Is James Island, SC a Good Place to Live? 5 Neighborhoods for Under $500k
James Island, South Carolina is an island rich with history situated among the Charleston Harbor and the Stono and Folly Rivers. Previously consisting of mostly farmland, James Island is now primarily a residential community close to downtown Charleston and all that the Lowcountry has to offer. If you're looking to grab a piece of the "Island Life" for yourself, you're in luck! This is my list of the top 5 neighborhoods on James Island for under $500k.
From the Ocean Neighbors Home Owner's Association: "Ocean Neighbors is a growing community of 240 single-family homes located on James Island. Floor plans range from 1500 to 2500 sq. ft. with prices from [High $300's] to over $500,000. A quiet, family-oriented neighborhood, Ocean Neighbors is within minutes of Folly Beach, the Charleston Peninsula, and the West Ashley area. Ocean Neighbors is not just a Home Owners Association, but a community of friends."
Indeed, Ocean Neighbors on James Island is considered a highly walkable "Sidewalk Community" with lots of community events held throughout the year. It's also known for being the best "Trick-or-Treating" location for kids on James Island! As you may have guessed from the quote above, the neighborhood does have an HOA, which is something to consider during your home search. You can find a wealth of information about the HOA at the link to their page above.
One of the closest communities to Folly Beach, a 3-5 minute drive is all that's required to have your feet in the sand. At Ocean Neighbors, you'll be close to restaurants like the famous Bowens Island Restaurant and craft beers, live music and dog-friendly dining at The Barrel. James Island County Park is just down the street and features an amazing dog park and events throughout the year, including their famous Holiday Festival of Lights, which is only $20 per carload or one free admission with a season pass.
Ocean Neighbors features a children's play park and a 12-acre lake for plenty of outdoor activities right within the community. Most homes will have mandatory flood insurance, but premiums aren't on the high side. For the boaters, you're also close to two public boat ramps at Sol Legare and Folly Beach.
- Walkable "Sidewalk Community"
- Variety of community events
- Great Trick or Treating for the kids
- One of the closest to Folly Beach
- Children's Play Park & 12-acre Lake
- Does have an HOA
- Most homes have mandatory flood insurance
- Further from downtown Charleston access
Quoted as being "deceptively convenient" due to the ability to avoid Folly Road traffic and access downtown via side roads, another great community to consider is Seaside Plantation.
Known for their community "Marsh Floats" during the summer where neighbors gather at the boat landing and float with the currents up and down the marsh as the tide changes, Seaside features multiple neighborhood sections at varying price points with a community boat ramp and fishing dock. However, the boat ramp is on a tidal creek, so folks who plan to use it should make themselves familiar with the tides when coming and going.
Seaside is close to Folly Beach with access to two easily accessible public boat ramps at Sol Legare and Folly Beach. The community is also close to restaurants like The Bohemian Bull, shopping for fresh-caught seafood at Crosby's Fish and Shrimp and James Island County Park.
Current median home prices for Seaside Plantation are around $485,000, with the range being in the low $300's to over one million. Seaside is a single-family home community with no attached townhomes or condos, and the construction ages are between 1993 to 2019. These home sizes range from 1,169 to over 4,000 square feet, with between 3-6 bedrooms and 2-5 bathrooms available.
Another HOA community to consider, Seaside is managed by Poston & Co which you can research more via the provided link. Most homes here will have mandatory flood insurance with moderate premiums.
- Multiple sections with varying price points
- Community boat ramp and fishing dock
- Close to Folly Beach
- Boat ramp and dock not on deep water
- Does have an HOA
- Further away from downtown Charleston access
- Most homes will have mandatory flood insurance
If you're in the market for a more established neighborhood, Riverland Terrace might be a good choice for you. With some homes built beginning in the 1920's, homes here are smaller than many of the modern homes currently being built on the island, with bungalows as cozy as 900 square feet.
However, this popular neighborhood is known for its walkability and location being only 10 minutes from downtown Charleston and 15 minutes to Folly Beach. It's also within walking distance to the Terrace Shopping Center for delicious dining at places like Crust Wood-Fired Pizza and current movie selections at the vintage-feeling Terrace Theater. And, you can't miss the Sunday Brunch Farmers Market each weekend located behind the Charleston Pour House for fantastic local finds.
Both Riverland Park and the Wappoo Cut public boat ramp are located within the community with some homes overlooking the municipal golf course. For those with green thumbs, the Medway Community Garden in Medway Park is also located within Riverland Terrace and its mature trees.
Riverland Terrace has no HOA and does offer both attached and single-family homes up to 5,000 square feet. Homes can be found with between 2-6 bedrooms and 1-6 bathrooms. The median home price is on the high side of $589,900, but properties can be found in this community under $500k.
- Well-established neighborhood
- Highly walkable & close to downtown Charleston
- Can walk to shopping & dining
- No HOA
- Some homes on the smaller side
- Further from Folly Beach
- Median home prices on higher side
Another well-established community, Laurel Park is a charming neighborhood on the island featuring older homes built between 1946 to 2003.
This neighborhood features easy access to the Connector, getting you downtown quickly for both work and play with hospitals, dining and shopping nearby. Tennis fans and active families will enjoy the proximity to the Maybank Tennis Center courts, and those who like to eat can grab a great meal at spots like Gillies Seafood or Yous Guys Sandwich Shop.
This desirable neighborhood boasts attached and single-family homes ranging between 1,059 to 2,495 square feet and a median sale price of $361,500. The single-family homes feature large lots with 2-6 bedrooms and between 1-3 bathrooms, so there are options to suit many needs. Laurel Park has no HOA, which of course should be considered depending on your wish list.
- Well-established neighborhood
- Easy access to the Connector to get to downtown Charleston
- Close to shopping and dining
- No HOA
- Most homes are older construction
- Not as close to Folly Beach as other neighborhoods
The newer neighborhood of Fleming Park features 49 single-family homes all built by Ashton Woods in 2017. Featuring open floor plans and "Charleston" architectural style, Ashton Woods is a well-known builder who has developed multiple neighborhoods around the Lowcountry.
One of the smaller neighborhoods on my list, these homes are located between Folly Road and Riverland Drive providing easy access to hospitals, restaurants, shopping and the Maybank Tennis Center. Barbecue fans will love Melvin's Barbecue right up the road and coffee fiends can get their morning jolt from Muddy Waters Coffee in the Harris Teeter shopping center on Maybank Highway. Those who want the suburban conveniences of garages, easily-maintained yards and an easy commute to downtown Charleston might want to put Fleming Park on their list.
The current median sales price on homes in Fleming Park is $427,000 with layouts ranging from 1,808 to 2,327 square feet with 3-4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. This is an HOA community also managed by Poston & Co., should you wish to research the association further. The homes within Fleming Park do require Flood Insurance as another consideration.
- Newest neighborhood and homes on list
- Easy access to downtown Charleston
- Easy access to shopping and dining
- Homes offer garages
- Smaller community with potentially less selection
- Not as well-established
- Does have an HOA
So, Is James Island, South Carolina a good place to live?
In short, yes! I love James Island for its proximity to beaches, shopping and dining, and that's all before you even head downtown into Charleston. There's plenty to love about this Lowcountry island, and with a wide range of neighborhoods offering homes below $500,000, there's sure to be a place to call home for you.
If you're interested in starting your search for a Lowcountry home, please get in touch. But, I do hope this has given you some great information to get started. Make sure to follow me on social media for when I post more great neighborhood guides in the Charleston area. And, if you're interested in learning about the home-buying process, you can also check out my posts on pre-approval HERE and choosing a real estate agent HERE.
Ashley Melton, Realtor®