If you did not land a six-figure salary job right out of college, you are probably worried about many things, but definitely one item in particular: money.
You may have a pretty well-paying job, but that makes little impact on the mountain of school debt you may have if your cost of living is outrageously high. Unfortunately, life after graduation and beyond for many is not full of candy and exotic vacations, but rather is filled with the question: how do I save when I can barely make ends meet?
The south of course — and in particular South Carolina. That’s right– the southern states are one major region in the U.S. that won’t wipe your bank account clean. But what is a good state to live in? While it may be hard to believe at first, South Carolina is a great place to live and not just because it is cheap.
In South Carolina, you can stroll through the streets of Charleston on a haunted ghost tour, cheer on the Gamecocks during a football game in Columbia, and hit the beaches in Hilton Head or Myrtle Beach.
In the Palmetto state, you can have easy access to both the beach and the mountains. You can eat some ridiculously good peaches and have your fill of local breweries. You can also meet some really nice people. The South is known for its southern hospitality.
So where are the most affordable places to live in South Carolina?
The 10 Most Affordable Places To Live In South Carolina
What is the cheapest place to live in South Carolina? If you are looking for some cheap rent, Batesburg-Leesville is your place to go. Batesburg-Leesville ranks #1 again this year for the cheapest city to live in South Carolina.
If you are looking for a cheap place in a suburb area outside of Greenville, one of the best cities in South Carolina, Fountain Inn and Mauldin are waiting for you. No matter where you end up in South Carolina, you can be sure of two things: the food will be epic and the affordability will be shocking.
Read on to learn more about how we crunched the numbers and the other super affordable cities South Carolina has to offer.
And if you already knew these places were cheap, check out some more reading about South Carolina and the cheapest places in the country:
The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In South Carolina For 2022
We can’t believe that Batesburg-Leesburg made The Palmetto State’s cheapest places to live list as the most affordable city. This city has five star dining and posh shopping, and still, it’s the third most affordable place to buy a home based on median income data.
So, if you want to know where to steal the best deal in South Carolina, The Twin Cities are like a ripe Peaches N Such peach just waiting to be picked.
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 7)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.2x (3rd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 65.1x (28th cheapest)
More On Batesburg-Leesville: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
Have you heard? Laurens is South Carolina’s second most affordable city and the “Gateway to the Upstate” shows no signs of slowing down.
Laurens moved up four places from last year due to its fourth best place to buy a home based on the city’s median income ranking. The amenities in Laurens are also not too shabby. Yes, if you haven’t spent the day exploring the Laurens Historic District or taken in their Riverfront Freedom Festival then you have some work to do.
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.3x (4th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 55.5x (30th cheapest)
More On Laurens: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
It’s not very often that you find a deal as sweet as South Carolina’s third most affordable city, Fountain Inn. Located slightly southeast of Greenville, “The Diamond Tip of the Golden Strip” is the eighth most affordable place in South Carolina to buy or rent a home.
Not to mention, with Anderson and Spartanburg also in Fountain Inn’s backyard, it’s a great place to live if you want quiet, small town living with affordable shopping and entertainment close by.
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.4x (8th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 89.5x (50th cheapest)
More On Fountain Inn: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
Moving up the ranks to solidify South Carolina’s fourth least expensive city, “The Gateway to Tree City USA,” Irmo, must be made of money trees because this city has made life super affordable.
Located on the banks of Lake Murray, Irma, shows us that you can have the best of everything: a great lake life on a budget and affordable housing as this city is the best place to buy a home based on income. The catch? You’re going to have to make at least $75,344/year.
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.9x (most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 62.1x (54th cheapest)
More On Irmo: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
Coming in as the fifth most affordable place to call home is Lake City, a city of 6,562 about a half-hour south of Florence.
Sure, Lake City has a low cost of living, with things like healthcare, transportation, and services all costing less than your typical American city. But what really stands out in Lake City is the thriving community.
From the public art and horticulture that beautifies every corner of Lake City, to the seemingly endless string of events, to the spectacular dining and shopping downtown, there’s something for everyone in Lake City.
If you just want to give it a try to see how you like it, the median rent here is $759 — about 20% cheaper than the statewide average. If you like Lake City enough to make it your forever home, the median home price is $84,800.
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.2x (2nd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 49.9x (17th cheapest)
More On Lake City: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
Located on the north bank of the Savannah River, North Augusta is not only the sixth most affordable city in South Carolina, it is the epitome of southern hospitality with a pinch of southern charm. The best part of this deal, you won’t have to win the South Carolina lottery to get your hands on home in North Augusta because “The Riverfront” is the 12th best place to buy a home based on the city’s median income.
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.7x (12th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 78.8x (24th cheapest)
More On North Augusta: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
Coming in as the seventh least expensive place to live in South Carolina for 2022 is Dillon, a city of 6,358 situated 40 miles northeast of Florence. Besides being affordable, Dillon has stuff to keep you entertained on a budget if you like the outdoors.
For instance, Little Pee Dee State Park is right in your neighborhood, with some of the best camping, hiking, fishing in the area.
Dillon’s overall cost of living score is 88, compared to South Carolina’s 94 and the national average of 100. In terms of housing, though, Dillon is much cheaper than those numbers suggest. The median home price in Dillon is $125,400.
If you just want to give Dillon a try to see how you like it, you’re in luck because the city has the seventh lowest median rent in South Carolina at $606.
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.1x (24th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 66.5x (32nd cheapest)
More On Dillon: Real Estate | Cost Of Living
Chester is a small rural city in Chester County, South Carolina, United States. The population was 5,607 at the 2010 census, down from 6,476 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Chester County.
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 5)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.4x (5th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 48.0x (49th cheapest)
More On Chester: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
No, not everything is free in the 843, but it is super affordable-like, the ninth cheapest place to live in South Carolina affordable. But, that’s not all that makes this city of 7,905 residents from Marlboro County so great. Bennettsville shines because the median income here is $29,556 and the median home price is only $88,200.
And, folks, it doesn’t hurt that this South Carolina gem is also located on the Great Peed Dee River.
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.0x (19th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 51.5x (47th cheapest)
More On Bennettsville: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
This “Character Protected, Community Perfected” city has made buying a home affordable, education and safety a priority, and its 23,200 residents employed.
Kemet, Milliken, and Pare-Chem are three companies in Simpsonville that are helping to keep the economy in South Carolina’s tenth most affordable place to live moving; and take from us, it’s paying off. We think that buying your forever home in Simpsonville is a smart choice.
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.5x (9th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 68.7x (8th cheapest)
More On Simpsonville: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
Cheapest Places To Live In South Carolina FAQs
What county in South Carolina has the lowest cost of living?
The county in South Carolina with the lowest cost of living is Abbeville County. The average living wage in Abbeville County is $78,818 according to MIT data. Abbeville County has the lowest cost of living because it has relatively less expensive childcare and housing costs compared to South Carolina as a whole. Childcare costs $9,273 a year in Abbeville County for two children compared to the South Carolina average of $10,594. Housing costs, defined as a blend of the average rent and average mortgage payment, are $8,148 per year in Abbeville County compared to $11,223 on average in South Carolina.
What is the cost of living in South Carolina?
The cost of living in South Carolina is 6.6% lower than the US average. According to MIT, the required living wage for a family of four with two working parents in South Carolina is $83,827 vs the national average for a family of four with two working parents of $89,744. The median income of a South Carolina household is $54,864.
What is the cheapest housing market in South Carolina?
The cheapest housing market in South Carolina is Chester. The average home value in Chester is $67,700, the lowest in the state. The average home value in South Carolina is $170,100, almost 2.5 times higher than Chester.
Methodology: How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Palmetto State For 2022
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:
- How much do money do I make?
- 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 2016-2020 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 least 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 64 places in South Carolina that have more than 5,000 people.
The place with the lowest cost of living in South Carolina according to the data is Batesburg-Leesville. You can download the data here.
Summary: There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. South Carolina Cheapskate
If you’re looking at the cost of living numbers in South Carolina, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in South Carolina for 2022.
Here’s a look at the most expensive cities in South Carolina according to the data:
- Travelers Rest
- Myrtle Beach
For more South Carolina reading, check out:
- Worst Places To Live In South Carolina
- Best Places To Live In South Carolina
- Most Dangerous Cities In South Carolina
The Most Affordable Places To Live In South Carolina
|52||North Myrtle Beach||46.33|
|54||Hilton Head Island||47.67|