Monday, January 9, 2012
Million Dollar, Baby!
I remember my mother calling me in 1995 to tell me that a house on lower Church Street had sold for a million dollars. We were both shocked that anyone would pay that much for a house in Charleston! These days, a million dollar sale on the peninsula is commonplace. In fact, the Post and Courier reported that 10% of homes for sale in the greater Charleston area have a price tag of a million or more. Wow! Most of these high price tags are found in Downtown Charleston and Kiawah Island (127 and 198 respectively). The newspaper reported that sales are strong in the $1M-$2M range but over $3M has taken a hit in this period of depressed real estate values. Some sellers in that higher range are forced to reduce their asking price by a million dollars or more. For instance, a house on High Battery has lowered its price from $10M to $8.5M. Some of the homes on Kiawah are mansions on large lots and can be classified as estates, but what makes the prices of the ones downtown so intriguing are that they are limited in size and space. To think that no more than 40 years ago in some cases, many of these city homes were eyesores because their owners were "too poor to paint and too proud to whitewash." How times have changed! But so have the owners. Let's give credit to the newcomers who have come to our area and given us a great sense of renewal by restoring these houses. But let us not forget that it was Charlestonians through decades past who held onto these homes amid struggle and strife, saving them for a time when folks "from off" would discover what we natives have always known - that we've got something here worth saving.