South Carolina’s Top 10 Cities for Real Estate Investment

Located towards the south of the US’s east coast, South Carolina is a state with a little bit of everything. From golden beaches to the Blue Ridge Mountains, the state offers plenty of stunning scenery. In addition to great scenery, the local climate is quite pleasant, and warm weather tends to be the norm. The state earned its nickname “The Palmetto State” due to the many palm trees surrounding its beaches and palmetto means small palm tree.

South Carolina is also known for its very long history. The state was named after King Charles and Latinized. Its largest city, Charleston was also named after the English monarch. Prior to the foundation of the United States, North and South Carolina were one colony and were split into two for administration purposes. Both North and South Carolina later became part of the original 13 colonies. As such, it participated in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars and was the background to many historic battles.

Food in South Carolina is amazing, especially if you like seafood. The local cuisine is a mixture of Deep South food with a heavy coastal influence. Some local delicacies include shrimp and grits, boiled peanuts, oyster roasts, and the oddly named dish Frogmore stew which doesn’t contain any actual frog are popular.

South Carolina is primarily known for its plentiful golf courses, amazing beaches, and historic districts. The US’s first golf course was established in 1786 on Harleston Green in South Carolina. Many others have followed since. Traditional pro sports fans may be a bit disappointed with the state, as it does not host any professional sports like Alaska and Hawaii. The state is home to Nascar’s Darlington Raceway, however.

South Carolina’s Economy

Initially like many other southern states, South Carolina was an agricultural state and depended on plantations. The state was known for its tobacco, rice, and cotton fields and was also known for its banking and textile industry. The local economy has changed a lot since the state’s early years, and agriculture is a lot less common. Today South Carolina is known for its seaports, car and aerospace manufacturing, and tourism industry.

As far as tourism goes, South Carolina is the east coast’s second most popular tourist destination following Florida. With great resorts, amusement and water parks, and lush golf courses it is easy to see why.

Honorable Mention – Mount Pleasant

Located just nine miles away from downtown Charleston is the city of Mount Pleasant. It is a quiet suburban city bordered by the Wando River to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. The city is home to a handful of parks as well as a naval museum which is home to several retired aircraft carriers and destroyers. There are also several marinas, and boat landings for those that like to set sail and fish.

Mount Pleasant is growing at a rate of 1.90% per year and has increased by 41% since the 2010 census. It is currently home to 97,000 residents and is growing fast. The population is a bit older with an average age of 40 and homeownership is a bit above the norm at 72%. The majority of the population is educated and holds a bachelor’s degree or more. Housing prices have increased by 32% since 2021 and now cost $711,000 on average. Rent is listed as $1,600 on average.

10 – Travelers Rest

Downtown Travelers Rest
Downtown Travelers Rest Source: Wikipedia

Located towards the northwestern corner of the state sits the pleasantly named city of Travelers Rest. The city is home to Furman University and North Greenville University is also located nearby. The slightly larger city of Greenville is also a very short distance away. There are also a few scenic waterfalls including Trammell Lake Waterfall and Raven Cliff Falls nearby.

Travelers Rest has grown by 21% since the 2010 census and is currently home to 5,619 residents. The average age is listed as 30 which suggests that there are many families with children in the city. Homeownership is listed at 56% a bit below average, but possibly due to college kids. Home prices have increased by 25% in the past year bringing prices to $327,000 on average. Rent is rather low however and is listed at $700 per month.

9 – Greer

Downtown Greer
Downtown Greer Source: Wikipedia

Roughly 10 miles east of Travelers Rest is the city of Greer. The city is home to the largest BMW manufacturing plant in the US and South Carolina Inland Port, both provide many jobs to locals. To the south of the city sits the Greenville-Spartanburg Airport which serves the surrounding area. There are also a few lakes and rivers in the area. This includes Lake Robinson, Cunningham, and Apalache.

Greer is growing at a rate of 3.50% per year and has grown by 43% since the 2010 census. It is currently home to over 25,000 residents. The rate of homeownership is 62% which is close to the national average. Average home prices are $317,000 a 23% increase since last year. Rent on the other hand is listed as $950 per month.

8 – Moncks Corner

Monck's Corner Depot
Monck’s Corner Depot Source: Wikipedia

Roughly 45 miles inland from Charleston, on the banks of Lake Moultrie in the city of Moncks Corner. The city is mostly a calm and quiet suburb with many residents commuting to Charleston for employment. The city has many different parks creeks and beaches for the local residents to enjoy. Additionally, there is the local county airport within the city’s boundaries.

Moncks Corner has been growing at a fast rate of 4.38% per year and has increased by 76% since the 2010 census. It is currently home to over 7,760 residents. The average homeownership stands at 64%. Housing prices have increased by 26% since 2021 and housing costs $342,000 on average. Rent is listed as $915 per month.

7 – Lyman

Just a few miles east of Greer sits the city of Lyman. The city is divided between north and south by the Middle Tyger River which eventually leads to Charleston and the Atlantic. There are also two lakes in the vicinity, including Lake Cooley which has a large park. Charlotte, North Carolina is also not too distant and is slightly more than an hour away.

Lyman is a small city with only 3,934 residents. Despite this, it is growing fast. It has grown by 19% since the 2010 census at a rate of 1.86 per year. The rate of homeownership is rather high at 81%. This may be because housing is still rather affordable. Despite increasing by 25% in the past year, the average home costs $274,000. Rent is listed at $1000 per month.

6 – Lexington

Just 20 miles west of the state Capitol, Columbia sits the suburban city of Lexington. The city’s landscape is pockmarked by many small ponds and the large Lake Murray borders it to the north. There is a regional airport not too far off which serves the local area. The University of South Carolina and Benedict College are also located close to the city.

Lexington has a population of 23,759 residents which is a 27% increase since the 2010 census. The city is growing at a pace of 2.30% per year. The rate of homeownership stands at 66% which is roughly the national average. Median home prices have climbed by 26% in the past year and property costs $279,000 on average. Rent is listed as $1,066 per month.

5 – Tega Cay

Right on the border with North Carolina, roughly 20 miles from downtown Charlotte is the city of Tega Cay. It is a pleasant and picturesque suburb located on a peninsula on Lake Wylie. The city is home to a handful of public parks, beach clubs, and a marina. In addition to this Tega Cay is a great city for families and the local Fort Mills school district is one of the best in the state.

With an average age of 40, Tega Cay’s population is slightly older than other cities. This may be why homeownership is very high with 96% of the residents owning their home. The city has grown a whopping 62% since the 2010 census at a growth rate of 3.82% per year. It is currently home to 12,742 residents. Housing prices have increased by 32% in the past year and now stand at $529,000 on average while rent is listed as $1,453 per month.

4 – Fort Mill

Tega Cay’s neighbor to the east is Fort Mill. The city has a long history dating to before the Civil War, and as it’s name suggests, it was a fort. Like Tega Cay, it is a suburb of Charlotte arnd is a short distance away. The Catawba river lies to the south of the city and there are a handful of parks and golf clubs for locals to enjoy.

Fort Mill has grown by a massive 154% since the 2010 census at a rate of 9% annually. It is currently home to over 11,000 residents. The median age is younger than Tega Cay and is close to the national average. Homeownership is at 76% and is still rather high, as are housing prices. The average home costs $482,000 while rent is listed at at $1,073 per month.

3 – Hardeeville

Near South Carolina’s southeastern border with Georgia, sits the city of Hardeeville. It is a suburb of sorts of Savannah, Georgia and is only 17 miles away. The city was the backdrop for several Civil War skirmishes. Today the city has several parks, a few golf courses and a history museum. Many of the residents tend to commute to Savannah or Hilton Head Island for work.

Hardeeville has grown by 212% since the 2010 census and is growing at an annual rate of 8.95%. Today over 9,600 residents call the city home. The average age is 57, suggesting many retirees and seniors reside in the area. This may explain the above average homeownership rate which stands at 73%. Housing prices are surprisingly affordable and stand at $291,000 on average. Rent is listed as $1,200 per month.

2 – Blythewood

Blythewood is a suburb roughly 18 miles north of Columbia, the state Capital. As such is is near the many universities and colleges located there. Like many other cities in South Carolina, Blythwood has a few different golf courses to choose from. In addition to that, the Sandhill Research and Education Center is also nearby.

Blythewood is currently home to over 5,250 residents which is an 153% increase since the 2010 census. The city is growing at a very fast pace of 7.51% per year. The average age of residents is a bit higher than average at 40. Home ownership is also extremely high at 94%. Despite this, housing prices seem affordable at $331,000 on average. Rent is listed as $1,792 per month.

1 – Bluffton

East of Hardeeville, close to the Atlantic sits the city of Bluffton. The city used to serve as residences for those working in the tourism industry in nearby Hilton Head Island. In time however, Bluffton became a tourist destination in its own right. The University of South Carolina Beaufort and Technical College of the Lowcountry are also located within the city.

Bluffton is home to 33,627 residents, a 156% increase since 2010 and is growing at a rate of 8.70% per year. The rate of homeownership is high and is listed as 80% which is advantageous for real estate investors. Housing prices have climbed by 35% in the past year and stand at $441,000 on average.

South Carolina & Real Estate

Like other sunbelt states, such as Florida, South Carolina is booming. Many cities have reported explosive growth in recent years. With great weather, beaches, golf courses and amusement parks, it is easy to see why. In addition to this, South Carolina is an affordable state which makes starting or growing a real estate portfolio easier than elsewhere. There’s a lot to love in the Palmetto State including great investment opportunities!

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