On the cusp

Mansion-like houses on Daniel Island are as large as 8,068 square feet.

An eager tenant last spring filled out paperwork to lock down one of the rentals at Simmons Park, a Daniel Island apartment home village named for legendary blacksmith Philip Simmons.

The 269-dwelling rental neighborhood boasts Simmons-inspired ironwork, 24 floor plans, a 450-space parking garage, upper crust interior perks and porches large enough to envelop a ping pong table. Still, work continues on the top-notch rental setting, in line to open in August.

The project is in the pre-leasing stage. “We’ve already had good response,” says Dana Faith-Page, senior community manager for Simmons Park. “The first application was a year ago.

“He’s been patiently waiting,” she says.

The case of the long-expectant renter isn’t due to any construction holdups: the development’s on schedule. A more tangible motive is excitement about a plush apartment home community sampling the Charleston iron worker’s magical touch. Yet the early-on interest also says volumes about 4,000-acre Daniel Island.

“I would think it’s such a lovely location, so vibrant,” Faith-Page says.

The long-time farming stead and post-war cattle ranch-hunting preserve for New York’s Guggenheim Foundation morphed in 19 years into a 10,000-person enclave touting abodes from the $300,000s to the $3 millions, trend-setting computer and financial services companies, a quiet and walkable downtown, sought-after schools and family-friendly neighborhoods and sports venues that double as places to take in a concert, down a few brewskis and dance — but probably not twerk — the night away.

Real estate figures back up the excitement about Daniel Island, popular for years but suddenly hot as it escapes teenhood in 2016.

“The demand remains high for Daniel Island. Both resale and new homes continue to sell at levels we have not seen in a number of years,” says Rick Vale, broker-in-charge of major player Daniel Island Real Estate.

“With interest rates still at historic lows, we anticipate that demand to continue throughout 2015, and beyond,” he says.

Vale cites a slew of numbers to back up his points:

• Home sales this year through April are running 25 percent ahead of the same period last year.

• The average house price on the island increased 20.6 percent in the first four months of 2015 compared with last year.

• The amount of time properties stay on the market is down 14 percent, with the average home selling in 82 days.

• Available home inventory at the end of April stood 19 percent lower than the same time last year. Right now, there’s a three-and-a-half month supply of homes for sale: six months is considered optimal.

• Through April, homes have sold for 99 percent of the asking price. “There is very little negotiating when homes are priced correctly,” he says.

• Prices are moving up as the volume of homes on the market wanes: “The old supply demand thing,” Vale says.

The Daniel Island development’s first home sprung up in 1996; among the newest properties to emerge are 14 new homesites released this week at Nobel’s Point. “This small offering (has) some of the finest sites we have had to date on the island,” many with long range marsh and golf views. “Daniel Island continues to live well over time,” he says.

Over 19 years, Daniel Island has not only attracted Lowcountry residents bent on relocating to new frontiers but, particularly in recent years, reeled in well-heeled executives, retirees, parents and their children and young couples without kids from the Northeast and beyond.

“The lifestyle is just beautiful,” says Martha Freshley, Realtor with William Means Real Estate and listing agent for 51 Iron Bottom Lane, on the market for $1,795,000. She’s especially enamored with Daniel Island Park, the fashionable golf course community with clubhouse, pool and tennis courts north of Interstate 526. “It’s like being on vacation all year round.”

Part of the deal for the mansion-like house on Iron Bottom Lane is a club membership, which otherwise would cost $85,000.

Freshley believes the Daniel Island market isn’t overheated or lagging. “I think the prices are holding firm, not moving one way or the other.” Most out-of-town home purchasers, she says, are moving here full time as opposed to buying a second home. It’s not just seniors who are lured to Daniel Island. “I’ve sold to empty nesters and families.”

Faith-Page, who manages Simmons Park for Charleston-based apartment titan Greystar, says Daniel Island’s been able to comfortably absorb new apartment units, including at Daniel Island Village and nearby Talison Row.

“There’s room for us.”

Simmons Park, she says, offers luxury studio-to-three-bedroom apartment homes boasting kitchens with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and 42-inch custom cabinets. Amenities include a swimming pool, outdoor fireplace, three outdoor kitchens, yoga studio, fitness center and 100 percent smoke free living.

“When you feel the need to leave home, the finest choices in dining, shopping, and entertainment are all just steps away,” says Faith-Page, noting how the community sits near the “downtown” intersection of Seven Farms and River Landing drives. “Not everybody needs a big home,” she says. Some people want “the opportunity to be more flexible and live a great lifestyle.”

Another sign of Daniel Island’s appeal involves the pricing of homes for sale. Ryan Tisdale, Realtor with Carolina One Real Estate, lists 711 Cunningham St., a 2,355-square-foot “bungalow” in Daniel Island Park, for $800,000.

“I am encouraging sellers to go a little stronger than they would,” Tisdale says. There’s a buzz now about the Lowcountry as a world-class manufacturing market, home to Boeing’s state-of-the-art aircraft plant in North Charleston and in time, Volvo, which just announced a $500 million auto factory for Berkeley County.

“So many people are flocking to Charleston,” he says. And, they have money: at least 25 homes for sale on Daniel Island are priced at $1 million or more. “It’s amazing how fast things are growing.”

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