There’s a the age old question everyone thinks about when they decide to move to a city in South Carolina:
Should I buy a place or rent?
Well, we aren’t here today to solve that problem for you exactly. We are just assuming you’ll do the right thing and a buy a place 😉
And while we are happy to tell you the best place to live in South Carolina, this analysis is going to tackle the question of the best place to buy a house as an investor. That is we are going to try and determine the up and coming cities in the Palmetto State.
To do that we are going to look at places in South Carolina that are growing faster than average, but where home prices are below average. In every day terms, the ‘deals’.
The best deal in South Carolina at the moment? That would be York according to our analysis.
Here’s a look at the top ten places to buy a home in South Carolina:
- York (Photos | Homes)
- Rock Hill (Photos | Homes)
- Orangeburg (Photos | Homes)
- Seneca (Photos | Homes)
- Easley (Homes)
- West Columbia (Photos | Homes)
- North Charleston (Photos | Homes)
- Greer (Photos | Homes)
- Sumter (Photos | Homes)
- Conway (Photos | Homes)
The methodology that wen’t into this can be a bit complicated, so we’ll break it down for you in as much detail as we can below.
If you’re not worried about finding a deal on good places to live, check out the most expensive places to live in South Carolina and, for those of you on a budget, the cheapest places to live in South Carolina.
How do you determine the best places to buy a home in South Carolina?
We were in real estate for almost five years and have been working on this site for another three. Suffice is to say, we’ve put a lot of thought into what goes into finding a good place to buy a home.
So all that thinking has come to this moment where we get to spell out how we’d approach finding an up-and-coming place to live in South Carolina. Put differently, the analysis will try to find places in South Carolina with undervalued homes relative to pent up demand.
To do that we looked at the most recent American Community Survey Census data for 2012-2016 and compared it to the previous vintage (2011-2015). Specifically, we used the following criteria:
- Y-o-Y Change In Population (People want to live here)
- Y-o-Y Change In Median Home Prices (People are willing to pay for it)
- Home Prices Relative To The State Average (It’s still kinda cheap)
We want places that are growing, have seen home prices increase in recent years, and are still ‘cheap’ for South Carolina with the following caveats:
- Home prices had to be within 20% of the state average (Much lower than that and you get to some of the more dangerous places)
- Home prices increased in the last year, and
- Above 5,000 people (Bigger cities have more data points)
So of the 394 cities and towns in South Carolina, only 11 places made it through our initial filters to even be considered.
We then ranked each place from 1 to 11 for the criteria mentioned above with 1 being the best for that criteria. We averaged the rankings to create a ‘best place to buy’ index with the place having the lowest index being the best.
Turns out that York is the best potential gem in the not-so-rough in the Palmetto State.
Read on for more on these places.
The first European settlers came to York in the early 1750s, having migrated south from Pennsylvania and Virginia. Of the three major groups settling Pennsylvania, the English came first, then the Germans, and then the Scots. The county names of Lancashire, Cheshire and Yorkshire had been brought from England to Pennsylvania, and then on to South Carolina by the early settlers.
2. Rock Hill
Procceding cultures of indigenous peoples lived in the Piedmont for thousands of years. The historic Catawba Indian Nation, a traditionally Siouan-speaking tribe, was here at the time of European encounter. Currently the only tribe in South Carolina that is federally recognized, its members live near Rock Hill.|Although some European settlers had already arrived in the Rock Hill area in the 1830s and 1840s, Rock Hill did not become an actual town until the Charlotte and South Carolina Railroad Company made the decision to send a rail line through the area. Originally, the railroad had hoped to build a station in the nearby village of Ebenezerville which was squarely between Charlotte, North Carolina and Columbia, South Carolina. When approached, however, the locals in Ebenezerville refused to have the railroad run through their village since they considered it dirty and noisy. Instead, engineers and surveyors decided to run the line two miles away by a local landmark. According to some, the engineers marked the spot on the map and named it ‘rocky hill.'(p26)
European settlement in this area started in 1704 when George Sterling set up a post here for fur trade with Indians. To encourage settlement, the General Assembly of the Province of South Carolina in 1730 organized the area as a township, naming it Orangeburg for Prince William IV of Orange, the son-in-law of King George II of Great Britain. In 1735, a colony of 200 Swiss, German and Dutch immigrants formed a community near the banks of the North Edisto River. The site was attractive because of the fertile soil and the abundance of wildlife. The river provided the all-important transportation waterway to the port of Charleston on the Atlantic coast for the area’s agriculture and lumber products, and for shipping goods upriver. The town soon became a well-established and successful colony, composed chiefly of small yeomen farmers.
Seneca was founded as Seneca City and named for a nearby Native American village and the Seneca River. The town was located at the intersection of the Blue Ridge Railroad and the newly built Atlanta and Charlotte Air Line Railroad. Both lines are now part of the Norfolk Southern Railway. A. W. Thompson and J. J. Norton, who were locating engineers for the Air Line Railroad, purchased the land from Col. Brown of Anderson, South Carolina. A stake marking the center of town was driven into the intersection of the railroad tracks and the current Townville Street. The land was divided into lots for one-half mile from the stake. An auction was held on August 14, 1873. The town was given a charter by the state legislature on March 14, 1874. In 1908, the name was changed to Seneca.
In 1791 Washington District was established by the state legislature out of the former Cherokee territory. Rockville was also created in 1791 but changed to Pickensville in 1792. Pickensville became the district seat of Washington District which was then composed of Greenville and Pendleton Counties. In 1798 Washington District was divided into Greenville and Pendleton Districts. In 1828 Pendleton District was divided further with the upper portion becoming Anderson County and the lower becoming Pickens County named after Andrew Pickens.
West Columbia was incorporated in 1894 as Brookland, but the United States Postal Service called the town ‘New Brookland’ since there was another town called Brookland. In 1936, the name was changed to West Columbia to emphasize its proximity to Columbia, South Carolina. Numerous businesses, churches and a high school retain the Brookland and New Brookland names.
From the 17th century until the Civil War, plantations cultivated commodity crops, such as rice and indigo. Some of the plantations located in what is now North Charleston were:|The large plantations were subdivided into smaller farms in the late 19th century as the urban population began moving northward. Due to the large labor forces of enslaved African Americans who worked these properties, the population of Charleston County in 1870 was 73 percent black; they were mostly freedmen. After the Civil War, phosphate fertilizer plants were developed, with extensive strip mining occurring between the Ashley River and Broad Path (Meeting Street Road). The main route for transportation of these phosphates eventually became known as Ashley Phosphate Road.
Greer was named for James Manning Greer, whose ancestry traces from Scotland, through Ireland. Many of his descendants still reside in the region. James Manning Greer was a descendant of John Greer, Sr. who surveyed his land in Laurens County in 1750. John and his family were already in Laurens County, prior to the Greer passengers who arrived aboard the ship The Falls in 1764. John Greer’s family settled at Duncans Creek between that Creek and the Enoree River and close to Duncan’s Creek Presbyterian Church. John, Sr.’s great grandson James Manning Greer settled his family near Greenville in an area that eventually became Greer’s Station. The Greers are not descended from the MacGregors. DNA evidence has shown this claim to be totally untrue.
Incorporated as Sumterville in 1845, the city’s name was shortened to Sumter in 1855. It has grown and prospered from its early beginnings as a plantation settlement. The city and county of Sumter bear the name of General Thomas Sumter, the ‘Fighting Gamecock’ of the American Revolutionary War.
Conway is one of the oldest towns in South Carolina. Originally early English colonists named the village as named ‘Kings Town’ but soon changed it to ‘Kingston’. The town was founded in 1732 as part of Royal Governor Robert Johnson’s Township Scheme. It was laid out on a bluff overlooking the Waccamaw River in what is now known as Horry County.
There You Have It – The Best Places To Purchase A House In South Carolina
There’s our analysis of the best places to buy a house in South Carolina. And, to be clear, we aren’t necessarily saying these places are the best places to live, just that it looks like they might be in a couple of years based on the data.
In fact, every place in the following table meets our criteria, so even though it may not look super long, remember we started off with all 394 places in the state.
So if we’d could rent or buy in these cities, we’d definitely buy.
For more South Carolina reading, check out:
- 10 Worst Places To Live In South Carolina
- 10 Most Ghetto Cities In South Carolina
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In South Carolina
Detailed List Of The Best Places To Buy A Home In South Carolina