5 Best Neighborhoods in Charleston, SC to Live

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By Andrew Whytock Updated April 11, 2024


Finding a home that meets your needs without breaking the bank can be a serious challenge. State-wide, South Carolina has a median home value of $349,000. When you add in maintenance costs and property taxes, it can be difficult for many to buy and own a home.

That's why we've compiled a list of affordable neighborhoods in Charleston to help you find a new place to live. All of these places are more affordable than average, meaning you can get more bang for your buck.

Looking for the most affordable places in Charleston is a start, but you'll save even more money by working with a great agent.

The top South Carolina real estate agents know the local market and where to find pockets of more affordable homes. They can also help negotiate a better price when you do find your dream home.

At Clever Real Estate, we can match you with agents in any area you're interested in — even multiple areas at the same time. You can interview as many agents as you like until you find the perfect place to call home — all at no cost or obligation to you.

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Even if you're just daydreaming about where your next home might be, it's never too early to ask for an expert opinion. Real estate agents know the ins and outs of their local areas, including jobs, schools, and affordable neighborhoods.

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Most affordable places in Charleston

Whether you're looking for a quiet small town or a trendy suburban neighborhood, it's possible to locate pockets of affordability throughout Charleston.

Here are our top picks for Charleston residents on a budget:

1. Downtown Charleston

Downtown Charleston highlights a fine blend of college students and families along with residents who have lived in Charleston all their lives. Downtown gives off a a European vibe with cobblestone streets and wrought iron gates in front of many of the homes.

You’ll find both 19th century-style homes with beautiful architecture mixed in with more modern-style homes many showcasing window boxes and well-maintained courtyards.

Indeed, downtown is home to Rainbow Row, a street lined with 13 colorful and picturesque, historic Georgian houses.

Home values are expected to rise 2% in the coming year with downtown median home prices listed around $377,000.

Everything in the downtown area is highly walkable with countless restaurants, historic sites, museums, and parks, including the eight-acre Waterfront Park making it perfect for families as well as singles who are looking to be right in the action.

2. Mount Pleasant

The neighborhood of Mount Pleasant consistently ranks as one of the best places to live in Charleston. While it can border on the pricier side with median homes around $393,800, the area is popular because of the excellent schools, low crime, and steady employment.

Mount Pleasant is extremely family-friendly with 84% of residents married and over half have children under the age of 18. The neighborhood offers plenty of parks, dining options, close access to downtown, grocery stores, shopping malls, and an incredible farmers market.

And with Shem Creek running through the main portion of Mount Pleasant, you’ll enjoy scenic walks, fishing, and can imbibe at the numerous restaurants and bars lining the waterfront.

Even after you've found a more affordable place to live in South Carolina, moving there can be expensive. By working with a Clever Partner Agent, you'll have an expert in your corner and you may be able to take advantage of Clever Cash Back.

When you buy a home with a Clever agent, you might be eligible for cash back to use on anything you want. For the average home value of $349,000, you'd pocket $851 to help you move (or splurge on a great housewarming gift for yourself).

» SAVE: Learn more about what you can save with Clever Cash Back!

3. Summerville

Earning a place on the National Register of Historic Places, the historic district of Summerville showcases homes that date back to the Civil War era. The neighborhood has a distinct suburban feel with impressive homes and quiet streets.

Many families and young professionals are attracted to the area for its top-rated schools as well as its proximity to big companies like Google, Volvo, and Boeing. Certainly, Summerville makes commuting to work or school easy with close access to I-26.

You’ll find homes in Summerville more affordable than in other surrounding neighborhoods with the median home price of $182,800. The cost of living in Summerville is only 9% higher than the rest of the state compared to Kiawah Island, SC where the cost of living is 137% higher.

4. Hanahan

Located by the Goose Creek Reservoir, you’ll find plenty of beautiful hiking trails, kayaking, and scenic nature vistas in the Hanahan neighborhood.

Hanahan is a small, suburban community with quiet roads and great schools. Many young families are drawn to the area for not only better education options but also for the local mom-and-pop bar and restaurant scene.

Additionally, Hanahan’s home prices are an attractive option for many young buyers with the median home price around $189,800.

And while you are more removed from the action, the area is close to downtown as well as the coast with a reasonable work commute time of around 22 minutes.

5. Sullivan’s Island

Sullivan’s Island is right on the water providing amazing views and miles and miles of beach. Living in this small city of around 2,000 people will feel like you’re on vacation every day with plenty of amenities and great restaurants and bars right on the water.

Many young couples and retirees that settle down in this area enjoying water activities and a lively nightlife. However, you’ll want to check your budget, as homes here are mostly high-end luxury, modern-style homes with the median home value at $1,248,900.

If you can afford it, you’ll also enjoy Sullivan Island’s highly rated schools, low crime, low unemployment rate, and great waterfront views.

All of these neighborhoods provide great and diverse options in terms of housing and neighborhood feel. So whether you’re looking for a quiet, affordable suburban area to raise your kids or perhaps a luxury lifestyle on the coast, Charleston has a neighborhood for you.

The benefits of a great real estate agent

If you're just researching affordable places to live, you might wonder why you need a real estate agent. They're the ones that help you once you've already decided on a house, right?

Not necessarily. The truth is, it's never too early to start looking for an agent. In fact, talking to a realtor early on in the process can help you narrow down your options much faster than doing research on your own.

A real estate agent's job is to know everything about their local area. They'll find the best deals in desirable neighborhoods — and might just help you snag your dream home for an affordable price. Let a Clever agent help you discover your options today — all while you potentially enjoy cash back!

💰 Buy with a top agent, earn cash back!

Buy your dream home with a top local realtor from a trusted brand like Keller Williams or RE/MAX. Keep more money in your pocket by earning cash back on eligible purchases.

Enter your zip code to request hand-picked agent matches in minutes. Compare your options until you find the perfect fit, or walk away with no obligation. Try Clever's free service today!

Frequently asked questions about affordable places to live in South Carolina

How can I save money when buying a home in South Carolina?

In addition to shopping in some of the most affordable areas, you'll want to work with an experienced real estate agent. They can find you hidden gems at low price points. A good agent can also negotiate like a pro to get you a lower sale price and more buyer incentives. You may also be able to take advantage of home buyer rebates.

How do I know how much I can afford to buy in South Carolina?

We recommend using the 28/36 rule to know how much house you can afford. This means your housing expenses shouldn't exceed 28% of your income, and all of your total debt shouldn't exceed 36%. Learn more about how to calculate your home buying budget.

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