To get an idea of Daniel Island's changing real estate appearance over 21 years, you don't have to go any farther than Chad and Angie Johnson.
The young couple moved to the island in 2001, when it was emerging as a development. Angie Johnson left education to join Daniel Island Real Estate and was a top-selling agent for newer homes.
By the early 2010s, the Johnsons had started plans for a new business. In January, the venture officially launched as Island Park Properties. Located just off the island at Holy City Collective, 142 Sportsmans Island Drive, and online at www.islandparkproperties.com, they bill the realty as "Daniel Island's newest real estate company."
According to marketers, "Island Park Properties offers boutique, concierge-level guidance focused on providing excellent service to their resale listing clients and to buyer clients seeking to find the perfect home." The Johnsons note that they assembled an experienced team of agents and other personnel.
The agency wanted to make resale properties a listing focus, says Angie Johnson, principal broker. "As Daniel Island nears completion, we are getting close to the time where everything will be a resale. We wanted to get ahead of that curve," she said this week.
Angie and Chad Johnson started a family on Daniel Island -- they have three boys -- and continue to live there. Chad Johnson, who handles commercial and residential projects, says the family is "part of a story much larger than ourselves here on Daniel Island. Our mission is to help others find their place in this story as well."
According to Charleston Trident Association of Realtors sales and price figures, Daniel Island's growth slowed at least for one year while costs continued to surge. Sales dropped 13.1 percent in 2016 from the year before to 312 closed deals, showing the third largest decline in the Charleston area. Median, or midpoint, home prices rose 4.4 percent in 2016 from the year before to $650,575 while gained 43 percent since 2012. Meanwhile, Daniel Island had the tiniest distressed property share last year, at just 1 percent. And its new construction market share ranked seventh highest at 17.9 percent.
Local agents see a similar pattern, as inventory shrinks on Daniel Island along with many parts of the Lowcountry and values escalate.
"Well, inventory is slow, that's for sure," says Jen McConnell, head of the Charleston Estates by Jen McConnell Group of Keller Williams Realty. At the same time, she notes more buyers investigating the market. They make up "all different price points; first-time homebuyers looking for condos on up," she says. McConnell currently hold one listing on the island, an $800,000 home for sale "in great condition" in upscale Smythe Park.
"We're trying to get creative," McConnell says, noting her team has posted on the Daniel Island Moms page on Facebook to see if anyone is mulling a sale.
Melissa Martin, agent with The Cassina Group, says traffic should picked up "the first couple of weeks after the cold snap" in mid-March. She's listing a 2,835-square-foot house for $690,000 in Codner's Ferry, one of the early neighborhoods on the island. The owners had the house freshly painted and installed a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. It's "just like a new home," she says.
The Realtor is upbeat about Daniel Island as a place to live. "I think it's beautiful, great location, right off (Interstate) 526, wonderful amenities," Martin says. She calls herself "well-versed" on island real estate, including the strengths of various sectors. For instance, "I think the older section of Daniel Island has great large lots."
Daniel Island proper sits off the I-526 island exits with the top-end Park section to the north and most every other neighborhood and nearly all the retail, office and attractions such as Volvo Cup and Blackbaud stadiums on the south side. At the same time, real estate agents expand the market to include nearby neighborhoods off Clements Ferry Road and elsewhere.
Jim Heslep, associate with Golden Bear Realty, lives in River Reach Point, about six miles from Daniel Island proper off Clements Ferry Road and "right on the Wando (River). He's listing a house on Jervey Point Road for $739,000. There are 72 homes in the neighborhood, which has a community dock. The residences are valued from the $400,000s to more than $1 million and sized up to 3,300 square feet. A few lots remain for new homes. "It's close enough to get to Mount Pleasant, far enough to get out of traffic."
Daniel Island's first residents moved into their homes in 1996. Today the island counts more than 10,000 people.
"We've been reflecting back on the past 20 years since the first homes were completed on the island and the community began to take shape," says Julie Dombrowski, spokesperson for developer Daniel Island Co. and its real estate wing.
She says Daniel Island Co. set out to create a small town within Charleston that would become an important location within the greater region. It improved with age. From parks positioned within neighborhoods to more than 20,000 trees planted to reforest properties, "the island has evolved as a beautiful location for living, working and playing."
Today, the island's downtown development is happening on both sides of I-526, Dombrowski says.
Mid-town construction include apartment homes on Island Park Drive with stores and shops on the first floor, a senior living community and a new Refuel gas station and market. Work is underway on Dockery's brewery, a first part of the proposed Daniel Island Performing Arts Center. Also expanding downtown: Blackbaud.
On the island's south end, the Edgefield Park neighborhood is taking shape. It's home to a new amenity, a community space called The Crow's Nest "which offers scenic marsh and wooded views," she says.
The new Ralston Grove and Nobel's Point neighborhoods in Daniel Island Park showcase "exciting homesite offerings" on golf courses and water. "We've saved the best and most scenic properties for last," Dombrowski says.
For more information and photos, go to www.postandcourier.com/business/real_estate/jim-parker.
Reach Jim Parker at 843-937-5542 or firstname.lastname@example.org.