If it seems like parts of Berkeley County are being invaded by new out-of-state residents, you’re only halfway wrong — or correct.
Almost half of new home buyers in Nexton and Carnes Crossroads — two of the most flocked-to master-planned communities in the Charleston region — are coming from places beyond South Carolina’s borders.
In 2021, this group represented 47 percent of purchasers in Nexton and Carnes Crossroads. The other 53 percent came from within the Palmetto State, with 70 percent of those originating from inside the Charleston area, according to data provided by the developers.
“It’s been that way from the beginning,” said Nexton spokeswoman Cassie Cataline. “Since we’ve opened, the percentage has been about the same – 50-to-60 percent of the buyers have come from South Carolina and the rest from out-of-state. I don’t know if it’s a price-point thing or what.”
The 5,000-acre Nexton property is expected to put about 7,000 homes on the ground with a population of about 17,500 at full buildout over the next decade. Over roughly the same period, the nearby 2,300-acre Carnes Crossroads development could have about 4,500 homes with more than 11,000 residents.
A common misconception among Lowcountry residents is that the majority of buyers are moving from either the Northeast corridor or Ohio.
“No, we are not being invaded by people from Ohio,” Cataline said with a chuckle.
Last year, the largest percentage of out-of-state buyers in Nexton moved in from North Carolina and Georgia, specifically from the Charlotte and Atlanta metropolitan areas.
The other top referring states were New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania as those buyers were made up primarily of retirees.
“It’s not just the home itself anymore that’s important,” said Roni Haskell, a realtor with Keller Williams, who has sold more than two dozen homes in the two mixed-use mega-developments. “Yes, the home and affordability are huge factors, but it’s also the neighborhoods now. More and more buyers are looking for the master-planned communities — what I’d call macro-communities — like Nexton and Carnes Crossroads.
“They don’t want to feel isolated; they want to feel like they are in the heart of things, but they don’t want have to go too far to get that lifestyle,” she added. “They want a community feel.”
Nearly 85 percent of buyers in Nexton were made up of either baby boomers or millennials, although there was a smaller percentage of younger buyers as well.
Get the best of the Post and Courier’s Real Estate news, handpicked and delivered to your inbox each Saturday.
• 49 percent are boomers.
• 36 percent are millennials.
• 15 percent are gen-Xers.
Caroline Ayres, 29, grew up in the Hilton Head Island area and had been living in an apartment in Summerville with husband, Lee, since 2018. The couple wanted more space and went in search of a home in early 2020, finally settling on a property in Nexton’s Brighton Park.
“Everything is super convenient and anything we need is about 10 minutes away,” she said. “Summerville is close by, and we can hop on the interstate and get to downtown Charleston pretty quickly. There’s a lot to do, some great restaurants, some great walking trails, there’s green space, we have a dog park near our house, so everything we need is right here. Those factors were huge for us when we were making our decision on where to buy.”
Tucker Martinelli, 61, was stationed at the Navy base in the early 1980s and was familiar with the area. When his wife, Elizabeth, retired as a school teacher in the summer of 2020, the Charlotte coupled moved to Carnes Crossroads.
“South Carolina is a retirement-friendly state with some of its tax policies,” Martinelli said. “I knew the Summerville-Goose Creek area pretty well. We looked at some homes in the Del Webb section of Nexton, but we fell in love with Carnes Crossroads. We’re still pretty active, so we like to get out and do things. That’s very important for us.”
Ayers said the mix of families in her Brighton Park neighborhood offers a unique generational blend.
“We have young families with kids and without kids and also some retired folks,” Ayers said. “I think it’s an interesting mix because most neighborhoods are normally either young families or an older crowd. Nexton offers a little bit of everything to every generation and that gives it a real community feel.”
Nexton sold 576 homes during 2021, giving the community a total of 2,000 sales. At the end of 2021, Nexton had 1,675 occupied homes and another 250 sold and under construction, with 1,258 completed apartments and 602 under development, Cataline said.
Carnes Crossroads had 480 completed homes in 2021 with 57 under construction, 42 in the planning and approval stage and 823 apartments on the ground, said spokeswoman Julie Dombrowski of DI Development Co., the development manager for the project.
Cane Bay, another large housing development in that area of Berkeley County, did not respond to a request for comment.