Charleston charms home buyers

The Wall Street Journal

It’s not just a vacation and retirement destination anymore. This Wall Street Journal article from M.K. Quinlan highlights how a younger generation of home buyers is trading the colder Northeast climates to live and work in Charleston, South Carolina.

Long a popular retirement spot for snowbirds and Southerners, Charleston, these days is drawing a new crowd. “They’re much younger now,” said Charles Sullivan, a managing partner at Carriage Properties, a local luxury real-estate firm. “And much younger with kids.”

Thanks to the growth of the city’s tech sector and 12 nonstop flights to New York City a day, young professionals are trading in the colder climates of the Northeast to live and work in Charleston full time. According to the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, the Charleston metro area added 50,500 new jobs in the past nine years, thanks in large part to the development of multimillion-dollar campuses by Boeing, Daimler and Google. Construction is under way for Volvo’s first U.S. plant, set to open in 2018.

Stephen Hammond is a lifelong New Yorker and CEO of Lou Hammond & Associates, a marketing and communications firm. He and his wife, Mary, originally from Bedford, N.Y., made the decision to move to Charleston in 2010, lured by the high quality of life for young families. “Great restaurants, good people, excellent education. There’s no better place to raise a family than Charleston,” said Mr. Hammond.

Initially Mr. Hammond planned to work from home, commuting to the company’s offices in New York, Miami and Los Angeles, “but then we realized there was an opportunity here,” he said. He opened the marketing firm’s fourth office in Charleston in 2011.

Charleston’s charms draw a steady stream of tourists, which can be a mixed blessing for residents. The Charleston area welcomed over 4 million visitors in 2014, according to the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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