Taking a Gander: Homebuyers flock to Goose Creek for value-priced new and existing models, proximity to retailers and jobs

Avenues of live oaks spotlight The Oaks community off Red Bank and Howe Hall roads in Goose Creek (Photo by Laura Olsen/Olsen Imagery).

In some parts of metro Charleston, landing a decade-old 1,800 square foot home in a quiet residential neighborhood for less than $200,000 would be rare indeed.

Not so Goose Creek. Sporting a population of 36,000, the Berkeley County city continues to expand as home shoppers find residences that suit their needs at attractive, and occasionally bargain, prices.

"I think Goose Creek is really coming back," says Maggie Curtis, agent with Coldwell Banker United, Realtors who recently listed a four-bedroom, 1,806 square foot home in Woodland Lakes for $175,000.

"We've had sales, because of the pricing," she says. Value rates appeal to first-time homeowners, Curtis says. Sometimes, a close-by employer makes a difference, such as "for someone working at the Naval Nuclear Power (Training) School," she says.

There's more. Bloomberg Businessweek named Goose Creek the "Best Place to Raise Kids in South Carolina" in 2010-11.

Major companies such as Boeing in North Charleston and Alcoa off U.S. Highway 52 are minutes away. And the Naval Weapons Station, including the nuclear training school, calls Goose Creek home.

"There's a lot going on up there," Curtis says.

Goose Creek posts an alluring, median family income of $60,668, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Its priciest and most sizable homes - up to 3,700 square feet and half a million dollars - rise in established Crowfield Plantation, the more-than-30-year-old master community with lake, pool and golf course developed by Westvaco's real estate arm at the time.

On the south side of town, The Oaks grew up as a country clubbish enclave surrounding a golf course and fancy dining spot.

More recently, the city's sprouted sizable new-home neighborhoods not quite as large as Crowfield but notable nonetheless. Liberty Hall Plantation boasts more than 800 residences, and Brickhope touts a host of builders along the proposed extension of Henry Brown Parkway. Other growth corridors include the upper edges of Foster Creek Road north of Tanner Plantation and new neighborhoods off St. James Avenue on the city's northern outskirts.

The latest big project to pop up is Carnes Crossroads, one of the most ambitious new communities with thousands of upscale houses planned to be framed by a series of new-home and custom builders at U.S. highways 176 and 17A.

George Pitt keeps a close eye on the Berkeley County city's housing market, considering he's a Stratford Forest resident for the past 20-plus years and as an agent for Coastalina Realty.

"I'm a transplant from Phoenix, Arizona," he says. "I came here in 1990." He calls Stratford Forest, a village in Crowfield Plantation, "peaceful and quiet." Crowfield sports a "great golf course." It's close to Interstate 526. "We have a lot of the Boeing folks here," he says.

Pitt and his wife also own a mortgage company. "Basically we have it (the real estate market) cornered both ways," he quipped.

He lists a three-bedroom, 1,600 square foot home on Westerfield Drive in Crowfield for $172,000. "The neighborhood's number one; it's got everything," he says. "The home is spotless - landscaped, pop-up sprinklers, new floors (and) roof."

As a residential community, "Goose Creek is easy access to Summerville and North Charleston" for shopping and employment, Pitt says. Price deals entice residential shoppers. In choosing Goose Creek, "They want a bigger home (for the money)," he says.

Kim Meyer, also a local agent, has priced a 1,945 square foot home in Brickhope Greens at $199,000. She points out the city's appealing home market pricewise and its proximity to higher paying jobs.

Goose Creek offers "a fantastic central location close to all major employment centers such as Boeing, SPAWAR and Alcoa, not to mention very convenient to shopping and recreation," says Meyer, Realtor with The Meyer/Potts team of Keller Williams Realty and wife of local home builder Jeff Meyer.

New neighborhoods draw many homebuyers, too, says Walter Mueller, broker associate with Seaboard Real Estate and Financial Services in Mount Pleasant.

"Liberty Hall Plantation community is very popular, with year-to-date single family home sales totaling 50 sales (and) the average days on market of just 53 days. The average price was $86 per square foot," he says.

Mueller lists a five-year-old 2,476-square-foot home in Liberty Hall for $219,900.

The house, at 226 Old Savannah Drive, "is a gorgeous Charleston single with four bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths, located on a quiet cul-de-sac." A wetland buffer along the rear of the homesite provides "plenty of privacy," he says.

Goose Creek's growth pattern shouldn't slow down anytime soon, local real estate agents say.

"You've got a lot of new consumers coming up," says Kory Roscoe, Realtor with Keller Williams.

He's listed a 1,972 square foot, four bedroom house on Stonehurst Drive in Crowfield for $195,000, recently reducing the price by $5,000.

"From what I've seen, there's quite a few homes on the market (in Goose Creek)," he says. "It's not far from North Charleston, the (U.S.) Highway 78 loop down, I-526. You can get pretty much everywhere in 20 minutes."

To reach Goose Creek from downtown Charleston, travel west on Interstate 26. Take exit 209A for the U.S. Highway 52 main road through the city and to reach St. James Avenue. Also from I-26, head east on I-526 to the North Rhett Avenue exit and continue north to Red Bank Road and beyond.

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

- Location: Berkeley County

- Number of homes: More than 5,000

- Square footage: 600-4,000

- Look & feel: A bedroom community that basically borders North Charleston, Summerville and Moncks Corner, greater Goose Creek sports its own distinct character. Working class neighborhoods spring up along Red Bank Road, which terminates at the Naval Weapons Station gate. New neighborhoods dot the eastern regions of Liberty Hall and Montague Plantation roads. Developed by a Daniel Island Co. offshoot, Carnes Crossroads at U.S. highways 17A and 176 prepares to launch hundreds of high-end residences. Tree-lined Crowfield Plantation, which dominates the city center, first sprouted upscale residences in the 1970s and includes a golf course and swimming pool. A central crossroads is Highway 52, St. James Avenue running at a angle and railroad tracks. Goose Creek supports major employers such as Alcoa, Parker Hannifin and Google.

- Homes on market: 316

- List prices: $39,590-$500,000

- Schools: Goose Creek and Westview primary; Boulder Bluff, Devon Forest, Howe Hall AIMS, Marrington and Westview elementary; Sedgefield Middle, Sedgefield Intermediate, Marrington Middle School of the Arts and Westview Middle; Goose Creek and Stratford high.

- Fun facts: Sciway online information site says no one knows for sure how Goose Creek got its name but people have suggested the gooseneck turns in the creek through town, waterway geese and Native American origins; a 1969 survey ranked Goose Creek the fastest growing area in the U.S.