Most Expensive Places To Live In South Carolina For 2020


We used science and data to determine which cities in South Carolina that will put a big dent in your wallet.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the most expensive places to live in South Carolina.

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Everyone wants a home that mixes affordability with comfort and South Carolina does this very well. Families love the Palmetto State's beaches, midlands, and mountains as tourists before moving here and calling it home.

But before you decide to relocate, you have to do some research into the exact cost of living around the state -- and that's how we're going to help you.

These are the places in South Carolina that cost a pretty penny -- the most expensive cities in the state.

After we saved up for months and could finally afford it, we landed on this list of the ten most expensive cities in South Carolina for 2020.

So where is the most expensive place to live in South Carolina? That would be Port Royal.
the 2014-2018 American Community Survey for the 63 places in South Carolina with more than 5,000 people.

What's the most expensive place to live in South Carolina? Well, HomeSnacks crunched the numbers and discovered that Port Royal is the most expensive place to live in South Carolina.

So hopefully Fountain Inn (the cheapest place to live in South Carolina) can show these guys how to live on a budget in the coming years. Read on for how these places had costs rise faster than inflation.

And if you already knew these places were expensive, check out some more reading about South Carolina and the most expensive cities in the country:

The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In South Carolina For 2020

Port Royal, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 12,446
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.8x (7th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 37.8x (2nd most expensive)
More on Port Royal: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Port Royal is a town on Port Royal Island in Beaufort County, South Carolina, United States. Largely because of annexation of surrounding areas, the population of Port Royal rose from 3,950 in 2000 to 10,678 in 2010, a 170% increase. As defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, Port Royal is included within the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area. Port Royal is home to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, and Naval Hospital Beaufort.

The median income in Port Royal comes in at $43,878 and the median home value is $210,300 for 2020.

Hardeeville, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 5,836
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.4x (2nd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 49.1x (22nd most expensive)
More on Hardeeville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Hardeeville comes in at $57,328 and the median home value is $311,800 for 2020.

Clemson, SC

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 15,966
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.4x (3rd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 45.5x (13th most expensive)
More on Clemson: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Clemson is a city in Pickens and Anderson counties in the U.S. state of South Carolina. Clemson is home to Clemson University; in 2015, the Princeton Review cited the town of Clemson as ranking #1 in the United States for "town-and-gown" relations with its resident university. The population of the city was 13,905 at the 2010 census.

Clemson is part of the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, South Carolina Combined Statistical Area. Most of the city is in Pickens County, which is part of the Greenville-Mauldin-Easley Metropolitan Statistical Area. A small portion is in Anderson County, which is part of the Anderson Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The median income in Clemson comes in at $42,021 and the median home value is $228,100 for 2020.

Georgetown, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 8,936
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.3x (4th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 42.6x (5th most expensive)
More on Georgetown: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Georgetown is the third oldest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina and the county seat of Georgetown County, in the Lowcountry. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 9,163. Located on Winyah Bay at the confluence of the Black, Great Pee Dee, Waccamaw, and Sampit rivers, Georgetown is the second largest seaport in South Carolina, handling over 960,000 tons of materials a year. Georgetown is also the birthplace of former First Lady Michelle Obama's grandfather, Fraser Robinson. Many of Michelle Obama's relatives still reside in Georgetown.

The median income in Georgetown comes in at $30,972 and the median home value is $162,800 for 2020.

Myrtle Beach, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 31,783
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.8x (6th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 46.3x (15th most expensive)
More on Myrtle Beach: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Myrtle Beach is a coastal city on the east coast of the United States in Horry County, South Carolina. It is situated on the center of a large and continuous stretch of beach known as the Grand Strand in northeastern South Carolina.

The median income in Myrtle Beach comes in at $40,525 and the median home value is $194,700 for 2020.

Charleston, SC

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 133,762
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.8x (8th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 53.5x (33rd most expensive)
More on Charleston: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Charleston is the oldest and largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina, the county seat of Charleston County, and the principal city in the Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city lies just south of the geographical midpoint of South Carolina's coastline and is located on Charleston Harbor, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean formed by the confluence of the Ashley and Cooper rivers. Charleston had an estimated population of 134,385 in 2016. The estimated population of the Charleston metropolitan area, comprising Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties, was 761,155 residents in 2016, the third-largest in the state and the 78th-largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States.

The median income in Charleston comes in at $64,599 and the median home value is $308,100 for 2020.

Hilton Head Island, SC

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 39,820
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 6.3x (1st most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 61.1x (44th most expensive)
More on Hilton Head Island: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Hilton Head Island, sometimes referred to as simply Hilton Head, is a Lowcountry resort town and barrier island in Beaufort County, South Carolina, United States. It is 20 miles northeast of Savannah, Georgia, and 95 miles southwest of Charleston. The island is named after Captain William Hilton, who in 1663 identified a headland near the entrance to Port Royal Sound, which he named "Hilton's Head" after himself. The island features 12 miles of beachfront on the Atlantic Ocean and is a popular vacation destination. In 2004, an estimated 2.25 million visitors pumped more than $1.5 billion into the local economy. The year-round population was 37,099 at the 2010 census, although during the peak of summer vacation season the population can swell to 150,000. Over the past decade, the island's population growth rate was 32%. Hilton Head Island is a primary city within the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort metropolitan area, which had an estimated population of 207,413 in 2015.

The median income in Hilton Head Island comes in at $73,972 and the median home value is $469,300 for 2020.

North Charleston, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 109,886
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.0x (18th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 41.2x (4th most expensive)
More on North Charleston: Real Estate | Data | Photos

North Charleston is the third-largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina, with incorporated areas in Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties. On June 12, 1972, the city of North Charleston was incorporated and was rated as the ninth-largest city in South Carolina. As of the 2010 Census, North Charleston had a population of 97,471, growing to an estimated population of 108,304 in 2015, and with a current area of more than 76.6 square miles. As defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, for use by the U.S. Census Bureau and other U.S. Government agencies for statistical purposes only, North Charleston is included within the Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville metropolitan area and the Charleston-North Charleston urban area. North Charleston is one of the state's major industrial centers and is the state's top city in gross retail sales.

The median income in North Charleston comes in at $41,316 and the median home value is $164,600 for 2020.

Greenville, SC

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 65,727
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.1x (5th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 57.2x (40th most expensive)
More on Greenville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Greenville is the largest city in and the seat of Greenville County, South Carolina, United States. The city's mayor is Knox White, who has been in that position since December 1995. With an estimated population of 67,453 as of 2016, it is the sixth-largest city in the state. The population of the surrounding area was 400,492 as of 2010, making it the third-largest urban area in South Carolina as well as the fastest growing. Greenville is the largest city in the Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin Metropolitan Statistical Area. The MSA had a population of 884,975 in 2016, making it the largest in South Carolina and the third largest in The Carolinas.

The median income in Greenville comes in at $53,571 and the median home value is $273,100 for 2020.

Bluffton, SC

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 18,835
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.6x (28th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 47.5x (18th most expensive)
More on Bluffton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Bluffton is a Lowcountry town in Beaufort County, South Carolina, United States. It is primarily located around U.S. Route 278, between Hilton Head Island and Interstate 95. The town's original one square mile area, now known as Old Town, is situated on a bluff along the May River. The population was counted by the 2010 census at 12,893. Bluffton is the fastest growing municipality in South Carolina with a population over 2,500, growing 882.7% between the 2000 and 2010 census. Bluffton is the fifth largest municipality in South Carolina by land area. The town is a primary city within the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area. Bluffton is known for its eclectic Old Town district and natural views of the May River. It has been called "the last true coastal village of the South."

The median income in Bluffton comes in at $74,695 and the median home value is $266,200 for 2020.

How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Palmetto State For 2020

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In South Carolina
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. How much do I have spend to live there?

You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.

For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it's actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.

With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2014-2018 around incomes and costs. They are:

  • Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
  • Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
  • Median Home Price

We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).

You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in South Carolina to figure out which is the most expensive.

What you are left with is a "Cost of Living Index" by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 63 places in South Carolina that have more than 5,000 people.

The place with the highest cost of living in South Carolina according to the data is Port Royal. You can download the data here.

Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck In South Carolina For 2020

Well there you have it, the places in South Carolina that have the highest cost of living, with Port Royal ranking as the most expensive city in the Palmetto State.

Here's a look at the most affordable cities in South Carolina according to the data:

  1. Fountain Inn
  2. Laurens
  3. Mauldin

For more South Carolina reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In South Carolina

Rank City ExpensiveScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Port Royal 7.67 12,446 4.8x 37.8x
2 Hardeeville 9.33 5,836 5.4x 49.1x
3 Clemson 9.33 15,966 5.4x 45.5x
4 Georgetown 12.33 8,936 5.3x 42.6x
5 Myrtle Beach 12.67 31,783 4.8x 46.3x
6 Charleston 15.33 133,762 4.8x 53.5x
7 Hilton Head Island 15.33 39,820 6.3x 61.1x
8 North Charleston 16.0 109,886 4.0x 41.2x
9 Greenville 17.0 65,727 5.1x 57.2x
10 Bluffton 18.0 18,835 3.6x 47.5x
11 North Myrtle Beach 18.33 15,862 4.6x 55.4x
12 Beaufort 19.67 13,336 4.1x 52.5x
13 Mount Pleasant 20.33 83,700 4.5x 63.4x
14 Lancaster 20.67 9,150 4.4x 43.6x
15 Orangeburg 21.67 13,120 4.2x 40.5x
16 Columbia 23.0 133,352 3.8x 50.2x
17 Anderson 24.0 27,129 4.1x 43.9x
18 Hartsville 26.0 7,658 4.1x 47.8x
19 Seneca 26.33 8,290 4.4x 60.8x
20 Walterboro 26.33 5,503 3.7x 43.1x
21 James Island 26.67 12,010 3.5x 61.0x
22 Conway 28.33 22,661 3.7x 52.2x
23 Abbeville 28.67 5,079 3.6x 36.1x
24 Central 28.67 5,241 3.7x 43.5x
25 Sumter 29.0 39,964 3.6x 48.9x
26 Summerville 29.0 50,894 3.4x 56.0x
27 Hollywood 29.0 5,119 4.3x 80.3x
28 Hanahan 31.33 22,963 3.3x 62.7x
29 Aiken 33.0 30,464 3.3x 61.8x
30 Gaffney 34.0 12,526 3.6x 48.5x
31 Rock Hill 34.33 71,903 3.2x 50.4x
32 Darlington 34.67 6,034 3.4x 47.0x
33 Cheraw 35.0 5,701 3.9x 54.6x
34 Goose Creek 35.83 41,339 2.7x 53.2x
35 Clover 36.67 5,955 3.2x 54.0x
36 Fort Mill 37.33 15,924 3.2x 87.7x
37 West Columbia 38.0 17,296 3.0x 51.6x
38 Spartanburg 38.33 37,370 3.0x 49.8x
39 Moncks Corner 38.5 10,169 3.2x 65.8x
40 Florence 39.0 37,802 3.3x 63.4x
41 Greenwood 40.33 23,230 2.9x 46.9x
42 Union 40.33 7,878 2.8x 43.1x
43 Camden 40.33 7,060 3.3x 69.8x
44 York 40.67 8,062 3.6x 69.8x
45 Chester 41.0 5,433 2.9x 45.0x
46 Tega Cay 41.33 9,954 2.6x 80.0x
47 Clinton 41.33 8,508 2.7x 43.3x
48 Forest Acres 41.33 10,433 2.9x 70.4x
49 Lexington 41.67 21,040 2.7x 64.2x
50 Easley 43.0 20,784 3.2x 65.1x
51 Greer 43.33 29,717 2.8x 64.9x
52 Newberry 43.67 10,289 2.6x 46.3x
53 Lake City 44.67 6,658 2.8x 49.8x
54 Dillon 45.33 6,456 3.2x 63.2x
55 Cayce 47.0 13,621 2.5x 54.8x
56 North Augusta 47.67 22,603 2.8x 71.7x
57 Simpsonville 48.33 21,423 2.4x 67.7x
58 Bennettsville 48.67 8,308 2.7x 52.9x
59 Irmo 49.67 12,087 2.0x 55.5x
60 Marion 50.0 6,548 3.0x 64.5x
61 Mauldin 50.0 25,009 2.4x 67.4x
62 Laurens 50.33 8,914 2.5x 53.4x
63 Fountain Inn 55.0 8,684 2.3x 80.3x

How Is The Area In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.