Get swept off your feet by the most intelligent real estate investment you can make.
Charleston’s charm captivates those who visit. We are blessed with more history than you can absorb, world-class shopping, fine dining, miles of sandy beaches, gorgeous golf courses, top-notch tennis facilities, ocean fishing and boating activities, historic tours and enough natural beauty to delight the most discerning palates. With these attributes it’s no wonder Condé Nast Traveler named Charleston the number one U.S. city for five years in a row — though this past year it was given a new category, Best Small City, to give other participants a fair shot. What’s more, for two of those years the Holy City also topped the list of Best Destination City in the World according to the same venerable publication.
So why not live here? Buying a second home in one of the historic downtown neighborhoods is a great long-term investment. Except for the minor downturn in 2006–2007, Charleston property values have been remarkably steady. And while residential property here is on par with other world destinations, it still costs substantially less according to the National Association of Realtors. The city’s beauty seems to preserve the values, but the zoning laws have allowed Charleston to live up to its 1783 motto, “She guards her buildings, customs and laws.”
Charleston’s first female realtor, Susan Pringle Frost, started the city’s preservation movement when she bought and restored several peninsula homes in the early 1900s. That area, on Tradd Street and a section of East Bay Street, is now known as Rainbow Row. Her Society for the Preservation of Old Dwellings became the Preservation Society of Charleston in 1957.
In 1931, Frost and the Society petitioned the Charleston City Council to pass the first zoning ordinance in the nation designed to protect historic resources, declaring an entire portion of the city to be a historic district, limiting design, building materials and restorations with codified law. That zoning restriction has held its own with every court challenge and, to this day, the historic homes of Charleston are preserved and protected.