CHARLESTON IN THE NEWS:
Charleston a Draw for New Residents, Investing in the Nation’s Hottest Real Estate Market, and Business-Friendly South Carolina
Photo caption: Barbie Kratovil, Tommy Bennet, Bill Thompson, Lee Manigault, Dick Jenrette, and Carolyne Roehm at the Gibbes Museum of Art design luncheon. (Julia Lynn Photography)
According to recent press reports, people from all over the country are moving to Charleston, lured by the promise of a beautiful, charming and lively refuge from colder and less-friendly climes. Elsewhere in the media, the Lowcountry is reportedly one of the hottest real estate investment markets in the country and, what’s more, Carolina has been ranked the 16th friendliest state for small businesses. Need more reasons to embrace Charleston?
Charleston’s obvious charms and widening renown have drawn scores of people to invest in second homes here, including Ned Brown, who lives in Charleston and New York. As an expert on what it’s like to be a newcomer here, Brown writes in the New York Social Diary about his—and others’—experiences. His story within the story focuses on a recent luncheon at the Gibbes Museum of Art, where Carolyn Roehm was the guest speaker on the subject of design, drawing a well-heeled crowd of 300+. Roehm herself is a part-time Charleston transplant, as were many in the audience. Also in the audience was Carriage Properties’ Tommy Bennett, who was interviewed by Brown and had this to say:
“When I asked (Bennett) about his thoughts about the new people coming to Charleston he said, ‘They are really making the place better by leaps and bounds. When I was growing up here, the town was really stagnant. It is the new people that have made the most change. They get what Charleston is all about, they embrace the culture, they invest financially in their homes and in the community organizations (just look at the Gibbes or Spoleto, he says), and they are fun to be with.’”
Further, it turns out these newcomers were wise to invest in Charleston: According to national real estate expert Greg Rand, CEO of OwnAmerica, in a recent interview on Fox Business, Charleston is one of the nation’s top two places to invest (along with Grand Rapids, MI). Citing the high quality of life here and anticipated future demand, and speaking primarily of investment buyers, Rand shared his opinion that “if you buy at the right time and hold, the market’s going to revive. Next year? Probably not, but within eight or ten years almost certainly.”
The anticipated demand to which Rand refers can largely be attributed to the healthy economic conditions in South Carolina. According to a recent article by the Charleston Regional Business Journal, South Carolina is 16th nationally for friendliness toward small business. With an overall grade of B+, South Carolina was praised particularly for the ease of starting a small business, the cost of hiring a new employee, and friendliness of environmental regulations—each category earning an A+. It received an A for overall regulatory friendliness, and friendliness of employment, labor and hiring regulations.
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