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Charleston apartment glut raises vacancy rate, could lead to rent concessions

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An excess supply of apartments in the Charleston area could be good news for renters. Several new projects are expected to be completed this year, adding about 2,500 new units. File/Brad Nettles/Staff

Construction cranes dot the Charleston skyline for new apartment buildings while other complexes rise in the suburbs, and supply is now outpacing demand in the region.

Rents are still rising, but the glut of new units could be a welcome development for renters as new landlords compete to sign up tenants.

Because of new projects coming online during the past six months, the increase in units pushed the vacancy rate up to 10.6 percent throughout the Charleston area, according to Charlotte-based apartment research firm Real Data.

Rents rose 2.1 percent over the past year. The average rent for all units is $1,242, as of last September, according to the firm. That's the highest in South Carolina and higher than Charlotte.

West Ashley and Summerville recorded the highest demand during the past six months, but developers continue to focus on the Charleston peninsula and the region's central core, where 1,815 units are under construction. Areas around Charleston except James and Johns islands posted new completions during the past six months. 

With more projects set to wrap up construction this year, Real Data forecasts supply to continue to exceed demand, forcing rent concessions to rise because of increased competition. 

About 2,500 units are expected to come online this year throughout the Charleston region. That follows nearly 3,700 added last year, according to Atlanta-based apartment information service RentPath.

Storing stuff

A new climate-controlled storage facility is now open in North Charleston.

Extra Room Self Storage recently completed construction on a three-story, 105,000-square-foot facility at 8911 University Blvd.

Units range from 5-by-5 feet to 10-by-30 feet. Outside secured storage for boats, RVs and trailers is also available.

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The locally owned and operated storage company, with locations on Pawleys Island and in Myrtle Beach, will oversee leasing and property management.


A Charleston-based multifamily investment firm now owns a Charlotte apartment complex.

Blaze Partners recently acquired The Gibson, a 250-unit upscale apartment community in the Plaza Midwood area of the Queen City.

The Gibson, developed in 2015 and built on the site and legacy of a historic recording studio, offers residents a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedroom floorplans with designer-level finishes and an expansive amenity set. 

"The Gibson transaction marks over $215 million in net acquisition volume in the last nine months, the vast majority of which has been with a slant toward core-plus assets in markets and locations that we deem to have superior long-term fundamentals with transformative catalysts to further drive demand," said Eddy O'Brien, co-founder and managing partner of Blaze.

He added the firm anticipates "a continuation of this investment focus throughout the year as we look to prudently expand our footprint throughout the Southeast with a keen eye towards relative risk and return."

Home tour

David Weekley Homes is holding its fourth annual "World’s Largest Showcase of Homes" in cities across the country during April.

Prospective buyers can visit any model or quick move-in home in the Charleston area, and for each visitor who registers with a sales consultant, the home builder will donate $5 to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Charleston. Each registered visitor also will be entered for a chance to win one of three prizes: a $500, $2,500 or $5,000 Best Buy gift card.

For more information or to find a housing community in Charleston, go to

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

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