Columbia Home Trends
The capital city of South Carolina, Columbia is a relatively small yet surprisingly diverse city in terms of its attractions and landscape. Stretching from the sandhills area of Northeast Columbia to the rich clay along the Congaree River that cuts through downtown, Columbia has something for everyone. Family-friendly suburbs, a bustling college-town feel, outdoor delights, a burgeoning arts and culture scene, and three distinct entertainment districts add to the allure of this growing capital gem. Columbia's median home sale price has risen nearly 22 percent to $213,000, and the market remains competitive. There's still lots of new construction in both the suburbs and the downtown corridor, making the city a promising market in terms of real estate potential.
As the home of the University of South Carolina, Columbia is known first and foremost as a college town. This isn't to say the city is awash with rowdy college students, but rather that for most of the year the downtown area is abuzz with game-day fanfare and a collective excitement for the football season. Head to Five Points for a university experience complete with plenty of local bars, eclectic dining, local coffee shops, and cool thrift shops. The Vista is slightly more upscale and features fine dining restaurants like Motor Supply Company, a local favorite. Just up the street sits the newly revitalized Main Street District, a charming stretch of shops, restaurants, nightlife spots, wine bars, and even the much-loved Nickelodeon Theatre, a small nonprofit cinema that shows independent and foreign films. Williams Brice Stadium is the home of the USC Gamecocks and is a fixture of the city skyline. During the warmer months of the year, find locals boating, fishing, and swimming in the Congaree River. There's been a lot of attention placed on river conservation in recent years, and it's become an outdoor fixture for those who enjoy soaking up some sun on the rocks or just enjoy watching it flow through the heart of the city.
Columbia has one of the highest concentrations of top-rated public schools in the state. There are 84 public schools that serve the area, 44 private schools, and a large number of charter schools too. Hammond is one of the top private schools in the city, with Brockman Elementary ranking high as a public Montessori school. For universities, the University of South Carolina is an obvious choice, as its campus inhabits a large section of Downtown Columbia. Benedict College, just blocks from the USC campus, is an HBCU founded in 1870 that is recognizable from its historic classroom buildings that stretch along Harden Street.
Commuting in Columbia
Commuting around Columbia is a breeze, depending on the time of day. Interstates 20 and 77 are the two major thoroughfares into downtown and surrounding communities, and commutes during rush hour take around 30 minutes if not less. Suburbs in Northeast Columbia are seeing a lot of new growth that often outpaces infrastructure that supports the number of cars, but commute times still average around just 30 minutes during rush hour. The heart of the city is relatively walkable, and there's a solid bus system that serves the city, including a complementary shuttle that stops in Five Points, the Vista, and Main Street.