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The Average Cost of Living in Charleston, SC

Charleston, South Carolina has a growing tech industry, miles of coastline to wander, and a lively downtown. Now known as Silicon Harbor, it has become a draw for many home buyers. Charleston has an eclectic array of housing options. Find out what it really costs to live in historic Charleston.
Charleston, South Carolina has a growing tech industry, miles of coastline to wander, and a lively downtown. Now known as Silicon Harbor, it has become a draw for many home buyers. Charleston has an eclectic array of housing options. Find out what it really costs to live in historic Charleston.

Located halfway between New York and Miami, Charleston is South Carolina's largest and oldest city. Surrounded by water, the Holy City is situated at the inlet of three rivers and the Atlantic Ocean. It was given the name the Holy City for its tolerance of religious diversity.

Charleston has 90 miles of coastline and acres of freshwater lakes, rivers and tidal marshes where locals enjoy endless recreation in the natural and aquatic environments. The city itself is beautiful and historic with a slew of restaurants, parks, and museums. Weather is generally warm year-round with humid summers and occasional hurricanes.

Charleston is one of the fastest-growing metros for digital industry jobs. The tech growth of Charleston over the last 10 years has earned it the nickname Silicon Harbor.

The growth of the tech industry is drawing a lot of new people to the area for job opportunities and quality of life. This type of attention tends to affect real estate trends. To get a more accurate picture of the current trends in Charleston, you’ll want to get in with a good local buyer agent who has their pulse the local Charleston market.

Home Prices in Charleston, South Carolina in 2019

According to July 2019 data from Zillow, the median home value in Charleston is $318,800. Charleston home values have gone up 3.4% over the past 12 months and should stay the same over the next 12 months.

But know that buyers can still get a great deal on a home. While the median price of homes listed in Charleston is $382,500, the median price of homes that sold is $298,900.

Of course, this all depends on the Charleston neighborhood you choose. Some areas have homes in the low $100,000s; in others, prices go into the millions.

How Much Are Charleston, South Carolina Property Taxes?

Charleston has some of the lowest property taxes in the country. Property taxes in Charleston are calculated using the assessed property value of the home and the mill levy system.

To calculate property taxes, the assessed value of a home is multiplied by the mill levy imposed. Exemptions are then deducted from the assessed value to lower homeowners’ total tax payment.

You can estimate a property’s tax rate on Charleston’s online tax calculator. According to Charleston’s online tax calculator, a house in downtown Charleston with a mill levy of 0.223 and an assessed value of $500,000 would be subject to annual property taxes of $1,645. Meanwhile, a house with an assessed value of $500,000 on St John’s Island with a mill levy of .2946 would be subject to annual property taxes of $2,652.

Average Homeowners Insurance in Charleston, South Carolina

Homeowners insurance premiums are based on a variety of factors including the types of coverage you elect, the age and condition of your house, and where you live.

States that are prone to hurricanes have more expensive insurance policies. This may be why South Carolina has higher-than-average homeowners insurance premiums.

The national average homeowners insurance premium runs about $1,228 for a policy with $200,000 in dwelling coverage, $100,000 in liability coverage and a $1,000 deductible. South Carolina’s average insurance premium is $1,402 which is roughly 14% above the national average.

Premiums rates are also affected by your personal history of claims and choice of deductible. Once you know the neighborhood and property you’re interested in, shop around and get quotes from a variety of insurance companies.

Common Home Maintenance and Repair Costs in Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston's location along the coast leaves it highly vulnerable to hurricanes. However, it hasn’t had an encounter with a major hurricane since 1989 when Hurricane Hugo made landfall near Sullivan's Island, located just five miles east of Charleston.

Barring hurricanes, Charleston’s weather is relatively mild. The cost of home repairs in Charleston are inconsistent compared to the national average, however.

For example, the national average for a roof repair is $825. while the average cost for a roof repair in Charleston is $808. The national average to repair drywall is $525. But in Charleston, it’s $737.

Your buyer’s agent in Charleston will have more knowledge about repair and maintenance costs within specific areas. Different suburbs and neighborhoods are going to have different property values which can further dictate costs like home repairs, renovations, and remodels.

Other Costs of Living in Charleston, South Carolina to Consider

While Charleston has options for transportation around the city, locals agree that you’ll need a car living there. Gas prices range from $2.29-$2.45

The Charleston Downtown Area Shuttle (DASH) is free in the downtown historic area.

CARTA buses can get to many of Charleston's restaurants, beaches, shopping, and historic sites. One-way fixed route-tickets are $2.00. One-way express is $3.50. Passes are available for commuters.

Locals say that traffic is becoming more of an issue and the neighborhood location you’re in can make a big difference in your commute and drive times around the city. When looking at neighborhoods in Charleston, you’ll want the counsel of a knowledgeable local agent who knows traffic routes well.

Find a Top Charleston, South Carolina Real Estate Agent

Charleston has an eclectic array of housing options available. Its rapid growth over the last 10 years and rising tech economy has made it a popular spot for home buyers in recent years. You’ll need to consult with a local expert who understands the current market trends about Charleston. Clever can help.

Clever helps connect buyers with the top agents in Charleston. Clever Partner Agents are carefully selected for their experience in their local markets. When you work with a Clever Partner Agent in Charleston, you may even qualify for a buyer rebate to put closing costs back into your pocket. Find your Clever Partner Agent in Charleston today.



Reuven Shechter

Reuven Shechter is the Outreach Coordinator at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents to help save on commission. He spreads the word about Clever, disseminating studies to journalists and developing relationships with media outlets. Reuven is passionate about investing in real estate and creating lasting success for families. His writing has been featured in Max Real Estate Exposure, Leverage Marketing, and more.

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