The City of North Charleston was established as the ninth largest city in June 1972. By December, it was the fourth largest city after it annexed the Naval Base, Air Force Base and the Charleston International Airport. In 1975, it became the third largest city in the state and grew over 250 percent by 1982.
“All signs point to continual growth for the City of North Charleston,” said Mayor Keith Summey of North Charleston. “The Lowcountry is simply a great place to live, work, and raise a family. To meet the growing demands, North Charleston is focused on infill development while protecting our traditional neighborhoods, our greenspaces, and our quality of life. North Charleston is centrally located, close to major employment hubs and full of cultural and recreational opportunities. More importantly, North Charleston homes are moderately priced, allowing our homebuyers to take advantage of all the city and region has to offer without breaking the bank.”
North Charleston has a large, diverse population of 113,257 residents according to 2018 Census Data statistics.
“North Charleston has become a place of all ages looking to live and invest,” said Maggie McDuffee of Carolina One. “We see a lot of second homes as well — people use Air BNB to rent out while they’re not there. The vibe here is eclectic and diverse.”
As of August 2019, new listings in the area are up over 10 percent compared to 2018 at the same time last year. Like many tri-county areas, multifamily listings are on the rise. Townhomes and condos are up 14.7 percent year to date and average sales prices for these dwellings have shown a significant rise – up 21.2 percent.
What’s new and what to do
North Charleston is a hub of arts, hospitality, parks, concerts, sporting events and more. The City Council created a cultural arts department in the late 70s and it’s become the prime location for several area events. A public arts collection is on display at city hall that comprises paintings, drawings, mixed media and crafts representative of the Lowcountry. The North Charleston City Gallery is located in the Charleston Area Convention Center and displays national and international works.
North Charleston’s Cultural Arts Department is very active, providing both children and adult residents artistic opportunities through sponsoring creative arts workshops throughout the year.
Riverfront Park, completed in 2005, is the pride of North Charleston, set on the banks of the Cooper River. Once the site of the Charleston Naval Base, it is now home to the Greater Charleston Naval Base Memorial.
The location is optimal, next to historic homes and large oaks, it has an 800-foot boardwalk, fountains, playground, dog park and an amphitheater. The park hosts outdoor concerts, the farmers’ market and other events throughout the year. Each year, the National Outdoor Sculpture Competition and Exhibition welcomes artists from across the nation. In its 14th year, the revolving exhibit is part of the North Charleston Arts Fest.
Park Circle is a historic, turned-bustling-and-happening place with restaurants, bars, breweries and specialty shops lining its streets. Coffee places, bookstores and food trucks make it even hipper – the place to see and be seen. From hipsters to North Charleston been-heres, it is thriving with no sign of slowing down. On the contrary, it’s growing and there’s literally something for everyone.
“The walkability factor in Park Circle is off the charts,” said McDuffee. “Park Circle and Riverfront Park are hotspots for large festivals – Oktoberfest, outdoor concerts, block parties, Beer Week and the largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Carolina.”
McDuffee lists a four-bedroom home in the Park Circle neighborhood for $304,956.
North Charleston has over 50 neighborhoods – single-family and attached dwellings, some in mixed-use developments and others in older, more established communities. The City of North Charleston has been honored with numerous local and national awards including the National League of Cities Award.
“There is both new construction and older, established communities,” said McDuffee. “The majority of the homes in Park Circle are brick ranch homes that have been renovated to meet modern-day trends and building requirements while maintaining historic charm. Other areas, you find mostly new or new-ish homes, such as Mixson, Oak Terrace preserve, The Park at Rivers Edge and Horizon Village.”
McDuffee said she is seeing a “rebuilding and finishing out” of these newer communities. “These are all signs that investments and growth is strong and stable in North Charleston,” she explained.
Chad Murdock, New Home Consultant of Creekside, Hunter Quinn Homes agrees. “The future of North Charleston has investment coming from all corners – residential, commercial and industrial. Much of the development we’ve seen in the Upper Peninsula will be echoed here. It’s an exciting time to be in North Charleston.”
Hunter Quinn Homes’ The Tributary at the Park at Rivers Edge is set alongside the Ashley River, named for the tributaries that flow from the river. In a private area of The Park at Rivers Edge and gated, residents have access to the community’s amenity center – a pool, tennis, clubhouse, children’s park, walking paths and generous green spaces. Homes range from 1,450 to 2,010 square feet and prices begin in the upper $100,000s.
Creekside at Horizon Village is another Hunter Quinn townhome and single-family cottage home community where walkability is a premium – minutes to Olde North Charleston, Park Circle, Riverfront Park and five miles to downtown Charleston. Embracing the classic Charleston style, the homes have sidewalks and two and three-bedrooms. They begin in the low $200,000s.
Murdock said both communities are close to the Greater Park Circle area. “The Circle itself has various exercise options while the Old Charleston Business District offers restaurants, bars, shops and spas and other basic services residents need.”
Oak Terrace Preserve is a certified “green” neighborhood comprising single family homes, parks and green spaces amongst its tree-lined streets. The community has easy access to Park Circle, the interstates and downtown. Walkability ranks high as residents can walk to The Creative Arts Elementary School and Park Circle. Homes come on the market rarely and prices typically start in the low-$400,000s.
An Atlanta-based developer and various builders helped turn Mixson, a mixed-use community into an architecturally diverse and vibrant neighborhood. Construction began in the late 2000s. Homes begin in the upper $200,000s. Marketed as a “live, play, dine” community, it delivers with a Mixson Club, on-site restaurant and market, exercise facility, clubhouse and pool. There are also walking trails, a dog park and Park Circle is minutes away. Some homes in Mixson are LEED Gold certified. The average price for a single family home is $328,667.
New townhomes are being constructed in Mixson by Eastwood Homes. According to Jill Bagwell of Eastwood Homes, construction of the sleek, modern townhomes began last year.
“We just released sales on September 28 and they are selling quickly,” she said. “Two buildings are finished and one is under construction with more to come. They are priced in the low to mid-$300,000s.”
Cameron Terrace is an older, established neighborhood of single-family homes and prices typically range from $180,000 to the high $300,000s.
Wando Woods is near the east side of the Ashley River and I-526. The well-established neighborhood has oaks and tree-lined streets with both older and new construction. Prices range from the low $200,000s to the mid-$800,000s.
The future is bright
According to Sara Sanderson, a Hunter Quinn New Home Consultant for The Tributary, North Charleston is one of the best areas to buy a home. “North Charleston’s centralized location and affordable homes are a draw. There aren’t many places in the greater Charleston area where you can find new construction for under $100,000. Here, there are new communities that cater to those looking for quality at a reasonable price.”
Living and working in this burgeoning area has its advantages for all kinds of reasons.
“I’ve lived in Park Circle since 2012 and in the brief time I’ve lived there, I’ve seen massive change,” said McDuffee. “Several businesses have relocated here which leads me to believe that North Charleston has a very secure and stable economic future. Find a job in North Charleston or getting to your job isn’t a problem. Finding an affordable home isn’t a problem and one of the most favorable aspects is the area’s growth and the space for growth. When you have the space for growth and a city leader that believes in economic and cultural growth, you have a winning combination.”
North Charleston snapshot and timeline
• The City of North Charleston was established in 1972.
• In 1993, The C-17 Globemaster III aircraft squadron was established at the Charleston AFB which provided worldwide military support.
• Mayor R. Keith Summey was elected as the third mayor of North Charleston in 1994 and is now serving his fourth term.
• The Charleston Naval Base closed in 1996. It had been the largest employer of civilian workers in the state.
• From 1996 to present, the land that made up the AFB reverted to the City of North Charleston where private industry and businesses leased warehouse and office spaces.
• The North Charleston Performing Arts Center and Convention Center opened in 1999.
• The Noisette Community Plan was initiated in 2004 to promote revitalization, preservation, sustainability, recreation, education, cultural growth, health care and a “pleasant social atmosphere.”
• The Riverfront Park opened in 2005.
• Boeing Aircraft announced North Charleston would become home to the 787 Dreamliner aircraft assembly in 2009, providing thousands of new jobs.
• North Charleston has been recognized by Businessweek as one of America’s Most Fun, Affordable Cities, in Cottage Living as being home to one of the nation’s Top 10 Neighborhoods, in Men’s Journal as the national Top 30 Coolest Neighborhoods and in Green Builder Magazine as one of the nation’s Top Green Developments.
• North Charleston’s Park Circle was named as one of its 2012 Best Old House Neighborhoods by This Old House Magazine.
Source: City of North Charleston.org