The 10 Most Affordable Places to Live in South Carolina

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By Michael Yessis Updated June 13, 2024
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Edited by Ashley Simon

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The 29512 zip code in Bennettsville tops our ranking of the most affordable places to live in South Carolina.

We looked at 163 zip codes in the state, evaluating home values, rental costs, energy rates, property taxes, and five other affordability indicators. We used the data we gathered to calculate our proprietary Affordability Score for each zip code.  

Top 10 most affordable places to live in South Carolina

RankCity Affordability Score Median home valueRental costs
1Bennettsville 🥇100$89,954$1,744
2Sumter🥈97.6$161,210$1,077
3Lake City 🥉94.8$121,905$1,744
4Florence93.3$135,291$930
5Kingstree93.2$102,896$1,744
6North Augusta93.1$208,994$1,298
7Clinton92.9$139,531$1,744
8Hartsville92.7$156,102$1,744
9Darlington92.4$123,657$1,744
10Dillon91.0$82,482$1,744
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1. Bennettsville

Here's why the 29512 zip code in Bennettsville is South Carolina's most affordable place to live.

🔎 Key data about Bennettsville

Data pointValueRank (out of 163 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 100 No. 1N/A
Median home value $89,954[1]No. 2 -$226,054.26
Home affordability ratio 2.4No. 2-2.2
Home value five-year change 9.9%[2]No. 2-49.2%
Home value one-year forecast -5.7%[3]No. 1-6.0%
Rental costs $1,744[4]No. 62$0
Rent affordability ratio 2.58%No. 590.0%
Median household income $37,104[5]No. 156-$30,526
Property taxes $516[6]No. 8-$730
Energy costs $0.12 kWh[7]No. 62-$0.01
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Bennettsville's 29512 zip code is the cheapest place to live in South Carolina, leading the 163 markets we evaluated. 

The median home value is $89,954, making it the 2nd-cheapest housing market in the state. Forecasts project a -5.7% change in home values in the next year. Rent in the zip code averages $1,744 per month, which is the 59th cheapest amount in South Carolina.

The median property tax for homeowners in Bennettsville is $516 per household, the No. 8 ranked market in South Carolina. 

Residents pay $0.12 per kWh of electricity, which ranks No. 62 among South Carolina markets.

2. Sumter

The 29150 zip code is the 2nd-cheapest place to live in South Carolina.

🔎 Key data about Sumter

Data pointValueRank (out of 163 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 97.6No. 2N/A
Median home value $161,210[8]No. 24-$154,798.17
Home affordability ratio 3.5No. 26-1.2
Home value five-year change 34.5%[9]No. 14-24.6%
Home value one-year forecast -2.5%[10]No. 4-2.8%
Rental costs $1,077[11]No. 4-$667
Rent affordability ratio 2.33%No. 40-0.2%
Median household income $46,133[12]No. 137-$21,497
Property taxes $908[13]No. 63-$338
Energy costs $0.12 kWh[14]No. 62-$0.01
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Sumter's 29150 zip code has a median home value of $161,210, which is the 4th-cheapest housing market in South Carolina. You can rent for an average of $1,077 per month. That's the 4th-cheapest price in the state.

The average household income in the zip code is $46,133, which ranks 137th-highest in the state. 

Homeowners in Sumter pay a median property tax of $908 per year, making it the 63rd-most affordable market in South Carolina.

Sumter ranks No. 62 among South Carolina energy markets. You'll pay $0.12 per kWh of electricity.

3. Lake City

The 3rd-cheapest place to live in South Carolina is Lake City's 29560 zip code.

🔎 Key data about Lake City

Data pointValueRank (out of 163 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 94.8No. 3N/A
Median home value $121,905[15]No. 8-$194,102.67
Home affordability ratio 2.5No. 4-2.2
Home value five-year change 44.4%[16]No. 28-14.8%
Home value one-year forecast -1.5%[17]No. 10-1.8%
Rental costs $1,744[18]No. 62$0
Rent affordability ratio 2.58%No. 590.0%
Median household income $49,141[19]No. 128-$18,489
Property taxes $547[20]No. 11-$699
Energy costs $0.12 kWh[21]No. 62-$0.01
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The No. 8 cheapest housing in South Carolina is Lake City's 29560 zip code, with a median home value of $121,905. Rents in the market average $1,744 per month, making it the 62nd-most affordable rental market in the state.

The median property tax for households in Lake City is $547, which makes it the 11th-cheapest place in South Carolina. Lake City ranks No. 62 among South Carolina markets by energy costs. Residents pay $0.12 per kWh of electricity.

4. Florence

The 29506 zip code in Florence comes in at No. 4 on our list of the cheapest places to live in South Carolina.

🔎 Key data about Florence

Data pointValueRank (out of 163 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 93.3No. 4N/A
Median home value $135,291[22]No. 14-$180,716.84
Home affordability ratio 3.7No. 47-0.9
Home value five-year change 35.7%[23]No. 16-23.4%
Home value one-year forecast -1.5%[24]No. 10-1.8%
Rental costs $930[25]No. 1-$814
Rent affordability ratio 2.58%No. 570.0%
Median household income $36,116[26]No. 159-$31,514
Property taxes $538[27]No. 10-$708
Energy costs $0.12 kWh[28]No. 62-$0.01
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The No. 14 cheapest housing market in South Carolina is Florence's 29506 zip code, where the median home value is $135,291. Renters here pay an average of $930 per month. 

When it comes to energy costs, Florence ranks 62nd among South Carolina markets. Residents pay $0.12 per kWh of electricity.

The median property tax for households in the zip code is $538, which makes it the 10th-cheapest market in South Carolina.

5. Kingstree

The 29556 zip code in Kingstree ranks No. 5 among South Carolina's most affordable places to live.

🔎 Key data about Kingstree

Data pointValueRank (out of 163 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 93.2No. 5N/A
Median home value $102,896[29]No. 4-$213,111.61
Home affordability ratio 2.5No. 3-2.2
Home value five-year change 33.9%[30]No. 11-25.3%
Home value one-year forecast 0.3%[31]No. 820.0%
Rental costs $1,744[32]No. 62$0
Rent affordability ratio 2.58%No. 590.0%
Median household income $41,590[33]No. 147-$26,040
Property taxes $638[34]No. 21-$608
Energy costs $0.12 kWh[35]No. 62-$0.01
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Kingstree's 29556 zip code has a median home value of $102,896, the 4th-cheapest market in the state. Forecasts project a 0.3% change in home values in the next year. 

The median property tax per household in Kingstree is $638. It's the 21st-cheapest market by tax rate in South Carolina.

6. North Augusta

The No. 6 most affordable place to live in South Carolina is the 29841 zip code.

🔎 Key data about North Augusta

Data pointValueRank (out of 163 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 93.1No. 6N/A
Median home value $208,994[36]No. 42-$107,014.02
Home affordability ratio 3.3No. 14-1.4
Home value five-year change 39.8%[37]No. 21-19.3%
Home value one-year forecast -0.1%[38]No. 18-0.4%
Rental costs $1,298[39]No. 14-$446
Rent affordability ratio 2.03%No. 20-0.6%
Median household income $64,079[40]No. 74-$3,551
Property taxes $851[41]No. 54-$395
Energy costs $0.16 kWh[42]No. 108$0.03
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The back half of our top 10 kicks off with North Augusta's 29841 zip code, which has the 42nd-cheapest home values in South Carolina. The median home value is $208,994. Rents average $1,298 per month, making it the 14th-most affordable rental market in the state.

Residents pay $0.16 per kWh of electricity. It's the 108th-cheapest energy market.

7. Clinton

Clinton's 29325 zip code is the 7th-cheapest place to live in South Carolina.

🔎 Key data about Clinton

Data pointValueRank (out of 163 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 92.9No. 7N/A
Median home value $139,531[43]No. 16-$176,477.13
Home affordability ratio 2.7No. 6-2.0
Home value five-year change 9.1%[44]No. 1-50.0%
Home value one-year forecast 0.2%[45]No. 23-0.1%
Rental costs $1,744[46]No. 62$0
Rent affordability ratio 2.58%No. 590.0%
Median household income $51,682[47]No. 114-$15,948
Property taxes $751[48]No. 42-$495
Energy costs $0.13 kWh[49]No. 83-$0.01
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You'll find the 16th-cheapest home values in South Carolina in Clinton's 29325 zip code. The median value: $139,531. Renters in Clinton pay an average of $1,744 per month.

Homeowners in Clinton pay a median property tax of $751 per year, which is South Carolina's 42nd-most affordable market.

The average household income is $51,682, which ranks 114th-highest in the state.

8. Hartsville

The 8th-cheapest place to live in South Carolina is Hartsville's 29550 zip code.

🔎 Key data about Hartsville

Data pointValueRank (out of 163 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 92.7No. 8N/A
Median home value $156,102[50]No. 20-$159,905.54
Home affordability ratio 3.0No. 11-1.7
Home value five-year change 30.4%[51]No. 10-28.7%
Home value one-year forecast -1.4%[52]No. 12-1.7%
Rental costs $1,744[53]No. 62$0
Rent affordability ratio 2.58%No. 590.0%
Median household income $52,525[54]No. 112-$15,105
Property taxes $640[55]No. 23-$606
Energy costs $0.12 kWh[56]No. 62-$0.01
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The 20th-cheapest housing market in South Carolina is Hartsville's 29550 zip code, with a median home value of $156,102. Renters pay an average of $1,744 per month, the No. 62 rental market in the state.

The median property tax for households in Hartsville is $640, which makes it the 23rd-cheapest place in South Carolina. The average household income of $52,525 ranks 112th.

9. Darlington

Darlington's 29532 zip code sneaks into the top ten of South Carolina's most affordable places to live.

🔎 Key data about Darlington

Data pointValueRank (out of 163 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 92.4No. 9N/A
Median home value $123,657[57]No. 9-$192,350.82
Home affordability ratio 3.1No. 12-1.5
Home value five-year change 29.6%[58]No. 9-29.5%
Home value one-year forecast -1.4%[59]No. 12-1.7%
Rental costs $1,744[60]No. 62$0
Rent affordability ratio 2.58%No. 590.0%
Median household income $39,553[61]No. 153-$28,077
Property taxes $534[62]No. 9-$712
Energy costs $0.12 kWh[63]No. 62-$0.01
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The 9th-cheapest housing market in South Carolina is Darlington's 29532 zip code, where the median home value is $123,657. Renters pay an average of $1,744 per month. It's the state's 62nd-cheapest rental market.

The median property tax for households within the zip code is $534, which makes it the 9th-cheapest property tax rate in South Carolina. 

10. Dillon

The final spot on our list of the most affordable places to live in South Carolina goes to the 29536 zip code in Dillon.

🔎 Key data about Dillon

Data pointValueRank (out of 163 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 91.0No. 10N/A
Median home value $82,482[64]No. 1-$233,526.15
Home affordability ratio 1.9No. 1-2.7
Home value five-year change 59.1%[65]No. 880.0%
Home value one-year forecast 0.3%[66]No. 820.0%
Rental costs $1,744[67]No. 62$0
Rent affordability ratio 2.58%No. 590.0%
Median household income $42,835[68]No. 145-$24,795
Property taxes $398[69]No. 1-$848
Energy costs $0.12 kWh[70]No. 62-$0.01
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The 1st-most affordable market in South Carolina is Dillon's 29536 zip code. The median home value is $82,482. Rent in the market costs $1,744 per month on average, making it the 62nd-most affordable rental market in South Carolina.

The median property tax for households in Dillon is $398, which is the 1st-cheapest property tax rate in the state.

Dillon ranks No. 62 among South Carolina markets by energy costs, with households paying $0.12 per kWh of electricity.

How we ranked the most affordable places in South Carolina

We evaluated 163 zip codes in South Carolina with a population over 10,000 on nine metrics. We then assigned each market an Affordability Score based on its weighted and combined rankings. 

✍️ Editor’s note: Our Affordability Score identifies the most affordable places in a state by zip code.

Often the zip code we identify will represent an entire city or portion of a city. 

Occasionally the zip code we identify will encompass an area that includes one or more small towns. In these cases, the data we’ve gathered applies to the entire zip code, not just the single town we’re using to help identify the zip code's location. 

If you’re looking to move to one of these affordable places, we recommend doing additional research to make sure the costs in the area — and the quality of life it offers — meet your specific needs.

Methodology: What is an Affordability Score?

Our proprietary Affordability Score is a score on a scale of 0 (worst in state) to 100 (best in state) that estimates the affordability of a particular zip code. It takes into account these key data points for each zip code.

  • Median home value: The median home value for each zip code comes from the Zillow Home Value Index. The lower the median home value relative to the median value in South Carolina, the higher our score on this component. We assign a weight of 23.8% to median home value.
  • Home affordability ratio. The home affordability ratio is the typical median home value divided by the median household income in the zip code, which reveals the number of years of household income needed to afford a home in that zip code. A lower ratio is better because it means more households can afford a home. The data comes from the Zillow Observed Rent Index and the U.S. Census American Community Survey. We assign a weight of 23.8% to the home affordability ratio.
  • Home value five-year change: The home value five-year change is the amount that the median home value in the zip code has risen or fallen during the last five years. Our data comes from the Zillow Home Value Index. We assign a weight of 4.8% to the home value five-year change.
  • Home value one-year forecast: The home value one-year forecast comes from Zillow Forecast data. It projects how much home values in the zip code are forecasted to change in the next year. We assign a weight of 4.8% to the home value one-year forecast.
  • Rental costs. The rental costs are the observed rents in the zip code, sourced from the Zillow Observed Rent Index. The index includes "listed rents that fall into the 40th to 60th percentile range for all homes and apartments in a given region." We assign a weight of 11.9% to rental costs. 
  • Median household income: The inflation-adjusted median household income figures for the zip code comes from the U.S. Census American Community Survey. We assign a weight of 4.8% to median household income.
  • Rent affordability ratio. The rent affordability ratio is the ratio of rental costs divided by median household income, which provides the percentage of household income needed to pay a typical month’s rent in the zip code. The data comes from the Zillow Observed Rent Index and the U.S. Census American Community Survey. We assign a weight of 11.9% to the rent affordability ratio.
  • Property taxes: The property tax figures are the median real estate taxes paid in the zip code, sourced from the U.S. Census American Community Survey. The lower the property tax rate relative to the South Carolina average, the higher our score on this component. We assign a weight of 7.1% to property taxes. 
  • Energy costs: The energy costs are the costs of a kilowatt hour (kWh) of residential electricity in the zip code, sourced from the U.S. Department of Energy. The lower the cost of electricity relative to the South Carolina average, the higher our score on this component. We assign a weight of 7.1% to energy costs.  

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