West Ashley covers a large area and the answer to your question would depend on what is important to you. There are some older, established neighborhoods that are very popular and there are also neighborhoods with new construction. West Ashley has several waterfront neighborhoods, as well. Are schools important to you? West Ashley High School serves most of West Ashley, but the middle schools and elementary schools will differ.
I would love to talk with you further if you have specific questions about the Charleston area.
All the best,
Carolina One Real Estate
West Ashley is a pretty large area. What is most important to you? Schools, amenities, easy access to the highway, etc.? That will help give me some pointers on what you are looking for. I have some videos about the area that you might find helpful: http://youtube.com/RebeccaKroseberg
I specialize in West Ashley, and of course socio-economic influences come into play here, just like they do in most suburbs of a city anywhere. Homes are priced in a wide variety of ranges & it covers a large geographic area. Parts of W. Ashley are very close to downtown Charleston, and as a rule of thumb, that's where you will find older homes with lots of charm & character & a price range that reflects it. The area on the far, opposite end is where you will find new construction, with the majority of homes having 2 stories & featuring the latest interior & exterior trends, but are on smaller lots. The area that is in the "middle" has some newer homes, but primarily the homes were built in the 70s & 80s; many are 1 story & usually sit on larger lots in well established neighborhoods. This middle area often offers the best value for the money. In recent years, many of the older homes in W. Ashley have been beautifully renovated,....and some have not, but it remains a sought after area due to it's great location that offers a convenient commute to just about anywhere in the metro area. The combination of all these factors will determine the price of any particular home, in any particular area. Picking the best area for YOU, will depend on what is most important to you.. but you can count on having a wide variety to choose from within West Ashley. Sorry for this long answer, but hope it helped.
Trulia actually has a section where you can look at crimes in areas and what kind of crimes were committed.
Hope this helps,