Flood insurance in Charleston, SC

3 Replies

Hi everybody!

I was hoping to reach out to all you folks who own/rent properties in the Charleston area.

We're looking at buying a place in Johns Island but we're from outside the city so trying to get to grips with the whole flood insurance thing. We've seen some places that we maybe like and where the HOA fees include flood insurance, but we're worried given all that's going on with flood insurance at the moment. Although the HOA fees are very manageable right now, what will happen in a couple of years time - could the HOA fees conceivably double or triple because of increased flood insurance rates?

Also, if anybody has any insight into the Johns Island area that would be great! Seems to be nice area and more affordable than places like Mt Pleasant - but please let me know if I'm missing something!

Hi Simon

Flood insurance requires a crystal ball right now.  We were all braced for rates to triple this year, until Maxine Waters backed off (look up the Biggert-Waters Act).  Hard to say what the future holds, but I suspect a change in administration in 2016 will keep the flood insurance wolves at bay.  I am betting on 10% annual increases in flood insurance - still substantial - but not crippling to the RE economy like 200% all at once. 

Johns Island is poised for growth, but my gut tells me that the benefits of that growth is 5-10 years away.  My wife and I bought in Mt. Pleasant because of the great public schools.  If you don't have children, or prefer private school, I would look at the West Oak Forest and Avondale areas of West Ashley and North of King/Meeting Street on the Peninsula.  These areas are growing at a rapid pace right now.

Hope this helps

Thanks Russ

@Russ Scheider  

Yeah I guess we're wrestling with just how uncertain it all is - it's very difficult to know if the numbers stack up when some of the variables are unknown. From your experience has it had a major impact on property prices in high risk flood zones in the area? And ability to resell? (We're looking at buy and hold but if your exit strategy is non existent then that's a factor to consider too)

I hear you about the peninsula - King/Meeting from around Spring Street up feels like it's going to blow up in the next couple of years. Have you been looking at properties in that area? 

Also, curious why you feel growth for Johns Island is 5-10 years away?

@simon o

The key to growth on Johns Island IMHO is the 526 extension.  Before switching to full-time investing, I worked a job that required me to commute from Mt. P to Johns Island.  45-60 minutes to go 16 miles.  I went in on a Sunday and it took 20 minutes.  The traffic gets worse every year.  Look up the 526 debate online.  Many people oppose it for environmentalist reasons.  Many people who have waterfront property or a marsh view will be looking at a highway bridge.   If/when the 526 extension is built, Johns Island will become less rural and more of a bedroom community, and I am guessing they will improve the schools as a result. 

Property values in Charleston are based on convenience to Downtown and to the beach as well as good public schools.  Johns Island is huge, so you could be 15 minutes from downtown or 45 minutes from downtown.  Johns Island schools are not great, and that is not likely to change until the population grows a bit.

I previously gave you some realtors to contact.  They will have insight for you as well.  

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