harbor.
Charleston SC Real Estate Market Report January 2013 for Summerville, S.C. Median Sold Price = $144,000.00
Summerville's name evokes its history. Situated on a pine-forested ridge, the city was first inhabited in the late 1700s as Charlestonians and other inhabitants of the Lowcountry "summered" there to seek respite from city heat, mosquitoes and disease.
From May to September, plantation families along the nearby Ashley River and other coastal areas headed for the higher elevation in the area to live temporarily, or "maroon," in the tiny forest colony soon dubbed Summerville. Other pioneer residents descended from those 1696 Puritans who established the nearby settlement of Dorchester, thus endowing Summerville with a heritage spanning three centuries.
Summerville's beauty is mirrored in its motto, "The Flower Town in the Pines." Since the early 1900s, visitors have flocked to the town during early spring to enjoy the millions of spring blossoms, particularly azaleas, in private and public gardens, including the midtown Azalea Park.
The town is known for its unique shops lining an "old-fashioned" Main Street, but its access to I-26 has also attracted larger chain stores. Ultimately, it's the community's charming neighborhoods with a variety of housing styles and price ranges that make it so desirable a location in the Lowcountry.
The town's population hovered around 3,000 for nearly a century, not reaching 6,000 until the late 1970s. Then, as a bedroom community for the larger urban centers in the area, the charm of Summerville resulted in a doubling of the population in the 1980s. It continues to attract families, business people and military personnel as a great place to live and work.
Charleston SC Real Estate Market Report January 2013 for West Ashley, S.C. - A value guide with current real estate market conditions - Market Report
The city limits of Charleston SC extend across the Ashley River to an area known as West Ashley. In fact, it is the place where the English colonists established the first permanent settlement in the Carolinas in 1670 along the banks of the Ashley River.
Among the area's historic treasures are three of the region's most visited plantations: Drayton Hall, Middleton Place, and Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. But in addition to this strong presense of history, West Ashley is also a thriving urban community with a population that has more than doubled since 1960 a testament to the area's livability.
Some of the neighborhoods closest to downtown Charleston SC feature charming brick cottages, many of which have been renovated in recent years. Other established neighborhoods wind through hundred-year-old live oak trees, with some home sites that feature sweeping views of the marsh or access to the Ashley River.
The area west of the Ashley River has intermingled businesses with residential communities. Shopping at Citadel Mall, one of the largest malls in the Charleston SC area or at a number of strip centers that line the major thoroughfares, offers close-at-hand conveniences to residents.
The West Ashley area is also blessed with its share of eating establishments.
Because new developments are still cropping up in this area, the choices for residential living are numerous, from condominiums and duplexes to large homes with dock and river access.