Savannah vs. Charleston: A Real Estate Market Comparison
July 10, 2019
Savannah and Charleston have many qualities in common, including gracious antebellum architecture, incredible quality of life, Southern charm, natural beauty, a commitment to historic preservation and exceptional amenities located within walking distance.
Both cities were both originally founded as British colonies and helped protect English settlements from Spanish strongholds to the south. In addition, Savannah and Charleston were spared during the Civil War, unlike many other Southern cities that were burned to the ground during General Sherman’s notorious “March to the Sea.” As a result, the two cities offer a remarkable inventory of pre-Civil War architecture.
The port city of Charleston was established in 1670, 63 years prior to the founding of Savannah in 1733. Bounded by East Broad Street to the east, Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. the west, Gwinnett Street to the south and the Savannah River to the north, Savannah’s National Historic Landmark District is one of the nation’s largest, featuring hundreds of architecturally significant properties, from quaint cottages to elegant mansions.
Located two hours to the north of Savannah, Charleston is the Palmetto State’s crown jewel, with a lively downtown shopping, dining and nightlife scene. Many of Charleston’s historic properties are located on a peninsula nestled between the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. The district was expanded in 1970 and 1978 to accommodate additional buildings and institutions, beyond the city’s revered churches and colorful Rainbow Row houses.
Interestingly, Savannah offers significantly better real estate value than Charleston, allowing buyers to get more for their money. In Savannah, over the past 12 months, the average sale price in Savannah’s National Historic Landmark District was $535,721, which is significantly less than the average sale price of $1.29 million in Charleston’s historic district. The average price per square foot for residential property in Savannah’s National Historic Landmark District is $274, compared to $459 in downtown Charleston.
The contrast is even more dramatic when comparing the “prime” areas of the two downtown areas. Homes located between Harris Street and Gaston Street and Jefferson and Price Street in Savannah have an average sale price of $610,869, which is less than a third of the average sale price of $2.185 million south of Broad Street in Charleston.
Savannah and Charleston have always had a friendly rivalry, but when it comes to the real estate market, the two cities are quite different. The same property in Savannah would sell for two to three times more in Charleston.
What does this mean for buyers? Downtown Savannah is an excellent market to purchase a home, with a wide range of properties available at a variety of price points. Now is the perfect time to explore Savannah’s real estate landscape and to see the variety of options available.
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Staci Donegan, an associate broker at Seabolt Real Estate in Savannah, Georgia, is an award-winning real estate professional who has been honored by Real Trends as one of Georgia’s top real estate agents. A leading residential agent for Savannah's National Historic Landmark District, Donegan has a strong work ethic, steadfast commitment to clients and impressive business background that help meet the needs of buyers and sellers across the region.
A former financial and business consultant with a degree in accounting, Donegan currently serves on the budget committee for Savannah Area REALTORS® (formerly SABOR) and on the board of directors for the Savannah Multi-list Corporation. For six consecutive years, Donegan was honored as a Top Producer for her annual sales volume and has earned acclaim as one of Savannah’s leading real estate experts.
For more information or to view Staci's current listings, visit stacidoneganrealestate.com.
About Seabolt Real Estate
Founded in 2006 by broker Elaine Seabolt, Seabolt Real Estate has earned a reputation as Savannah’s premier luxury real estate firm. Specializing in the sale of residential and commercial properties, Seabolt Real Estate has an accomplished team of more than 30 professional agents and serves as coastal Georgia’s exclusive affiliate in prestigious, invitation-only networks ranging from Christie’s International Real Estate to Harry Norman Realtors.
For more information about Seabolt Real Estate, visit seaboltrealestate.com.