Much of what I write about in From The Land of Palm Trees deals with day to day living in the Lowcountry as it relates to leisure activity. Occasionally I will remind the reader that most of us who live year around in “Vacation Land” have jobs and lives that include mundane routines and responsibilities like sorting recyclables and putting the trash at the curb on certain days, and doing lawn and garden work.
Of course, I would much rather write about fun things like golf courses.
Or trips to the beach.
It's a whole lot more interesting to write about good times in one of the world’s foremost tourist destinations, but the mission of this blog is to present a taste of what life is like when one chooses to be more than a visitor in the Land of Palm Trees. And for many of us who call the Lowcountry home our lives take on a sense of regularity and worldliness amidst all of this sand, sun and fun. You know, we read the local newspaper daily and we watch the local newscasts, we have church homes, we belong to civic organizations, PTO’s and we vote in local elections. We bank at neighborhood banks and even get our teeth cleaned twice a year. In much the same fashion that you live your lives in various cities and towns all over the country. OK, granted, it’s a little different going to the dentist or eye doctor in an office that is decorated with wicker furniture, palm leaf patterned fabric and tropical color schemes, but you get the point.
We get excited when we read good news about the local economy, just like we do when we read about yet another foodie award for Husk. That was the case yesterday when I picked up The Post and Courier and read the front page headline LOCAL ECONOMY ON THE UPSWING. I was even happier when I read the first few lines of the article: “The Charleston area is seeing a stronger economic recovery than the rest of the state and most of the nation.” Even though the experts quoted by the report state that not much improvement is expected in the real estate market over the next 2 years it was still welcome news for residents of the Lowcountry to hear that all signs indicate that recovery is here, especially for a home owner like me who expects to grow old on the shores of this beautiful coastline. Unfortunately, we moved to the Lowcountry and purchased the home we currently live in just before the huge de-valuation in the real estate market. Since then not only have the numbers of homes selling plummeted but also the selling prices have decreased significantly. In 2006 close to 18,000 homes were sold in the tri-county area, last year in 2011, the number sold was half of that. In many neighborhoods homes are selling for upwards of 30% less for the same home today as opposed to say back in 2007, ouch, especially if you bought in 2007. But there is a silver lining to that dark cloud, mortgage rates are at an all-time low and there are some FABULOUS homes for sale at drastically reduced rates, and if you are fortunate enough to be a buyer in this market, now might be the time to make a move. Especially based upon the modest growth in the local economy being forecast by the experts. I have heard stories about the real estate boom of 2003 and 2004, when folks were purchasing home packages and having the value of the property and home appreciate 15-20 % before the house was ever completed and they moved in. With some of the drastically undervalued real estate available today, it would seem that a buyer may be poised to see their investment pay off quite well for them over the next 5-10 years.
As if that wasn’t enough good news, yesterdays paper also reported that the US Navy is expanding their local involvement with a doubling of the current nuclear submarine training program currently operating at the Naval Weapons Station in Goose Creek.
Now all of this news may not be as entertaining for the reader of my blog as reading about a day at the beach or on a boat, but it should be encouraging not only to anybody who is lucky enough to call the Lowcountry home, but also to anybody who is considering a move to the Land of Palm Trees. I for one am glad to hear the news, it makes it that much more fun to live and play in Vacation Land.