There comes a time in everyone’s life when you begin to crave change. Some of us may desire small changes like looking for better job opportunities or purchasing a larger home to make room for a growing family. But, as you get older and enter into retirement age, it’s not uncommon to downsize or move to a different state.
For those wanting to make the ultimate lifestyle change, relocating to South Carolina may be a perfect choice. Not only does it offer mild climates almost year-round, but it also has southern charm, natural beauty, and tons of things to do. Best of all, the average cost of living in South Carolina is quite affordable with the overall cost coming in at 11.5% – lower than the national average.
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But, relocating to a new state, even to South Carolina, often comes with its own set of challenges. There are several things you must consider before making this type of lifestyle change, including
- How is the real estate market in South Carolina?
- Are utilities like electricity and water expensive?
- What about the health and medical costs?
- Does South Carolina offer public transportation?
- Is South Carolina an expensive place to live?
Housing, utilities, transportation, and healthcare are important factors that help to determine the cost of living in each state. If the national average cost of living is 100, then any number below 100 has a lower cost of living index than the national average. If the data shows a number above 100, then the cost of living index is more expensive than the national average.
Let’s take a look at each one of these categories. We will determine if the average cost of living in South Carolina is worth calling this state your next home.
Real Estate Market In South Carolina
With a population of a little over 5 million people, one of the first aspects people consider when moving to South Carolina is the real estate market. Over the last ten years, the real estate market in the southern state has been on a steady rise. Many cities reported record-breaking sales in 2020, resulting in the number of homes for sale falling by 32.7%.
In January, home prices were reported to be up 15% year over year with the types of homes ranging from large plantation houses to small country cottages. With demand outweighing the supply, homes are selling faster, and buyers must compete to land the best home for their family needs.
Costs Of Living in South Carolina
Like most states, the cost of living in South Carolina fluctuates depending on what county you choose to live in. In most cases, it is more expensive to live closer to a large city like Charleston than it is to live outside of the city in smaller counties like Marlboro.
However, when comparing the cost of living in South Carolina to the national average, you will find that it is slightly lower in most categories.
- Bills and Utility Costs: 103.9%
- Food and Groceries Costs: 98.5%
- Transportation Costs: 86.8%
- Health and Medical Costs: 102.3%
- Housing Prices: 73.6%
Overall, data shows the cost of living in South Carolina is at 88.5%, which is 11.5% cheaper than the national average.
Bills And Utility Costs
When purchasing a home in South Carolina, you need to consider the cost of utilities. Most of the time, electricity, water, gas, and sewer are added expenses. The closer you live to the city may result in the higher cost of utilities. Electricity costs may also rise during the summer months due to higher temperatures.
On average, you can expect to pay
- Electricity Costs: $145
- Water Costs: $100
- Sewer Costs: $40
- Gas Costs: $100
Additionally, trash services and the internet are usually not included in these averages due to several communities offering extensive amenities for their residents.
The average transportation costs for South Carolina residents vary from city to city. However, gas prices are usually some of the lowest in the country. Most drivers will pay between $1280 and $1850 per year for transportation, which does not include car insurance.
Larger cities and metro areas offer public transportation, and privately owned transportation companies like Uber and Lyft are also available. There are also several airports in South Carolina that allow for international travel.
- Charleston International Airport (CHA)
- Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE)
- Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (CSP)
- Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR)
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Housing Prices In South Carolina
The cost of housing in South Carolina is quite affordable. The average cost of living for housing is 73.6%, while home appreciation is up 6.9%. The average single-family home cost about $170,100, which is roughly 26% lower than the national average.
South Carolina has some of the lowest property taxes in the country, lower personal taxes, and sales taxes that come in at only 6%, so even the most expensive home sales could seem worthwhile. This is quite the opposite when comparing taxes to neighboring states like North Carolina and Georgia.
Food & Shopping
Depending on the size of your family and your lifestyle, the cost of living for food and shopping will vary, but is still somewhat lower than the national average, coming in at 6% lower. This is more affordable than its neighboring state, with the cost of living in North Carolina being 3.4% lower than the national average. Local produce is available year-round, while the cost of items like fruits and vegetables will fluctuate depending on the season.
Below are a few of the average costs of groceries in South Carolina:
- Milk Cost: $2.25
- Eggs Cost: $3.00
- Bread Cost: $3.24
- Beef Cost: $2.88
Health and Medical Costs
South Carolina finds itself close to the bottom of the list when it comes to health and medical costs. The typical resident will spend about $452 for basic medical coverage, which may be more if your health is less than average. The cost of healthcare also ranks higher than the national average at 102.3%.
In terms of health and medical costs for the state, South Carolina has been ranked the 8th worst state in the national healthcare ranking. ER wait time, the availability of telemedicine, and high out-of-pocket spending costs affect this ranking.
Average Cost Of Living In South Carolina
Many people choose to relocate to South Carolina for different reasons, but the low average living expenses are a big draw. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the annual cost of living for a single person with no kids in South Carolina is $2,332, and the median household income is $57,340. The average home value is $261,882, which is up 22.9% over last year.
Rent in South Carolina is slightly below the national average, as well. Depending on the location and the amenities, a renter usually pays around $1,136 for an apartment. This is 6% less than the national average.
Childcare typically costs about $6,375 per year, while some companies provide in-house childcare to help with these costs.
South Carolina is not only a beautiful place to relocate to, but it is also quite affordable for homeowners. It offers mild climates, beautiful beaches, and classic southern charm. Not to mention, the cost of living is lower than the national average in most cases.
The real estate market is lucrative with homes appreciating quickly, and the value of homes increasing 22.9% in the last year. Many people who choose to relocate to South Carolina will find the low cost of living to be beneficial in daily life. You will still be able to live comfortably while paying all your bills with ease, and enjoying everything South Carolina has to offer. It remains one of the best places to live for a variety of reasons – including affordability.
Looking to relocate to another city in South Carolina, or move to another state? We will buy your house in Rock Hill or surrounding areas so you can start your next great adventure!