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Baby boomers retiring to Charleston SC drive volume in the active adult housing market

Charleston County and the greater Charleston area are attractive to baby boomers seeking new homes. Numbers of people who are relocating here are retirees, and most are baby boomers. A large portion are moving from nearby counties or from within South Carolina and are seeking neighborhoods where they can remain active, fit, and enjoy an expansive social life.

Charleston SC waterfront park with cruise ship

Boomers are those people born post-World War II era from 1946–1964. In 2017, boomers are between 53 and 71 years of age. They tend to look for homes in places where they can enjoy the outdoors, socialize and savor a quality of life that allows them to continue working if they choose, travel as they like, and spend time with family.

According to McKnights Senior Living writer Ben Mandelbaum, “Each day, more than 10,000 individuals hit the age of 65. These baby boomers are redefining the face of senior living every day with their improved definition of life after retirement.” By 2024, there will be about 56 million 55-plus households, accounting for nearly 45 percent of all households in the country, according to data by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Retirees are looking for “a low-maintenance, energy efficient and user-friendly homes.”

[For the lowdown on why the Lowcountry is so attractive to retirees, read our article, Greater Charleston is the choice for active retirement.]

Where are people moving from when they move to Charleston County?

Of all the people moving to Charleston County, most are relocating from the surrounding counties:  Berkeley and Dorchester. However, a large number are also coming from other counties in the upstate of South Carolina, and surprisingly, a number of people moving to Charleston are coming from Anchorage, Alaska. From 2010-2014 more people moved from Berkeley County to Charleston County than any other county with Dorchester County being a top contributor to population growth too. According to NAHB (National Association of Homebuilders) 30% of the population in every county in the US is comprised of those greater than 55 years of age. Consider that as you review the following numbers of people who moved into Charleston County. These are the top ten counties for from which movers to Charleston County originated (includes all ages, reasons).

Berkeley County

South Carolina


Dorchester County

South Carolina


Richland County

South Carolina


Pickens County

South Carolina


Anchorage Mun.



Beaufort County

South Carolina


Greenville County

South Carolina


Spartanburg County

South Carolina


Mecklenburg County

North Carolina


Florence County

South Carolina



Baby boomers are an age wave surging into Charleston

The earliest wave of baby boomers began retiring in 2001 when they were 55. Nationally, since 2001 there have been 3,275,000 people say they have moved for retirement.

Ideal Living surveyed attendees at their winter 2016 exposition and discovered that 74% of the respondents identified the Southeast is the area most attractive to them as they search for either a retirement home of a second home. 54% of those surveyed said they want their home to be on or near near the coast, which describes the entire Lowcountry.

Charleston gets her share of retirees

Retirees are a propeller of new home building in the Charleston market. The success of communities such as Cresswind Charleston, Del Web Cane Bay, Del Webb Nexton, Four Seasons at Lakes of Cane Bay, and The Pines at Gahagan evidence the demand which is driving the development of neighborhoods specifically for retirees. As reported by NAHB, 27% of boomers are willing to pay between $150,000-249,999 for their retirement home.

What do boomers want in retirement living?

As prospects conduct their searches, 60% (of the 765-people surveyed) told Ideal Living they prefer a community with a wellness/fitness center. Close behind that important amenity in desirability are walking trails and a sense of community at 59% each. Other mentioned features retirees seek in their community are social clubs (44%) and a town center (45%). Lowest on the list of desired amenities is golf at 36%.

As they plan the next phase of life, boomers will not skimp on luxury according to Nightly Business Report. Those moving to active adult communities demand fitness centers and social clubs. The mindset, for some, is “This is the last house you’re going to get, so you might as well get what you want.” Boomers are moving from large homes, but they are not skipping luxuries. They require gourmet kitchens and open floor plans.

When asked what they want to do in their free time, 66% of retirees want to exercise. Sports which are popular with the generation include cycling, golfing, kayaking/paddleboarding, sailing/boating, pickleball, tennis, and horseback riding.

Luckily, the active adult communities in the Charleston area have all of these amenities either within their gates or close by in the greater community. In the case of sailing and boating, Charleston’s harbor and Ashley, Cooper, and Wando Rivers as well as Lake Moultrie provide ample access to the water. Active adult neighborhoods like Cresswind are located within communities with their own large lakes for paddling. Pickleball and tennis are sports easily enjoyed at each of the retirement neighborhoods.

If you’re a boomer, chances are high that Charleston and surrounding counties are appealing to you for your retirement. Not only is Charleston near the coast, it offers all the features of lifestyle and housing that are in demand by your generation. It’s easy to understand why you may soon find yourself calling Charleston home.


Thank you for reading and sharing our articles from The Greater Charleston New Homes Guide. Our business is to know Charleston, SC's new home construction, home builders, neighborhoods and homes so we may assist you as you take your new construction home journey. Please take the time to explore our library of helpful tips, guides and insights. The Greater Charleston New Homes Guide is considered the most comprehensive and reliable resource to new home construction, builders, neighborhoods and homes throughout the Lowcountry.

Tagged as: Charleston Area Housing Market

Categories: K. Hovnanian Homes  Del Webb Nexton  The Pines at Gahagan  Cresswind Charleston  Lowcountry Neighborhood News  

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