Ever had the itch to become a property mogul or found yourself glued to the TV for hours watching re- runs of Million Dollar Listing or Flip This House? I hate to admit it, but I am guilty. With the increase in stock market volatility surrounding the election and the debt crisis in the Euro zone, many are looking for an alternative form of investment. Investors are ditching their Mutual Funds and low yield savings accounts in favor of a more tangible asset, real estate. Taking things a step further, real estate investors are focusing on markets that are showing signs of growth while still being affordable. This is where Charleston enters the picture. With the influx of positive press and industrial/technological growth in recent months, businesses and investors are taking note. In fact, Charleston was recently voted the #1 City in the World by Conde Nast Magazine. A lofty claim, but I as well as many Charleston natives would argue that our city is finally getting the attention it deserves. With the increase of business activity and tourism, many, both young and old, have decided to make Charleston their home and the real estate statistics prove this point. Year-to-date home sale figures have grown 12% over 2011. On the commercial/investment side of the spectrum vacancy rates are at all time lows, retail/office rent rates are at all time highs, as well as residential rental rates.
How are large real estate developers responding? The answer is simple; they are buying up every site on the Peninsula that they can get their hands on, specifically on the Upper King and Upper Meeting Street corridors. Smaller local development groups have taken note and are doing the same and they all seem to be focusing on three areas: food & beverage, hotels, and student housing. Holiday Inn has identified a new site on Meeting Street, Greystar is working on a mid-rise boutique apartment project dubbed Elan and there are new bars/restaurants opening weekly downtown. This is all part of a master plan for the Midtown area connecting Upper King with Upper Meeting. You might ask, how does this affect you as a smaller real estate investor in Charleston? The answer to this question can be defined in terms of proximity and demand. Unless you are a long –time restaurateur you may want to stay away from this side of the business and unless you have experience as a hotel developer you probably won’t get off the ground . This leaves one clear option; student housing. Limited rental properties on the Peninsula and large number of students attending the MUSC, the College of Charleston, Charleston School of Law, and now the USC satellite campus coupled with low barriers of entry make student house the clear choice for first-time or seasoned investors looking at the Charleston real estate market. Property values are relatively low with high rent rates ($900-1000 per bedroom or more) in many of the neighborhoods directly adjacent to the Upper King/Upper Meeting corridors. Areas such as the Eastside, Cannonborough, Elliottborough, Wraggborough, Ansonborough, Radcliffeborough and Harleston Village are all smart choices.
How do I get started? Rather than spend time driving around and calling off of real estate signs, call me and I will set you up on a search specific to your requirements. I specialize in the purchase and sale of Investment Properties in downtown and have extensive experience dealing with investors needs in the ever-changing real estate market here in Charleston. I can promise you that you will only receive properties that fit your budget and that have the potential for significant financial gain with no filler. Now is the time to invest while the deals are still out there and before real estate prices on the Peninsula adjust to the demand.
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