Back at the turn of the millennium, the median price for a home in Charleston, South Carolina, was just $152,100. By 2015, that number had spiked 77.5 percent to $270,000. Over the same period, the city’s population shifted as well, with traditionally working-class, African-American neighborhoods becoming increasingly middle-class and white. Altogether, these kinds of changes have put Charleston first on a new list identifying the fastest-gentrifying cities in the U.S.
Conducted by Realtor.com, the analysis examined home price data and census information to determine the cities experiencing rapid gentrification, which is the phenomenon of wealthier people moving into a neighborhood, thereby increasing the property values and cost of living in the area and eventually pricing out less-wealthy residents.
Here’s how Realtor describes summarized the study’s methodology
We looked at cities whose population was 50,000 or more between 2000 and 2015. Then we took a look at the U.S. Census Tracts—that’s data-speak for neighborhoods of 1,200 to 8,000 people. We focused on lower-income areas with home values that had the potential for gentrification (excluding wealthier communities that had already arrived.) Then we compared home values as well as residents’ income and education levels in the years from 2000 to 2015, to assess which cities were seeing the biggest turnaround.
On the final list, ordered by descending “gentrification potential achieved,” Charleston is closely followed by Asheville, North Carolina—which has experienced an 88 percent increase in median home values since 2000. Washington, D.C.; Portland, Oregon; and Denver, Colorado, round out the top five. The remainder of the top ten also shouldn’t be too surprising for readers: Nashville, Tennessee; Sacramento, California; Jersey City, New Jersey; Long Beach, California; and Austin, Texas. Explore the full analysis here.