James Island has one of the strongest housing markets in tri-county Charleston because it sees a steady demand from home buyers each year. For people who want to live close to Downtown Charleston and the beach, James Island gives the closest proximity. Last year alone, there were 16,070 showings among its homes for sale, and its median sales price rose 8.2%. As residents and James Island real estate agents, we’ve included below both the pros and cons of living on the island.
Why Home Buyers Want to Live on James Island
Closest Suburb to Downtown Charleston
Located just across the harbor from Downtown, James Island as a whole is the closest you'll find to all the shopping, sites, and restaurants on the peninsula. Its location makes it ideal for commuting to MUSC, CofC, and the Citadel.
Everything You Need is on the Island
You'll find all of your daily needs without ever having to leave the island: grocery stores, Walmart, lots of independently owned shops and restaurants, a movie theater, and some large chain restaurants like Chick-fil-A and Zaxby's. If you want to venture Downtown for more entertainment options, it's only a 5-15 minute drive depending on where you live. West Ashley's mall, movie theater, and Target are about 10-15 minutes away.
Living Near the Beach is Priceless
James Island is positioned between Downtown Charleston and Folly Beach, so it offers the best of both worlds. Most homes on James Island are a 5 to 10 minute drive from the beach. Some neighborhoods like Ocean Neighbors and Seaside Plantation are within biking distance.
Good Public Schools
The high school on James Island was the first charter high school in South Carolina and is currently the largest in the Southeast. Parents often prefer James Island Charter High School to Mount Pleasant's Wando because it's a more manageable size (almost 1,600 students). Compare this to Wando's 4,000 which feels more like a small college, and it's easy to understand why so many parents want their kids to be able to enjoy participating in more personal and less competitive sports, clubs, and classes. Of all the public, non-magnet high schools in Charleston County, James Island and Wando rank the highest (non-magnet means that you don't have to apply for them). In other words, all James Island residents are zoned for its charter high automatically. The 2 middle schools on James Island also perform well, and know that a renovated building is currently in the works that will house these combined schools. Of the 4 elementary schools, many buyers tend to avoid Murray-LaSaine because it usually ranks the lowest.
Two Drawbacks to Living on James Island
Higher Real Estate Prices
Any real estate market that has such a strong demand from home buyers is also going to have strong prices. The convenience and desirability of living on James Island makes it one of the pricier suburbs of Charleston to live. Some of the most sought after (and expensive) neighborhoods are Stiles Point Plantation, Freeman's Point, and Country Club. For more affordable options, you might consider the townhouses at Meridian Place, condos at The Regatta, or houses at Lawton Harbor or Riverland Terrace.
Not as Many Newer Homes
For buyers wanting an older home (especially a brick ranch) in an established community, James Island is ideal because it has such a large selection to choose from. However, if you're looking for new construction homes on James Island, expect to pay a higher price for a smaller sized lot. Because the island is mostly developed already, there are very few parcels for developers to purchase (making this land very expensive).
Could James Island be a Good Fit for You?
If you'd like to get a feel for the homes and neighborhoods that James Island has to offer, we'd be happy to meet with you! We can view some of your favorite listings, and if you can tell us a little more about what you're looking for, we can also make recommendations on neighborhoods that will meet your needs. Contact The Keadle Group on James Island!