(So happy to have three of my waterfront property listings featured in the (Charleston, SC) Post & Courier, 4th of July 4thweekend! One sold quickly!)


Properties on local rivers, marsh, ocean see boost in demand even as values escalate

To live aside sea waves or rippling tributaries in the Charleston area, figure on $1 million — either to buy a home or land at full price, a down payment or with some money left over to pick up, say, a fine boat.

What a buyer can reel in varies, but properties would be luxurious, have water access and include prime views. Marina side condos, brand new houses and even a whole island are available.

That’s the outlook on Lowcountry waterfront properties, which attract buyers from the region and beyond and bring sellers top dollar.

Area Realtors says the market continues to be strong, although an historically lower total of homes on the market makes it more difficult to match purchasers with owners looking to deal.

“I think things are settling down, from what I’ve seen,” says Jane Stoney Cook, associate with Daniel Ravenel Sotheby’s International Realty. “There’s not a whole lot of inventory.” At the same time, the Atlantic Ocean, river and creekside homes and land parcels that are for sale are drawing robust values. “People don’t seem to be sneezing at the price,” says Cook, who is listing a 4,927-square-foot home in Kiawah Island’s fashionable Rhetts Bluff neighborhood for $5.2 million.

Figures are hard to come buy to quantify the local interest in waterfront houses and land; most of the findings are anecdotal. At least one national report from Zillow online real estate information service shows that properties on water tend to outperform those on dry land during strong markets but lag during down years.

“Overall, the changes in value between waterfront and all homes show similar trends over time, with the values of waterfront homes being more exaggerated (both up and down) than the entire collection of single-family homes nationwide,” Zillow says in its 2014 study. “At the peak of the single-family housing bubble in March 2007, the premium for waterfront homes over all homes reached 143 percent. Since then, the premium for waterfront homes has fallen: To 126 percent in February 2012 and to 116 percent (in 2014),” the company shows.

“From the peak of the single-family home housing bubble to the trough in February 2012, waterfront homes lost slightly more value (down 26 percent) than did all homes (down 22 percent). They have also recovered less quickly from the trough to the present:

Since the trough, waterfront home values are up 8 percent, while overall home values have increased 13 percent,” Zillow reported.

Among the more activewaterfront areas in greater Charleston are the barrier properties southwest ofthe city including Johns, Seabrook and Kiawah islands.

Maraide Sullivan, agent with Golden Bear Realty, has a condo on the market at Bohicket Marina on Seabrook Island and waterfront land for new construction on Johns Island.

She’s also listing Savage Island—an unpopulated property with bridge access near Edisto Island—for $1,395,000. “They are so different, which is really special,” she says. Each offer distinct highlights, including:

-Seabrook Island. A Bohicket Marina condo with three bedrooms and three and a half baths. “Perfect in every way,” Sullivan says of the condo. Golden Bear will have an open house 3-5 p.m. Sunday. Go to www.1922MarshOak.comwww.BohicketMarinaCondos.com

– Johns Island. New construction for less than $1 million ($975,000) in Kiawah River Estates. Visit www.KiawahRiverEstate.com.

– Edisto. An eight acre island all to yourself, ocean view and ocean access. Great fishing too, she says. Go to www.EdistoBeachIsland.com

Sullivan says the Seabrook Island property, at 1922 Marsh Oak, has the largest floor plan in the marina complex and could be a primary residence. She also envisions jet setters popping in for the weekend, noting the Charleston Executive Airport is a few miles away. “People can fly in.”

She views the island property, known as Savage Island, as a place for a family compound.

“The views are just magnificant,” she says. It’s priced at $1,395,000.

Waterfront properties are “excellent for families; grandparents to grandchildren,“ she says. From boating to fishing to beaching, “There’s so much for everyone to do.”

Cook, of Daniel Ravenel, says she’s seen an uptick in buyers renting out their beachside properties as vacation homes, in part to defray the purchase costs.

While she lists inthe Kiawah area, Cook also sold a house in her neighborhood, Bayview in MountPleasant. The waterside property has a dated house, yet it sold for just lessthan $1.2 million to people buying for the land and expecting to build a newhouse. “I wish I had 15 of them,” she says.

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