Charleston area housing costs rising faster than wages, study finds

Charleston area housing costs rising faster than wages, study finds (MGN/Brett VA / Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

Lowcountry housing prices are rising twice as fast as Lowcountry wages. That's according to a new housing attainability study by the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce.

"The housing we have is far away from the job," said Bryan Derreberry, President and CEO of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce. "We keep having people come here. Until that housing supply can match the demand we’re out of balance." He said Lowcountry roads are clogged because high housing prices force workers to live far from their jobs.

The study also shows 38 people per day are moving to the region, with 1 million people projected to live here by 2029. Derreberry said that's a steady growth rate of 2.2% and will require 112,309 new housing units by 2030.

"It's a supply and demand issue. Almost 11 years was the last time we built 7,500 units occupied in a year. We need to do that every single year to stay up with people purchasing homes in our area," he said.

"It kind of pisses me off," said Sausha Buie of her 40 minute commute from North Charleston to Legacy Meats in downtown Charleston. She's one of 12 people in her family working at the business, which has a location on Meeting Street and Clements Ferry Road, which was started by her grandfather and is now run by her father.

"We open up at 8 o'clock in the morning so just imagine somebody living off Ashley Phosphate, Dorchester Road, upper North Charleston and coming thru that traffic," Buie said. She told ABC News 4 her family members live in West Ashley, James Island, Johns Island, and parts of North Charleston and Goose Creek. She said all of them commute to work because they can't afford to live closer.

Derreberry said nearly half of all new housing units in the Lowcountry need to cost between $175,000 and $225,000, or an average monthly rent of roughly $1,200.

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