Home Runs: Ring of communities north and south of Charleston see housing sales bursts in recent months, throughout 2014

James Island's newer neighborhoods include Stone Bridge on the southern edge. The town bordering the Stono, Ashley and Folly rivers has been one of the most consistently strong in terms of sales and median prices throughout 2014 and heading into winter (Photo by Laura Olsen/Olsen Imagery).

Figures would show that the Hollywood, Ravenel and Meggett area west of Charleston posted a decent but hardly sizzling 2014 in terms of home deals.

Maybe so. But that's not what Bud Poston, on-site agent for Century 21 Properties Plus who runs the Stono Ferry sales office, has set his sights on now.

He notes that the upscale gated community in Hollywood saw activity in the just-finished year, but much of the gains are spilling over into 2015.

Notably:

- Local semi-custom contractor New Leaf Builders intends to build homes on seven lots on the Links at Stono Ferry golf course. Four houses are under construction and two under contract. Prices range from $419,000 to $495,000. "It's the first new construction in Stono Ferry in quite awhile," he says.

- Charleston area new-home builder Crescent Homes expects to start framing 32 houses on eight acres in the neighborhood sometime next year.

- Ironwood Townhomes has seen its best sale prices in 4-5 years, with larger units going for $260,000-$285,000.

- A 36-acre parcel near the Stono Ferry clubhouse that's the last big undeveloped property in the neighborhood may see activity in 2015. "We have a very high level of interest now from a developer," Poston says.

"We are excited about that," the Realtor says. "I think 2015 is a great year for Stono Ferry."

Poston's remarks showcase agents' enthusiasm when neighborhoods, sectors and regions become real estate "hot spots." Home shoppers want to buy there and owners can get higher prices when they sell.

Stono Ferry indeed could be considered a hot spot and would undoubtedly be eyed that way in the new year if all the growth plans come to fruition.

Judging from 2014 figures supplied by the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors, there were few clues that the village off S.C. Highway 162 would be in demand. While Hollywood-Ravenel-Meggett has plenty of other neighborhoods, Stono Ferry with 335 homes is among the largest individual communities and has an impact on the totals.

According to the most recent figures through November, the Hollywood-Ravenel-Meggett area placed 10th highest out of 22 areas in metro Charleston in sales rate, up 9.2 percent from the same period in 2013. Similarly, the western Charleston County sector saw median home prices increase 8.8 percent to $214,370 as of November from a year before, placing 11th highest in terms of the growth rate.

Sales-wise, the top five "hot spot" markets for 2014 would be the Wando/Cainhoy area ranking 1st with a 38.9 percent sales surge, followed in order by Goose Creek/Moncks Corner, up 20.7 percent; Folly Beach, up 20.4 percent; St. George and rural Dorchester County with a 17.2 percent rise; and rural Berkeley County, gaining 15 percent.

In terms of median price increases, St. George and rural Dorchester County was up 18.1 percent, upper Charleston peninsula saw a 17.5 percent boost, James Island rose 12.7 percent; downtown Charleston experienced a 12.2 percent gain; and Daniel Island climbed 12.1 percent.

Maybe the most consistent region was James Island, which finished 7th in its year-to-date sales increase at 11.8 percent; 5th in November from a year earlier, up 19.4 percent; 3rd in median sales price rise year-to-date to $281,755; and 6th in November price increase from a year ago at 14.1 percent.

As in past years, the sales volume leaders by region included the Goose Creek and Moncks Corner area, greater Summerville, West Ashley and Mount Pleasant - which the Realtors association splits into north and south of S.C. Highway 41.

"I can't imagine that it (Mount Pleasant) wouldn't continue to be" a hot market, says Lolly Fabian, a 29-year Realtor with Carolina One Real Estate east of the Cooper.

Fabian, who has basically retired as an agent in the past year, says during the housing recession in the late 2000s, the housing bubble burst in Mount Pleasant just like everywhere else. "It was devastating," she says.

But she says the housing market's clearly recovered. "Look at what Mount Pleasant's doing on Highway 17. We are all the way out to Awendaw. Before long, we will be all the way to Georgetown," she quipped.

According to Fabian, the state's fourth largest town with more than 70,000 people has a good reason to be a perennial hot spot. "I have lived in Mount Pleasant for years," she says. "It's an absolutely wonderful place to live."

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com.