Hot Markets: James Island and West Ashley
The total eclipse brought a lot of national attention to Charleston, it was a great experience to watch it from here.
Not that we really needed the attention, as being voted #1 City in the US so many times has taken care of getting Charleston well known nationally and internationally.
Demand for real estate continues to rise as more jobs are created an the supply side has responded and new home builders are starting new projects all over the Tri-County area. Johns Island is teeming with new projects! Approximately one third of all the homes currently under contract are new construction. In certain areas (like Mount Pleasant North of IOP Connector), that percentage is well over 50%.
Year-to-date we are up by 6.8% in number of transactions over the same time period of 2016. It looks like we may sell more than 18,000 homes for the first time in our history. Median home price is up a modest 4.9% to an all-time high of $255,000.
There appears to be more room for further appreciation based on a regression analysis of home prices going back to 1991. Many people believe our market is overheated, but we need to consider that a 4.9% appreciation rate is just above the national average. A booming coastal city like Charleston could easily be appreciating faster than that.
Mortgage credit requirements have relaxed a bit, but it is still very cumbersome to get a mortgage loan. This month we received an email offer from of an out-of-state lender offering "stated income" loans again. This trend could be a concern if it leads to the lax lending guidelines of 2005.
Two areas that have over-performed the average Charleston market are James Island and West Ashley (see chart). The rule of thumb in Charleston is that the closer you are to Downtown Charleston and to the beaches, the higher the appreciation!
West Ashley area is getting a new Whole Foods! Charleston's Mayor John Tecklenburg has made West Ashley’s revival a priority. A local investment group has purchased Citadel Mall and should be announcing some big changes there soon.