Master-planned communities are growing in popularity as new construction and home starts are on the upswing since the financial crisis. In the Southern U.S., master-planned communities (MPCs) tend to dominate the "over 55" demographic, especially in Florida. However, the appeal is growing with a wider and much younger crowd, and real estate developers have taken note. "Master planned" no long means "retirement," as is often the misconception.
This is great news for young professionals and executives with families as MPCs offer numerous real estate and lifestyle benefits. The greater Charleston, South Carolina area is home to at least two of the top master-planned communities in the nation, Daniel Island (within Charleston city limits) and Cane Bay Plantation (Summerville, SC). The Daniel Island Company is also developing a new MPC in the Goose Creek area, about 20 miles north of Charleston, called Carnes Crossroads. With the Daniel Island Company's track record, Carnes Crossroads may also emerge as a top MPC in the near future.
Living on Daniel Island
Daniel Island has received numerous accolades, including the "Award for Excellence" by the Urban Land Institute, for its community design. It has also received recognition as one of the top 100 golf communities, with Ralston Creek course being recognized as one of South Carolina's best golf courses. 9,000 residents currently call Daniel Island home. That number is expected to grow to roughly 14,000 over the next several years as Daniel Island real estate expands, according to plan, on both the northern Daniel Island Park side and the southern Daniel Island community Side.
As a resident of Daniel Island, I can provide first-hand insight into some of the benefits of buying real estate and living in an MPC, especially a mature, award-winning one. MPCs tout "live, work, play" as a key benefit of buying real estate in a master-planned community. In my opinion, Daniel Island succeeds in all areas.
- Living in a planned community often means priorities like access to good schools, safety, convenience and ease of access to retail are embedded. Two well-respected schools are located on Daniel Island - the public Daniel Island School (K-8) and private Bishop England High School (9-12). With on-island fire and police services, safety is built into the community. And, with a sizable "city-within-a-city" commercial zone, access to necessities like groceries, health, pharmaceutical and dental care, banking and financial services, restaurants and retail establishments are all within easy reach.
- Working on Daniel Island has become a reality for many of its residents, and residents of other surrounding communities. In addition to employment opportunities within DI's commercial zone, two of Charleston's top NASDAQ-listed tech firms, Benefitfocus and Blackbaud, are headquartered within the Daniel Island MPC area. North, along Clements Ferry Road (still Daniel Island, but outside of the MPC), are a growing number of small to mid-sized employers.
- Playing is easy, especially on DI. Neighborhoods around Daniel Island are situated around large parks, pool facilities and green spaces. There are several miles of walking and biking trails along the Wando River that offer great waterfront access and fishing spots. The Daniel Island Club on the "park side," provides access to 36 holes of world-class golf, tennis, fitness, pool and instruction facilities, not to mention some of the best dining in Charleston. Blackbaud Stadium, home to the Charleston Battery, and the Family Circle Tennis Center which hosts the annual Family Circle Cup tennis tournament (and numerous summer concerts) each call Daniel Island home, and provide even more options in the "play" category.
Benefits of Living in a Master-planned Community
Buying real estate in an MPC definitely has some benefits; heck, buying Charleston real estate has benefits. Charleston is one of the top real estate markets in the country. While real estate market analyses point to a healthier market overall, Charleston is benefitting from strong regional economic growth. As a working professional with kids, here are some of the key benefits of buying real estate and living in a master-planned community:
- Technology - let's face it, Internet connectivity is a key fact of daily life. Most (if not all) Daniel Island homes have fiber optic connectivity and structured wiring which offer amazingly fast Internet access.
- Community - Daniel Island offers a range of real estate lifestyle options, from apartments and condos, to luxury town homes and single-family properties. The island is home to young, growing families, retirees and individuals in between. It really has something for most everyone and is a true community.
- Lifestyle - work/life balance is also an important fact of life for working professionals. Living on DI offers nearly limitless options for achieving a healthy lifestyle from biking, running, walking and golfing to boating and kayaking. DI gets pretty close to paradise. And, there's plenty of activities for the kids.
- Value - buying real estate in a reputable MPC tends to provide long-term value to homeowners. Following the nationwide trends in the housing market after the financial crisis, real estate on Daniel Island saw declining values. However, there has been a steady uptick in home values on the island over the past three years. Indicators point to greater long-term housing value for buyers of real estate in an MPC versus subdivision.
If you'd like to learn more about Daniel Island or want additional "insider's info" about living on DI, please reach out with an email. I'm happy to share my experiences since relocating to Charleston in 2011.
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