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Charleston, SC, Spotlight

My wife, Caitlin, who grew up in Charleston, always reminds me how much things have changed since she was a kid. Today, it’s totally different with a lot of growth and development. We will be walking or driving around town and she will tell me stories about what used to be here or there. It’s great information for me, and I love learning about the community as it relates to the real estate market and local economy. My wife moved back to Charleston with me about five years ago and we are grateful to call this beautiful place home.

Charleston’s economy has experienced major changes and rapid growth over the last decade. The greater Charleston area has about 800,000 people with a median household income of $61,000. The population and economic growth have been driven primarily by several key investments, according to the Charleston County Economic Development Department. In no particular order, they are…

Establishment of six Boeing facilities and business units; Boeing Final Assembly and delivery site for the 787 Dreamliner, Boeing Interior Responsibility Center, two Centers of Excellence–Information Technology and Engineering, Boeing Research & Technology Center.

Naval Information Warfare Centers (formerly called Space and Air Warfare Systems or SPAWAR), along with various other Navy and Air Force commands attached to Joint Base Charleston.

The Port of Charleston is the eighth largest U.S. Container Port (as of 2019). They have a multi-year capital investment plan including harbor deepening, terminal construction, and other improvements to increase volume capacity. In April 2021, the Port opened the country’s newest container terminal which adds 700,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of capacity (it’s the first new terminal in over a decade in the U.S.).

The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) is a leading research and teaching hospital in the southeast managing over $284 million in biomedical research funding in the fiscal year 2019. MUSC research funding has supported over 800 inventors and produced 1,500 invention disclosures. MUSC research focuses on a wide variety of areas including cancer, community health, drug discovery, health disparities, inflammation and fibrosis, neuroscience, oral health, stroke, and spinal cord injuries. MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and 700 residents in six colleges.

Mercedes-Daimler employs 1,600 people in Charleston and recently announced plans to build its electric Sprinter Van there beginning in 2023, pointing to its continued expansion which is fueling additional automotive industrial development in the area.

Growth of the information technology (IT) / software sector has contributed significantly to local job growth.

Charleston is home to over 250 tech companies. A recent study by the South Carolina Tech Council revealed that the average annual tech employment for the Charleston region is 15.5 percent. The region is ranked 13th on the Milken Institute’s list of 2020 Best-Performing Cities.

Volvo opened a $1.1 billion factory in 2017 that now employs 1,600 people and produces 100,000 cars annually. Economists estimate that the plant has a $5 billion annual economic impact in the Charleston region.

Charleston International Airport (CHS) continues to support a thriving travel and tourism industry with newly added nonstop flight services and additional airlines flying in and out of CHS. Charleston welcomed 7.43 million visitors in 2019, producing $9.7 billion in economic impact.

All this adds up to Charleston not only being an enjoyable place to live and thrive but also an excellent place to invest and do business in.