Lower cost of living, laid-back atmosphere – small-town vibes but close to the big city… where do we sign?!
Moving closer to and even over the SC border has been trending for a while – since the pandemic changed the boundaries of work and a lot of people’s commutes became a home office just down the hallway, quality of life and loving where you live can now mean… well, living anywhere.
Our real estate expert friends at Helen Adams Realty, tell us for many folks ‘living anywhere’ equals heading south. And, with a new fancy Fort Mill office to boot, Helen Adams Realty agents have boots on the ground and gave us the scoop on what’s happening in the market just south of Charlotte.
So, who is moving south and why?
Families moving to South Carolina or right on the NC/SC line are looking for a community feeling of a small town. “With so many fantastic neighborhoods close to parks, walking trails, lake and river access, restaurants and shopping, residents can enjoy their community and all the amenities,” says REALTOR® Stacey Dixon.
With a main street that dates back to the 1800s, Fort Mill has seen transitions from Catawba Indians to Scottish and Irish settlers to the namesake of a British-built fort – and a thriving textile town. Today, heavy-hitters such as Black and Decker, Daimler, and Atrium Health call it home for their headquarters.
Located just south of Charlotte, REALTOR® Marie Schyberg says Fort Mill is still a relatively affordable place to live, and can be an ideal location for anyone who works or wants to enjoy the opportunities of a nearby major metropolitan area, “Fort Mill offers the benefits of small-town life while still being close to the city. The area has experienced significant economic growth in recent years, with a thriving local economy and a low unemployment rate. Many major companies and industries have established a presence in the area, providing a range of employment opportunities.”
“Many of the clients I have helped find homes have been retirees, people relocating for their careers and also those that just want to be closer to family. Many people like to come south for the warmer weather, lower cost of living, and the laidback atmosphere,” REALTOR®, Louise Rice.
What’s the market like; is now the time to buy or sell in the South?
“It is interesting to look at the statistics for the Fort Mill market,” says Marie, “On one hand I’d say it is a sellers’ market as there is a decrease in properties on the market; since the same period last year, it has gone down by more than 38%. On the other hand, days on market was 14 days a year ago and now it is 30 days. The average sale price has decreased 2.6% so with that information I’d say yes, it is still a sellers’ market although it has evened out”.
Interest rates are still considered high leaving some on the fence about whether to leave their low-interest rate which also may impact inventory. Also consider that buyers have a longer time to look at a property and decide if they want to make an offer and the sellers are more willing to negotiate and meet the buyers’ requests.
Louise concurs, “The South Carolina real estate market currently leans toward being a sellers’ market. Inventory is relatively low, with a high demand for properties. Looking ahead, it is expected that the market will continue to favor sellers, although there may be a slight increase in inventory toward the end of the year.”
“Fort Mill and the surrounding areas, including Indian Land, Rock Hill, Clover, Lake Wylie, continue to be a sellers’ market! Sellers are getting top dollar for their homes as inventory is very low — about one-month supply. If we follow the trends, it will continue to stay this way through the calendar year,” Stacey.
Do your due diligence
Due diligence marks the period of time between an accepted offer and closing. It gives the buyer, time to get an appraisal, do a title search, perform property inspections and more.
How is it different in SC compared to NC?
Marie says “It is interesting as many clients have heard about the due diligence fee that buyers need to pay in NC. In SC we do have a due diligence fee although it is only due if you terminate your contract within the negotiated timeframe. This is a SC requirement and I feel it has a positive effect on buyers as they understand they only must pay if they decide to terminate, and it has a calming effect on sellers as they know they will get some compensation for taking the property off the market. In today’s market both sellers and buyers are negotiating and meeting each other as they have the same goal, to get the transaction to close.”
What’s the school situation?
Fort Mill is in York County and the school zones are Bruton, Grafton, Tabb and York.
Louise says “A common question I receive from buyers regarding Fort Mill pertains to the quality of schools. The Fort Mill school district boasts an exceptional school system that consistently ranks among the top in the state,” she continues “Beyond Fort Mill, the surrounding areas also offer excellent educational options. Nearby districts, such as Clover and Lancaster County School District, maintain a strong emphasis on quality education and provide a diverse array of academic and extracurricular programs.”
Stacey adds, “The Fort Mill School District has added several new schools over the last few years, including the state of the art, Catawba Ridge High School”.
Is it ‘good growth’?
Helen Adams Realty agents assess grading factors including home value, job market, desirability and quality of life. As the Charlotte metro area grows – which includes Fort Mill and Rock Hill, the surrounding cities will grow too, and to purchase real estate in a potential growth area is often more affordable than in an established one.
The team also stays up-to-date on potential concerns including traffic and proposed infrastructure designed to grow with the population, which helps both buyers and sellers make an informed decsion not just for today but also the future.
“Staying in the up-and-coming areas you will still benefit from of all the amenities that the more crowded big city offers, and you will be able to enjoy the local life and a smaller community feel. With good home maintenance and renovations, property values will with time increase as the city grows and be a great investment for the future,” Marie.
“If it is new construction a buyer is interested in, there are new neighborhoods popping up! Elizabeth in Fort Mill and Ridgecrest in Indian Land. Buying real estate is a great investment!” Stacey continues, “I tell my clients it is investing in your future wealth rather than someone else’s, while renting.”
The Fort Mill area is also seeing corporate growth with plans for 660 acres to be developed into corporate spaces, restaurants, shopping and single-family homes. The well-known Springs family has already developed approximately 150 acres, with 144,000 sq. ft. of retail space and hotel rooms with more to come.
Because realtors appreciate new digs too
Shiny and new: Everyone loves an upgrade – even real estate agents. After five years in the market the Helen Adams Fort Mill team moved into an incredible new space custom built to meet the needs of their clients, the community and the team for years to come.
“With Charlotte’s southward growth and the overall desirability of the greater Fort Mill area, we’re excited to serve others who are looking for a new place to call home. No matter what season of life you are in, you can enjoy an abundance of cultural experiences, recreational facilities and dining options. Call or stop by our new Fort Mill office in the Springfield Town Center to request relocation information. No matter where life takes you, we are happy to guide you home,” Geri Mullinix, Broker-in-Charge of the Fort Mill office.