Want to buy a lot and build your dream home in Charleston? Here’s what it will cost you.

I’ve been dreaming up my dream house for decades. Do you do that? My current daydreams swirl around a home with Contemporary Lowcountry architecture, L-shaped with a long view across something beautiful. And a pool. I must have a pool. So with these imaginings and my personal research, coupled with my experience working with developers and architects, I know what it takes to buy a lot and build a home in Charleston.

Let’s start with the house. Assuming you are using an architect and custom home builder – budget $175 per square foot on the low end (like vinyl and slab foundation), $250-$300 per square foot for an elevated house with hardiplank siding, a metal roof and nice (but not super luxe) finishes, all the way up to sky’s the limit for extraordinary custom homes, oceanfront or other. These numbers often catch people by surprise but it’s Charleston and we have challenging topography, a shortage of workers, and a high demand.

So, now that you’ve figured out how much your house will cost you – the trick is to find a lot to put it on. Let’s assume for the purposes of the post that you want to live somewhere near things – not out in the country on 20 acres.  Here is a selection of places currently on the market in Downtown Charleston, James Island, Mount Pleasant and Isle of Palms – ranging from $129,000 to $2,350,000.  The official listings are below.

Lot Locations


Downtown Charleston

$135,000 – A .02 acre lot on Charleston’s historic East Side. 68 South Street – Listed by Agent Owned.

$699,500 – A .07 acre lot with Ashley River and sunset views, in Harleston Village in the new luxury enclave of Halsey Park.  70 Halsey Blvd – Listed by me and my colleague Vannessa Carter.  We did some renderings to show what the actual view from the proposed rooftop deck would be.

The rooftop is rendered – but that is the actual view you are seeing!

The lot right in front can fit a 3,000+ square foot house.

$1,195,000 – A 50ft x 50ft lot located in the tony South of Broad neighborhood on a charming quiet cobblestone lane. 2 Longitude Lane – Listed by Carriage Properties.


Mount Pleasant

$365,000 – A .16 acre corner lot in Old Mount Pleasant, a popular neighborhood off Coleman Blvd. 1368 Pherigo St – Listed by Carolina One.

$1,300,000 – A .18 acre lakefront lot in the heart of I’On – an award-winning ‘new urban’ neighborhood.  36 Rialto Rd – Listed by Carolina One.


James Island

$129,000 – A .57 acre lot in a growing area of the island, 5 minutes to Downtown Charleston. 0 Riley Rd – Listed by The Beach Company.

$275,000 – A .26 acre lot with Stono River views in a neighborhood with only 7 lots. See the website for more info! 601 Stono Shores Point – Listed by my colleagues Jared Maus and Beth Huntley.

$510,000 – A .2 acre lot with sweeping views of Downtown Charleston and the Ashley River. Deep water boat slip at the community dock is included. In the gated neighborhood of Point Verona, 5 minutes to Downtown Charleston. 6 Old Summer House Road – Listed by me. Check out the drone video I produced for it!  Note we’ve since dropped the price from $550,000.


Isle of Palms

$499,000 – A .24 acre lot on the interior of the island, between the rec center and the IOP Marina. 3404 Hartnett Blvd – Listed by Carolina One.

$2,350,000 – A .55 acre oceanfront lot on Isle of Palms. Join the other spectacular homes and watch the waves roll in. Compared to oceanfront lots on Kiawah Island which start at $4,000,000 – this is a bargain. 708 Ocean Blvd – Listed by Ravenel Commercial Properties.

Link to the listings if you can’t see them above.

So does that scare you or spur you?  They aren’t making any more land are they?  If you do decide this route is for you, I can take you through the steps needed to make sure your lot is a good purchase – survey, soil tests, DHEC, dock permits, well tests…And of course I know lots of great architects and builders.

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