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Moving to South Carolina: 7 Pros & Cons To Know Before Relocating

By Landing | Apr 29, 2024
Aerial view of Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, Charleston, South Carolina

Moving to South Carolina? So is the rest of America. Here are the pros, cons, and important details to know before calling this Southern Belle home.

Southern charm, rich history, and a temperate year-round climate? If these things about South Carolina charm you, you aren’t the only one. And the numbers prove it. In 2023, South Carolina’s population was the fastest-growing in the country.

From serene coastal towns to exciting urban centers, the Southern oasis has something for everybody. But it does have its cons. Here are all the details to consider before moving to South Carolina.

Is South Carolina a Good Place To Retire or Start a Family? 6 Things To Consider

Whether you’re a digital nomad, a young family, or a retiree, here’s what to know before moving to South Carolina.

1. There’s a Low Cost of Living

South Carolina is a good place to live if you’re looking to save money. As of 2023, living in South Carolina costs 6% less than the national average. Expect to pay less on housing, transport, and healthcare, although utilities and groceries tend to hover around or slightly above the national average.

2. The Housing Market Is Still Favorable

One of the main reasons why people are moving to South Carolina is affordable housing. Although a small supply compared to an uptick in population stimulates price increases in the housing market, South Carolina homes are still comparatively inexpensive.

According to Zillow data from 2024, a typical South Carolina home costs $287,882 compared to the national median of $347,716. And these favorable market trends extend into rentals. A median rental costs $1,822 compared to a national median of $2,095.

Beware that there’s a lot of variance from one city to the next. In sought-after South Carolina cities like Charleston, the average rental is well above the national average at $2,712 compared to $2,000 in Myrtle Beach and $1,500 in Greenville.

3. South Carolina Is Full of Job Opportunities

South Carolina doesn’t only rank number one in growth. It also has the fastest-growing job market in the country, according to the Columbia Business Review. Boeing and BMW both have manufacturing centers in Charleston, and the state is an established leader in the aerospace and automotive industries. South Carolina also has successful technology, agribusiness, and research industries, and is making investments to attract electric vehicle manufacturers.

4. Education is Ahead of the Nation

Families with pre-K age children will be happy to know that South Carolina ranks 6th in the US for early education. Young families benefit from high state spending and favorable co-payment fees.

5. Tax Rates Are Reasonable

According to personal finance publication Kiplinger, South Carolina has a smaller tax burden than most other states. The state uses a graduated state income tax with rates ranging from 0 to 6.5%, with full exemptions for military income and social security. State sales tax rates are 6%, and groceries and prescription medications are exempt. Property taxes are 0.56%, although areas with growing home values may see some increases in the future.

6. Healthcare Ranks Poorly

South Carolina doesn’t have enough nurse practitioners and physician assistants, driving down the quality of healthcare services. That’s partly why South Carolina ranks 5th in the worst states for healthcare, according to a nationwide analysis by Forbes. High infant and stroke mortality rates and low participation due to high costs are other factors for the poor ranking.

Crossing the Carolina border to seek medical attention in North Carolina cities like Durham, Raleigh, or Chapel Hill may not be an option for everyone. And the same Forbes report found that North Carolina tops the list as the most expensive state for healthcare.

7 Pros and Cons of Living in South Carolina

Living in South Carolina means a strong dose of Southern hospitality and a high probability of hurricanes. Here’s everything to look out for:

1. Pro: Get Used to Year-Round Warm Climates

South Carolina has four regions: Upstate, Midlands, Low Country, and Pee Dee. Most of the state is dominated by humid subtropical weather, especially on the Atlantic coastal plain. That means hot, humid summers and mild winters. But South Carolina cities in the mountainous Upstate region, like Greenville and Spartanburg, have cold winters with light snowfall.

2. Pro: South Carolinians Love the Outdoors

The state’s diverse landscapes offer endless opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. And with all that warm weather, it’s always a good time to get some fresh air. The Atlantic coastline and beach resort towns like Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head Island are great for kayaking, surfing, and volleyball. Likewise, the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Upstate have plenty of national parks and trailheads for hiking and camping.

3. Pro: Southern Hospitality’s Here to Stay

The Low Country’s historic charm and the Midlands’ bustling energy have diverse characters. But one thing the whole state shares in common is a deep-rooted sense of community and Southern hospitality. Whether you’re at a festival, sporting event, or backyard barbecue, you’ll always feel like everybody’s neighbor.

4. Pro: Charleston’s Leading the Way in Tech Startups

The city of Charleston invests heavily in the tech sector. More than 400 startups and tech companies call the Lowcountry home, giving it the nickname “Silicon Harbor.” Charleston has a mature startup ecosystem and research centers, making it a great place for digital nomads or young professionals to develop their careers or seek funding.

5. Con: South Carolina Is Famous for Its Hurricanes

With 200 miles of coastline and densely populated beach towns, South Carolina is extremely vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical storms. It ranks number five for the most hurricanes on the Atlantic Coast, with hurricane season lasting from May to November. And it’s not just coastal cities like Beaufort, Charleston, and Myrtle Beach on the receiving end. Inland areas often experience flooding and high winds.

6. Con: The Traffic is Awful

On average, South Carolinians spend about 25 minutes commuting to work. If you plan on moving to Charleston, Spartanburg, or Greenville, expect to spend a lot of time in the car. Although the federal and state governments are pumping more money into public transit, road conditions and public transportation suffer from poor management and infrastructure.

7. Con: Alligators! Bugs! Allergies!

Alligators are a common sight in the Lowcountry. There are an estimated 100,000 living in the marshes and wetlands. And although alligators don’t pose a serious danger, it’s not uncommon to spot them on golf courses or front yards in late spring and summer (and they aren’t always welcome). You can also expect warmer weather to draw out your allergies with pollen or bug bites from mosquitoes, fire ants, and spiders.

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Where To Land in South Carolina: 5 Best Cities

Whether you’re looking for a laid-back urban lifestyle or your dream house by the beach, there’s something for you in this state. Here are five of the best South Carolina cities:

1. Myrtle Beach

Moving to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina? You’re in for a treat, because this beach town has something for everyone. You’ll find fine dining and po’boy sandwiches, a family friend boardwalk, and performing art centers for the adults. Plus, the cost of living is affordable compared to other cities on the East Coast, meaning your budget will go far for that ocean view.

2. Charleston

The state’s cultural capital is defined by its diversity — both of the people and the activities. Charleston locals spend their days exploring historic churches, shucking oysters, or taking a dip in the ocean. Whether you’re a young professional looking to break into the tech industry or a retiree in search of an active lifestyle, there’s always something to see and do in Charleston.

3. Greenville

Greenville is a small city in the heart of Upstate where nature and urban living mix. Waterfalls run through the city center, and views of the Blue Ridge Mountains pepper the horizon. Its 10-block downtown stretch has been called the “Great American Main Street” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, offering a wonderful escape for eating, shopping, and hanging out with friends and family. For anyone looking for urban amenities without the urban headaches, Greenville is a great choice.

4. Columbia

The state capital is right in the center of the state, so you’re never too far away from the Atlantic Ocean or Blue Ridge Mountains. But you don’t have to leave to have fun. Enjoy outdoor sports on Lake Murray or Congaree National Park, a buzzing arts scene, and a year-round schedule of music and food festivals.

5. Hilton Head Island

Southerners flock to Hilton Head Island every summer to enjoy the warm, laid-back beaches. Although the population balloons in the summertime, this town of 38,000 is one of the best places in the state for retirees and families in search of a quiet escape — with all the amenities of a resort town.

Landing Welcomes You to South Carolina

Whether you settle in a small city in the Blue Ridge Mountains or a beach town along the Atlantic Coast, Landing has an apartment for you. Landing offers fully furnished apartments all across the Palmetto State — and it doesn’t matter if you want to stay for a few days or a few months. Become a member today for flexible living.