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Charleston among 24 least affordable US housing regions; Greenville in 28 most affordable

Charleston aerial

A new report lists the Charleston area as one of the 24 least affordable housing regions in the U.S. File/Lauren Petracca/Staff

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Charleston among 24 least affordable US housing regions

Housing costs throughout the Charleston area are through the roof, and a new report punctuates the problem of being able to buy a home in what's quickly becoming one of the most desirable places to live in the U.S.

The Charleston area is one of 24 least affordable regions in the nation among 113 metro areas studied by the Urban Land Institute after using several variables in its 2021 Home Attainability Index.

The report looked at areas by regions, which means some metro areas such as San Diego and Carlsbad in California were lumped together. The index did not rank regions individually because of all the different factors.

But in a breakdown of individual metro areas by median home price within the report, Charleston comes in as the 28th most expensive at $262,000.

That's higher than No. 41 Charlotte at $230,000, No. 47 Atlanta at $218,000, No. 62 Greenville-Spartanburg at $194,000, and No. 80 Columbia at $160,000.

The only Carolina city to rank higher than Charleston is Raleigh. It's No. 25 with a median home price of $285,000.

Among the 28 most affordable regions in the nation are three in or bordering South Carolina. They include Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, Augusta-Richmond County, and Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia.

And while home prices are high in the Charleston area, they are a bargain compared to some parts of the country.

The median home price in the San Francisco area is $1.26 million. Around Los Angeles it's $589,000. In the New York City metro area it's $425,000, and around Washington, D.C., the median price comes in at $360,000.

Of course, the price to buy a home in Charleston hasn't slowed down sales in the region. See the story below for details on the hot housing market.

It should be noted the report uses figures from 2018 for median home prices because they are tied to occupations and earnings for that year. The actual median home price in the Charleston area last year was $300,000.

While home prices have increased practically everywhere over the past three years, the ULI report gives a glimpse of where cities stand on pricing.

The extensive ULI report delved into several factors besides median home price. They include overall affordability, homeownership attainability, rental attainability, neighborhood opportunity and access and housing production. 

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Sold sign in Summers Corner

Home sales across the Charleston region continued to be brisk in March. For the year, transactions are up more than 1,000 compared to the first three months of 2020. Warren L. Wise/Staff

Home sales surpass 1Q 2020 by more than 1,000

Residential transactions throughout Charleston soared 28 percent in March with more than 2,100 homes changing hands. For the year, sales are up 26 percent over the first three months of last year to more than 5,200 homes.

By the numbers

5: Number of new food-and-beverage venues arriving in the Charleston area, including a restaurant that has been restored and rebranded after a fire heavily damaged it in 2020. 

8,800: Square footage of a new retail/office development slated on Maybank Highway near River Road on Johns Island.

865,000: Square feet of available sublease office space in the Charleston market during the first quarter of 2021, four times more than were available at the end of 2019 before the pandemic sent office workers home to work remotely last year and new construction added more inventory in the interim.

This week in real estate

+ Paying the rent: SC has $346 million to help with overdue rent and utility bills. Here's how to get it.

+ Under fire: SC cities sue Airbnb, other short-term rental companies for not paying taxes.

+ Short-term bookings: SC's Airbnb listings grew during the pandemic, especially in one destination.

Rooftop bar requested for King Street building that sold for $2.66M

304 King St. aerial view

The owners of the building outlined in blue at 304 King St. want to add a rooftop bar. The building recently sold for $2.66 million. LS3P/City of Charleston Board of Zoning Appeals/Provided

The owner of the building at 304 King St. (outlined in blue) in downtown Charleston is asking the city for a variance to add a rooftop bar on the 123-year-old building that has sat vacant for the past five years before being sold recently.

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Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524. Follow him on Twitter @warrenlancewise.

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