A gated community of high-end homes is planned for Greer, complete with walking trails, a pocket park and landscaping that obscures the homes from the roadway.
Lots under an acre in the Le Jardin development — most between 0.4 and 0.6 acres — will cost between $100,000 and $150,000, while “enclave” lots one acre and larger will be in the low $200,000 range. Fully constructed homes will start at $500,000, and some will exceed $1 million. There will be 64 lots in the community, according to a map.
Le Jardin will be off Howell Road in Greer, just off State 14 and near Interstate 85. Once visitors and guests pass the gated entrance, they will go down a 250-foot wooded drive designed to create a “secluded” feel, keeping the outside road and the homes inside the gates out of view from each other.
The homes will be built in the English Tudor and French Eclectic styles to “singularly controlled, professional architectural standards,” according to Stoneledge founder and the developer of the project, Chris Bailey.
While high-end development has increasingly popped up downtown, Bailey said he chose the wooded Greer property, crisscrossed with streams, because future homeowners could get more “breathing room” for their money. He wants to buck the recent development trend of high-density communities with small lots, some a tenth of an acre.
“If we would’ve found a piece of property like that in downtown Greenville, we would have done it, but for what we want, that just doesn’t exist,” Bailey said. “This property presented the opportunity to do the larger lots, whereas in downtown Greenville, the cost is very prohibitive. In downtown Greenville, it would be a half million dollar lot, whereas here, we can offer it for $125,000.”
Bailey also chose the property because it’s in an affluent area and is zoned for schools including Riverside High School, which he called a “very desirable” part of the school district.
The high end of the housing market — homes costing $500,000 and more — is a small but steady sector in the Upstate. Last year, just 3.8 percent of the 11,603 homes sold in the Upstate went for more than $500,000, according to the Greater Greenville Association of Realtors. Between January 1, 2016 and June 15, 2016, 168 homes costing more than $500,000 were sold, 3.16 percent of the 5,322 total homes sold. As of this week, 17.4 percent of the 3,852 on the market in the Upstate are priced for more than $500,000.
Bailey said he did not see a severe downturn in business during the housing crisis of 2008, which affected home builders across the country. A halt in development of lower-priced homes in the “sweet spot” of $200,000 to $400,000 is what many real estate professionals credit for the Upstate’s current inventory shortage in that price range.
During that time, real estate agents saw expensive homes sit for long periods of time before selling. Now, high-priced suburban homes have begun to move off the market more quickly, said Laura Simmons of Laura Simmons Real Estate in Greer.
“They’re back to selling pretty quickly. Things that would sit for a year are now going much faster,” Simmons said. “We’ve seen a trend; things that were sitting are now selling.”
The price points for these homes are far higher than the average and median costs of homes in the Greenville area. In 2015, the average sale price of a single-family home was $204,447 and the median was $172,000, according to statistics from the Greater Greenville Association of Realtors. The average price of a newly constructed home in the greater Greenville region is $277,468, according to the Home Builders Association of Greenville. That group defines the region as Greenville, Pickens and Laurens counties.
Despite the sharp difference in price tags, some buyers see these homes as “super values,” said Fritzi Barbour, broker in charge at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services C. Dan Joyner REALTORS.
“There’s a lot of people who cash out in more expensive communities or come here with corporate moves because they know a $500,000, $750,000, $1 million home in Greenville, South Carolina, could be a $2 million or $3 million home in a place like Northern Virginia or Connecticut,” Barbour said.