Moving to Charleston SC
Sandy beaches, sunny weather, unbelievable food, industry, jobs, colonial history and many other wonderful things await you in Charleston SC. Almost any travel magazine you read will list Charleston amongst top cities to visit and/or live in, not only in the United States, but also in the world. So it is no surprise that people are moving to this area in droves. Finding people born and raised in this area is almost as uncommon as finding a snow flake in the Low Country.
With companies like Volvo, Boeing, Bosch, Mercedes, Cummins and all their supporting businesses moving into and/or expanding inside of the lowcountry, there are enough jobs to support more growth in our lovely corner of the country. Unfortunately, the transportation infrastructure hasn't quite caught up to the massive growth. So if your moving into the are and you are not familiar with the surrounding area, the traffic, the school districts and each city's pro's and con's, then read on because this article was written just for YOU.
We will discuss some of the major cities and towns located in what we call the "Tri-County" area in hopes to help you narrow down your search for places you wish to hang your hat.
Charleston - The city of Charleston in a broad and diverse place and should be broken down into 4 main areas Daniel Island, West Ashley, Uptown and The Peninsula
- Daniel Island - this area is one of the most up and coming areas in all of Tri-County area. Tons of small boutique restaurants and shops where residents of the city drive golf carts to zip around the island. Housing is limited and condo's and apartments are popping up everywhere. As with most islands, entrance and exits to the island are limited to bridges so be ready to deal with traffic. However if your working in Mount Pleasant, North Charleston or Downtown, normal commute shouldn't take longer than 20-30 min one way and you may be going against traffic.
- West Ashley - is a just hop over the bridge from downtown Charleston. Much more housing options to chose from if your ok living in older smaller homes. There are newer developments but most of West Ashley was developed some time ago. The hip area of Avendale is a great hangout spot for the active crowd and just a short 2-3 miles from the city. This area is a favorite among people moving to the area beacuse there are several beaches within a 20 min drive and housing is affordable.
- Uptown/Park Circle - is making a comeback and is a popular area for local investors and developers. However there are still some areas of run down homes and high crime, if you willing to put in some work and give it some time, you may enjoy some nice appreciation. Most homes are older and need some TLC (if not renovated already) but the park circle area and all of its new commerce has really transformed this section of town over the past 2-3 years. With just a short commute to downtown and running opposite of traffic in most situations while headed to work, this area is highly sought after.
- The Peninsula - is the area that most think of when they think of Charleston SC. Its the old carriage style homes, its the fancy restaurants and the million dollar listings. The tourists love it, the locals love it and the businesses love it but if your planning to purchase a home, plan on starting around $400,000 if you want to own 4 walls and a roof that doesn't need to be gutted.
North Charleston - as you could imagine is just outside Charleston is a central location to the entire tri-county area. Basically your sitting smack dab in the middle of everything, Downtown, Daniel Island, Summerville. Cost of living in North Charleston is much lower than the surrounding areas as you can see by the median home price and median household income. Homes can range from $1,000,000 homes in Coosa Country club to $100,000 homes in Charleston Farms so this area has something for everyone. With the majority of large employers like Boeing, Bosch, Cummins and Mercedes located in North Charleston, its a great location if you hate long commutes.
Mount Pleasant - is a beautiful city with tons to offer. Like West Ashley its a short ride over the Ravenel Bridge to downtown but also close to beaches and other bodies of water and is highly sought after. Old town Mnt P is a great area with older renovated homes and prices can run upwards of $425 per square foot for a 1500 square foot home. The newer end of Mnt P a few miles down why 17, homes run closer to the $200 per sf range for that same 1500 square foot home. With a few access points the Wando River on the far side of town, boaters and sportsmand alike can thrive
James Island - is just a few miles from Folly Beach which is a great local beach for catching some sun, waves or fish. Again, with a name that includes the work "Island" traffic on and off of the island can be a bit extreme not only during rush hour but also during summer months with crowds flocking to and from the beach. Jobs are a bit scattered on James Island so unless you work from home or work off hours, be sure to have an Audible subscription and catch up on your books on tape while commuting. Standard 1500 sf homes are currently selling around $225-250 per sq foot however with many water access homes, costs can go as high as $350 per square foot
Berkeley County - Im grouping all 3 towns in Berkeley county together b/c regardless which town you land in, most categories discussed above are are very similar. As with any major city, the farther you get out from the city, the lower the average home price and the lower the median income. Also the farther you go outside the city, the worse traffic will be for your ride into the city from 7-9 in the morning and from 3-6 in the evenings. With only 2-3 major routes into and out of the city, don't be surprised if a 20 mile commute takes an hour to an hour and half during rush hour. With that said, finding a 3 bedroom home on 1-2 acres of land for $200,000 is very doable in Berkeley county. WIth a large fresh water lake nearby, Lake Moultrie, This area may to appeal to your outdoor type that don't prefer the taste of salt on your lips when basking in the sun
Dorchester County - is primarily made up of Summerville. With a small quaint old down town square as well as new more current part of town where your big box retailers are, Summerville has a lot to offer its residents. FInding a 2000 square foot home on an acre of land for $250-300k is doable and home prices range from $150-$200 per square foot. There are many new neighborhoods going up like Cane Bay and Summers Corner where a 2500 square foot home will run you $300-$400k however you can also find a nice brick ranch build in the early 80's for $200-$225k. With several of the areas largest employers are only a few miles from the city borders, the areas best school district and cost of living much lower than your inland neighbors, Summerville growth is among the fastest in the Tri-county area.
So as you can see, the Tri-county area has tons to offer however knowing the learning the area can take months and even years. You can do as many people do and find a rental for a short time to research the area or contact a local realtor for more information on each area and start taking advantage of owning a home from day 1. Good luck with your move and as always, if there is anything that Kevin Douglas and Associates can do to help make your move easier and more streamlined, please don't hesitate to call, text or email!
Kevin Douglas, Realtor
Kevin Douglas and Associates