Houses in Charleston are in High Demand – A Good Home is Hard to Find

You all know I like to use numbers to tell a story…And the story is this.  There are very few homes to choose from in the Charleston metro’s most popular neighborhoods – both ON the Peninsula, and in the surrounding areas.  If you are interested in buying a home in one of these neighborhoods in one of the ‘hot’ price ranges – I regret to tell you that it is currently a Seller’s market.  This is not me being a ‘BUY NOW’ kind of Realtor – this is me noting the trends, then taking a look at some fancy graphs to confirm what I am seeing. 🙂  And it’s important for you to know the truth.

Remember that you can tell how healthy a real estate market is not by looking at number of sales or median prices, but by checking out the ‘months inventory’ or absorption rate – that is, how many homes are on the market versus how many are being purchased.  For years in Charleston, people buying a home have had the upper hand since there were so many homes to choose from, all over the place.  But the change from October 2010, to October 2011, to today, has been drastic.

Keep in mind, six months inventory is a balanced market, fewer than that – those Sellers are in control.

So let’s take a look at some graphs for the neighborhoods on the Charleston Peninsula first, then move across the bridges in either direction. We’ll start with one where it is still a Buyer’s market in the upper price ranges, but a Seller’s market in the lower ones.

South of Broad – You’ll see in the price range under $894,999 there is only 3.2 months of inventory but if you are looking in the $2,495,000 range and above, there are still plenty of homes available. You will still have the upper hand if one of these suits your fancy.

South of Broad Months of Inventory


Harleston Village – just like I said in my recent post “It’s a Seller’s Market in Harleston Village“, if you want something good under $1,000,000 – it’s going to be tough to find.

Harleston Village Months of Inventory


Moving northward above the Crosstown to a couple areas popular with professionals and families…

Hampton Park Terrace – Just. Wow.  There are three homes available right now in this neighborhood, and four already under contract. That’s why we are at one, or less than one months inventory.  Note in this case that because there are no recent sales over $425,000 we are showing a ‘0.0’. The reality is that two of the three homes currently for sale are in that price range.


Hampton Park Terrace Months of Inventory


Wagener Terrace – take a look at the <$224,999 range.  Those are going to be the fixer uppers, and you can tell there is fierce competition for them now.  Renovations are going on all over the place! Honestly, it is difficult to find a home in Wagener Terrace no matter what the price range.

Wagener Terrace Months of Inventory


Now let’s head across the bridge into West Ashley…

Byrnes Down – one of the popular neighborhoods in ‘inner’ West Ashley because of its proximity to Downtown and other shops and restaurants, Byrnes Down is just humming along this year.  In 2011 there were 17 homes sales total, this year there have already been 23 with another two under contract.

Byrnes Down Months of Inventory


And back across to the Mount Pleasant side…

I’On – While there are still plenty of the high-end homes to choose from, the difference between 2010 and 2012 in the other price ranges is astonishing.

I’On Months of Inventory


Old Village – I think my clients Teri and Howard bought one of the last homes priced under $500,000 in this neighborhood.  They got in by skin of their teeth in April!  Again, you’ll see there is very little available in the mid-ranges, a bit more supply in the high-end range but I’ll tell you, if you are looking for a home with a dock on Charleston Harbor, there are only two available – one of which is a home I fell madly in love with in 1995, when it sold for $649,000.  Oh how things have changed!

1223801 – Details: 200 BANK ST, MOUNT PLEASANT, SC – $2,750,000

Old Village Months of Inventory


Note: If you guys know me – you’ll notice that all these areas have a common thread – walkability. Because that kind of lifestyle is my passion and preference, I devote my love and attention to those kinds of neighborhoods.  Of course the Islands are also walkable, but the supply is still high on those and thus don’t support my argument. 😉

So there you have it. In those Charleston metro neighborhoods above, you can see that indeed, a good home is hard to find.  The good news is that if you are looking for a home in the following places – you still have plenty to choose from.

  • Isle of Palms – though not under $500,000
  • Wild Dunes – resort living is having a bit of a struggle but there are tons of good deals to be had.
  • Folly Beach – best buys ocean front right now. With the ban on public consumption of alcohol, I think Folly is on the rise.  Particularly since you can get a home ON THE BEACH for just over $1,000,000.  If you tried the same thing on Isle of Palms, you’d pay at least double.
  • Daniel Island – only over $849,000
  • Johns Island – anything for over $459,000.  I think John’s Island has been struggling a bit because the uncertainty about the completion of I-526 has been casting a shadow.
  • Mount Pleasant North of the IOP Connector – big supply in the over $525,000 price range. Back in the Crazy Times, there was lots of new construction and people were buying ‘far out’ because they could no longer afford ‘close in’.  Now that ‘close in’ prices have fallen, the ‘far out’ high-end homes are moving more slowly.

It will be interesting to see what the Spring holds, yes??  But I’ll leave you with a lovely Fall marsh shot in the gloaming…No wonder Charleston is in high demand.



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