The facts of residential real estate have remained consistent in 2017. In year-overyear comparisons, the number of homes for sale has been fewer in most locales, and homes have been selling in fewer days for higher prices. This hasn’t always been true, but it has been a common enough storyline to make it an overarching trend for the year.
New tax legislation could have ramifications on housing. The White House believes that the tax reform bill will have a small impact on home prices, lowering them by less than 4 percent, and could conceivably boost homeownership. The National Association of REALTORS® has stated that eliminating the mortgage interest deduction could hurt housing, as the doubled standard deduction would reduce the desire to take out a mortgage and itemize the interest associated with it, thus reducing demand.
New Listings + 6.7% | Pending Sales +16.6% | Inventory -12.1%
Market Statistics by Area
Charleston’s cemeteries are worth seeing year-round, but autumn is one of the best times to visit. Mild temperatures have finally replaced the oppressive summer humidity, and the fall foliage provides the perfect backdrop to the Holy City’s beautiful cemeteries.
The stunning architecture, gorgeous gardens, and rich history of Charleston’s cemeteries attract locals and visitors alike. While there are countless cemeteries in the Holy City that are begging to be explored, we’ve rounded up a few that simply can’t be missed.
Here is your local’s guide to Charleston’s most unforgettable cemeteries:
Sprawling with live oaks draped in Spanish moss, Magnolia Cemetery is a place of ancient, Southern beauty. Located north of downtown Charleston, the cemetery is a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Founded in 1849 and opened in 1850, Magnolia Cemetery is the oldest public cemetery in Charleston and is home to many prominent Southern families and politicians, including Thomas Bennett, Langdon Cheves, William Aiken, Jr., and Robert Barnwell Rhett.
The burial grounds are also the final resting place of many Confederate soldiers and five generals, as well as the entire crew of the H.L. Hunley, the famous Civil War submarine that sunk after its attack upon the Union warship known as the U.S.S. Housatonic. If you are one of the many visitors who is fascinated by the Hunley crew, then consider touring the Hunley on the old Charleston Navy Base in North Charleston.
Today, Magnolia Cemetery is one of the best examples of Victorian architecture and features an array of historic monuments on her grounds.
Insider Tip: If you’re visiting Charleston in mid-October, the annual Confederate Ghost Walk at Magnolia Cemetery is a must-see event. This 1.5-hour tour is presented by over 200 actors who will reenact historic scenarios in candlelight. You can get your tickets here.
Coming Street Cemetery
Founded in 1762 by Sephardi Jews, Coming Street Cemetery is the oldest Jewish cemetery in the South and the second oldest Jewish cemetery in the United States. Located downtown in the Cannonborough and Elliottborough neighborhood, the cemetery is owned by the Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim (KKBE) Congregation and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Coming Street Cemetery is the final resting place of many famous Jewish Charlestonians, including Dr. Columbus DaVega, who designed and built a floating infirmary ship during the Civil War, and Moses D. Cohen, Beth Elohim’s first religious leader. You’ll also find the tombstones of those who fought in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Seminole Wars, and the Civil War.
Insider Tip: Don’t think that you can stop by the cemetery at any time. The Coming Street cemetery can be toured by appointment only, so be sure to call them before you drop by.
From the outside, anyone can admire the beautiful wrought-iron fence that surrounds the cemetery. However, nothing beats being able to look closely at the lovely tombstones that reflect the rich history of Charleston’s Jewish community.
St. Philip’s West Cemetery
One of the most photographed churches in Charleston, St. Philip’s Church is a magnificent sight to see with its white stucco brick and Roman porticoes, but their historic cemetery located just across the street is not to be missed.
Located on Church Street in the French Quarter, the St. Philip’s West Cemetery is surrounded by some of the oldest and most detailed wrought-iron railings in the city. Step inside, and you will see many beautiful and famous tombstones, including those of John C. Calhoun, Charles Pinckney, and Rawlins Lowndes.
Volunteers of St. Philip’s Church will gladly tell you all about the fascinating history of the church and of the notable figures buried at the West Cemetery. One thing they won’t tell you about? The haunting tale of Sue Howard.
Gaston Hardy and his pregnant wife, Sue Howard, were parishioners at St. Philip’s Church in 1888. Sue Howard gave birth to a stillborn and tragically died from labor complications days later.
But it’s the eerie photograph that was snapped on the 99th anniversary of Sue Howard’s death that has made the graveyard one of the most haunted places in Charleston. Take a ghost tour and tour guides will show you the photo, which is believed to show a ghostly figure crying over the grave of her stillborn.
Insider Tip: Despite the spooky tale of Sue Howard, the cemetery is otherwise peaceful and quiet. If you want to explore both the church and the cemetery, be sure to go on a weekend (the church is closed during the weekdays).
Circular Congregation Church Cemetery
Located on Meeting Street, the Circular Church graveyard is the oldest burial ground in Charleston and contains over five hundred gravestones, some of which date back to as early as 1695. For those who are deeply interested in gravestone art, this cemetery is a must-see on your visit to Charleston.
The oldest gravestones are made from slate stones which were carved and shipped from New England. Many upper-class families in Charleston enjoyed having their portraits painted, and gravestone portraits would become a trend in the Holy City during the 18th century.
In addition to graveyard portraits, the Circular Church Cemetery is full of colonial-era tombstones that feature carvings of unique symbols based on biblical passages. Although some parts of the cemetery were destroyed by a British cannonball in 1780, the church has managed to restore much of the area and preserve one of Charleston’s most unique graveyards.
Insider Tip: If you wish to read the epithets and admire the artwork at the Circular Church Cemetery, plan to spend at least an hour here. Afterward, you can walk a few blocks over to Pearlz Oyster Bar for some delicious fried oysters or sautéed sea scallops.
Unitarian Church Cemetery
Located on Archdale Street, the Unitarian Church Cemetery is a unique area to visit. At first glance, the overgrown plants and wildflowers can be mistaken for a neglected churchyard. However, the sidewalks are clear and the untamed nature is intentional.
This deliberate overgrowth creates a wild beauty that lures visitors in and makes them feel as though they’ve been transported back in time. Of course, the Unitarian Church cemetery is also said to be haunted, and this natural growth lends itself well to the ghost stories that tour companies like to tell.
In fact, many believe that the Unitarian Church Cemetery is the subject of Edgar Allen Poe’s poem, “Annabelle Lee,” which told the tale of a woman who would meet her lover in the Unitarian Church Cemetery each night. This cemetery is another popular stop on many ghost walking tours and worth a visit, whether you are there for the ghost stories or for its beautiful and historic headstones.
Insider Tip: Don’t be fooled by the ghostly tales of the cemetery. During the day, the old trees and Spanish moss make the graveyard a place of timeless beauty that makes it perfect for an afternoon stroll.
Also, keep your eyes out for a stucco-brick memorial dedicated to the slaves who helped build the Unitarian Church. Built in 2013, the memorial uses some of the original brick from the church to honor the enslaved.
There is no shortage of historic cemeteries marking the final resting place of Charleston’s prominent white families. But what about African-Americans?
Finding the burial grounds of African-American slaves has proven difficult. Only a handful of 18th and 19th-century maps and slats show slave cemeteries in South Carolina. One of the most well-studied slave cemeteries was discovered just outside of Charleston when a motel was being constructed.
Making things increasingly difficult is the fact that many slaves were often buried without grave markers in slave cemeteries. Even after Emancipation, many former slaves continued to bury their family members in these cemeteries.
Dating back to 1790, Drayton Hall has one of the oldest African-American cemeteries in the nation that is still in use. It is called “A Sacred Place” and open to public visitation.
After the Civil War, African-Americans began constructing their own cemeteries. Graveyards were segregated for many years, and it was not uncommon for city officials to build on top of burial grounds.
Today, black burial grounds are still at risk, but many organizations have been established to help protect and preserve this treasured part of Charleston’s history. One successful attempt to preserve an African-American cemetery is the restoration of a cemetery on Sullivan’s Island. The island has a rich African-American history that was in danger of being lost, but members of the community worked hard to protect the graveyard and establish boundaries around the site.
Charleston Gravestone Art
Charleston is home to many beautifully carved tombstones and monuments, some of which are massive and imposing, and others that are small yet historically significant.
Charleston’s gravestone art gives us a unique glimpse into her past, from early times as a young colony to the Revolutionary War and beyond. From the intricately carved symbols and portraits to the epithets written on tombstones, there is much that we can learn about the cultural, religious, artistic, and social backgrounds of those who lie beneath these stones.
You don’t need to be an artist or history buff to enjoy Charleston’s gravestone art. However, it does help to have some context before you explore the city’s most iconic cemeteries.
18th Century Gravestone Art
The 18th century was the peak of Charleston’s tombstone making. Prior to then, most tombstones were made of field stones or wooden slabs, most of which have crumbled and decayed.
These early tombstones provide key insight into those who founded Charleston. Made from slate or sandstone, many of the monuments from this time bore symbols of the crossbones, skulls, hourglasses, and epithets in Latin which emphasized the brevity of life.
Wealthier Charlestonian families purchased tombstones from New England carvers to distinguish themselves from the middle-class. Some even purchased tombstones from England and had them imported to the States.
19th Century Gravestone Art
By the 18th century, tombstone messages changed to reflect the attitudes of Charlestonians during the Great Awakening. Rather than focus on the certainty of death, tombstone motifs began using angels with wings to emphasize the salvation of Christ.
The darker slate stone was replaced by lighter-colored marble markers, and softer symbols such as rosebuds, willows, and urns would be commonplace. Skeletal heads also began taking on fleshier facial features, particularly the eyes, nose, and lips.
This is around the time when portraitures became a popular trend in Charleston, where natural representations of the deceased were carved on tombstones. To see a few stunning portraitures, be sure to stop by the Circular Church Cemetery.
20th Century Gravestone Art
During the 20th century, granite was replacing marble, and gravestones were much less elaborate. By the mid-20th century, most graves were being mass-produced and individual stone monuments were no longer created. Bronze markers that were embedded in the ground became a common practice.
Recommendations for Further Reading
Interested in learning more about Charleston’s graveyard art? You won’t find a better source of information than David Mould and Missy Loewe’s Historic Gravestone Art of Charleston, South Carolina.
The book covers all of Charleston’s most iconic churches and delves into the symbols and motifs in detail. It is a must-read if you plan to explore the many historic cemeteries around Charleston.
No visit to Charleston is complete without exploring some of her hauntingly beautiful cemeteries. With their beautifully carved tombstones, rich history, and Southern Gothic ambiance, Charleston’s cemeteries have attracted historians, authors, nature enthusiasts, and more from across the world to experience their ancient charm for themselves.
Date Ideas for James Island Couples
Don’t let everyday stress get to you and your partner — get out and about in your own ’hood and get refreshed! From day dates outside to late, groovin’ nights, there’s a lot you can do in James Island that’ll have you and your significant other forgetting your troubles in no time. Here are a few ideas:
Looking for a great day date? We suggest:
- Wild Blue Ropes
Feeling adventurous? Head to Wild Blue Ropes for some scary good fun with its high-climbing ropes course. WBR is not only known for its team building courses for corporate clients, but also its Couples Climb, which is $50 a pair.
James Island County Park
What CAN’T you do at James Island County Park? We recommend the climbing wall to really get you out of your head, but if it’s hot outside and you’re in the mood to relax, head to Splash Zone Waterpark. If it’s closed, check out the pedal boat and kayak rentals. You can even bring Fido so the whole family can enjoy the fresh air at the best dog park in Charleston.
- Brewery Hop
Yes, James Island has not one, but two breweries now! Go have some fun with a brewery tasting at Low Tide Brewing and Tradesmen Brewing. Low Tide also offers fun events from time to time, like live music, Pints and Painting nights, and more, while Tradesman Brewing is known for its Bendy Brewski Yoga in addition to Hot Dogs and Pints happy hours.
For the more traditional late date:
Terrace Theater + Zia
Dinner and a movie is still the perfect date night, after all these years. Located on Maybank Highway, Zia is a cool little Tex-Mex spot with a delicious margarita menu and some of the city’s most talked-about quesadillas. Go early and then head next door to the Terrace Theater, which is Charleston’s art house theater. Featuring independent films you won’t find at a blockbuster cinema, the Terrace also serves beer, wine, and nifty snacks — if you’re still hungry!
- Pour House + The Lot
There’s a lot to do in this little corner of James Island. Located across the street from the Terrace (and near Riverland Terrace neighborhood), the Pour House is one of Charleston’s most prominent music venues. There’s music here every day of the week: free shows on the back deck at 6:30 p.m. and regional and national/international acts — all genres, like Charles Bradley, Of Montreal, Blackalicious, Sturgill Simpson — on the inside stage later on. On Sundays, there’s an all-day Sunday Brunch Farmer’s Market out back while a soul/gospel band plays on the deck stage. They serve Cuban-fused food at the Pour House via their own food truck attached to the deck as well as next door at the Lot, a renowned farm-to-table restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating.
Charleston Performing Arts Center + Stereo 8
Stereo 8 is relatively new to the island. It’s known for being themed around music, which is why local artists perform there on the patio every week. The menu is varied and includes duck confit, pad thai, a burger, tacos, and ramen. In the mood for a musical? Located on Folly Road — not far from the restaurant — the Charleston Performing Arts Center presents stage productions performed by mostly locals, like the recent Dreamgirls,The Revue. Disco, “a celebration of those boogie nights and moves that gave us all Saturday Night Fever,” will run until Oct. 23 and will be followed by Holiday Cabaret, just in time for Christmas.
dunes properties is pleased to announce the addition of three agents to our family of experienced, professional Realtors. Jack Wilson and Deb Dugal have joined our Bohicket Marina office, which serves the areas of Kiawah, Seabrook, Johns, and Wadmalaw Islands. John Grimm has joined the team at our Isle of Palms office.
Jack Wilson grew up in Charlotte, NC. In 1999, Jack entered the real estate business dealing primarily with land acquisitions and overseeing high-end residential developments all over the southeast from Texas to Virginia. Jack has been married to his wife Renee for over 30 years and they live on Seabrook Island, where he will specialize in representing buyers and sellers. He can be reached at email@example.com or 704.661.9843.
In love with the historic charm, and of course the beach, Deb Dugal permanently relocated to the Charleston area 2 years ago. She describes this move as her “new beginning.” She lives on Kiawah Island and has joined The Kiawah Seabrook Group at our Bohicket Marina location. Deb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 843.608.1343.
Originally from Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay area, John Grimm has lived in Charleston and the surrounding communities since graduating from the Citadel in 1979. John had a successful career as a Ford dealer for 30 years before embarking on a second career in real estate. He will be working from our IOP office. John can be reached at email@example.com or 443.883.5146.
It’s beach season and there is no doubt that each one of Charleston’s beaches has it’s own charm. I would say that all are worth a visit, and you can pick one that suites your mood! If you’re looking for surf and are feeling adventurous, Folly is for you. If you’re looking for a great beach to take the kids to, Isle of Palms is where you should be. Want to go kiteboarding? Head on over to Sullivan’s. Each week we will be featuring a different local beach, and this week it’s all about Isle of Palms! Read on to see some rules, guidelines, and what to expect at Charleston’s most family-friendly beach.
Out of all the beaches in Charleston, Isle of Palms offers the most family-friendly shores (and is my personal favorite!). Because this beach has a bucket of rules and a ton of tourists, there are a few things you should know before packing up the family and heading out for a day of fun in the sun. Isle of Palms beach doesn’t allow alcohol, glass bottles, bonfires, camping, fireworks, or, of course, littering. So if you’re a college kid looking for a party, this beach probably isn’t for you. Dogs are allowed on the Isle of Palms beach as long as they are kept on a leash at all times (even when they are in the water) except from 5 am to 8 am, making it able to get your morning walk with your pooch in.
Holes that your children may dig while making mystical castles must be filled in when they are done. This keeps baby sea turtles from getting stuck on their way to the water and grandma from falling in and breaking a hip. Isle of Palms safety officers and lifeguards also need to be able to get around on their beach carts without breaking an axel.
The beaches on Isle of Palms are open and windy, making this the perfect place for kitesurfing. There aren’t many surfers here, since the waves are pretty small. You will occasionally see surfers here, although usually beginners. If you do want to take a crack at surfing, make sure you stay 100 feet from swimmers and 200 feet from the pier if you don’t want a hefty fine.
If you’re looking for a beach with a lifeguard, head to the Isle of Palms County Park on 14th Street. You can park here for $5 and you will find restrooms, showers, picnic tables, ice cream, and chair and umbrella rentals (although I recommend you bring your own – it’s rather pricey). Make sure you pop into our dunes properties office right there on the corner and say hi!
There are plenty of things to do on Isle of Palms if laying in the sun and playing in the sand isn’t for you. Aside from kitesurfing, you could make your way to the back side of the Island where you will find the IOP Marina and you can rent wave runners, go parasailing, or go on a fishing charter. If you’re in need of any beach gear, pop in to Isle Surf Co.
For lunch, check out Windjammer, where you can eat, drink, listen to live music, and even sing a little. Banana Cabana has great seasonal food and a beachfront bar, and Coconut Joe’s offers Island-inspired dishes and a rooftop bar. If you’re looking for pizza, ice cream, or some cute shops to browse in, stroll around The Front Beach Area.
Overall, the Isle of Palms beach is a family-friendly, clean, pleasant beach where you don’t need to worry about alcohol, rowdiness, or parties. Get ready for a day full of relaxation or adventure, whatever you choose! If you decide that Isle of Palms beach isn’t for you, check out the blog post we did last week on Folly Beach and make sure you stay tuned, next week we are featuring Sullivan’s Island.
It’s beach season and there is no doubt that each one of Charleston’s beaches has it’s own charm. I would say that all are worth a visit, and you can pick one that suites your mood! If you’re looking for surf and are feeling adventurous, Folly is for you. If you’re looking for a great beach to take the kids to, Isle of Palms is where you should be. Want to go kiteboarding? Head on over to Sullivan’s. Each week we will be featuring a different local beach, and this week it’s Folly Beach! Below are some guidelines, rules, and what to expect at Charleston’s most laid-back beach.
Folly Beach is known for it’s surf, college-aged eye candy, fun festivals, and eclectic lifestyle. Just 15 minutes from downtown Charleston, the locals like to call this The Edge of America. The bumper to bumper traffic (totally worth it!) is proof that Folly Beach is the only place to be on a hot summer day.
Folly Beach is probably the favorite beach among the locals. The beach is always open to the public and if you’ve got some cash, you can park at one of the beach’s access points. You can also park for free on the island streets – as long as all your tires are off the road and you don’t mind the walk. Folly is a great place to play volleyball, cornhole, and frisbee but there are some key rules to follow at this beach. There is no drinking or glass allowed on this beach. Trying to sneak it and getting caught will land you a $500 fine, so it’s best to just avoid it in my opinion. Also, starting Memorial Day, dogs are not allowed on the beach between 10AM and 6PM, and they must always be kept on their leash at all times and of course pick up their waste. Littering will get you a hefty $1000 fine and bonfires, fireworks, playing on the sand dunes, disturbing turtle nests, and possessing glass bottles will cost you close to that. For an official guideline of the rules, click here. Just be respectful and have fun!
It’s not just the sun, sand, and surf that brings people to Folly. It’s strip of locally owned shops and restaurants matches the laid back life style of this island town. Head over to Center Street for the best margarita at the original Taco Boy, a local favorite. You could pop in to Lost Dog Cafe for a massive breakfast made island style or get a sandwich, salad, or even sushi delivered beach-side by Drop In Deli.
Check out the Post and Courier to see what fun events are happening at Folly, whether it be Taste of Folly, Folly Beach Pub-crawl, Flip Flop Drop, the sand sculpture contest, or Follypalooza. There is always something happening at Folly and there is plenty of things to do for any kind of person. Explore a maritime forest, drink at the Morris Island Lighthouse, build a giant sand castle, ride bikes, fish off the pier, parasail, watch the sunset, dine out, dine in, and of course, surf! Weddings are also very popular on Folly, with an event permit costing only $25, even though you would have to go inland for your reception.
So grab a surfboard, paddleboard, or even a kiteboard, and head to the Washout. McKevlin’s offers boards for sale on consignment and 1-hour surf lessons for $40. If surfing isn’t your thing, bring your fishing rod and cast on the Folly Pier, where you can fish for $3 – $10 from 6AM to 11 PM. Either way, pack that cooler and get ready to spend one of the most relaxing afternoons you’ve ever spent on a beach.
One of my roles here at dunes properties is to find interesting, real-estate related articles and information, post them on social media and blog about it. Sometimes, it can be hard for me to blog about something that I don’t know much about – I am not a homeowner, I do not have investment properties, and honestly, I don’t see myself getting to the point of home-buying any time soon (Hey, I’m still in my 20’s! Technically…), but I came across an interesting article on cnbc.com that really got my attention. Wait, was this article written about me?
Recent studies show that 1 in 4 renters must spend at least half their income on housing expenses. The real interesting thing is that this is 25% of ALL Americans. Vast majority of working middle-class America do not own their homes and are spending half their family’s income on housing. Myself, being a single mother, knows that struggle all too well. I would say 75% of my income goes to housing, with the other 25% going to living expenses such as food, diapers, gas, and necessary things I need to support myself and my daughter.
The number of households that require such high rental rates jumped a whopping 26% since 2007. Since the end of 2010, rental prices have surged at twice the pace of average hourly wages. This makes for extremely difficult dilemmas, like making rent or buying groceries (another struggle that I am personally familiar with). This crisis reflects one major shortcoming to recovery – wages have failed to match rising rental prices. Wages have risen only 2.1% in the last 12 months, where average rental prices have risen 3.7%. At the same time, new construction has not been able to keep up with rental demand and homeowners who were being pushed into foreclosure were forced to step into the rental spectrum. As a result, 2.3 million more families become dangerously close to becoming homeless every day.
The people that face such hardships are not irresponsible people. Or bad people, or lazy people. These are real people, with real families. This is real life, and the struggle is very real.
While national stories have been highlighting an increase in new construction sales and pending sales lately, these don’t always apply to our local scene. However, if there ever was a year to list or purchase a home, wider economic factors indicate that this is the one. The market seems to be increasing and on average, more people are employed and bringing in more money than they were at this time last year. The entire home and job market look promising. Because employment drives home buying, it is critical to watch labor statistics as a key indicator for the residential real estate market. That, and we live in one of the most desirable sought-out places to live in the country! Because of the positive job picture, it is expected that mortgage rates will remain as they are for at least the first half of the year.
Click on an Area for Market AnalysisUpper Charleston Lower Charleston Mount Pleasant – South of IOP Connector Mount Pleasant – North of IOP Connector Folly Beach Isle of Palms Sullivans Island Kiawah and Seabrook Islands
We can already see that 2015 will be full of talk of changing mortgage rates and regulations. Rates should stay low, but consumers and finance experts believe that we’re near rate bottoms. Early indications point to more sales, more listings, more new construction and more excitement! Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t expected to be the overblown land grab of the early 2000’s, but it should feel like a healthy market, which may be an odd sensation to real estate practitioners accustomed to the boom and then bust of the 21st century.
Click on an Area for Market Analysis
The Real Estate Studio is excited to welcome a unique show with portraits and abstracts by Michelle Meek Jones. The show, titled “Scintilla: little sparks; a glittering particle” is an exploration of the sparkle and flash beneath the curves and angles of our living beings. Spray paint, oils and iridescent pigments are used to create abstractions of life. A belief in all that glitters really could be gold is necessary.
The show will be on display from April 23 – June 3, and will be split into two parts. Jones will display her portraits through May 8 and replace them with her abstracts beginning May 9 for the remainder of the show.
Michelle graduated from Baylor University where she studied Studio Art and received a degree in Psychology. She moved to the Lowcountry in 2005 and has been a working artist here ever since.
After working as an event designer and overseeing installations from concept to creation, Jones focused solely on portrait commissions and currently has her work in over one hundred private collections throughout the United States.
Currently, Michelle Jones is using her studies in portraiture as a referencing point for large scale abstract paintings and installations. Using combinations of spray paint, iridescent pigments, and oil paint, Jones is enthralled with the abstraction process and outcomes.
The show will be on exhibit at The Real Estate Studio April 23, 2014 – June 3, 2014 with an Artist Reception on Friday, May 9th from 6:00 – 9:00pm with abstracts on display. Wine and light hors d’oeuvres will be served.