Charleston economic outlook: Real estate market expected to boom

Charleston economic outlook: Real estate market expected to boom
Published: Mar. 8, 2017 at 4:10 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 8, 2017 at 6:23 PM EST
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Home under construction in West Ashley (Source: Live 5)
Home under construction in West Ashley (Source: Live 5)
More than 500 business professionals and global leaders gathers for the economic outlook...
More than 500 business professionals and global leaders gathers for the economic outlook forecast (Source: Live 5)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston Metro is predicted to see major growth among several industries for 2017-2018.

The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce gave its annual economic outlook at a sold-out conference Wednesday afternoon.

Among the various industries, real estate topped the chart in predicted growth.

Data, tracked and collected by the Chamber's Center for Business Research, shows 19,616 homes are expected to be sold in the Charleston area this year. That's nearly 2,000 more homes than in 2016.

Those homes are predicted to average $330,000 for a single-family home, and increase in price over the next 12 to 24 months.

"Last year we did not see the strength of that market like it was," said Chief Advancement Officer Mary Graham. "So looking forward, we see that trend continuing with the great performance they had last year.

"I think that's a really positive thing," said Board Chairman Patrick Bryant of CMCC. "You've got a lot of people wanting to come live here, work here, play here, and that's all really terrific."


Jobs also ranked high in growth. Around 22,000 jobs are expected to be created in the next two years.

"A healthy economy means there are job opportunities locally," Graham said. "So that's a real positive thing, and that overall is what the forecast is all about."

Leaders with the Chamber site employment opportunities within Volvo and Mercedes', with those manufacturing plants opening soon.

The data shows 35 people move to the area each day, which moves Charleston up to the 75th largest U.S. metro by population.

With all the growth though, there are some concerns.

"With growth comes some things that we don't like, like traffic," Graham said. "So we have to address those issues too. Call your state Senator and the Governor, and tell them you want road funding passed this year."

The Chamber is for the completion of the I-526, increase in the gas tax, and a bus rapid transit.

Infrastructure was one area three global business leaders believe should be considered when looking at building a business in a specific area and increased growth.

"You have to have an attractive quality of life to attract people," said Ingevity CEO Michael Wilson. "Things like affordable housing, and commuting times matters to people and employees."

Visitor Industry

Another area predicted to see growth is the number of visitors to the Charleston area.

In 2016, 5,150,000 people visited the Holy City and beyond, taking advantage of restaurants, retail, and hotels. Data predicts the growth of hotel rooms to flatten over the next two years, as 4,000 more hotel rooms are expected to open by the end of 2018.

"There's just no question that people want to come play in Charleston, and that's exciting for all of us," Bryant said.

The Chamber says the visitor industry brings in $3.6 billion dollars to the economic, and support 40,000 locals with jobs.


Last year the Charleston International Airport served a record 3.7 million passengers and is looking at a nearly 5% increase this year. Several airlines, including Southwest, plan expansion of service in 2017, per the Chamber.

The Port of Charleston is also expected to see growth as more containers are shipped out of the Harbor. Those numbers are expected to greatly increase over the next two years as dredging for the harbor deepening project is slated to begin by the end of 2017.

2016-2017 Outlook

In the 2016-2017 outlook, the Charleston area expected to see a 3.0% increase in employment, 3.0% increase in transportation through the port, 6.0% increase at the airport, and a 5.0% increase in the visitor industry.

There were some areas which saw flat predictions including attraction attendance due to record rainfall and flooding in 2015 which prevented certain attractions from opening in 2016.

The Chamber has approximately 1,600 member organizations representing 160,000 professional in the area.

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