To paraphrase '80s pop star Billy Ocean, "Get outta your car, and into my house."
That's the gist of The Post and Courier Spring Tour of Homes today and Sunday. Anyone interested in previewing the open houses can drive - or if it's close enough, walk or bike - to dozens of single-family residences and condos, brand new dwellings and gently used abodes.
The doors will open 2-5 p.m. one or both days in places from Summerville to downtown Charleston. A list of the residences, with photos and directions, can be found on succeeding pages of the Real Estate section.
To give a sample of the open houses, here's how agent Lisa Patterson with Brand Name Real Estate describes 7-C Logan St. - a condo on the market downtown for $410,000.
"Beautiful renovation - new kitchen with granite counter tops, copper farm sink, Bosch dishwasher and custom cabinets," she says in her listing. "Updated bath with walk-in stone shower. Top-of-the-line fixtures in kitchen and bath. Beautiful hardwood floors." And, to cap it off, "Great south of Broad location: Walk to wonderful restaurants and King Street shopping."
There's no lacking variety in the self-directed open houses, either.
Residences valued at more than $500 a square foot and priced for $494,750 are on the tour. So are places listed at $149,999 west of the Ashley, $165,000 in Hanahan and $166,700 in North Charleston.
Three brand new houses from Beazer Homes in Summerville can be purchased in the $190,000s to the $230,000s. There's a 1,200 square foot home for sale at $243,900 in Mount Pleasant off S.C. Highway 41; and, for $100 more, a 1,327 square foot house in Lynwood west of the Ashley. South side Chicago natives might go for 236 Comiskey Park Circle, located in Fieldview in Summerville and priced at $285,000. Homes can be perused in North Charleston's Summerfield neighborhood, Huntington Woods in West Ashley and Shillelagh Oaks in Ravenel.
With a weather warming trend, The Post and Courier Spring Tour of Homes comes along at an opportune time. But it's not just because of temperate conditions outside. Median home prices shot up more than 15 percent and sales by close to 10 percent in February compared with a year earlier in metro Charleston, according to the latest figures from the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors.
The region posted 791 sales at a $210,000 midpoint price in February compared with 722 houses at $181,334 for the same period the year before. What's more remarkable is the numbers were a bit lower than anticipated: The Lowcountry suffered through an extra-cold winter that included icy conditions and major road closures.
"Sales across the Lowcountry lagged a bit this month, but it's not surprising - it's tough for Realtors to get out and show property when you can't actually get to the property," 2014 CTAR President Corwyn Melette said when the figures came out.
"Now that we're headed out of winter and into the spring, which is typically a very busy season, we'll likely see those sales figures rise and get back on pace," he says. March figures should be released next week.
To locate open houses on The Post and Courier Spring Tour of Homes, go to the Open House advertising pages in today's Real Estate section.
Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or email@example.com.