Investment Opportunities Strengthen

Charleston Overview

The Charleston - North Charleston MSA, of Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties, is located halfway between Miami and New York along the Nation’s eastern seaboard. The region, known for its beaches, hospitality and southern charm, was voted the Number 1 City in the U.S. and Number 1 City in the World by Travel and Leisure magazine in 2016. Home to more than 739,000 people, Charleston offers favorable demographics, with strong population growth and an expanding skilled, educated labor force.

The population in the MSA is currently 15% of the state population and is growing rapidly. It is expected to grow at a rate of 39 people per day over the next five years to 810,000 people. This is driven by the expansion of employment opportunities and a high quality of life in the region.

The region’s economy is largely driven by the finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing, manufacturing and professional and business services. Additionally, Charleston continues to rank among the top cities to visit in the nation, driving a strong tourism industry that contributes to the region’s economy. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), gross domestic product (GDP) for the MSA totaled $36.4 billion in 2015, accounting for 18.3% of South Carolina’s total GDP.

As of November 2016, approximately 348,400 individuals were employed by a non-agricultural job in the Charleston-North Charleston MSA. Major employment sectors include government (18,8%), trade, transportation and utilities (18.5%), professional and business services (15.3%), leisure and hospitality (12.7%) and education and health services (11.5%). The largest employers are Joint Base Charleston, Medical University of South Carolina, Boeing, College of Charleston, the school districts and health care systems.

Commercial real estate valuations in Charleston are at historic highs due to continued rent growth and cap rate compression. This, coupled with low vacancy rates, is increasing the number of construction starts across the market. Charleston’s commercial real estate markets closely mirror national trends.

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