Kiawah Island, S.C., south of Charleston, has been a playground of the rich for 20 years.
Kiawah Island, S.C., south of Charleston, has been a playground of the rich for 20 years. All the new upsurge in wealth demographics means there is another uptick in demand that will drive prices for scarce new homes even further off the charts.
"We're still building Club Cottages on Kiawah," says Hank Hofford, president of The Bennett Hofford Co., describing the elegant Old World village product (2,800 to 3,200 square feet) he's built for more than a decade to meet the needs of empty nesters who want to move in quickly. Always immaculately finished in exotic materials, they change only a little with each new generation. "The ones we sold eight years ago for $500,000 are now selling for $1.5 million," Hofford says, "and our new generation is now priced $1.5 million to $2.2 million."
Hofford pre-sold all seven of its new homes in a single day this spring, proof the boomers have found the South Carolina coast. They're now under construction, but here is a look at the last generation in a home designed by Charleston architect Bill Huey, featuring cedar shingle siding and a copper shingle roof. It recently sold for $2.7 million.
The home features Ipe Brazilian hardwood decking, a wood similar to teak but so dense it sinks in water. "We built the house two years ago for $365 a square foot in hard costs," Hofford recalls.