Booming Population and Multifamily Development

Key Takeaways

  • Charleston’s population is growing rapidly, creating demand for new housing developments. According to a recent study, there are 35 new residents moving to Charleston each day.
  • Construction is booming in the Charleston market, creating a shortage of materials and labor and raising overall construction costs. In turn, demand continues to allow for rising rental rates for new apartment units.
  • A strengthening economy has led to an increase in multifamily property investment sales since the end of Q4 2015.

Growing Population Impacting Multifamily Developments

Charleston, encompassing Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties, is booming, making it one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the nation. New residents are attracted to the area due to the growth of employment opportunities and a high quality of life. Since the turn of the century, nearly 200,000 people have moved to the three-county area. Employment has jumped 28 percent over the same period, driven by tourism, defense contractors, the automotive sector (Daimler-Benz and Volvo) and the construction of Boeing’s first production facility outside Seattle.  

Many of the new residents are renters who fall in one of two age classes: Millennials between 20 and 34 years of age, and retirees or Empty Nesters between 50 and 69 years of age. The live, work and play environment and job mobility attract Millennials to rent, whereas retirees and Empty Nesters are able to take advantage of the strengthening housing market to downsize to apartments. The 2010 Census reported about 154,000 Millennials between the ages of 25 and 34 and 151,000 persons between 50 and 69 living in the Charleston tri-county area. Esri has since estimated the 2016 population for these age groups to be 167,000 and 179,000, respectively, contributing to a 10.1% increase in the overall population. More importantly, the figures show ages 20-34 have grown 8.4% since 2010, while the 50-69 age sector has exploded by 18.5%.

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