Smart Residents are Joining the Charleston Home Renovation Boom

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By Jackie Thomas

Experts are hailing a ‘renaissance’ in the Charleston property sector – plans to?build over 100,000 new homes have recently been approved in the three county Charleston metro area.?And, spurred on by increased optimism about the economy, home improvement specialists are also reporting a ‘boom’ in renovation work across the county – noting Mount Pleasant and The Battery in Kiawah and as restoration hot spots.??Local tradesmen are benefiting as older properties left run down and dilapidated as a result of the recession are being overhauled, proving that the upturn in the market is great news for Charleston homeowners and businesses alike.? In fact, there are even some emerging trends in the regional home improvement market that could translate as business opportunities for local traders offering the next big thing in home improvements.

Building in Smart Technology

Once thought of as an idea gleaned from science fiction, smart technology in the home is becoming mainstream.??Residents of Charleston are embracing so-called smart hubs, technology epicenters?that control anything from heating and lighting?to security – via smartphone or tablets.??As smart speakers that link up to these home hubs and offer voice control also soar in popularity, experts predict more and more appliances within the home will become automated and intelligent.

One reason that smart technology in the home is being billed as the latest big thing is because, as it becomes more commonplace, it’s much more affordable. Popular products that could be offered by local businesses are smart sprinkler systems, doorbells that allow homeowners to interact with visitors via a smartphone and, of course, who wouldn’t want a vacuum cleaner that will clean the floors at the push of a button? And the good news for burglary hot spots, such as?James Island and West Ashley, which saw a spike in break ins, is?that 60% of intruders say they would be put off by a smart home security system.

High-End Finishes

Home to the luxurious beach-side districts of Sullivan’s Island and the Isle of Palms, Charleston is not short of homes where no expense is spared.? But, finding themselves with more disposable income, even homeowners who don’t live in the most sought-after of areas are investing in high-end items to add value to their properties.? According to local tradesmen, high spec ‘over-the-top’ kitchens and bathrooms are becoming increasingly popular in the local area.??Luxurious jacuzzi baths, rainforest shower heads, waterfall taps and oversized kitchen islands are just some of the products that are in hot demand. Another trend is recessed lighting, a stylish way to add refinement and polish to any room in the home.

Coastal Couture

Products like wallpaper, houseplants, grey walls and bright exotic accessories?are seeing renewed demand.? But there’s one key interior style that’s emerging as the winning look for the Charleston homeowner, according to renovation experts working in the local vicinity. Possibly no surprise given the?four area beaches boasting?miles of crystal clear waters and sandy beaches on offer in Charleston, Coastal chic is the ‘go to’ interior style for local homes. This look incorporates weathered shiplap, paneling and beachy chic styling for an on-trend look.? If designing a home around this look sounds a bit ‘out of the comfort zone’, there are plenty of local tradespeople on hand to help homeowners get the look.

Successfully renovating an older property is a sound investment and can add significant monetary value.??And luckily Charleston has an abundance of local businesses ready and able to take on projects big or small.???As for the future of Charleston’s real estate market, according to experts, even in the face of a rise in interest rates, the good news is that the market should stay active.

How Much Does Your Household Need to Make to Buy a House in South Carolina (And the rest of the U.S.)?

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Howmuch.net has collected average home prices for every state from Zillow which were then plugged into a mortgage calculator to figure out monthly payments. The interest rate used varied from 4 to 5% in each state, depending on the market. The lower the interest rate, the lower the monthly payment. To keep things simple, they assumed buyers could contribute a 10% down payment.

Another factor to keep in mind is that financial advisors commonly recommend the total cost of housing take up no more than 30% of gross income (the amount before taxes, retirement savings, etc.). Using this rule as our benchmark, they calculated the minimum salary required to afford the average home in each state.

Let us start with the Top 5 Best and Worst:

Top 5 Places Where You Need the Lowest Salaries to Afford the Average Home

1. West Virginia: $38,320 for a house worth $149,500
2. Ohio: $38,400 for a house worth $149,900
3. Michigan: $40,800 for a house worth $160,000
4. Arkansas: $41,040 for a house worth $161,000
5. Missouri: $42,200 for a house worth $165,900

Top 5 Places Where You Need the Highest Salaries to Afford the Average Home

1. Hawaii: $153,520 for a house worth $610,000
2. Washington, DC: $138,440 for a house worth $549,000
3. California: $120,120 for a house worth $499,900
4. Massachusetts: $101,320 for a house worth $419,900
5. Colorado: $100,200 for a house worth $415,000

Where do we stand in South Carolina?

$58,840 Salary for a house worth $150,600*

*Zillow Average South Carolina Home Price

 

Greystar Ready to Launch Charleston Downtown Project

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Courier Square’s housing component, marketed as The Guild, will encompass 226 apartments along with ground-floor retail and dining. The first residents are expected to move in this spring.

Greystar Real Estate Partners LLC (Greystar) has announced the impending opening of The Guild, a 226-unit multifamily?community in downtown Charleston, S.C. The eight-story building, which represents the first phase of the 12-acre, mixed-use Courier Square development, will welcome its first residents in mid-March.

The?Guild is located at 128 Columbus St., in the historic Cannonborough/Elliotborough neighbourhood, adjacent to Interstate 26. The site is also part of the Upper King shopping and dining district. The building will encompass a mix of studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartments, along with 20,000 square feet of ground-level retail and restaurants. Common amenities at The Guild will include:

  • rooftop pool
  • clubroom
  • hospitality bar and lounge
  • outdoor grills and fire pit
  • fitness center
  • controlled access parking
  • bike storage
  • concierge services

The second phase of Courier Square will feature The Greystar Building, a five-story office structure that will?be home to Greystar’s new headquarters. Scheduled for completion this summer, the office component facing Meeting Street will comprise 69,000 square feet, including ground-floor retail.

Residential Real Estate Sales and Prices Continue Level Pace in Charleston Region

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CHARLESTON, SC—(November 13, 2017) According to preliminary data released today by the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors? (CTAR) 1,316 homes sold in October in the region at a median price of $250,080, reflective of a 2% boost in sales and 4% growth in median sales price as compared to last October, when 1,287 homes sold at a median price of $240,000.

The year-to-date pace of growth in sales and median price tightened slightly again but still show healthy levels of increases over last year. 15,465 homes have sold in the region at a median price of $250,000 thus far in 2017. Sales volume has increased about 3% compared to 2016, with homes selling for about 4% more than they did at this point last year.

“As we reported last month, the pace of sales has slowed, but our market is still healthy and active—well-priced homes are moving off-market and there’s still considerable interest in our region. We have yet to realize the real estate impacts of huge economic investments like the Volvo plant” said 2017 CTAR President Dave Sansom. “Inventory has been a challenge in Charleston for awhile, and after years of significant price growth we’re seeing affordability issues really take hold. It is making it more difficult for some people to find a home that they can afford and that serves their needs” said Sansom. “We believe that sales would be even stronger if there were more inventory available in key price ranges and locations where there is little to nothing available currently.?We’re continuing our work with local municipalities and legislators to help them understand the importance of smart growth and development that will best serve our local communities and residents alike” he concluded.

5,320 homes were listed as “active” for sale in the Charleston Trident Multiple Listing Service (CTMLS) at the end of the month, slightly higher than last month but about 11% fewer homes available than in 2016.

September Adjustment

Preliminary data showed 1,422 homes sold in September in the region at a median price of $256,335.? Adjusted numbers now show 1,424 sales at a median price $256,000.

Berkeley County

365 properties sold at a median price of $225,000 in Berkeley County in October. Year-to-date, single-family home sales have increased about 5% in the County, with buyers paying about 4.5% more than they did a year ago.? Condo and townhome sales have increased 27% with a 12% increase in price.

There are currently 1,080 residential properties for sale in Berkeley County—935 single-family homes and 145 condos/townhomes.

Find Berkeley County area reports here.?

Charleston County

622 properties sold at a median price of $316,119 in Charleston County in October. Year-to-date, single-family home sales volume is flat in the County, with buyers paying about 6% more than they did a year ago.? Condo and townhome sales and prices have both increased by about 5%.

There are currently 2,839 residential properties for sale in Charleston County—2,201 single-family homes and 638 condos/townhomes.

Find Charleston?County area reports here.?

Dorchester County

274 properties sold at a median price of $218,000 in Dorchester County in October. Year-to-date, single-family home sales have increased less than 0.5% in the County, with buyers paying about 6% more than they did a year ago.? Condo and townhome sales have increased 4% with a 3% increase in price.

There are currently 786 residential properties for sale in Dorchester County—729 single-family homes and 57 condos/townhomes.

Find Dorchester?County area reports here.?

Media Contact:
Meghan Byrnes Weinreich | 843.793.5208
Marketing and Communications Director
Charleston Trident Association of REALTORS

Latest Cost of Living and Population Data for Charleston, South Carolina – How Do We Compare

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Cost of living is an important topic in Charleston, South Carolina.? It continues to stir up much debate, good and bad.? We have looked at three sources and compiled a summary of the latest cost of living and population statistics and how they compare with the rest of the state and country.? To add some perspective, we have also included links to the most expensive area homes for sale.

This data does bring awareness and hopes it continues the conversation.

This data looks closely at rent, home ownership, utilities, population averages, unemployment, commute, utilities, household goods and entertainment.

We welcome your thoughts and comments below.

 

Median Age:? 33.2
Married Population:? 41.2%
Unemployment Rate:? 4.4%
30 Year Fixed Mortgage:? 3.638%
Median Home Price:? $261, 400
Average Commute Time:? 22 Minutes

Breakdown of individual costs

 

 

Cost of Living Comparison

Cost of Living Charleston: 114

Cost of Living South Carolina: 97

Cost of Living National: 100

Most Expensive Charleston Area Home Listings on Trulia

Million Dollar + Home Listings in Charleston Area on Trulia

Source:? Sperling’s Best Places, Expatistan and Area Vibes

What to Say to Make a Charlestonian Mad

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By Mark A. Leon

You really want to know what to say to put Charlestonian’s in a mood; make us mad; crank our gears; light the flare of fury?? You get the point.? Not much makes us upset or fuels our loins, but here are a few things folks can say to locals to get them going.

Things You Can Say to a Charlestonian to Make Them Mad

  • Tell us we are not a top Southern foodie town – We take our food seriously.? We take our chefs even more seriously.? In Charleston, a chef can be treated as well as an A-List actor in Hollywood.? Food is a cultural apex in Charleston and if you step foot onto our soil and tell us we are just “ok” in the culinary arts, we will most likely send you out of town, but not before we give you a mouthful (words, that is).
  • Tell us that guns should be illegal – You want to strike up a heated debate on any Charleston street corner, mention the need for gun control or the elimination of guns.? SEWE (Southeast Wildlife Expo) is one of the biggest events in Charleston for a reason.? There are few locals without at least one firearm to go with their fishing and golf gear.? Many have multiple.? Careful what you say if you are a big anti-gun lobbyist.
  • Tell us we love having Northerners move to Charleston.? It adds to the diversity – Have you seen a “Go Back to Ohio” bumper sticker.? I would be surprised if you haven’t.? Since the economic slide in late 2008, northerners have migrated in droves to sunny Charleston.? They have looked for new opportunities and a new beginning.? The economy has recovered, but not the pace of the migration.? Many want to put the plug on this for good.
  • Traffic isn’t that bad compared to other big cities – That is a pretty stupid comparison.? New York, Chicago, Los Angeles are massive urban sectors with 20 to 40 times our population.? Charleston is a coastal peninsula that was not built to handle the roadway traffic with its current infrastructure.? Don’t bring up traffic if you don’t want to experience some road rage.
  • Tell us that housing is really cheap here – A one bedroom in downtown Charleston will run you about $1100 – $1300 with an average of $100 a month for electric (we need our air-conditioning) and $120 for cable and internet.? Don’t forget you have to pay an annual tax for your vehicle as well.? So $1500 a month for a one bedroom is cheap.? Check other parts of the country.? We are peaking up quickly as one of the higher costs of living.
  • Tell us we have ample parking for a mid sized city – In 2009, a parking ticket was $10.00.? Now it is $45.00.? The Battery used to be 2 hour free non-residential parking and free after 6 PM until 8 AM the next day and free on weekends.? Now it is 1 hour from 8 AM to 8 PM (including weekends).? The number of meters in relation to the activities (SC Aquarium, College of Charleston, TCF Bank Arena, Theater District, Restaurants, Market, Art Galleries, etc.) is not proportionate.? Also, the rates in parking garages have increased comparatively to the cost of living adjustments .
  • Tell us the dating scene is easy – If you ask around, you are going to hear crazy ratios of male to female with females having anywhere from a 4:1 to 7:1 ratio.? The truth is that Charleston is 52.5% female and 47.5% male.? Yes, females have an advantage, but that isn’t the core issue.? With so many transplants and growth of businesses like Boeing, BenefitFocus Volvo and Blackbaud, online dating has increased in popularity.? Add the factor of our drinking and social culture and nailing down a commitment is one of the hardest things to do here in Charleston.
  • Ask us if flooding is an issue in Charleston – Some of us may just laugh at you, while others may show off their insurance claims.? Many of us have more than one flood damage claim that we can lay stake to.? Either way, we don’t like to talk about the flooding.? It is almost impossible to avoid.
  • Tell us Hyman’s has the best seafood – Billy Joel ate there.? Their coupons are everywhere from the Visitor’s Center to every cruise ship that docks.? They are situated right off the market.? Still, great marketing, but not the best in town.? Not even close.? They are a fine restaurant, but they are as known in these parts as George Sink and Jeff Cook.
  • Ask us our thoughts on the Confederate Flag – Do I really need to explain this one.? Just look at any given local news broadcast since June of 2015.
  • Ask us to openly talk about racism and race related issues – We keep relatively quiet about any discussions about race and we seem to be alright with that.? We are not saying there is or is not an issue, but we reserve those conversations for friends and family, outside of the public eye.

There you have it.? What you can say to a local Charleston resident to get them mad.? Please don’t.

Media Release: Build With Strength Tours Cutting-Edge Charleston Apartment Complex, 17 South

Building Constructed with Energy-Efficient, Cost-Saving Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs)

CHARLESTON, S.C., May 3, 2017 /PRNewswire/ —?Earlier today, representatives from EYC Companies, Amvic Building System, and Build With Strength, a coalition of engineers, architects, fire service professionals, and industry experts, gathered for a multi-family executive roundtable and site tour event of 17 South, a 220-unit apartment complex under construction in Charleston, South Carolina that utilizes the latest innovations in concrete construction.

Built with Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) and concrete, 17 South makes use of cutting-edge technology, demonstrating the value in utilizing what is quickly becoming the building material of choice for multi-family residential, academic and commercial buildings due to its strength, energy-efficiency, lower lifecycle costs and ease of use.

ICF “is a type of permanent concrete formwork that creates the external wall envelope of a building.” Typically, it is standard reinforced concrete sandwiched between two faces of low absorptive, foam plastic insulating material.? Its unique, lightweight structure allows crews to construct buildings more quickly and easily than conventional methods, without compromising the integrity of the structure.

“ICF is faster than building with wood, [and] concrete doesn’t combust as wood does, that’s the truth,” said Eric Coleman, a developer with EYC Companies in a video released in August.? “When you stack foam against concrete, it’s the most insulated envelope… it’s a far better product for an exterior envelope of a building than any wood wall.”

Wednesday’s roundtable and tour was organized in part to serve as an information opportunity for developers interested in learning about the benefits of building multi-family residential buildings with ICFs.? The conversation went on to include a discussion of emerging trends in housing and development, innovations in concrete construction, and a white paper and case study examples that showcase the benefits of concrete to design structures.

The benefits of ICF are obvious. In addition to being easy to work with due to its simple design, ICF can be constructed in the winter at lower temperatures without the need for insulating blankets or a heating source.? It is also highly energy-efficient thanks to insulating properties within the wall structure, and it is inherently resistant to tornados, hurricanes, fire, rot and rusting.? It also has noise-cancelling properties, it costs the same as other materials, and it has a proven history around the world.

“Concrete has proven itself time and again as a vastly superior building material when it comes to strength and durability,” said Kevin Lawlor, a spokesperson for Build With Strength.? “When you factor in the speed and ease of use of Insulated Concrete Forms, the advantages are more clear.”

Additional Information:

Learn more at www.buildwithstrength.com.

SOURCE Build with Strength: A Coalition of National Ready Mixed Concrete Association

Charleston, SC Lacks A Soul and Backbone

By Mark A. Leon

The headlines read, “the end of an era” and “progress is upon us”.? We have heard those words time and time again over the last two years as more and more legacy businesses have fallen.

This week we learned that on the day a major developer signed the paper work to take over the property of the James Island Carmike Cinema, the theater was closed and all staff were immediately out of jobs.? Several companies invested $100M into two apartment developments on Upper King and Spring continuing the expansion North.? Nearly $50M has been invested into seven new area storage facilities.? The cost of living in Charleston, SC is 31% ahead of the national average and 51% above of the remainder of South Carolina.? Is this growth and pace healthy?

Yet with the hundreds of millions of dollars put into the “progress” of the city, the average Charleston driver is spending $1850 annually on car repairs due to bad roads.

At the end of the day, the definition of progress in Charleston is simple:? Bring in tourists and revenue and put your own citizens in the corner to suffer.? That is where the lack of passion and soul comes to the forefront.? We have elected officials that we have chosen to represent us and council meetings that hear requests for zoning modifications and approvals monthly.? How many step up and force the hand of our elected officials and say “Stop, we have had enough”?? Power in numbers is what drives change and we just aren’t there.? We have a responsibility to let our voice be heard and in numbers.? Off the cuff comments and unsubstantiated gripes on social while we hide behind our smartphones and desktops will not ignite change.

I recently spent time in Southern California and Lower Manhattan and experienced two vibrant cultures showered in individual expressiveness, warmth and an edgy, yet relaxed sense of comfort.? Two places basking in the arts and culture, fired by the loins to take-action and fulfilled with a sense of community support.? Both these areas have tourism boards and self-proclaimed proponents of the amenities they offer, yet the one element they lack is the in your face bragging that has saturated the Charleston culture.

In a recent Travel & Leisure piece naming the top 100 restaurants in the world, not one Charleston restaurant made the list, yet we prominently brag of our dominance in the foodie world.? It is evident based on the percentage of visual posts on social dedicated exclusively to food.? Chefs are celebrities and the prominent wealthy will drop hundreds to say they experienced what is claimed to be the best.

While at the same time, an entire tent city of homeless is wiped out.

Also, when we make it on some digital or print publication’s top list, regardless of whether we are 15, 33, 45 or 80, it is a moment of celebration.? I’ve often questioned, at what level on a list is a city worthy of celebration.? Then again, do we need to celebrate or can we take comfort in knowing we earned something special?

We claim to have the best Southern chefs in the country; the most promising BBQ scene around and the most creative menus this side of the Mason Dixon.? Yet we lack diversity in food in every sense of the word on the peninsula.? How many Vietnamese, Malaysian, Korean, Dutch, Brazilian or Peruvian themed restaurants are on the peninsula?

Let us move away from the food topic for just a moment, away from the numerous pop up companies promoting tee-shirts, hats, towels, blankets, Instagram accounts and anything that regards Charleston as “Heaven” and focus on the soul of this city.

Without the benefit of chatter trends, it is clear many have openly vocalized their distaste for increased traffic issues (with the supporters sticking to “It’s far worse in New York, San Francisco and Chicago), population growth and cost of living tsunami that has hit Charleston in the last five years.? Yet, how many attend the zoning ordinance meetings that vote on approval of all this new construction?

We want Charleston to remain quiet, historic and full of its “Southern Charm”, yet we don’t use the voice we are given when we elect our city and county officials.

For those of you that have ever been involved in a protest, it has value.? It is a collective public voice promoting change.? Its core values date back thousands of years and it has served to ignite some of the most important movements in history.? It fuels the engine of process.? How many protests have you witnessed in your lifetime in Charleston?? For those that are going to say the Unity Walk for Mother Emanuel or the Woman’s March, those were events of solidarity and unity, not protests for change.? The Charleston Five was a protest and that set a fire that carried all the way to Columbia.

I would like to shift gears once more and look at priorities in Charleston.? These are the top priorities as I see them from monitoring trends online:

  • Restaurants
  • Beaches
  • Windows and architecture
  • Festivals
  • Drinking (We do have the #1 seller of PBR in the US and as many breweries as shopping centers)
  • Dogs
  • Shopping

I welcome the debate, but I don’t see the following as high priorities

  • Education
  • Cost of Living
  • Roads and infrastructure concerns
  • Career opportunities and growth
  • Public safety
  • Flooding

In fact, we turn our heads to negative as if it doesn’t exist.

At the blink of an eye, we are missing a community that is ready to explode with a creative renaissance and a thirst to promote change in conservationism, the arts, homeless support, coastal restoration and technology.? From the thriving theatre district that struggles to fill shows outside the spotlight of Spoleto to the incredible work being done for sea turtle rehabilitation and dog rescue to a poetry scene that has elements of Greenwich Village in the 1960’s when singers, poets and activists united.

Charleston wants to show the world that we care about our planet and all its creatures, have a creative force that could compete worldwide and want to show a community committed to sharing, equal rights and support.

We are desperately missing the boat and we aren’t even interested in trying.

The numbers do not lie.? Charleston is one of the fastest growing cities in the South and becoming one of the fastest growing in the United States.? The cost of housing is 31 basis points above the United States average index and 51 basis points above the South Carolina average.? Classrooms are overcrowded, tourism has taken over as the top priority, yet we mask marketing media around “buy local”.? The historic societies fought behind the scenes for over 200 years to keep the peninsula’s rich history and esthetics intact and after one year, we have a mayor that has destroyed this blueprint.

It is fine, because we are Charleston nice.? We will continue to say good day to you, nod our heads and smile because that is who we are.? Southern charm is alive and well in the South.? I just wish we would look in the mirror and try to find the heart and soul to fight for a city we used to love.

Why Charleston Isn’t Always “Paradise”

By Mark A. Leon

If you spend any time on social media and frankly, you may have to be living in a bubble or underground not to, the phrase “paradise” is often thrown around when describing Charleston.? As an avid supporter of the beauty, culture, community and charm, it is often easy to do.? We also need to look at the big picture of a geographic region and understand, that reaching the plateau of paradise is often challenging or impossible.? Setting those expectations, can also set others to fail, by painting a false picture of “paradise”.

This article is meant as a tool of awareness that Charleston has its own set of challenges and daily wears.? Like any other city, we have our flaws and many we deal with regularly, while others are growing to potentially explosive proportions.

Here are some of the reasons, Charleston is not always “paradise”

  • Postal System Challenges:? If you are a local, the news that we have a poor postal system in Charleston County should come as no surprise.? From the long lines and slow service to the delayed delivery times, even for local postal items, there is tremendous room for improvement in our postal system.? Often, the daily home deliveries are inconsistent and not uniform.
  • Limited Nature Preserve Outdoor Options:? If you are an avid runner, hiker, biker or adventurer, the term Lowcountry has never had a more defined meaning.? If you are looking for mountains or waterfalls, the closest destinations are four hours plus away from Charleston.
  • Heavy Taxation:? Charleston County just approved in 2016 a 0.5% tax increase bringing sales tax to 9.0% (Higher than New York City).? Our restaurant food tax is 10.5% / restaurant alcohol is 15%.? In a 2016 study, South Carolina was rated the third worst driving state and this has resulted in increases in automobile insurance rates.? This author saw a 22% annual increase in insurance rates without any incident.? In 2018, the annual vehicle renewal fee has added 5 additional taxes to support county programs adding a 310% increase in annual vehicle fees.
  • Housing Costs:? If you are in the real estate market, you are capitalizing on a golden opportunity.? If you are looking to buy a home or rent, you need to do a bit of research, because it may be very costly.? We are in a housing bubble.? One that could grow or explode very quickly.? Recently, a house was sold on The Battery for a record $6.2 Million and houses throughout the county are seeing sharp rises.? This is also affecting rental costs on the peninsula.? In the Elliotborough Section, we found a 3 bedroom, 2 ? bath for $3600 a month.? In 2010, a two-bedroom ranged from $900 – $1300 a month.? Today, that same option is averaging $1600 – $2000.? With the added costs of utilities and internet, it is becoming a struggle to support downtown living.
  • Traffic: The only explanation this needs is experiencing this on a daily basis.? Whether you drive Savannah Highway, Bees Ferry, Highway 17, Interstate 526, Interstate 26, Folly Road or Calhoun Street, maneuvering through the Charleston area is nothing short of a driving nightmare.? If you have the unfortunate distinction of driving during rush hour or tidal flooding, the situation only gets worse.
Spring Street
Spring Street
  • Flooding:? Charleston is coastal living.? There is no denying the unquestionable beauty of the harbors and beaches, but there is also a sustainable issue about flooding on city streets and residential areas.? As an attendee of the recent mayoral debate, flooding was a critical topic throughout the discussion and remains today.? One consistent element the audience took away from the seven candidates, is that no one has a sustained answer on how to address and correct the issue.
  • Unspoken Racism: We are one of the friendliest cities in the country, if not the world.? We don’t protest or riot and we keep to ourselves except for the friendly smile or ‘hello’.? That doesn’t mean we opening believe in equality for all.? Charleston has a clear separation of black and white.? In economics, housing, lifestyle and treatment.? Southern racial tensions are high in Charleston and those that choose to ignore it, are making a clear statement as well.
  • Construction:? You would be hard pressed to remember a time in the last three plus years when there weren’t cranes, construction vehicles, cones or detours destroying the esthetics of The Holy City.? Drive down Lockwood, President Street, Spring Street, King Street, Calhoun or Meeting.? Watch out for potholes and construction workers.? It has been a long time since we didn’t have to walk through a construction tunnel or see a crane blocking one of our beautiful church steeples.
  • Affordability: We have a Mayor that campaigned on “livability”, yet failed to look at affordability as Charleston continues to grow to a “high end” residential and hospitality community.? With the new community taking over Sergeant Jasper, boutique shopping on Upper Meeting, Northern expansion of Upper King, high end hotel development and retail, Charleston is becoming less about appealing to locals and more about tourism.? That position was made very clear when in 2016 when Hughes Lumber, Bob Ellis Shoes and Morris Sokol Furniture closed (All local foundations that stayed in business from 60 to 100 plus years).
  • Identity Crisis: For those that don’t know, James Island resides under two jurisdictions, James Island and Charleston.? There are even two different garbage pick-ups in the same neighborhoods.? Is James Island part of Charleston or its own municipality?? West Ashley has fought for its own namesake for years, but it is still part of Charleston.? This identity crisis needs to be addressed.
  • Corporate Name Tags:? I moved to Charleston partly because of Jestine’s Kitchen and a local record store.? It was the small-town appeal that won me over.? Today, there are 9 Starbucks downtown, Five Guys Burgers, Chipotle, Panera, Subway, Moe’s, West Elm, Williams-Sonoma, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, Godiva, Victoria’s Secret, American Apparel and an Apple Store. ?We expect those corporate name tags to continue to grow.
  • Lack of Ethnic Food: Food is king in Charleston.? Hello, ‘Top Chef’ just filmed here.? You can search the peninsula far and wide (Campus Food excluded) and you will find a large void in ethnic food options.? Traditional Southern cuisine owns downtown.? There are derivatives of that theme, but still one-sided.? If you want true ethnic options, North Charleston offers the best selection.
Radcliffe Street
Radcliffe Street
  • Cooper River Bridge and Ice – I will be the first to say, the Cooper River Bridge is one of the most beautiful bridges I have ever seen.? It is part of who we are and folks around the world identify us by its majestic span.? Many years ago, when the architectural designers laid plans and built this bridge, it came with a flaw, falling deadly icicles.? We don’t often get freezing level temperatures, but when we do, it can and has shut down the bridge that connects Mount Pleasant to Charleston over the harbor.? This shutdown forces traffic to detour to 526 and 26.? If you have lived through it, you have stories, but we don’t recommend it.
  • Rise in tourism and drop in local commerce is driving generational local businesses to sell or go under – The local Charleston community has witnessed dozens of local businesses, annually, closing due to lack of customer traffic and forced increases in rent opening the doors to large corporate retails outlets with deeper pockets.? Yet, the city pushes “buy local”.? Unfortunately, that message is not reaching the masses of tourists coming by boat, car and plane.

Debate and expressionism is healthy.? It breeds creativity and ignites change.? We hope this article opens your minds and reminds you that Charleston is a remarkable place to live, but we have areas that are not perfect.

We welcome your thoughts, comments or stories.

Trulia Names its Top 10 Real Estate Markets Poised for Growth in 2017 – Charleston Ranks #7

Media Release:? Trulia has compiled a list of the?top 10 real estate markets poised for growth in 2017?based on five key metrics including high affordability, strong job growth, low vacancy rates, home searches on Trulia, and, because of the 2016 election’s outcome, a big population of Republicans. Did your favorite city make the cut?

  1. Jacksonville, FL: Jobs and a great location

Situated on the banks of the St. Johns River and oft-considered part of southern Georgia given its proximity to its northern neighbor,?Jacksonville, Fl., has quite a bit going for it. Why is it so appealing? First, there are serious job opportunities. Jacksonville posted a 3.8% job growth rate in 2016, which makes it one of the healthiest markets for employment opportunities in the state. Second, there’s an increasing influx of people — which contributes to the area’s very high ratio of inbound home searches on Trulia by out-of-towners versus outbound searches by locals looking to leave. “There are so many people moving here and very little leaving,” explains?Michael Paull, an area real estate agent. “There’s long-term economic stability here plus great schools, fantastic weather, and proximity to the ocean.”

  1. Cape Coral–Fort Myers, FL: Baseball’s king in the spring

Sure, the weather is certainly a huge draw for this area of the country. But the reason this metro came in at number two goes beyond sunny skies and 80-degree weather. One word: jobs. It has high job growth (fourth in the nation!) and a sharp drop in vacancy rates over the past year. Many of those jobs stem from the hospitality industry and real estate. And then?Fort Myers, Fl.?is home to baseball’s Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins during spring training every year, which boosts the economy even more every spring.

  1. Deltona–Daytona Beach–Ormond Beach, FL: No better weather

Weather is a big draw for this part of the country, which is probably one reason Florida features prominently in this list. Winds here are never strong enough to affect structures because there are never any hurricanes. But the area ranks third on Trulia’s list because of its strength in two categories: It has a very high ratio of inbound-to-outbound?home searches on Trulia and has strong job growth.

  1. Grand Rapids, MI: Rising up the ranks

Grand Rapids, MI., gets points for its affordability — but it’s also booming. Job growth increased by 2.7% over the last year. “Grand Rapids has had very steady economic growth, plus it’s fairly diverse,” explains?Jordan painter, an associate broker with RE/MAX Sunquest in Grand Rapids. “There are jobs in the medical industry, manufacturing, education. People from all backgrounds can find a job here.”

  1. Tampa–St. Petersburg, FL: Job growth in the Big Guava

Another Florida metro region joins the list with?Tampa, Fl. “With major developments like the Vinick-Cascade project being built in downtown Tampa, major jobs are being created,” explains?Terry Knight, a Realtor with Keller Williams in south Tampa. Plus, with the University of South Florida and University of Tampa in the area, education jobs are a prominent part of the employment possibilities for those looking to move to the area.

  1. Colorado Springs, CO: Enjoy the best of all four seasons

Colorado Springs, CO.?can give any of the Florida markets on this list a run for their money when it comes to climate. While Florida has sun and sand the majority of the year, Colorado Springs features “great hiking, skiing, mountain biking, all within an easy drive or sometimes a short walk,” explains?Jeff Johnson, a real estate agent with RE/MAX in Colorado Springs. “And to top it all, we’ve got a mild climate all year round.?You can go run or mountain bike in February, then get snow the next day.?Where else could you do that?” Add to that the city’s affordable housing and high job growth, and it’s no wonder?U. S> News & World Report?named it the fifth-best place to live in 2016.

  1. Charleston, SC: High affordability in the Lowcountry

There’s good reason?Charleston, S.C.?is consistently named a top city to live in the U.S. by the readers of?Travel + Leisure?and?Condé?Nast Traveler?— not only is the city charming and clean, but it also boasts a fantastic culinary scene, proximity to the ocean, and a rich history and culture. But beyond the beauty of Charleston are the practical reasons to move here. “Organizations that have a global impact such as Boeing and Volvo have chosen to park their business in our backyard, and in doing so, have helped bolster employment opportunities and spurred our local economy,” explains?Dan Garrison, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker. Plus, the area is high on the housing affordability index. “Charleston has already surpassed all of 2015 in total units sold as of the end of November, while overall inventory of homes remain low,” adds Garrison. “Recent data shows our region holds a median price of $240,000. Combined with still incredibly low interest rates, that makes this area still affordable, and most often, cheaper to own than rent.”

  1. San Antonio, TX: Lone Star living

San Antonio, TX.?is easily one of the biggest military cities in the U.S., and because of that, the cost of living in this Lone Star town is one of the best in the South. “There’s also steady supply and demand for homes,” explains?Lisa Sinn, a real estate agent with Keller Williams. “That means home prices are more affordable.” Added to the low cost of living are the steady job opportunities from major employers such as USAA, Toyota, and H-E-B (grocery store chain), making it easy to see why San Antonio’s on Trulia’s radar. “The culture here is also extremely diverse,” adds Sinn, who notes the city’s culture and history are added bonuses to San Antonio residents.

  1. Phoenix, AZ: Life’s a cinch in the Valley of the Sun

The country’s eighth-largest city has much to offer beyond its stunning geography and easy access to outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and more. “It’s easy living [here],” says?Monique Walker, an agent with RE/MAX Excalibur. “Even though it’s one of the largest cities in the U.S., you can easily get around from one end of the city to the other without encountering traffic and congestion.” The true draw of?Phonix AZ, though, is its affordability. “First-time homebuyers can find great inventory for homes in the $150,000 to $200,000 range,” says Walker. “While those looking for higher-end homes can easily find one in the $1 million-plus range. There’s a vast diversity in home prices, which is why Phoenix is appealing to so many people.”

  1. North Port–Sarasota–Bradenton, FL: Glorious in the Gulf Coast

The last Florida city to round out the top 10 is located in the Gulf Coast region of the state. While the weather is the most obvious draw to the area, it’s much more than sunny skies and 80-degree days that attracts people. “Unlike other Florida markets, this area is a full-time community, meaning that it’s not a transient- or vacation-driven community,” says?Robert Anderson, the top agent for RE/MAX in?Sarasota Fl. “Not only does it deliver on the natural beauty of its beaches and weather, but it also has the critical infrastructure — the arts, great schools, small to medium-size companies, small universities — that [is] critical to making a great community