10 Best Places to Live in South Carolina 2021

The great state of South Carolina has something for everybody. Having lived there for 20-plus years, I can attest to the number of cultural experiences, beautiful landscapes and incredible people that can be found in the Palmetto State.

In addition to the coastal beauty of well-known cities like Charleston and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina has an abundance of places across the midlands and the upstate filled with opportunities to enjoy small-town charm or big-city living.

World-class dining, top-tier colleges and multinational corporations show that South Carolina has stepped out of its complicated and divisive past to embrace a future brimming with opportunity and Carolina sunshine.

Some Common Factors

All of the communities described here have certain characteristics in common. Here are a few:

  1. 1) Taxes. South Carolina has a progressive state income tax that ranges from 0% (for income levels up to $3,110) to 7% (income levels starting at $15,400). For comparison, the average state income tax in the U.S. is 4.6%. The combined state and local sales tax rate ranges from 6.25% to 8.25%, putting it above the national average of 6.2%. South Carolina does have one of the lowest effective property tax rates in the U.S., though, at 0.56%.
  2. 2) Climate. Most of South Carolina is favored with fairly mild winters and long summers. We will mention any specific climatic anomalies for specific areas if they exist.

For each community below, we assign a HOMEiA Score, which provides an overall assessment of its safety and appeal as a place to call home.

The 10 Best Places to Live in South Carolina.

1. Charleston 

HOMEiA Score: 92/100

  • Population: 150,227 | Rank Last Year: #2
  • Cost of Living: 10% above the U.S. national average
  • Home price to income ratio: $330,600 /$68,438 = 4.83 (buying homes is expensive)
  • Income to rent ratio: $68,438/$15,084 = 4.54 (renting homes is affordable)

Charleston is located in the South Carolina low country with easy access to U.S. Highway 17 and Interstate Highway 526. Charleston Airport (CHS) offers regional and international flights, and the bustling port is a home port for several Carnival Cruise Line ships. Major historical sites include the USS Yorktown/Fort Sumpter and the H.L Hunley

a. Size and Population

Charleston is the largest city in South Carolina, with a population of 150,227 (2020) spread over a 135-square-mile area. The population density is 1,112.0 per square mile.

The population in Charleston grew by 25.1% from April 2010 through April 2020, substantially above both the overall U.S. rate of 7.35% and the South Carolina rate of 10.7%.

b. Median Income, Cost of Living and Housing Market Characteristics

The numbers below show the median income, cost of living and annual spending on housing for owned and rented properties in Charleston.

CHARLESTON MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME (2019): $68,438

Charleston Cost of Living

  • 10% Above the U.S. National Average
  • 10% Higher than Charlotte, North Carolina
  • 35% Lower than New York City, New York
  • 2% Higher than Chicago, Illinois

Charleston Housing Costs

Median Home Value Annual Spend for Homeowners Annual Spend for Renters
(Rent & Utilities)
$330,600 $21,684 $15,084

Charleston shows a home P/E (home price to income) ratio of 4.83, based on a median home value of $330,600 and a median household income of $68,438. The U.S. average is 4.0. Therefore, it is expensive to buy homes in the Charleston area.

Charleston shows an income to rent ratio of 4.54, based on a median household income of $68,438 and an annual spend of $15,084. Therefore, it is affordable to rent properties in Charleston.

In Charleston, 55.6% of residents own their homes.

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Top Neighborhoods in Charleston

The list of best neighborhoods to live in Charleston offers a mix of coastal neighborhoods, marsh-front areas and inland options.

  • South of Broad (Home Value Range: $750,000 to $3+ million)
    Featuring Charleston’s historic Battery District and Rainbow Row, this picturesque area epitomizes classic Charleston living.
  • Sullivan’s Island (Home Value Range: $1.5 million to $10+ million)
    A quickly growing area, Sullivan’s Island has outstanding dining options away from the hustle and bustle of downtown.
  • John’s Island (Home Value Range: $200,000 to $750,000+)
    The largest island in South Carolina, John’s Island has real estate options on the beautiful Kiawah River.
  • West Ashley (Home Value Range: $175,000 to $600,000+)
    Named for its location west of the Ashley River, this area offers many small communities and excellent shopping.
  • Charleston Historic District (Home Value Range: $300,000 to $800,000+)
    This district is a designated National Historic Landmark. Purchasing a home here is owning your own slice of history.
  • Daniel Island (Home Value Range: $200,000 to $1+ million)
    This is a perfect neighborhood for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of downtown while still being less than 30 minutes away from the heart of the city.

c. Employment Prospects

The unemployment rate in Charleston is 4.0% (June 2021), which is below both the U.S. national rate of 5.8% and the South Carolina rate of 4.5%. The poverty rate, at 13.2%, is above the national average of 10.5% but below the South Carolina average of 13.8%.

Charleston has a number of public sector employers, including the U.S. Military (Joint Base Charleston) and the Medical University of South Carolina. The largest private employers include Boeing Corporation and Roper St. Francis Healthcare, among others.

The Charleston area has an average commute time of 22.8 minutes.

d. Unique Attributes and Lifestyle

Charleston is consistently ranked as one of the top cities in the U.S. by certain publications, and for good reason. Restaurants offer superb fresh seafood and new twists on classic Southern cuisine; local craftspeople and artists sell their wares in the historic straw market; and there are beautiful parks and green spaces where you can soak in the ocean air.

  • History. Charleston is the perfect place to explore many eras of American history, from the Revolution to the Civil War. Beautifully preserved architecture makes it feel like stepping back in time. Local historical sites include the USS Yorktown/Fort Sumpter and the H.L Hunley.
  • Museums. Charleston is home to America’s first museum, the Charleston Museum. The Naval and Maritime Museum at Patriot’s Point is another excellent museum for students of American history.
  • Family Activities. The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry is an interactive museum designed to engage children in science and history.
  • Events. Each spring Charleston hosts the Spoleto Festival, a 17-day celebration of the performing arts, founded as an American counterpart to the Italian festival of the same name.

e. Education

There are 34 public schools and 112 private schools in the Charleston area, based on data from GreatSchools.org. Among high schools, there are seven public and 13 private schools.

Overall, the Charleston area is known for good educational infrastructure, better than the average for similarly sized metro areas.

Colleges and universities in the Charleston area include The Citadel, the College of Charleston and Charleston Southern University.

Over the 2015–2019 period, the high school graduation rate in Charleston was significantly above the U.S. national average of 88%. The population of adults above 25 years of age with a college degree was also significantly above the national average of approximately 32%.

f. Healthcare and Safety

Charleston is home to the Medical University of South Carolina and offers high-quality healthcare. The MUSC-affiliated medical center has a strong pediatric care program, drawing in specialists from all over the country.

Charleston has 3.79 violent crimes per 1,000 residents, below South Carolina’s statewide median rate of 5.11 and below the U.S. national median rate of 4.00. It has 24.21 property crimes per 1,000 residents, below South Carolina’s statewide median of 29.40 and above the U.S. national median of 21.00.

2. Greenville 

HOMEiA Score: 90/100

  • Population: 70,720 | Rank Last Year: #5
  • Cost of Living: 12% below the U.S. national average
  • Home price to income ratio: $292,400/$56,609 = 5.17 (buying homes is expensive)
  • Income to rent ratio: $56,609/$11,808 = 4.79 (renting homes is affordable)

Greenville is located in the South Carolina upstate, nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and close to Interstate Highway 85. The town is rapidly growing, and the local Greenville-Spartanburg Airport (GSP) is only 15 minutes from downtown. The downtown area is frequently cited as one of the most attractive in the country.

a. Size and Population

Greenville has a population of 70,720 (2020) spread over a 29.92-square-mile area. The population density is 2,363.6 per square mile.

The population in Greenville grew by 21.1% from April 2010 through April 2020, above both the overall U.S. rate of 6.3% and the South Carolina rate of 10.7%.

b. Median Income, Cost of Living and Housing Market Characteristics

The numbers below show the median income, cost of living and annual spending on housing for owned and rented properties in Greenville.

GREENVILLE MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME (2019): $56,609

Greenville Cost of Living

  • 12% Below the U.S. National Average
  • 11% Lower than Charlotte, North Carolina
  • 47% Lower than New York City, New York
  • 17% Lower than Chicago, Illinois

Greenville Housing Costs

Median Home Value Annual Spend for Homeowners Annual Spend for Renters
(Rent & Utilities)
$292,400 $18,948 $11,808

 

Greenville shows a home P/E (home price to income) ratio of 5.17, based on a median home value of $292,400 and a median household income of $56,609. The U.S. average is 4.0. Therefore, it is expensive to buy homes in the Greenville area.

Greenville shows an income to rent ratio of 4.79, based on a median household income of $56,609 and an annual spend of $11,808. Therefore, it is affordable to rent properties in Greenville.

In Greenville, 44.1% of residents own their homes.

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Top Neighborhoods in Greenville

The list of best neighborhoods to live in Greenville highlights the options available in the city. Downtown living and suburban life are both possible at price points to meet any budget.

  • The Cliffs at Glassy (Home Value Range: $275,000 to $2+ million)
    The height of golf course life, with intricately designed houses and breathtaking views, this neighborhood is one of many Cliffs properties in the upstate area.
  • Dellwood (Home Value Range: $275,000 to $400,000)
    Affordable prices in an area notable for low crime attract many families to this area.
  • Downtown Greenville (Home Value Range: $250,000 to $2.5+ million)
    The downtown area features theaters and award-winning restaurants. It’s a lively home for those seeking to take advantage of the local nightlife and walkable destinations.
  • Montebello (Home Value Range: $300,000 to $1.25+ million)
    European-style architecture and spacious houses dominate this neighborhood. Montebello is only 20 minutes from downtown, but the serenity and peace are perfect for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
  • Riverwalk (Home Value Range: $250,000 to $1+ million)
    A new development, Riverwalk has creek-side homes and lots available. Abundant hiking trails make this a great choice for nature lovers.

c. Employment Prospects

The unemployment rate in Greenville is 4.1% (June 2021), which is below both the U.S. national rate of 5.8% and the South Carolina rate of 4.5%. The poverty rate, at 13.4%, is above the national average of 10.5% but below the South Carolina average of 13.8%.

Major Greenville employers include Prisma Health, Greenville County Schools, Michelin, GE Power and Duke Energy Systems.

The Greenville area has an average commute time of 19.5 minutes.

d. Unique Attributes and Lifestyle

Greenville is a vibrant city with a bustling downtown centered around the Reedy River.

  • Parks. Falls Park on the Reedy River winds through downtown, offering great biking and walking trails with picture-ready stops.
  • Food. Greenville may be best known for its food scene. Chefs and restauranteurs come from all over the country to taste the delicious offerings of Greenville’s 10-block food mecca. Local restaurants like Larkin’s and Husk draw visitors from miles around.
  • Education. The town is home to several well-known universities, including Furman University and Bob Jones University.
  • Arts and Culture. Greenville has an appreciation for the arts, and the Peace Center offers shows ranging from Broadway productions to local musical acts.

e. Education

There are 58 public schools and 123 private schools in the Greenville area, based on data from GreatSchools.org. Among high schools, there 17 public and 10 private schools.

Overall, the Greenville area is known for having a good educational infrastructure, ahead of the average for similarly sized metro areas.

Universities in the Greenville area include Bob Jones University, North Greenville University and Furman University.

Over the 2015–2019 period, the high school graduation rate in Greenville was significantly above the U.S. national average of 88%. The population of adults above 25 years of age with a college degree was also significantly above the national average of approximately 32%.

f. Healthcare and Safety

Healthcare in Greenville is exceptional for the area. Local hospitals are highly ranked and there are ample primary care and urgent care facilities to help with any medical situation.

Greenville has 3.79 violent crimes per 1,000 residents, below South Carolina’s statewide median rate of 5.11 and below the U.S. national median rate of 4.00. It has 24.21 property crimes per 1,000 residents, above South Carolina’s statewide median of 29.40 and the U.S. national median of 21.00.

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3. Mount Pleasant

HOMEiA Score: 93/100

  • Population: 90,801 | Rank Last Year: #1
  • Cost of Living: 29% above the U.S. national average
  • Home price to income ratio: $461,000/$103,232 = 4.47 (buying homes is slightly expensive)
  • Income to rent ratio: $103,232/$19,548 = 5.28 (renting homes is very affordable)

Mount Pleasant is located close to Interstate Highway 526 and U.S. Highway 17. The town is only a short drive from Charleston Airport (CHS) and is connected to mainland Charleston by the recently renovated Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge (better known as the Cooper River Bridge).

a. Size and Population

Mount Pleasant has a population of 90,801 (2020) spread over a 58.64-square-mile area. The population density is 1,548.4 per square mile.

The population in Mount Pleasant grew by 33.8% from April 2010 through April 2020, substantially above both the overall U.S. rate of 6.3% and the South Carolina rate of 10.7%.

b. Median Income, Cost of Living and Housing Market Characteristics<

The numbers below show the median income, cost of living and annual spending on housing for owned and rented properties in Mount Pleasant.

MOUNT PLEASANT MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME (2019): $103,232

Mount Pleasant Cost of Living

  • 29% Above the U.S. National Average
  • 17% Higher than Charleston, South Carolina
  • 24% Lower than New York City, New York
  • 20% Higher than Chicago, Illinois

Mount Pleasant Housing Costs

Median Home Value Annual Spend for Homeowners Annual Spend for Renters
(Rent & Utilities)
$461,000 $26,736 $19,548

 

Mount Pleasant shows a home P/E (home price to income) ratio of 4.47, based on a median home value of $461,000 and a median household income of $103,232. The U.S. average is 4.0. Therefore, it is slightly expensive to buy homes in the Mount Pleasant area.

Mount Pleasant shows an income to rent ratio of 5.28, based on a median household income of $103,232 and an annual spend of $19,548. Therefore, it is very affordable to rent properties in Mount Pleasant.

In Mount Pleasant, 72.3% of residents own their homes.

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Top Neighborhoods in Mount Pleasant

The list of best neighborhoods to live in Mount Pleasant includes many new developments, as the area is experiencing a high level of growth.

  • I’On (Home Value Range: $600,000 to $3+ million)
    An established community 15 minutes from downtown Charleston with great walking trails and beautiful views.
  • Dunes West (Home Value Range: $250,000 to $2.25+ million)
    One of the only golf communities on the island, this neighborhood offers homes ranging from townhouses to luxury homes.
  • Alston Point (Home Value Range: $300,000 to $850,000+)x
    Large lots and ample space make this neighborhood a great fit for families.
  • Seaside Farms (Home Value Range: $175,000 to $1.2+ million)
    The closest neighborhood to Isle of Palms beaches, this large subdivision features everything from apartments to single-family homes built around one of the best shopping centers on the island.
  • Creekside Park (Home Value Range: $825,000 to $1.1+ million)
    This community is close to the Creekside Swim and Tennis Center and the bustling Shem Creek area.
  • Hamlin Plantation (Home Value Range: $275,000 to $1+ million)
    Hamlin Plantation is near the Intracoastal Waterway and the main thoroughfare of Rifle Range Rd.

c. Employment Prospects

The unemployment rate in Mount Pleasant is 4.0% (June 2021), which is below both the U.S. national rate of 5.8% and the South Carolina rate of 4.5%. The poverty rate, at 4.6%, is significantly below both the national average of 10.5% and the South Carolina average of 13.8%.

Mount Pleasant residents work at many of the same companies and institutions as Charleston residents. Some of the other, unique employment opportunities arise from companies such as SAIC, Blackbaud and Scientific Research Corporation.

The Mount Pleasant area has an average commute time of 23.3 minutes.

d. Unique Attributes and Lifestyle

Mount Pleasant is a thriving coastal town that lives up to its name. This community is a quick drive from Charleston but maintains a small-town feel.

  • Amenities: Beachfront properties, high-end shopping and outstanding restaurants make Mount Pleasant the perfect place to call home. Visit Seaside Farms to see the best local dining and shopping options.
  • Historical Sites: Mount Pleasant is home to Boone Hall, a plantation house listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Charles Pinckney Historic Site is a 28-acre farmhouse and museum.
  • Activities: Each year the city hosts the Cooper River Bridge Walk and Run, an event that draws thousands of people to the island to walk or run over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge.

e. Education

There are 37 private schools and one public school in the Mount Pleasant area, based on data from GreatSchools.org. Among high schools, there are five private schools and one public school.

Overall, the Mount Pleasant area is known for a good educational infrastructure, better than the average for similarly sized metro areas.

Residents in the Mount Pleasant area have access to all Charleston-area universities, including the College of Charleston and Charleston Southern University.

Over the 2015–2019 period, the high school graduation rate in Mount Pleasant was significantly above the U.S. national average of 88%. The population of adults above 25 years of age with a college degree was also significantly above the national average of approximately 32%.

f. Healthcare and Safety

Healthcare in Mount Pleasant is excellent quality and easily accessible through a variety of urgent care centers or the MUSC Health East Cooper Medical Pavilion.

Mount Pleasant has 3.79 violent crimes per 1,000 residents, below South Carolina’s statewide median rate of 5.11 and below the U.S. national median rate of 4.00. It has 24.21 property crimes per 1,000 residents, above South Carolina’s statewide median of 29.40 and the U.S. national median of 21.00.

4. Rock Hill 

HOMEiA Score: 80/100

  • Population: 74,372 | Rank Last Year: #10
  • Cost of Living: 7% below the U.S. national average
  • Home price to income ratio: $155,800/$50,444 = 3.09 (buying homes is affordable)
  • Income to rent ratio: $50,444/$11,604 = 4.35 (renting homes is affordable)

Rock Hill has excellent access to Interstate Highway 77 and is conveniently close to Charlotte. Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) is approximately a 40-minute drive. The area is home to Winthrop University, and the downtown is currently undergoing a revitalization with local shops and restaurants bringing life to the area.

a. Size and Population

Rock Hill has a population of 74,372 (2020) spread over a 39.14-square-mile area. The population density is 1,900.2 per square mile.

The population in Rock Hill grew by 12.4% from April 2010 through April 2020, above both the overall U.S. rate of 6.3% and the South Carolina rate of 10.7%.

b. Median Income, Cost of Living and Housing Market Characteristics

The numbers below show the median income, cost of living and annual spending on housing for owned and rented properties in Rock Hill.

ROCK HILL MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME (2019): $50,444

Rock Hill Cost of Living

  • 7% Below the U.S. National Average
  • 16% Lower than Fort Mill, South Carolina
  • 45% Lower than New York City, New York
  • 13% Lower than Chicago, Illinois

Rock Hill Housing Costs

Median Home Value Annual Spend for Homeowners Annual Spend for Renters
(Rent & Utilities)
$155,800 $14,280 $11,604

 

Rock Hill shows a home P/E (home price to income) ratio of 3.09, based on a median home value of $155,800 and a median household income of $50,444. The U.S. average is 4.0. Therefore, it is affordable to buy homes in the Rock Hill area.

Rock Hill shows an income to rent ratio of 4.35, based on a median household income of $50,444 and an annual spend of $11,604. Therefore, it is affordable to rent properties in Rock Hill.

In Rock Hill, 52.5% of residents own their homes.

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Top Neighborhoods in Rock Hill

The list of best neighborhoods to live in contains a mixture of downtown and suburban neighborhoods where new residents can select the lifestyle that suits them best.

  • Old Town (Home Value Range: $150,000 to $1+ million)
    This neighborhood in the downtown area of Rock Hill is conveniently located near many restaurants and breweries as well as Winthrop University. Charming homes and classic architecture make this a popular neighborhood for professors and students alike.
  • Laurel Creek (Home Value Range: $100,000 to $350,000+)
    Home to a sprawling area subdivided into villages of townhomes, patio homes and luxury homes, this community offers something for everyone.
  • Meadow Lakes II (Home Value Range: $200,000 to $400,000+)
    This suburban area features large lots and houses with room for a family to grow and enjoy a large backyard.
  • Hunter’s Creek (Home Value Range: $150,000 to $300,000)
    This comfortable neighborhood is an excellent choice for those seeking a budget-friendly house in a quiet area.
  • Pecan Grove (Home Value Range: $150,000 to $350,000+)
    This established neighborhood has cozy homes at excellent price points.

c. Employment Prospects

The unemployment rate in Rock Hill is 4.7% (June 2021), which is below the U.S. national rate of 5.8% but above the South Carolina rate of 4.5%. The poverty rate, at 15.6%, is above both the national average of 10.5% and the South Carolina average of 13.8%.

Major Rock Hill employers include UNC Charlotte, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Hendrick Automotive Group and Red Ventures.

The Rock Hill area has an average commute time of 24.6 minutes.

d. Unique Attributes and Lifestyle

  • History. The town pays homage to its heritage with presentations at the Catawba Indian Nation and Cultural Center. Historic Brattonsville is a 775-acre historical site and home to frequent exhibits and events.
  • Museums. Rock Hill provides exciting opportunities for children to learn at the Main Street Children’s Museum.
  • Family Activities. Rock Hill offers a unique experience with the South Town Wake Center, a full-size cable wake park suitable for beginner and advanced wakeboarders alike. The Piedmont Medical Center Trail is part of the Carolina Thread Trail and offers scenic views of the Catawba River.
  • Cultural Events. Winthrop University requires all students to attend 18 cultural events on campus during their tenure at school. These events are typically open to the public and free of charge, offering exciting opportunities for residents to experience live music and engaging speakers.

e. Education

There are 32 public schools and 54 private schools in the Rock Hill area, based on data from GreatSchools.org. Among high schools, there are six public and six private schools.

Overall, the Rock Hill area has a good educational infrastructure, better than the average for similarly sized metro areas.

Residents in Rock Hill can take advantage of universities in the Fort Mill area, such as Winthrop University; and the Lancaster area, such as the University of SC Lancaster.

Over the 2015–2019 period, the high school graduation rate in Rock Hill was significantly above the U.S. national average of 88%. The population of adults above 25 years of age with a college degree was also significantly above the national average of approximately 32%.

f. Healthcare and Safety

Rock Hill healthcare is primarily provided by Piedmont Medical Center, with a variety of specialists available in nearby Charlotte.

Rock Hill has 3.79 violent crimes per 1,000 residents, below South Carolina’s statewide median rate of 5.11 and below the U.S. national median rate of 4.00. It has 24.21 property crimes per 1,000 residents, below South Carolina’s statewide median of 29.40 but above the U.S. national median of 21.00. 

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5. Lexington

Lexington South Carolina

HOMEiA Score: 87/100

  • Population: 23,568 | Rank Last Year: #8
  • Cost of Living: 7% below the U.S. national average
  • Home price to income ratio: $190,500/$72,996 = 2.61 (buying homes is very affordable)
  • Income to rent ratio: $72,996/$12,972 = 5.63 (renting homes is very affordable)

Lexington is a large city in the South Carolina midlands with easy access to Interstate Highways 77 and 26. The city is also only 15 minutes from Columbia Airport (CAE). Lexington residents can enjoy all the amenities available in the state capital of Columbia.

a. Size and Population

Lexington has a population of 23,568 (2020) spread over a 11.98-square-mile area. The population density is 1,967.3 per square mile.

The population in Lexington grew by 31.9% from April 2010 through April 2020, substantially above both the overall U.S. rate of 6.3% and the South Carolina rate of 10.7%.

b. Median Income, Cost of Living and Housing Market Characteristics

The numbers below show the median income, cost of living and annual spending on housing for owned and rented properties in Lexington.

LEXINGTON MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME (2019): $72,996

Lexington Cost of Living

  • 7% Below the U.S. National Average
  • 7% Lower than Charlotte, North Carolina
  • 45% Lower than New York City, New York
  • 14% Lower than Chicago, Illinois

Lexington Housing Costs

Median Home Value Annual Spend for Homeowners Annual Spend for Renters
(Rent & Utilities)
$190,500 $16,272 $12,972

 

Lexington shows a home P/E (home price to income) ratio of 2.61, based on a median home value of $190,500 and a median household income of $72,996. The U.S. average is 4.0. Therefore, it is very affordable to buy homes in the Lexington area.

Lexington shows an income to rent ratio of 5.63, based on a median household income of $72,996 and an annual spend of $12,972. Therefore, it is very affordable to rent properties in Lexington.

In Lexington, 66.5% of residents own their homes.

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Top Neighborhoods in Lexington

The list of best neighborhoods to live in Lexington offers opportunities to be close to Lake Murray or one of the area’s excellent golf courses.

  • Woodleigh Park (Home Value Range: $225,000 to $350,000)
    Featuring a private lake and lots of hiking trails, this neighborhood is perfect for families and outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Hadleigh Park (Home Value Range: $150,000 to $400,000+)
    Hadleigh Park is a new development close to Lake Murray.
  • Heritage Farms (Home Value Range: $175,000 to $300,000+)
    This established neighborhood has large houses and a community pool.
  • Persimmon Grove (Home Value Range: $175,000 to $350,000)
    New houses predominate in this neighborhood near Lexington Country Club.
  • Kingston Harbour (Home Value Range: $125,000 to $600,000)
    Located on Lake Murray, Kingston Harbour has a designated clubhouse and amenities.

c. Employment Prospects

The unemployment rate in Lexington is 4.1% (June 2021), which is below both the U.S. national rate of 5.8% and the South Carolina rate of 4.5%. The poverty rate, at 9.1%, is also below both the national average of 10.5% and the South Carolina average of 13.8%.

Lexington has a number of public sector employers, including the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force. The largest private employers include Lexington Medical Center, the University of South Carolina and Amazon, among others.

The Lexington area has an average commute time of 25.4 minutes.

d. Unique Attributes and Lifestyle

  • The Great Outdoors. Life in Lexington is centered around Lake Murray, a huge draw with over 700 miles of shoreline. Boating, fishing and paddle boarding are staples of everyday life. Golf courses and parks offer even more opportunities to enjoy nature.
  • Venues. The town is home to the Icehouse Amphitheater, an outdoor venue that frequently hosts concerts and performances.
  • Food Scene. The Market at Icehouse is a place for farmers and craftspeople to sell their wares to locals and visitors. Foodies will be happy to note that local events usually include beer festivals, barbecue cook-offs and food truck festivals.

e. Education

There are 20 public schools and 34 private schools in the Lexington area, based on data from GreatSchools.org. Among high schools, there are four public schools.

Overall, the Lexington area is known for adequate educational infrastructure, better than the average for similarly sized metro areas.

Residents in Lexington can avail themselves of schools in Columbia, including the University of South Carolina and Columbia International University.

Over the 2015–2019 period, the high school graduation rate in Lexington was above the U.S. national average of 88%. The population of adults above 25 years of age with a college degree was also above the national average of approximately 32%.

f. Healthcare and Safety

Lexington Medical Center provides high-quality care to citizens and is one of the best-ranked hospitals in the area. Close proximity to the state capital of Columbia allows Lexington residents access to a wide variety of specialists.

Lexington has 3.25 violent crimes per 1,000 residents, below South Carolina’s statewide median rate of 5.11 and below the U.S. national median rate of 4.00. It has 28.66 property crimes per 1,000 residents, below South Carolina’s statewide median of 29.40 but above the U.S. national median of 21.00.

6. Bluffton 

Bluffton South Carolina

HOMEiA Score: 91/100

  • Population: 27,716 | Rank Last Year: #4
  • Cost of Living: 1% above the U.S. national average
  • Home price to income ratio: $292,800/$82,481 = 3.55 (buying homes is affordable)
  • Income to rent ratio: $82,481/$20,964 = 3.93 (renting homes is affordable)

Located in the beautiful South Carolina low country, Bluffton is close to Interstate Highway 95 and minutes from Hilton Head Island. The area is close to two airports: Hilton Head Island Airport (HHH) is a 10-minute drive and offers local and regional flights, while the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) is a 45-minute drive and offers a wider selection of domestic and international flights.

a. Size and Population

Bluffton has a population of 27,716 (2020) spread over a 54.2-square-mile area. The population density is 511.5 per square mile.

The population in Bluffton grew by 121.2% from April 2010 through April 2020, substantially above both the overall U.S. rate of 6.3% and the South Carolina rate of 10.7%.

b. Median Income, Cost of Living and Housing Market Characteristics

The numbers below show the median income, cost of living and annual spending on housing for owned and rented properties in Bluffton.

BLUFFTON MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME (2019): $82,481

Bluffton Cost of Living

  • 1% Above the U.S. National Average
  • 16% Lower than Hilton Head, South Carolina
  • 40% Lower than New York City, New York
  • 6% Lower than Chicago, Illinois

Bluffton Housing Costs

Median Home Value Annual Spend for Homeowners Annual Spend for Renters
(Rent & Utilities)
$290,800 $20,592 $20,964

Bluffton shows a home P/E (home price to income) ratio of 3.53, based on a median home value of $290,800 and a median household income of $82,481. The U.S. average is 4.0. Therefore, it is affordable to buy homes in the Bluffton area.

Bluffton shows an income to rent ratio of 3.93, based on a median household income of $82,481 and an annual spend of $20,964. Therefore, it is affordable to rent properties in Bluffton.

In Bluffton, 80.0% of residents own their homes.

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Top Neighborhoods in Bluffton

The list of best neighborhoods to live in Bluffton takes advantage of the natural beauty and outdoor opportunities in the area.

  • Shell Hall (Home Value Range: $350,000 to $600,000)
    This is a planned neighborhood offering large homes with traditional Southern architecture.
  • Hampton Lake (Home Value Range: $350,000 to $1+ million)
    A waterfront community, Hampton Lake has unique features that include an onsite restaurant and a lazy river.
  • Belfair (Home Value Range: $400,000 to $1.5+ million)
    This golfing community features two world-class courses.
  • Hampton Hall Club (Home Value Range: $325,000 to $750,000+)
    A lakefront golf community with a library and billiards room, this neighborhood is designed to appeal to both golfers and non-golfers with a resort-like feel.
  • Berkley Hall (Home Value Range: $350,000 to $1+ million)
    This community has been rated as one of America’s top 100 premiere properties by Travel and Leisure.
  • Moss Creek (Home Value Range: $150,000 to $800,000+)
    Marsh-front homes, a marina, an equestrian center and a nature preserve are all available to residents of this community.

c. Employment Prospects

The unemployment rate in Bluffton is 3.7% (June 2021), which is below both the U.S. national rate of 5.8% and the South Carolina rate of 4.5%. The poverty rate, at 3.9%, is substantially below both the national average of 10.5% and the South Carolina average of 13.8%.

Bluffton has a number of public sector employers, including the U.S. Marine Corps. The largest private employers include Vi, the Omni Hotels and Montage International, among others.

The Bluffton area has an average commute time of 25.8 minutes.

d. Unique Attributes and Lifestyle

Bordering the beautiful May River, the town offers beachfront, waterfront and marsh-front homes, and many of the activities in the area center around being outdoors and enjoying nature. Bluffton is a charming coastal town filled with historic architecture and it boasts a beautiful Old Town district.

  • Old Town. Known for its antique shops and local crafts, the downtown area is bustling with places to eat, things to do and places to shop.
  • Guided Tours. Bluffton offers walking tours of the historic district and guided tours of Heyward House, a farmhouse filled with artifacts and furnishings from the past 150 years.
  • Art and Theater. The town is home to five art galleries and a local theater group.

e. Education

There are 10 public schools and 11 private schools in the Bluffton area, based on data from GreatSchools.org. Among high schools, there are three public schools and one private school.

Overall, the Bluffton area is known for adequate educational infrastructure, better than the average for similarly sized metro areas.

Universities in the Bluffton area include the University of South Carolina Beaufort – Bluffton Campus, Savannah Technical College and the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Over the 2015–2019 period, the high school graduation rate in Bluffton was significantly above the U.S. national average of 88%. The population of adults above 25 years of age with a college degree was also significantly above the national average of approximately 32%.

f. Healthcare and Safety

Bluffton is less than 20 miles from three major hospitals, offering residents easy access to a wide variety of doctors and healthcare professionals to meet their needs.

Bluffton has 1.80 violent crimes per 1,000 residents, significantly below South Carolina’s statewide median rate of 5.11 and below the U.S. national median rate of 4.00. It has 8.61 property crimes per 1,000 residents, also significantly below South Carolina’s statewide median of 29.40 and the U.S. national median of 21.00.

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7. Hilton Head Island 

HOMEiA Score: 90/100

  • Population: 37,661 | Rank Last Year: #6
  • Cost of Living: 20% above the U.S. national average
  • Home price to income ratio: $483,600/$84,575 = 5.72 (buying homes is expensive)
  • Income to rent ratio: $84,575/$15,252 = 5.55 (renting homes is very affordable)

Hilton Head is accessible by U.S. Route 278 and close to Interstate Highway 95. The town features its own airport, Hilton Head Island Airport (HHH), offering local and regional flights. The Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) is a 50-minute drive away and offers international flights. The town is known for family-friendly beaches and world-class golf courses.

a. History, Size and Population

Hilton Head Island has a population of 37,661 (2020) spread over a 69.13-square-mile area. The population density is 544.8 per square mile.

The population in Hilton Head Island grew by 1.8% from April 2010 through April 2020, substantially below both the overall U.S. rate of 6.3% and the South Carolina rate of 10.7%.

b. Median Income, Cost of Living and Housing Market Characteristics

The numbers below show the median income, cost of living and annual spending on housing for owned and rented properties on Hilton Head Island.

HILTON HEAD ISLAND MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME (2019): $84,575

Hilton Head Island Cost of Living

  • 20% Above the U.S. National Average
  • 19% Higher than Bluffton, South Carolina
  • 29% Lower than New York City, New York
  • 12% Higher than Chicago, Illinois

Hilton Head Island Housing Costs

Median Home Value Annual Spend for Homeowners Annual Spend for Renters
(Rent & Utilities)
$483,600 $26,844 $15,252

Hilton Head Island shows a home P/E (home price to income) ratio of 5.72, based on a median home value of $483,600 and a median household income of $84,575. The U.S. average is 4.0. Therefore, it is expensive to buy homes in the Hilton Head Island area.

Hilton Head Island shows an income to rent ratio of 5.55, based on a median household income of $84,575 and an annual spend of $15,252. Therefore, it is very affordable to rent properties in Hilton Head Island.

On Hilton Head Island, 79.1% of residents own their homes.

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Top Neighborhoods on Hilton Head Island

The list of best neighborhoods on Hilton Head includes a mixture of waterfront communities and resort-level amenities.

  • Wexford Plantation (Home Value Range: $750,000 to $5+ million)
    This large community features water views and a golf course.
  • Port Royal Plantation (Home Value Range: $275,000 to $1.5+ million)
    Oceanfront properties are available, and unique offerings include a community farm where residents are encouraged to grow their own produce.
  • Leamington (Home Value Range: $175,000 to $750,000+)
    Villas in multiple sizes are located on the second largest lagoon and lake system in the U.S.
  • Hilton Head Plantation (Home Value Range: $350,000 to $800,000+)
    A huge community with over 4,000 houses, Hilton Head Plantation offers exclusive beach access paths. Due to its size, the neighborhood feels like its own town within the town.
  • Indigo Run (Home Value Range: $150,000 to $750,000+)
    A recent addition to the community, Indigo Run has with lots available for new construction. Indigo Run offers an excellent opportunity to build a dream home or a vacation home.
  • Windmill Harbour (Home Value Range: $250,000 to $1.25+ million)
    This waterfront community is home to the South Carolina Yacht Club.

c. Employment Prospects

The unemployment rate on Hilton Head Island is 3.7% (June 2021), which is below both the U.S. national rate of 5.8% and the South Carolina rate of 4.5%. The poverty rate, at 9.7%, is also below both the national average of 10.5% and the South Carolina average of 13.8%.

A number of Hilton Head Island residents work for either the city or the town (e.g., Town of Hilton Head Island or the Beaufort County School District) or for popular resorts (Marriott Vacation Club International, Westin Hotel and Resorts, and Hilton Head Marriott Health and Beach Resort).

The Hilton Head Island area has an average commute time of 18.5 minutes.

d. Unique Attributes and Lifestyle

Hilton Head draws in visitors and residents with its renowned beaches and 33 golf courses. The town is a popular tourist destination in the summer, when beachgoers can enjoy festivals, art exhibits and seasonal dining.

  • History. Explore the heritage of the Gullah people through guided tours celebrating their fascinating culture and language.
  • Food. Seafood reigns supreme on the island, and an annual seafood festival draws chefs and foodies from all over the country.
  • Museums. The most famous museum on the island is the Harbour Town Lighthouse, where visitors can climb the 93 feet to the top and enjoy beautiful views.
  • Preservation. Hilton Head residents are committed to keeping the island beautiful, and there are no loud colors or bright lights to distract you from the natural beauty. Hilton Head is home to 12 parks and three nature preserves.

e. Education

There are five public schools and 21 private schools in the Hilton Head Island area, based on data from GreatSchools.org. Among high schools, there are four private schools and one public school.

Overall, the Hilton Head area has an average educational infrastructure compared to similarly sized metro areas.

Residents of Hilton Head can avail themselves of universities in the Bluffton area, such as the University of South Carolina Beaufort – Bluffton Campus and the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Over the 2015–2019 period, the high school graduation rate in Hilton Head Island was significantly above the U.S. national average of 88%. The population of adults above 25 years of age with a college degree was also significantly above the national average of approximately 32%.

f. Healthcare and Safety

Hilton Head’s healthcare is provided by Hilton Head Regional Healthcare system.

Hilton Head Island has 3.79 violent crimes per 1,000 residents, below South Carolina’s statewide median rate of 5.11 and below the U.S. national median rate of 4.00. It has 24.21 property crimes per 1,000 residents, below South Carolina’s statewide median of 29.40 and above the U.S. national median of 21.00.

8. Fort Mill 

Fort MillFort Mill South Carolina

HOMEiA Score: 89/100

  • Population: 24,521 | Rank Last Year: #7
  • Cost of Living: 6% above the U.S. national average
  • Home price to income ratio: $289,200/$91,061 = 3.18 (buying homes is affordable)
  • Income to rent ratio: $91,061/$12,876 = 5.22 (renting homes is very affordable)

Fort Mill is conveniently located close to Interstate Highway 77 and is roughly a 25-minute drive from Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT). The close proximity to the Charlotte metropolitan area is a big draw for homeowners in the area who desire a balance between proximity to city life and a comfortable place to raise a family.

a. Size and Population

Fort Mill has a population of 24,521 (2020) spread over a 19.9-square-mile area. The population density is 1,232.2 per square mile.

The population in Fort Mill grew by 126.8% from April 2010 through April 2020, substantially above both the overall U.S. rate of 6.3% and the South Carolina rate of 10.7%.

b. Median Income, Cost of Living and Housing Market Characteristics

The numbers below show the median income, cost of living and annual spending on housing for owned and rented properties in Fort Mill.

FORT MILL MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME (2019): $91,061

Fort Mill Cost of Living

  • 6% Above the U.S. National Average
  • 15% Higher than Rock Hill, South Carolina
  • 37% Lower than New York City, New York
  • 1% Lower than Chicago, Illinois

Fort Mill Housing Costs

Median Home Value Annual Spend for Homeowners Annual Spend for Renters
(Rent & Utilities)
$289,200 $20,064 $12,876

Fort Mill shows a home P/E (home price to income) ratio of 3.18, based on a median home value of $289,200 and a median household income of $91,061. The U.S. average is 4.0. Therefore, it is affordable to buy homes in the Fort Mill area.

Fort Mill shows an income to rent ratio of 5.22, based on a median household income of $91,061 and an annual spend of $12,876. Therefore, it is very affordable to rent properties in Fort Mill.

In Fort Mill, 76.3% of residents own their homes.

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Top Neighborhoods in Fort Mill

The list of best neighborhoods to live in Fort Mill offers a mixture of private communities and traditional subdivisions with outdoor activity opportunities.

  • Beckenham (Home Value Range: $300,000 to $800,000)
    This great planned subdivision is zoned for the best schools in the area.
  • Riverview (Home Value Range: $175,000 to $475,000+)
    Named for its proximity to the Catawba River, this neighborhood is filled with newer homes.
  • Baxter Village (Home Value Range: $275,000 to $675,000+)
    A new development that is part of the Baxter Town Center, this community features restaurants and shopping options within walking distance.
  • Reserve at Gold Hill (Home Value Range: $200,000 to $800,000)
    This is an established neighborhood with a dedicated HOA.
  • Bailiwyck (Home Value Range: $200,000 to $500,000+)
    This gated community offers country club amenities to residents and community members.

c. Employment Prospects

The unemployment rate in Fort Mill is 4.7% (June 2021), which is below the U.S. national rate of 5.8% but above the South Carolina rate of 4.5%. The poverty rate, at 6.4%, is substantially below both the national average of 10.5% and the South Carolina average of 13.8%.

The largest employers in the Fort Mill area include Ross Stores, Lash Group, Piedmont Medical Center, and Schaeffler Group, USA, among others.

The Fort Mill area has an average commute time of 26.3 minutes.

d. Unique Attributes and Lifestyle

Fort Mill is an ideal location for people seeking a small-town feel in proximity to Charlotte. The town is a perfect fit for an outdoor lifestyle, with opportunities for hiking, biking, and water sports on the Catawba River.

  • Attractions. A portion of Carowinds, a 407-acre amusement park, is located in Fort Mill. The park sits on the North Carolina/South Carolina border and offers photo opportunities for guests to be in two states at once.
  • Events: Fort Mill and the surrounding towns in York County sponsor many events, including ChristmasVille, the SC Strawberry Festival and the Come-See-Me Festival.
  • Museums: Fort Mill is home to the Fort Mill History Museum, and the wide array of children’s museums and art galleries in Charlotte are less than an hour away.

e. Education

There are 15 public schools and 28 private schools in the Fort Mill area, based on data from GreatSchools.org. Among high schools, there are three public and five private schools.

Overall, the Fort Mill area is known for good educational infrastructure, better than the average for similarly sized metro areas.

There are several colleges and universities in the Fort Mill area, including Winthrop University and Franklin University.

Over the 2015–2019 period, the high school graduation rate in Fort Mill was significantly above the U.S. national average of 88%. The population of adults above 25 years of age with a college degree was also significantly above the national average of approximately 32%.

f. Healthcare and Safety

Healthcare in Fort Mill is primarily provided by good-quality local facilities owned by the Novant Health System based out of North Carolina.

Fort Mill has 0.99 violent crimes per 1,000 residents, significantly below South Carolina’s statewide median rate of 5.11 and below the U.S. national median rate of 4.00. It has 10.46 property crimes per 1,000 residents, also significantly below South Carolina’s statewide median of 29.40 and the U.S. national median of 21.00.

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9. Tega Cay 

Tega Cay South Carolina

HOMEiA Score: 92/100

  • Population: 12,832 | Rank Last Year: #3
  • Cost of Living: 14% above the U.S. national average
  • Home price to income ratio: $311,100/$130,918 = 2.38 (buying homes is very affordable)
  • Income to rent ratio: $130,918/$17,436 = 7.51 (renting homes is very affordable)

Tega Cay is located close to Interstate Highway 77 and is a popular commuter town from Charlotte. Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) is approximately a 30-minute drive away. The town is part of York County and close to the Catawba River. Called Tega Cay because of a Polynesian phrase meaning “beautiful peninsula,” the town lives up to its name.

a. Size and Population

Tega Cay has a population of 12,832 (2020) spread over a 4.5-square-mile area. The population density is 2,851.6 per square mile.

The population in Tega Cay grew by 68.4% from April 2010 through April 2020, substantially above both the overall U.S. rate of 6.3% and the South Carolina rate of 10.7%.

b. Median Income, Cost of Living and Housing Market Characteristics

The numbers below show the median income, cost of living and annual spending on housing for owned and rented properties in Tega Cay.

TEGA CAY MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME (2019): $130,918

Tega Cay Cost of Living

  • 14% Above the U.S. National Average
  • 14% Higher than Charlotte, North Carolina
  • 32% Lower than New York City, New York
  • 6% Higher than Chicago, Illinois

Tega Cay Housing Costs

Median Home Value Annual Spend for Homeowners Annual Spend for Renters
(Rent & Utilities)
331,100 $25,104 $17,436

Tega Cay shows a home P/E (home price to income) ratio of 2.53, based on a median home value of $331,100 and a median household income of $130,918. The U.S. average is 4.0. Therefore, it is very affordable to buy homes in the Tega Cay area.

Tega Cay shows an income to rent ratio of 7.51, based on a median household income of $130,918 and an annual spend of $17,436. Therefore, it is affordable to rent properties in Tega Cay.

In Tega Cay, 96.0% of residents own their homes.

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Top Neighborhoods in Tega Cay

The list of best neighborhoods to live in Tega Cay offers a mix of lake living and exceptional recreational amenities.

  • Cameron Creek (Home Value Range: $150,000 to $450,000+)
    Offering a mixture of ranch-style and two-story homes and townhouses, Cameron Creek has options available for every size family and budget.
  • Lake Shore (Home Value Range: $325,000 to $1+ million)
    Bordering Lake Wylie, this is an excellent choice for people looking to enjoy lake life.
  • Meadowview (Home Value Range: $125,000 to $600,000+)
    This established community has large homes available at good values.
  • Amber Woods (Home Value Range: $300,000 to $500,000)
    A charming street close to local parks, this is a perfect neighborhood for biking and hiking.
  • Trailridge (Home Value Range: $300,000 to $500,000)
    Not a planned neighborhood, Trailridge is a quiet street with large homes.

c. Employment Prospects

The unemployment rate in Tega Cay is 4.7% (June 2021), which is below the U.S. national rate of 5.8% but above the South Carolina rate of 4.5%. The poverty rate is significantly below both the national average of 10.5% and the South Carolina average of 13.8%.

Tega Cay is adjacent to Fort Mill, and most residents of the area work at the same locations as those that live and work in the Fort Mill area.

The Tega Cay area has an average commute time of 32.4 minutes.

d.Unique Attributes and Lifestyle

Tega Cay is located in vibrant York County and has engaging activities for the whole family.

  • Outdoor Fun. Originally established as a golf and recreational community, the area is now filled with sports facilities ranging from Tega Cay Country Club to the Tega Cay Beach and Swim Club. Home to six parks and outdoor spaces, the town offers something for everyone; dog parks, walking trails and playgrounds are abundant and encourage frequent community gatherings.
  • Events and Recreation. The town hosts a fall festival and a summer outdoor concert series each year. The city also organizes recreational programs for all ages. Children can participate in activities ranging from baseball to paddle boarding, while adults can gather for kickball and yoga.
  • Golf. Voted the #1 golf course in the region, Tega Cay Golf Club is a can’t-miss course for golf enthusiasts.

e. Education

There are two public schools and one private school in the Tega Cay area, based on data from GreatSchools.org. There are no standalone high schools in Tega Cay, but there are multiple options in adjoining districts, such as Fort Mill.

Overall, the Tega Cay area is known for good educational infrastructure, better than the average for similarly sized metro areas.

Residents in the Tega Cay area are served by university systems in the nearby Rock Hills area, such as Winthrop University.

Over the 2015–2019 period, the high school graduation rate in Tega Cay was significantly above the U.S. national average of 88%. The population of adults above 25 years of age with a college degree was also significantly above the national average of approximately 32%.

f. Healthcare and Safety

Due to its small size, Tega Cay’s healthcare system is served primarily by larger facilities in nearby Rock Hill and Charlotte.

Tega Cay prides itself on being exceptionally safe and has been ranked among the top two safest cities in South Carolina for the past six years.

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10. Summerville 

Summerville South Carolina

HOMEiA Score: 87/100

  • Population: 50,915 | Rank Last Year: #9
  • Cost of Living: 0.6% below the U.S. national average
  • Home price to income ratio: $207,800/$59,180 = 3.51 (buying homes is affordable)
  • Income to rent ratio: $59,180/$13,296 = 4.45 (renting homes is affordable)

Summerville is located near U.S. Route 78 and less than 30 miles from Interstate Highway 95. Summerville is home to a local airport, and the nearest major airport is Charleston Airport (CHS), which is a 25-minute drive from town.

a. Size and Population

Summerville has a population of 50,915 (2020) spread over a 19.85-square-mile area. The population density is 2,565.0 per square mile.

The population in Summerville grew by 17.3% from April 2010 through April 2020, above both the overall U.S. rate of 6.3% and the South Carolina rate of 10.7%.

b. Median Income, Cost of Living and Housing Market Characteristics

The numbers below show the median income, cost of living and annual spending on housing for owned and rented properties in Summerville.

SUMMERVILLE MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME (2019): $59,180

Summerville Cost of Living

  • 0.6% Below the U.S. National Average
  • 10% Lower than Charleston, South Carolina
  • 41% Lower than New York City, New York
  • 8% Lower than Chicago, Illinois

Summerville Housing Costs

Median Home Value Annual Spend for Homeowners Annual Spend for Renters
(Rent & Utilities)
$207,800 $17,460 $13,296

Summerville shows a home P/E (home price to income) ratio of 3.51, based on a median home value of $207,800 and a median household income of $59,180. The U.S. average is 4.0. Therefore, it is affordable to buy homes in the Summerville area.

Summerville shows an income to rent ratio of 4.45, based on a median household income of $59,180 and an annual spend of $13,296. Therefore, it is affordable to rent properties in Summerville.

In Summerville, 63.6% of residents own their homes.

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Top Neighborhoods in Summerville

The list of best neighborhoods to live in Summerville highlights the history and architecture the low country is known for.

  • Daniel’s Orchard (Home Value Range: $300,000 to $500,000)
    This downtown neighborhood offers a mixture of single-family and attached homes built to blend in with the traditional architecture of the area.
  • Historic District (Home Value Range: $400,000 to $1.25+ million)
    Those seeking to own a piece of American history have found their home. The district was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and many houses date back to the Civil War.
  • Pine Forest Country Club (Home Value Range: $300,000 to $550,000+)
    Golfers and tennis players will love the amenities available in this community.
  • White Gables (Home Value Range: $200,000 to $400,000+)
    Charleston-style homes featuring generous porches and high ceilings make this neighborhood distinctive.
  • The Hammocks at Cane Bay (Home Value Range: $325,000 to $575,000)
    This planned community offers newly constructed houses, two pools and extensive walking trails. This neighborhood is within walking distance from community hubs such as the YMCA.

c. Employment Prospects

The unemployment rate in Summerville is 4.0% (June 2021), which is below both the U.S. national rate of 5.8% and the South Carolina rate of 4.5%. The poverty rate, at 11.7%, is above the national average of 10.5% but below the South Carolina average of 13.8%.

Major Summerville employers include Robert Bosch, iQor and Intercontinental Hotels Group.

The Summerville area has an average commute time of 29.6 minutes.

d.Unique Attributes and Lifestyle

  • Sweet Tea History. Summerville prides itself on being the birthplace of sweet tea and offers a Sweet Tea Trail where participants can enjoy “sips and tastes” of the town beverage. The world’s largest sweet tea, affectionately nicknamed “Mason,” can be found in the downtown area. Mason can hold 2,524 gallons of sweet tea and is 15 feet tall.
  • Flowers. Called the “flower town in the pines,” Summerville has acres of gorgeous flowers that entice visitors to take a walking tour of the gardens and historic houses in the area.
  • Shopping: Summerville has eight antique shops beckoning collectors and browsers to stop in and see what gems can be found inside. The local farmer’s market is held every Saturday, and fresh produce and flowers abound.

e. Education

There are 23 public schools and 51 private schools in the Summerville area, based on data from GreatSchools.org. Among high schools, there are three public and seven private schools.

Overall, the Summerville area is known for having an average educational infrastructure, on par with similarly sized metro areas.

Residents in Summerville can avail themselves of the universities and colleges around the Charleston area.

Over the 2015–2019 period, the high school graduation rate in Summerville was significantly above the U.S. national average of 88%. The population of adults above 25 years of age with a college degree was also significantly above the national average of approximately 32%.

f. Healthcare and Safety

Healthcare in Summerville is provided by a variety of well-respected hospitals and primary care offices.

Summerville has 3.79 violent crimes per 1,000 residents, below South Carolina’s statewide median rate of 5.11 and below the U.S. national median rate of 4.00. It has 24.21 property crimes per 1,000 residents, below South Carolina’s statewide median of 29.40 and above the U.S. national median of 21.00.

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CONCLUSION

Residents of South Carolina have the perfect mix of coastal living, small-town charm and big-city life. Mountains, beaches and lakes are all plentiful, and the value of Southern hospitality can’t be overlooked. People are friendly and welcoming and eager to share the beauty of their state. Nothing beats a glass of sweet tea on your own South Carolina porch.

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HOMEiA is a city living guide site where visitors can find detailed information about communities of interest. HOMEiA’s City Living Guides, created in partnership with local writers, are curated lists of the best, safest, and most affordable places to live. The guides feature the HOMEiA Score, a proprietary index that rates communities on such factors as housing costs, education and employment.

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I’m an avid writer who often focuses on real estate, business consulting, economics and finance. Before leading business and investment advisory services for over 25 years, I got a Ph.D. in Economics and taught at the university level. I have lived in Houston, Texas and Chicago, Illinois for a combined 35 years. I also traveled to 40+ states on business and pleasure, and love writing about the great cities and small towns across the US. Read more >>