Moving to a new neighborhood can be a bit intimidating, but moving to another state can often feel like taking off to a completely different world. Not only will you be meeting new people, but you’ll also be learning about the state’s culture, getting used to the climate, and many other factors as well.
South Carolina is no exception to these feelings, but we like to think it’s a pleasant state full of great people, yummy food, and plenty of fun activities. If you’re planning on moving to this state soon, you may be wondering about what it costs to live here.
That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive list of details identifying the most important information you need to know about the cost of living in South Carolina. From the real estate market to the price of local transportation, you will learn everything necessary to make an educated decision about whether you can afford to live here.
South Carolina Housing Market
Though you will see varying costs between cities and neighborhoods across the state, the average price of a home in South Carolina is currently about $165,800, which is up about 6.8% from last year. That places it about 15% lower than the national average, making it a very affordable place to live.
The most expensive county in the state is Charleston, found on the southeast border along the Atlantic Ocean. You’ll see comfortable homes in this area with an average price of $333,000, making it an important part of town to consider insurance for your new home. While Marlboro County to the northeast has the state’s lowest average listing price of $74,000.
Houses around the state range from large plantation-style properties and low country homes to small single-family cottages. Regardless of your lifestyle, you’re sure to find a great place in one of South Carolina’s great cities.
Cost of Rent in South Carolina
With about one-third of the state’s homes hosting renters, there are plenty of options for people who don’t plan on purchasing a home there right away. South Carolina rent prices range from a small one bedroom location for $920 per month up to around $2,360 for a full-size five bedroom home.
You’ll find plenty of wiggle room in between to fit your needs whether you’re a young, single student or you have a large family. But most rental locations are found in and around the larger metro areas like Charleston, Columbia, as well as Greenville which has some great luxury apartments.
Average Cost of Utilities
Whether you’re renting or you’re the homeowner, more often than not you’ll be responsible for taking care of the home utilities. These include basic necessities like electricity, water, gas, sewer, and trash services. Setting all of them up can be a bit of an undertaking as part of changing your address, but you’ll need to contact each one to make sure your lights are on and the shower works properly.
Here are some estimated prices you can expect to pay regularly for each service type in South Carolina:
Average electric bill: $145
Average water bill: $32
Average sewer bill: $37
Average gas bill: $100
Local Transportation Costs
South Carolina is serviced by a handful of companies for both local and statewide transportation, depending on your city. Below are a few of the most well-known buses and the areas they serve:
CARTA – Charleston Area Regional Transit Authority (Metro areas of Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester Counties)
TriCounty Link (Rural areas of Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties)
The Comet – Central Midlands Transit (Richland, Lexington, and Newberry Counties)
Greenlink Transit (Greenville County)
With a fairly significant difference from city to city, the average transportation cost for drivers and commuters in South Carolina is between $1,280 and $1,850 per year. However, these prices don’t include automobile insurance which is an additional $1,250 per driver annually on average.
Additional rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are available all across the state for anyone who doesn’t have a car or simply needs a one-time ride. South Carolina also has major airports in every big city such as Charleston International, Columbia Metropolitan, Greenville-Spartanburg International, and Florence Regional.
Average Income in South Carolina
Due to its slightly lower cost of living, South Carolina’s income numbers are a bit lower than average as well. The most recent stats show that the state’s median household income is about $50,570 per year, nearly $10,000 less than the United States average. The average household income for families is a bit higher at about $62,400 per year.
The state unemployment rate is about 3.8% and seems to be on the way down even further. Job growth has been on the rise over the past 10 years, thanks to the large companies who make their home in the state. The tire manufacturing company, Michelin, as well as a packaging company known as Cryovac Inc., are the two largest employers in the state, both with about 23,000 employees.
A few other notable businesses that are headquartered in South Carolina include Sonoco, Intertech Group, KEMET Electronics, Medical University of South Carolina, and Denny’s.
Food and Dining Costs
The price of food and groceries across the state is only slightly less than the national average. But with an estimated 5% savings overall, it can be extra money in your pocket to go to something else.
When you head to the grocery store for the bare necessities, expect to pay about $2.25 for a gallon of milk, $3 for a dozen eggs, and boneless chicken breast for about $3.60 per pound. And following a common amount for eating out at a local restaurant, most meals will set you back at an average of $13 per person. While a fast food franchise will typically offer a value meal for about $8.
There are plenty of great places to eat all across South Carolina. Check out Hank’s Seafood Restaurant in Charleston, Smoke on the Water in Greenville, or Lizard’s Thicket in Columbia for a few delicious options around the state.
Other Living Expenses in the State
The overall cost of living in South Carolina is about 6% less when compared to the national average. From the low housing costs to the affordable eats, you’ll be left with some play money every month to enjoy what this fun state has to offer. Whether you like history, thrill rides, or nature, you’re sure to something exciting to do no matter where you are.
The Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is a historic site located along the Ashley River in Charleston. Visitors can walk through the peaceful gardens and learn a lot about the history of both the city and that entire region.
Myrtle Beach is easily one of the most popular spots for visitors to South Carolina. One of its most popular attractions is Broadway at the Beach, which is a large shopping center and entertainment hub. Check out Ripley’s Aquarium, go for a helicopter ride, visit the unique WonderWorks amusement park, and much more.
And outdoor enthusiasts may be inclined to visit Congaree National Park. Less than a 30-minute drive southeast of Columbia, you can view the breathtaking scenery, go camping, catch a few fish, and go hiking through the lush, green forest.
Coming to Enjoy the Affordable Cost of Living in South Carolina?
The fact that you’ve made it this far means you haven’t been scared off by anything you’ve learned about what it costs to live here. South Carolinians love their home state and its many perks and quirks. No matter where you end up, you’ll have great places to grab a bite of food, affordable homes, and other low-cost expenses.
If you’re planning on moving to South Carolina, you can live comfortably and have money to spare for some well-deserved fun along the way. Our team of movers can help with your transition, whether you need assistance with packing, unpacking, or even storage services.
Give us a call today at (864) 269-0073 to learn more about how we can help!