Jun
25

Live/Work Appeal Rises with Gas Cost

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June 25, 2008

By Jessica Foster – Sun News

Soaring gas prices are spurring people to ditch their cars and look at buying homes in walkable, urban developments like those cropping up on the Grand Strand, a recent survey shows.

The 903 real estate agents who responded to the online Coldwell Banker survey said that 96 percent of their clients are concerned about the rise in gas costs and 78 percent have more of a desire to live in an urban setting because of it.

Here along the coast, however, it’s tough to say whether sales in and around live/work developments such as The Market Common, Withers Preserve, St. James Square, and The Village at Sunset Beach are tied to gas prices, developers said.

“The bottom line is business has picked up,” said David Stuart, broker for The Village at Sunset Beach in Brunswick County, N.C. “Gas may have something to do with it, but it’s also just the fact that the tourist season has started and you have more people in the area.”

Townhouses are selling in the local live/work communities: Buyers claimed four townhouses in the Sunset Beach project in the past month, said David Wilkes, vice president of the development company Dock Street Communities. St. James Square near 38th Avenue North in Myrtle Beach saw three sales in the past month, and at The Market Common, around 30 townhomes sold in March and April before a slowdown in May, which Wilkes attributed to the motorcycle rallies that month.

Home prices in urban villages can be steeper than in other developments, meaning it’s a trade-off for many buyers – do they pay more for their home now or on gas later? It costs at least $235,000 for a residential Dock Street townhouse and $310,000 for a live/work unit, compared with the median local home price of $179,000, according to first quarter statistics from the S.C. Association of Realtors.

Developer Robin Roberts has been trying to build pricey lofts in downtown Myrtle Beach for two years near the former Myrtle Beach Pavilion Amusement Park site, but people haven’t been willing to pay the $599,000 price tag despite the promise of stores and restaurants within walking distance, he said. He needs to pre-sell three of them before he starts building, and so far only one has been claimed.

ARTICLE SHORTENED DUE TO LENGTH….

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:
http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/business/story/497808.html

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