While the Ridgeville real estate market has remained lowkey and quiet for years, there are big changes on the horizon.
Ridgeville is a small town located in Dorchester County, South Carolina. It’s considered a part of the Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville metropolitan area.
The town likes to define themselves not by their location on the map or population count, but the sense of shared values between their residents. Some of those values that the small town holds dear are guided growth, preservation of historical, cultural, and natural heritage.
Ridgeville is about a 45 minute drive from Charleston, giving it a close proximity to the city while allowing enough space for a quiet lifestyle in the quaint Lowcountry town.
The town prides itself on supporting locally owned and operated small businesses. From the local Ridgeville Farmers Market to Givhans Ferry State Park along the Edisto River, the town of Ridgeville also offers exciting activities for the whole family to enjoy.
According to The United States Census Bureau, the Ridgeville population was 1,548 in 2021, when the last census of the area was taken.
The population has slightly increased and decreased over recent years, but has barely risen above 2,000 since population records in 1990.
In other words, the town has faced a slow and gradual growth since it was originally founded along a 19th century railroad line. The people who reside there appreciate the quiet life, they know their neighbors, and they value the friendly, small-town nature of their home.
Residential real estate
Realtor.com reports that in January, 2023, the median listing home price in Ridgeville, SC was $458.1K, trending up 25.3% year-over-year. The median listing home price per square foot was $176.
In December 2022, Ridgeville home prices were up 64.9% compared to 2021, selling for a median price of $579K.
There are currently around 103 homes for sale in Ridgeville, SC; approximately 4 of which were newly listed within the last week.
According to Redfin, The residential market in Ridgeville was considered “somewhat competitive” in 2022, with some homes receiving multiple offers, and the average home selling for 1% below listing price.
Roni Haskell, local Broker Associate and Keller Williams Realtor, is currently seeing a raise in home inventory compared to 2022.
She says, “Builders are buying land and building speculative homes that are now being offered for sale. At the end of January, there were 26 new construction homes active in Ridgeville at varying stages of completion. There are another 6 new constructed homes pending/under contract at the end of January. Comparatively only 3 new construction units were sold in Ridgeville in January 2022. There is much more inventory for purchasers this year.”
When asked what contributes to the growth in Ridgeville’s market, Haskell directed me to a recent Ridgeville home listing that stated, “Escape to a quiet country lane with plenty of elbow room yet only minutes from Volvo, Summerville and Nexton.”
Just as Mount Pleasant grew outward and West Ashley has grown into Johns Island, Summerville growth has no choice but to extend outward.
Ridgeville offers buyers the opportunity to have a short commute to some of the tri-county areas largest employers, while enjoying larger lots, oftentimes lower or no community regulations, and a slower way of life without hustle and bustle.
With growth in a small town, there are also challenges that arise if the proper infrastructure is not in place. One challenge that Haskell has experienced with developers is the limited resource of water and sewer lines, since much of Ridgeville is still using wells and septic for residential use.
This is the case in any changing area of growth, and it will expand to more areas in the coming years.
You might have already heard that this quaint, small town has big plans for expansion and growth in the commercial real estate sector in the coming years.
For both residential and commercial development, there is the opportunity of land. Where there is land and an economic development team that is planning for and encouraging growth, it will come.
Haskell sees the potential new growth of Ridgeville as a positive opportunity for long term residents. She says, “Growth and robust development will continue. As new commerce parks open, new plants like Redwood Materials, in addition to the already existing plants, local businesses like my friend Charles Fredrick’s restaurant Lucille’s on Old Guillard Road will have opportunities to thrive.”
In fact, the Ridgeville Town Council recently came to the conclusion to annex and rezone two major undeveloped tracts. This could mean major growth in the area, and that population of 1,548 increasing by a lot.
According to Isabelle Altman’s recent report, these two potential developments are the Varn Tract, 626 acres east of Ridge Road, that could hold up to 1,400 single-family homes and 120,000 square feet of commercial building, and the Appleby Tract, 470 acres on Campbell Thickett Road, which could bring up to 1,200 single-family homes to Ridgeville.
The two annexed tracts are each south of downtown. According to rezoning applications, the Varn Tract, 626 acres just east of Ridge Road to be developed by Ryan Homes, part of Virginia-based NVR Inc., will have a maximum of 1,400 single-family homes; 120,000 square feet of commercial space; a 3-acre civic site for government offices, fire and EMS stations, etc.; and 6.8 acres of space for parks.
The Appleby Tract, 470 acres off Campbell Thickett Road, will have a maximum of 1,200 single-family homes, along with commercial space and a 5-acre town park. Town officials said the developer, Lennar Construction, also plans to provide land for a new school in Dorchester School District 4, which will serve both developments.
Construction on both tracts is slated to begin this year and continue through the next decade.
Although the area could change dramatically due to this decision and plans for growth, many are unsure if the town is ready for these changes.
Ridgeville’s government currently employs 6 full-time individuals, excluding the mayor, and Ridgeville Mayor Clarence Hughes believes that new commercial developments would help attract stores and other amenities, but the question isn’t whether growth will come but how much it will benefit residents that already live there.
“If we get growth, then we’ll have stores and everything other towns have,” Mayor Clarence Hughes said. “If we don’t get it, this town will be a ghost town.”
If you consider the fact that this town currently houses less than 2,000 residents and has about 100 homes on the market, adding about 2,600 single-family homes would drastically change the landscape of the area and the community that the town holds so dear.
Isabelle Altman’s report included the input of Robby Maynor of the Coastal Conservation League, who gets realistic when he states, “The town does not have the infrastructure in place to support the new growth. There are not roads, there’s not the water, there is not the sewer, there are not the schools, there’s not fire and EMS, there’s not police service.”
However, discussions on planning and expansion have concurred that the town is prepared for the new growth. Dorchester County’s growth management plan for the Ridgeville-Givhans area recommends residential growth there, so long as this growth is conducted at a steady pace.
Residents have stated their concerns of their home eventually having a similar layout to the Nexton or Cane Bay communities; large nearby multi-home communities in Summerville with continuous growth in residential and commercial real estate development.
But other residents see this growth as a positive look towards the future for the small town. Roni Haskell says, “Large businesses support residential growth and all of it helps support local family owned businesses. If well planned, and that is the key to it all, then it creates a wonderful opportunity for our extended lowcountry residents.”
Remember when Summerville was considered a smaller town located on the outskirts of Charleston, before developments like The Ponds brought an influx of new residents to that corner of The Lowcountry?
A similar outcome is projected for Ridgeville. And while many are hesitant to the new developments and change in the quiet, slow-paced lifestyle that Ridgeville residents value, change is coming one way or another.
The truth of the matter is that Ridgeville is a part of Dorchester County, which has seen rapid growth in recent years and is expected to have more than 200,000 residents by 2030.
With over 30 people moving to the Charleston area daily, residential growth and expansion is quickly coming to the area, and Ridgeville is going to have a role in that expansion.
So while this small town has remained quiet for many years, there is a boom of growth on the horizon, and we can only hope and expect that this inevitable growth will be conducted with care, caution, and attention at a slow and steady pace.