Among the many traits that make a neighborhood fetching, location is usually high on the list.
Exactly what constitutes a prime location is subject to debate. But it can involve twin attractions that are somewhat in conflict: being securely beyond traffic snarls yet tantalizingly close to shopping and jobs.
Such a “best-of” country and city combo exemplifies Deer Field Hall, an 89-home community from J. Meyer Homes off S.C. Highway 162.
The village is enough distant from the Charleston outskirts so that buyers can be eligible for 100 percent loans through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural housing program — the first such West Ashley community to be so designated, says Jeff Meyer, chief of J. Meyer Homes.
Yet the neighborhood is minutes from a new Publix supermarket and strip centers off Bees Ferry Road and just 13 miles from downtown. It’s across the highway from the Stono Ferry golf course, which is open to the public.
“We have a great value,” Meyer says. The 1,248-to-2,498-square-foot houses list base prices of $149,990 to $182,990. There are four floor plans, the Ashley, Beaufort, Cooper and Devonshire.
“For 1,500 square feet, you have a tremendous amount of open space,” Meyer says.
Based on customer requests, J. Meyer Homes is working on another two-story floor plan that will have the master bedroom downstairs.
Meyer says buyers can install extras: one property holder’s additions for a predominately brick home brought the price tag to $225,000.
The builder is in the midst of relocating its sales model from an Ashley design to a somewhat larger Beaufort layout. Carolina One New Homes is in charge of community sales and marketing; Kaz Ansari is the on-site agent.
J. Meyer Homes has constructed about a dozen houses over the past 15 months. “We have a pretty nice mix of folks,” Meyer says. They include a Medical University of South Carolina employee, two veterinarians and the manager of a retail store west of the Ashley. “He likes to golf on his days off,” Meyer says, and takes advantage of the adjacent course.
Community highlights at Deer Field Hall include sidewalks and wooded and wetland lots that back up in some cases to a former ricefield.
Designs are divided between ranch and two story styles. Standards are three bedrooms, two full baths, two-car garages and a choice between Colonial and Provincial looks. Brick and stone accents are available.
Houses are all EnergyStar certified, which includes third-party inspections and means power bills average 30 percent less than the average price for the same size home, Meyer says.
Dwellings come with nine-foot smooth ceilings, 42-inch oak flat-panel wall cabinets, General Electric range and dishwasher in the kitchen and 70-30 percent split on landscaped sod and planting beds.
Depending on the plan, extras include adding a furnished room and bath over the garage or installing fourth and fifth bedrooms. Tailored to certain models are flex rooms, lofts, formal dining rooms, powder rooms and extra-large master bedrooms.
The upstairs bonus rooms bump up the size of the one-story plans. For instance, the Beaufort model climbs to 1,700 square feet with the second level space. The price of the FROG is moderate: an extra $10,000 or so.
Meyer, a former chief of KB Home in the Charleston area who launched his own building venture two years ago, foresees a varied group of shoppers going forward. They’re likely to include first-time home buyers, newlywed couples, empty nesters, retirees and families.
“We will be in here for a couple of (more) years,” he says.
To access Deer Field Hall from downtown Charleston, travel west on Savannah Highway and then U.S. Highway 17 South. Pass the Main Road intersection. At the right bend in the highway, bear left on Highway 162. Go about four miles. The neighborhood is on the right off Mandarin Meadow.
Neighborhood: Deer Field Hall
Location: Charleston County
Hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday and by appointment