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Mom's Choice Q&As

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Brigitte Surette: Real estate know-how

Real estate in Charleston seems to grow by leaps and bounds each year. What used to be a quiet old town on the water three decades ago is now a bustling metropolis with pricey real estate. To guide us through the world of real estate in the lowcountry we spoke to Brigitte Surette, real estate editor at the The Post and Courier. 

What are some of the most popular family-friendly neighborhoods in Charleston? Why?

Carolina Park is a very popular neighborhood in Mount Pleasant. The master-planned community has the area’s public schools located within it – Wando High School, Wando Center for Advanced Studies, Oceanside Collegiate Academy and Carolina Park Elementary. Plus the greatly-anticipated 40,000 square foot Mount Pleasant library is slated to open any day now. There’s also family-friendly amenities – a 20-acre lake, sidewalks, clubhouse, pool, green spaces and miles of trails.

Carnes Crossroads, Summers Corner and The Ponds in Summerville are three neighborhoods in Dorchester County that families are gravitating towards, not only because they’re near Dorchester District 2 schools, but because they incorporate similar amenities as those in Carolina Park. Parents love neighborhoods that have a “community” feel to them and are reminiscent of a simpler time when kids rode their bikes along neighborhood streets and there’s convenient shopping and eateries within walking distance or a short drive.

​Charleston is growing fast, but how fast?

The population has slowed a bit from previous years, but it’s still on the rise. According to Census information from 2017, 38 people were moving to the Charleston region (Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties) daily in the last two to three years.

When choosing a family-friendly area to move to, what should buyers look for in the area?

Good schools, of course, are usually the number one priority. Mount Pleasant schools are ranked some of the best in South Carolina and Dorchester District 2 also rates above average in the state. Buyers with small children will sometimes choose a smaller, more intimate neighborhood, as it’s a great choice as a starting point. Smaller neighborhoods with less amenities are typically a bit less expensive. When their kids begin school, they’ll seek out those neighborhoods that offer amenities where they don’t have to leave their community for fun. There are so many family-friendly activities that go on throughout the year, but master-planned communities are answering the call of what families want. That’s activities where one doesn’t have to leave on the weekends to seek out family-friendly things to do – they can find it in their neighborhoods.

What's the average home price in the Charleston area currently?

That’s a broad range, dependent upon which area. Mount Pleasant and downtown are still the most expensive areas, with median prices at around the high $300,000 and up and $500,000 and up, respectively. Lately, we are seeing a surge in Summerville with Goose Creek and Moncks not far behind. Summerville’s median home price is in the high $200,000 and $300,000 range.

Are home prices on the rise or holding steady?

Home prices are continuing to rise. Perhaps not as much as they were two or three years ago, but I think we’ll continue to see an uptick, especially in those areas I’ve mentioned. And, as always, home buying gets busy when school’s out which creates a demand…prices usually go up during a busy buying period.