Top 5 Residential Real Estate Investment Markets in South Carolina

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By Trent Seigfried Updated May 28, 2024
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Edited by Michael Yessis

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Starr is home to the best residential real estate investment market in South Carolina.

The 29684 zip code in Starr presents the greatest opportunity for investors among the 844 individual real estate markets in South Carolina we evaluated. We looked at property values, population trends, and six other metrics for each market. We used that data to calculate each market's InvestScore.

Top 5 South Carolina residential real estate markets

RankCity InvestScore Affordability Property value appreciation
1Starr1003.577.80%
2Aynor96.63.774.62%
3Williamston95.83.672.36%
4Columbia94.83.373.29%
5Pickens94.64.170.35%
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1. Starr

We've identified the 29684 zip code in Starr as South Carolina's best real estate investment market. Here's why.

πŸ”Ž Key data about Starr

Data pointValueRank in state (of 844 markets)
Zip code29684N/A
InvestScore 100Highest
Typical property value $217,518[1]83rd lowest
Five-year appreciation 77.80%[2]13th highest
Household income $62,533[3]92nd highest
Affordability ratio 3.550th most affordable
Five-year population growth 38.3%[4]4th highest
Unemployment rate 6.6%[5]159th lowest
Property taxes $682[6]52nd lowest
Educational attainment 9.9%[7]206th highest
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Starr (zip code 29684) is the best residential real estate investment market in South Carolina. It has the 13th highest property value appreciation among markets we evaluated, with a 77.80% appreciation of the typical property over the last five years.

Starr is the 50th most affordable market among the 844 South Carolina markets we evaluated, with an affordability ratio of 3.5.

2. Aynor

The 29511 zip code in Aynor is South Carolina's second-best residential real estate investment market.

πŸ”Ž Key data about Aynor

Data pointValueRank in state (of 844 markets)
Zip code29511N/A
InvestScore 96.62nd highest
Typical property value $269,985[8]119th lowest
Five-year appreciation 74.62%[9]18th highest
Household income $72,699[10]53rd highest
Affordability ratio 3.771st most affordable
Five-year population growth 19.7%[11]18th highest
Unemployment rate 6.1%[12]149th lowest
Property taxes $667[13]47th lowest
Educational attainment 17.5%[14]156th highest
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The 29511 zip code in Aynor features a typical property value of $269,985, the 119th lowest in the state.

Property values have appreciated 74.62% over the past five years, the 18th highest increase among evaluated markets in the state. Aynor homes have an affordability ratio of 3.7, the 71st most affordable in the state.

3. Williamston

The 29697 zip code in Williamston comes in at No. 3 in our ranking of residential real estate investment markets in South Carolina.

πŸ”Ž Key data about Williamston

Data pointValueRank in state (of 844 markets)
Zip code29697N/A
InvestScore 95.83rd highest
Typical property value $255,724[15]105th lowest
Five-year appreciation 72.36%[16]25th highest
Household income $70,109[17]64th highest
Affordability ratio 3.665th most affordable
Five-year population growth 12.5%[18]42nd highest
Unemployment rate 5%[19]102nd lowest
Property taxes $937[20]106th lowest
Educational attainment 20%[21]132nd highest
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With a typical property value of $255,724, Williamston's 29697 zip code features the 105th lowest property values in the state.

Williamston homes have an affordability ratio of 3.6, the 65th most affordable among the markets we evaluated.

4. Columbia

The 29203 zip code in Columbia ranks No. 4 among South Carolina's residential real estate investment markets.

πŸ”Ž Key data about Columbia

Data pointValueRank in state (of 844 markets)
Zip code29203N/A
InvestScore 94.84th highest
Typical property value $126,981[22]19th lowest
Five-year appreciation 73.29%[23]22nd highest
Household income $39,015[24]22nd highest
Affordability ratio 3.334th most affordable
Five-year population growth 4.0%[25]99th highest
Unemployment rate 10%[26]199th lowest
Property taxes $722[27]63rd lowest
Educational attainment 22.4%[28]118th highest
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Property values in Columbia's 29203 zip code have seen the 22nd highest increase among evaluated markets in the state, with an appreciation of 73.29% over the past five years.

Columbia's affordability ratio of 3.3 makes it the 34th most affordable among the 844 markets we evaluated.

5. Pickens

The 29671 zip code in Pickens rounds out our top five residential real estate investment markets in South Carolina.

πŸ”Ž Key data about Pickens

Data pointValueRank in state (of 844 markets)
Zip code29671N/A
InvestScore 94.65th highest
Typical property value $258,496[29]108th lowest
Five-year appreciation 70.35%[30]30th highest
Household income $63,430[31]30th highest
Affordability ratio 4.1105th most affordable
Five-year population growth 8.8%[32]69th highest
Unemployment rate 2.7%[33]26th lowest
Property taxes $709[34]61st lowest
Educational attainment 18.1%[35]151st highest
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Property values in Pickens's 29671 zip code rose 70.35% over the last five years, ranking the city 30th highest among evaluated markets in South Carolina.

Pickens homes have an affordability ratio of 4.1, the 105th most affordable among the markets we evaluated.

How we rank residential real estate markets in South Carolina

We evaluated 844 markets on eight metrics, and then assigned an InvestScore based on their weighted and combined rankings. Each market corresponds to a specific zip code in South Carolina.

What is InvestScore?

InvestScore is a score on a scale of 0 (worst in state) to 100 (best in state) that estimates the residential real estate investment potential of a given market. It takes into account a suite of key data points for each city.

  • Typical property value: This measures the typical home value in this zip code, according to the Zillow Home Value Index. It reflects the typical value for homes in the 35th to 65th percentile range, including all homes, with the numbers smoothed and seasonally adjusted. We prefer lower property values, which indicate both more room for growth and a greater ease of purchase. We assign a weight of 20% to typical property values.
  • Property value appreciation: This measures how much property values have increased in the area over the past five years, according to the Zillow Home Value Index. We prefer a higher appreciation, as it indicates better returns on housing. However, past performance isn't indicative of future results. We assign a weight of 20% to property value appreciation.
  • Median household income: This is the inflation-adjusted median household income in the zip code, according to U.S. Census American Community Survey data. We prefer a higher household income, as it indicates local residents have more income to spend on housing. We assign a weight of 10% to median household income. We assign a weight of 10% to median household income.
  • Affordability ratio: This is the ratio of the typical home value to the median household income in the area. A lower ratio is better because it means more households can afford a home, which indicates higher demand. We assign a weight of 15% to the affordability ratio.
  • Population growth: This is how much the area's population has grown over the past five years, according to U.S. Census estimates. Higher is better, as it indicates residents are moving into the area at a rapid clip. We assign a weight of 10% to population growth.
  • Unemployment rate: This is the unemployment rate in the area, according to U.S. Census data. We prefer a lower rate, as it indicates the availability of steady employment in the area, meaning residents will find it much easier to afford homes. We assign a weight of 15% to unemployment rate.
  • Property tax: This is the median real estate property tax paid in the area, according to U.S. Census estimates. We assign a weight of 10% to property tax.
  • Educational attainment: This is the percentage of residents in the area that have obtained a bachelor's degree or better, according to U.S. Census estimates. We prefer a higher rate because it indicates  local residents who have higher earning potential and thus should be able to afford homes. We assign a weight of 15% to educational attainment.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article isn't intended as, and shall not be understood or constituted as, financial advice. The information in this article isn't a substitute for financial advice from an investment professional or real estate agent who is aware of the facts and circumstances of your financial situation or the specifics of any individual property.

Article Sources

[1] Zillow – "Zillow Home Value Index". Updated March 31, 2024.
[2] Zillow – "Zillow Home Value Index, difference over last five years". Updated March 31, 2024.
[7] U.S. Census – "U.S. Census Table S1501 - Educational Attainment 2018-2022". Updated 2018-2022.
[8] Zillow – "Zillow Home Value Index". Updated March 31, 2024.
[9] Zillow – "Zillow Home Value Index, difference over last five years". Updated March 31, 2024.
[14] U.S. Census – "U.S. Census Table S1501 - Educational Attainment 2018-2022". Updated 2018-2022.
[15] Zillow – "Zillow Home Value Index". Updated March 31, 2024.
[16] Zillow – "Zillow Home Value Index, difference over last five years". Updated March 31, 2024.
[21] U.S. Census – "U.S. Census Table S1501 - Educational Attainment 2018-2022". Updated 2018-2022.
[22] Zillow – "Zillow Home Value Index". Updated March 31, 2024.
[23] Zillow – "Zillow Home Value Index, difference over last five years". Updated March 31, 2024.
[28] U.S. Census – "U.S. Census Table S1501 - Educational Attainment 2018-2022". Updated 2018-2022.
[29] Zillow – "Zillow Home Value Index". Updated March 31, 2024.
[30] Zillow – "Zillow Home Value Index, difference over last five years". Updated March 31, 2024.
[35] U.S. Census – "U.S. Census Table S1501 - Educational Attainment 2018-2022". Updated 2018-2022.

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Our experts continually research, evaluate, and monitor real estate companies and industry trends. We update our articles when new information becomes available.

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