Charleston’s housing market jolted by young families, transplants

Single-family home sales soared 71% between 2020 and 2021

Charleston, South Carolina (iStock)
Charleston, South Carolina (iStock)

Charleston’s known as the Holy City — and holy moly are people making it their home.

The South Carolina city is seeing a wave of interest among locals and new arrivals looking to establish new roots, the Wall Street Journal reported. Terri Lee London, an agent with Century 21 Expert Advisors, told the outlet remote work policies sent locals looking for larger homes and potential transplants eyeing a different pace of life.

Sales of single-family homes in Charleston increased 22.8 percent between 2019 and 2020 before jumping 71 percent between 2020 and 2021, according to data from the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors reported by the Wall Street Journal. The median sales prices jumped from $975,00 in 2019 to $1.055 million in 2021.

Sales of homes for $1 million and higher doubled between January and October 2021, according to, compared to the same time the previous year.

“If you’re looking for luxury property in Charleston, S.C., you will have plenty of company,” Danielle Hale,’s chief economist, told the outlet. “There seems to be a lot of interest in the area right now.”

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London said luxury buyers are looking for ready-to-go homes in the city’s older neighborhoods like South of Broad and the French Quarter. Even touristy areas like Rainbow Row are attracting buyers.

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Cate Leatherman, a native of the city’s South of Broad neighborhood, has purchased three homes with her husband, a real estate investor. The couple paid $2 million for their home in May 2017 and spent another $1 million on renovations — a well-timed investment given median sales prices of single-family homes downtown have since increased 27%, according to data from the Charleston Trident Association.

“There was a time when older people were buying homes and using it as their second home, so the streets were pretty sleepy,” she said. Now, “so many families are moving here, and I see lots of kids out on their bikes.”

Buying a home in Charleston comes with its particularities. The city’s Board of Architectural Review must approve facade renovations of homes in the historic districts. The city is also flood-prone, with one Mayor John Tecklenburg’s main efforts to make the city’s infrastructure more resilient to flooding.

[WSJ] — Gabriel Poblete

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