It’s a familiar baseball term: “sweet spot,” the best place for bat to meet ball. But the transition to real estate is apt.
As an example, look at Ricefield at Carolina Bay. The neighborhood off U.S. Highway 17 South about two miles east of Main Road has been sought after since it opened in 2009. Buyers have snapped up 138 houses in the past two years. Then in early summer, the builder released lots in a newer section that backs up to woods and wetlands. At least 20 houses have sprung up since then, and another 64 dwellings are in the works.
“Now we are in the sweet spot,” says Carroll Loewer, sales consultant for builder Centex — a division of Pulte Homes — in its South Carolina Coastal Market.
The attractiveness of the lots hasn’t changed the relatively modest impact on the pocketbook. Homes are priced from $182,990 to $229,990. They range in size from 1,634 to 3,545 square feet. The six models are the Dover, Cary, Penrose, Camden, Charleston and Brevard.
“You can see how diverse the streetscape is,” Loewer says, while parked Tuesday along a street with new ranch and two-story houses and at least one “to be built” home, designed to the owner’s specifications, under construction. “This has all happened in the past five months.”
The section, toward the northwest corner of Carolina Bay, sports grand trees, including oaks, that drape over backyards; sidewalks on both sides of streets; and mail kiosks, rather than individual boxes, that are large enough to handle packages. Landscaped lots are one-fifth to one-quarter acre.
Ricefield is among the lower-priced areas within the sprawling Carolina Bay development, slated for 2,000 homes between Savannah Highway and Glenn McConnell Parkway. It’s for “someone who really wants to be in the neighborhood and West Ashley,” he says.
Among the purchasers are first-time homebuyers, retirees and young families. Some models, such as the more than 3,500-square-foot Brevard, are large enough for a couple with two or three children, Loewer says.
“I think a lot of people like this part of the community,” he says. To date, 14 Boeing employees have purchased homes in Ricefield, he says. Houses are designed with garages in front, leaving more space for rear lawns or to build six-foot privacy fences.
The Centex homes include standard features such as 9-foot ceilings, two-car garages, garden tubs and a full complement of kitchen appliances. Options abound: screened-in porches, granite countertops, upgraded cabinetry, separate tubs and showers in the master bath and hardwood floors.
Depending on the plan, houses come with three-to-four bedrooms and two-to-three bathrooms. Models tout lofts, first-floor owners suites, studies, formal dining rooms, great rooms, mud rooms and extra bedrooms.
Ricefield residents can make use of Carolina Bay’s two community pools, pet park and walking trails. Carolina Bay connects to the city of Charleston’s West Ashley Greenway for bicyclists.
The new section is close to a back entrance-exit to the neighborhood, where Halfshell Lane connects to the existing Sanders Road and then Bees Ferry Road. Retailers such as Walmart and Publix are minutes away.
Ricefield is a sociable enclave where homeowners meet on walks or otherwise talk to each other, Loewer says. “I’ve never had a neighborhood where (so many) people are out at night.”
Meanwhile, Centex is running a promotion where buyers who purchase before the end of November will receive a free upgrade to stainless appliances. In another deal, through the end of the year, anyone who tours a home becomes eligible to win a $500 gift card, Loewer says.
To reach Ricefield at Carolina Bay from downtown Charleston, travel west across the Ashley River Bridge and continue straight on Savannah Highway. Proceed about seven miles and turn right at a traffic light onto Carolina Bay Drive. Make a left at the Ricefield sign onto Cornsilk Drive. The sales model is on the right. To see the newer homes and lots, continue north on Cornsilk and turn right on Conservancy Lane.
Neighborhood: Ricefield at Carolina Bay
Location: Charleston County
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday and Monday