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Family Communities: Lowcountry neighborhoods with a focus on family

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Scattered throughout the Lowcountry are brand new neighborhoods as well as established ones that have a focus on families. There is a vast array of choices when it comes to finding a place to settle down and call home.

As our region grows, developers are answering the call in both urban and rural communities, and those communities are as diverse as their residents. The Lowcountry is not only rich with history and natural beauty, its neighborhoods offer something for everyone, including busy families.

Goose Creek

Goose Creek is in Berkeley County and the area’s population estimate as of 2019 is 45,770, up 17 percent since 2018 according to the city’s website. New listings for single-family homes are up 5.5 percent, and so are the number of closed sales in 2020 – up 15.7 percent from this time last year. That number has swelled for townhouses and condos – up 60 percent as of January 2020 compared to 2019, according to the Charleston Trident Association of Realtor’s (CTAR) latest local market update.

Goose Creek is attractive to families because of its affordability– the median home price in the area is $270,732. Between Boeing and Volvo, it is the choice of many residents who want a family home within an easy commuting distance.

Many neighborhoods are established ones with ranch-style homes from the 1980s, such as single-family homes in Camelot Village and Oaks Estates that are priced in the $200,000s.

Others are brand new construction, such as Lennar’s new community, Liberty Village at Brickhope with homes that begin in the mid-$200,000s and have a pool, pond and green spaces.

Carnes Crossroads, a large master-planned community and a sister community of Daniel Island development, has homes priced from the low $200,000 to over $500,000.

“The master plan for this community sets it apart from others,” said Jenni Johnson, Information Center Manager at Carnes Crossroads. “It’s designed to offer everything you’d need to raise a family within the community.”

Convenience is key to families and Johnson said this community ticks all the boxes with schools, daycare, places of worship, medical care, shopping, dining and entertainment. Lined with sidewalks, and encompassing parks and green spaces to gather, it hearkens back to neighborhoods of a bygone era where its residents interacted and connected.

“There is a real sense of neighborliness and community here that can be extremely beneficial when raising a family,” said Johnson. “Construction is wrapping up on a new playground in Philips Park, one of Carnes Crossroads' newest neighborhoods. The swimming pool in the community is designed with kids in mind with a beach-style entry, perfect for younger children. And, there’s an Olympic length pool with lap lanes for adults.” 

The first homes in the community were built in 2012 and construction continues in the 2000 plus acre community. Johnson said that there is a mixture of families here – younger families to retirees. She commented that there is a strong emphasis on education as well as “schools are building blocks for communities.”

“Carnes Crossroads Northwood Academy is a private school within the community for children pre-K through 12thgrade,” said Johnson. “The developer at Carnes recently partnered with the Berkeley County School District to make the addition of a public elementary and middle school here a priority and it is expected that the new school will open in the next two to three years.”

Mount Pleasant

Lower and Upper Mount Pleasant continues to be a draw for families, and according to CTAR’s January market update, closed sales reflect that. Lower Mount Pleasant realized a 35.3 percent jump and Upper Mount Pleasant closed sales surged to over 88 percent from this time last year. The average sales price is $716,288 and $639,999, respectively, according to their February update.

Snee Farm has one of the area’s most iconic and well-known communities, and it recently added new construction with the addition of Snee Farm Village. The first homes in Snee Farm were built in the 1970s. The community has expanded exponentially since then, with 1,020 single family homes, 148 condos/multi-family units and Snee Farm Village was allotted 42 homesites, according to the Town of Mount Pleasant’s 2018 Demographics report.

Chris MacEachern with Beach Residential lives in Snee Farm and said that it’s different from other communities.

“It’s one of Mount Pleasant’s oldest neighborhoods and consists of homes with large lots and mature landscaping,” he said. “It’s full of families and kids of all ages, and the way the real estate was developed and priced, a family can begin in a starter home, move up to their ‘forever’ home and then downsize back into a condo or retirement – it’s very unique in that aspect.”

MacEachern said that the amenities in Snee Farm “highly promote a family core and sense of community.” Residents have access to tennis lessons, summer camps and sports team participation – all within the neighborhood. 

“It’s a tight-knit community,” MacEachern said. “Prices range from $450,00 and up for single family homes and more affordable options for condo-style living range from $250,000 to $500,000.”

MacEachern said his children attend James B. Edwards. “The new Lucy Beckham High School is scheduled to open this year and is right around the corner.”

In addition to the George Cobb designed championship course and clubhouse, proximity to Mount Pleasant shopping and entertainment, Snee Farm fits the bill for family living.

“Families choose this neighborhood for the lifestyle it provides,” said Nina Freeman of Beach Residential.

Freeman is one of four Beach Residential brokers who make up the team at Snee Farm Village. The Village presently includes 30 home sites, located just off of Club Drive, adjacent to the Snee Farm Country Club. According to the Brightwater Homes and Snee Farm Village website, there are currently four homes available with prices from $689,900 to $739,900. Completion of the site is estimated to be within two years.

Freeman added that Snee Farm Village provide buyers with a membership initiation to the country club.

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“The neighborhood is in an ideal location – it’s adjacent to the only private country club in south Mount Pleasant,” said Freeman. “There’s an active tennis community and the club offers a number of family activities such as trivia nights, live music, kids club, a social calendar, dancing, a fitness center and two newly renovated pools. Towne Centre is less than a mile away and Isle of Palms is five minutes away.”

Constructed by Atlanta-based Brightwater Homes, the homes are designed by architect Sam Boyd and a design team assists buyers with a “one-of-a-kind” building experience. Snee Farm Village has two on-site architects, and there are several custom design plans to choose from.

The peninsula

Downtown, closed sales have risen 87.5 percent this year, according to CTAR’s February 2020 market update. The average sales price has risen 1.5 percent to $832,887. New listings for condos and townhome are up 5.7 percent, while closed sales for these dwellings have soared 100 percent from the same time in 2019. 

On the upper peninsula, the tony neighborhood of Longborough in Wagener Terrace has large family homes priced from $900,000 to $1.8 million. The neighborhood sits between Hester and Hampton Parks.

“This neighborhood is unique in that the vast majority of families have young children,” said Mary Lou Wertz of Maison Real Estate. “It is socially intertwined where everyone looks out for each other and new construction is valued on the peninsula.”

Wertz lists a home at 165 Mary Ellen Drive for $1.299 million. According to Wertz, the home is one of the most popular streets for families in the area.

“There are so many activities within walking distance – the parks, Upper King and you can end your day watching spectacular sunsets in the neighborhood’s own dock or two greenways,” said Wertz.

These homes are along the Ashley River and her listing is within a circular street, making it safe for street activities – biking, scooters and ballgames, Wertz added.

“Hester Park has a community garden, basketball, tennis courts and a playground,” she said. “Hampton has jogging, biking and walking trails plus beautiful gardens. 

Wagner Terrace is a mixture of modern and traditional architecture and ambiance – brand new construction, craftsman-style cottages and a feeling of a close-knit community. Homes in the Wagener Terrace neighborhood start in the $500,000s. There are both private and public schools nearby including Porter Gaud, Ashley Hall, James Simons Elementary, Simmons Pickney Middle and Burke High School. The Citadel and College of Charleston are within an easy commute. 

Johns Island

Those who prefer a more rural vibe to call home choose Johns Island. Johns Island has seen an uptick in both new listings and closed sales within the past year. Median sales prices and average home prices have risen slightly over the past year, up .5 percent. New listings for townhomes and condos have realized a substantial surge – from five new listings in 2019 to 15 in 2020. The average sales price of this kind of dwelling bumped up to $225,450 – a 42.8 percent gain.

The largest barrier island in South Carolina, it’s home to approximately 21,990 residents. Eleven miles from downtown Charleston, there is a strong sense of community, along with a timeless beauty reflective of Lowcountry lifestyles that have been depicted in movies. A diverse range of choices – from small ranchers in the low $180,000s to multi-million-dollar properties along the Kiawah and Stono Rivers, if you call Johns Island home, you most likely desire a more laid-back way of life.

“For many years, Johns Island was one of the best-kept secrets of the Lowcountry,” said Trish Bender of Carolina One Real Estate. “It’s a bucolic region of farmland and marshland between downtown Charleston and the resort areas of Kiawah and Seabrook.”

Bender said that the area has evolved into a “suburban mecca.” Over the past decade, five-star restaurants and waterfront neighborhoods have carved a space within this historically significant area, with an eye on preservation and conservation. 

“Most waterfront neighborhoods here took care in preserving the natural history and eco-systems which makes the island so special,” Bender said. “In addition, two popular Montessori schools and the Charleston Collegiate School are here. Johns Island public schools are slated to be part of the $40 million budgeted renovations projected for the next few years.”

Bender lists a four bedroom, two-and-a-half bath custom home at 2331 Rushland Landing in Rushland Plantation for $975,000. Half of the 126 lots in the community are developed and it’s located within 500 acres of protected land.

“Most of the homes here are custom built and this one was built by M.R. Jackson, one of the island’s most recognized builders, known for his keen attention to the smallest details,” she said. 

Bender said these home rival ones in nearby Kiawah and “guarantee a much quicker commute to downtown and West Ashley.” The homes in Rushland Planation are surrounded by the Stono River and marshland. Bender said interior lots begin the mid-$500,000 and go up to just over a million. The neighborhood has a large clubhouse, fitness center, nature trails, play parks and a community dock along the Stono River. 

Lennar’s newest community on Johns Island, Stonoview, has a “resort-like feel,” with parks, picnic areas, ponds, swimming pool, tennis courts and nature trails. The community is a couple of miles from James Island County Community Parks. Prices begin in the low $400,000s. 

“At Lennar, we fully understand that we not only build homes, we build communities,” said Guy Ackerman, Director of Sales at Lennar Coastal Carolinas. “We design our community amenities around the lifestyles of our buyer and we’re constantly challenging ourselves to pioneer unique amenities for our families to enjoy living in our communities.”

Communities geared toward family lifestyles remain a priority for Lowcountry buyers and as in most areas throughout the region, builders are responding to the ever-creasing demand. 

“Some of our newest communities being constructed are Summer’s Corner, Riverside at Carolina Park and Waterside at Cane Bay,” Ackerman said.

These new communities in Summerville and Mount Pleasant, with prices ranging from $280,000 to $614,990, offers any type of family a community in which to thrive and live.

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