Hometown advantage Touted schools, retail draws, neighborly image drives Mount Pleasant’s real estate allure

A breathtaking view from this penthouse deck at Tides Condominiums on Charleston Harbor exemplifies the buzz that Mount Pleasant enjoys from its proximity to water and high-end trappings.

Margaret Swanson sold a property in Mount Pleasant’s finger of a neighborhood, Wharf Indigo, a decade ago. Now she has that listing again, a posh house in an upscale lakeside enclave.

“It’s a neat home,” says Swanson, a Realtor with Carriage Properties. The adjacent Creekside community, connected indirectly to Wharf Indigo, “is a sought-after neighborhood.”

This time around, the 3,480-square-foot residence with four bedrooms and four-and-a-half baths lists for $805,000 — a not uncommon value these days in Mount Pleasant. The East Cooper town definitely finds itself in a sellers market, yet few are stepping away from purchasing houses.

“The market’s great over here,” Swanson says. “Everything’s selling. I just feel like when it (a new home) comes out, it seems to sell.”

Indeed, the real estate picture in Mount Pleasant started the year sunny and has stayed that way. Realtors believe that homes for the most part are priced right in Mount Pleasant, even with dozens of residences on the market in the high six figures and up.

“They are selling. It’s not like they’re building the stuff and it’s sitting there,” says Lori Claussen, associate with Golden Bear Realty, who is listing a 3,310-square-foot home in Hobcaw Point for $845,000.

The median price year-to-date in the southern half of Mount Pleasant surged 16 percent from the same period a year ago, winding up at $411,915 as of May. In the town’s northern reaches, the median value rose 5 percent to $377,500, says Claussen, citing Charleston Multiple Listing Service figures.

“We only have three-and-a-half months of inventory,” the Golden Bear agent says. “That’s a very strong sellers’ market,” in other words, “good for sellers,” she notes. “The prices are increasing, which is not a surprise to anyone.” Yet the value surge hasn’t appreciably hindered sales: The northern part of Mount Pleasant posted a 7.5 percent boost in transactions through May from the same five months of last year while the southern area’s sales dropped just slightly, by 2.3 percent.

“I’ve not seen any real dips,” Claussen says. “You know, we had 118 (in northern Mount Pleasant) and 113 sales (in the southern half) in the month of May. The demand is certainly there.”

Echoing the comments about adequate demand, Kris Higman of Coldwell Banker United, Realtors says Mount Pleasant’s real estate market is “certainly on the rise.” Higman, who handles a good share of properties for sale in the large communities on Mount Pleasant’s northern fringes, believes the sellers’ market has spawned a more robust sales count.

For instance, the upper crust, gated Dunes West village saw a 5 percent increase in sales in just the past 12 months, she says.”There’s definitely an upward trend.”

Higman, who is listing an $827,000 home in Dunes West, keys on two “major factors” for Mount Pleasant’s appeal among home buyers. “They are definitely attracted to the schools, and they’re drawn to the beaches and downtown.” Over decades, East Cooper has generated a reputation for having some of the best public schools in metro Charleston.

Not just families with school aged children are looking for properties in the Mount Pleasant area. So are seniors and retirees. “The older folks are looking for condos,” which typically are smaller by square footage than single-family houses but can provide plenty of space for one or two householders, Higman says.

Clark Coker, agent with Carolina One Real Estate, can vouch for the condo market’s popularity among older shoppers — and younger ones as well. Coker and real estate partner Rick Atkinson are marketing a penthouse condo in Building 2 (of an eventual four) at Tides condominiums overlooking Charleston Harbor and the Ravenel Bridge. The price stands at $1,695,000 for the 2,675-square-foot property.

According to Coker, Mount Pleasant’s real estate activity looks “pretty healthy.” He claims there’s a notable amount of interest from buyers, even in the seven-figure price range.

The plush penthouse condo with upstairs rooftop deck at 269 Cooper River Drive has drawn its share of activity.

“We’ve had some pretty strong interest, a few different buyers,” Coker says. The appeals stem from out-of-town prospectors looking to purchase a second, vacation home in the Charleston area.

“We kind of see a diverse mix” of interested parties at the multistory Tides in Mount Pleasant. “There are retirees (and) a pretty good dose of young executives,” Coker says. “They enjoy the amenities” — including panoramic views, swimming pool and ground level parking — “location, turn-key lifestyle.”

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