These Are The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In South Carolina For 2019


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

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Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2019. This is our fourth 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 2019.

So where is the most expensive place to live in South Carolina? That would be Port Royal.

So hopefully Dillon (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 2019

Port Royal, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 12,218
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.6x (10th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 42.2x (6th 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 $46,475 and the median home value is $211,500 for 2019.

Clemson, SC

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 15,375
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.2x (3rd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 46.5x (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 $39,746 and the median home value is $207,500 for 2019.

Myrtle Beach, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 30,760
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.6x (9th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 46.3x (12th 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 $39,006 and the median home value is $178,300 for 2019.

Georgetown, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 8,960
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.1x (5th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 45.7x (11th 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 $31,273 and the median home value is $158,000 for 2019.

Charleston, SC

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 131,204
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.7x (7th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 54.1x (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 $61,367 and the median home value is $286,200 for 2019.

North Charleston, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 108,186
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.9x (17th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 42.0x (5th 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 $39,944 and the median home value is $155,900 for 2019.

North Myrtle Beach, SC

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 15,510
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.9x (6th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 56.4x (39th most expensive)
More on North Myrtle Beach: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in North Myrtle Beach comes in at $54,283 and the median home value is $263,300 for 2019.

Hilton Head Island, SC

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 39,666
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 6.3x (1st most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 62.9x (50th 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 $72,569 and the median home value is $454,300 for 2019.

Greenville, SC

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 64,061
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 5)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.2x (4th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 56.6x (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 $48,984 and the median home value is $255,600 for 2019.

Mount Pleasant, SC

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 80,661
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.6x (8th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 61.7x (47th most expensive)
More on Mount Pleasant: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Mount Pleasant is a large suburban town in Charleston County, South Carolina, United States. It is the fourth largest municipality and largest town in South Carolina, and for several years was one of the state’s fastest-growing areas, doubling in population between 1990 and 2000. The population was 67,843 at the 2010 census, and the estimated population in 2014 was 77,796. Mount Pleasant is the third largest city in the Charleston- North Charleston- Summerville metropolitan area, behind Charleston and North Charleston.

The median income in Mount Pleasant comes in at $90,454 and the median home value is $413,600 for 2019.

How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Palmetto State For 2019

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 2013-2017 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 61 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.

Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck In South Carolina For 2019

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. Dillon
  2. Fountain Inn
  3. Bennettsville

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 9.33 12,218 4.6x 42.2x
2 Clemson 10.0 15,375 5.2x 46.5x
3 Myrtle Beach 13.17 30,760 4.6x 46.3x
4 Georgetown 13.33 8,960 5.1x 45.7x
5 Charleston 15.0 131,204 4.7x 54.1x
6 North Charleston 16.0 108,186 3.9x 42.0x
7 North Myrtle Beach 17.0 15,510 4.9x 56.4x
8 Hilton Head Island 17.33 39,666 6.3x 62.9x
9 Greenville 17.33 64,061 5.2x 56.6x
10 Mount Pleasant 19.0 80,661 4.6x 61.7x
11 Bluffton 19.67 17,164 3.5x 48.2x
12 Orangeburg 20.67 13,215 4.4x 40.8x
13 Beaufort 20.67 13,413 4.4x 55.2x
14 Columbia 21.0 132,236 3.9x 49.7x
15 Central 23.0 5,161 4.0x 40.4x
16 Cheraw 24.17 5,702 4.6x 46.7x
17 Conway 25.33 21,534 4.0x 52.0x
18 Lancaster 25.33 8,948 3.7x 45.0x
19 Hartsville 26.0 7,694 3.9x 45.0x
20 Anderson 26.33 27,011 3.8x 47.1x
21 Sumter 28.33 40,286 3.7x 50.4x
22 Summerville 29.67 49,122 3.3x 55.8x
23 West Columbia 30.67 17,056 3.2x 47.6x
24 Abbeville 30.67 5,103 3.5x 40.7x
25 James Island 31.33 11,908 3.5x 69.0x
26 Camden 31.83 7,000 3.5x 56.8x
27 Hanahan 32.0 21,729 3.4x 62.7x
28 Gaffney 33.0 12,756 3.6x 49.5x
29 Moncks Corner 33.33 9,759 3.3x 59.4x
30 Aiken 33.33 30,277 3.3x 61.1x
31 Rock Hill 33.33 70,764 3.2x 50.2x
32 Walterboro 33.67 5,143 3.8x 53.7x
33 York 34.67 8,001 3.7x 58.7x
34 Darlington 35.0 6,075 3.2x 45.4x
35 Seneca 35.67 8,199 3.7x 64.5x
36 Goose Creek 36.0 41,040 2.7x 54.5x
37 Spartanburg 36.67 37,384 3.2x 50.6x
38 Clinton 37.0 8,538 2.7x 39.7x
39 Florence 37.0 37,840 3.4x 64.9x
40 Chester 37.33 5,446 3.1x 43.8x
41 Greenwood 38.0 23,148 3.1x 47.1x
42 Fort Mill 38.33 14,451 3.1x 77.1x
43 Forest Acres 40.0 10,466 3.0x 69.6x
44 Lexington 40.17 20,653 2.7x 64.8x
45 Lake City 40.33 6,697 2.8x 46.7x
46 Marion 40.5 6,590 3.5x 61.4x
47 Greer 41.0 28,587 3.0x 62.4x
48 Tega Cay 41.0 9,464 2.5x 95.9x
49 Simpsonville 42.17 20,741 2.6x 60.4x
50 Easley 43.0 20,521 3.1x 67.3x
51 Cayce 43.67 13,668 2.6x 54.1x
52 Union 44.0 7,926 2.7x 47.8x
53 North Augusta 44.0 22,268 2.9x 67.2x
54 Clover 44.33 5,731 2.7x 55.9x
55 Irmo 46.0 11,950 2.1x 55.1x
56 Newberry 47.0 10,257 2.5x 50.9x
57 Laurens 48.0 8,931 2.5x 53.3x
58 Mauldin 49.33 24,813 2.3x 69.1x
59 Bennettsville 51.67 8,493 2.3x 53.6x
60 Fountain Inn 52.67 8,455 2.5x 72.8x
61 Dillon 54.33 6,540 2.7x 74.2x

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