Cost of Living in Charleston

Charleston, South Carolina boasts beautiful architecture, vibrant culture and classic southern charm, and all of this is within reach for a reasonable cost of living. People have been living in the city since 1670, and it’s a lively place today. The residents who live here largely love their city, and many people are considering moving to the area.

If you’re among the many people who are intrigued with Charleston, SC, practical matters must occasionally punctuate the romance of this historic city. Here’s a breakdown of Charleston’s average cost of living. You’ll see why it’s a dream retirement community, college town, or place to raise a family.

Quick Navigation
  1. What is the Cost of Living in Charleston, SC?
  2. Cost of Living Comparison With Charleston, SC
  3. Average Housing Prices in Charleston
  4. Average Apartment/Townhouse Rental in Charleston
  5. Budgets and Life in Charleston
  6. Charleston Transportation
  7. Charleston Food
  8. Charleston Healthcare Costs
  9. Charleston Utilities
  10. Other Expenses to Consider in Charleston
  11. Taxes in Charleston, South Carolina
  12. What Salary Do I Need to Live in Charleston?
  13. Education Costs in Charleston, South Carolina
  14. Average Office Space Rental Costs in Charleston
  15. Other Financial Benefits of Moving to the Charleston Area
  16. Travel To/From Charleston
  17. What is the Population of Charleston
  18. Is Charleston, SC a Good Place to Live?
  19. Experts weight in on the effects of inflation in Charleston
  20. Inflations effect on the financial market in Charleston?
  21. Inflations effect on the housing market in Charleston?
  22. Inflations effect on the economy in Charleston?
  23. Inflations effect on the food and community in Charleston?
  24. How has inflation affected insurance prices in Charleston?

What is the Cost of Living in Charleston, SC?

Many everyday individuals, couples and families are attracted to Charleston, SC in part because it’s an affordable place to live. The city’s cost of living is largely within what a typical person or family can afford.

The Council for Community and Economic Research assigned Charleston an index of 111.5 in 2020.

The index quantifies the cost of living in many U.S. cities, and compares them after taking into account different expense considerations. An index of 100 is perfectly average.

Charleston’s index of 111.5 indicates that its cost of living is 11.5% higher than the average U.S. city. Although this is technically above average, it’s within a standard deviation and not far from what people should expect a typical city’s costs to be. Most people can afford to live in the city on a working-class income.

Additionally, the cost of living here isn’t rapidly increasing. Prices for common goods and services were up 1.5% in 2022, compared to the previous year’s numbers. That increase is lower than the Federal Reserve’s 2.0% target long-term inflation rate, and it’s certainly much less than how quickly some other cities’ costs of living are rising.

Cost of Living Comparison With Charleston, SC

Comparing the cost of living in Charleston, SC to that of some other major cities shows just how affordable Charleston is. For example, here’s how much cheaper/more expensive it is to live in Charleston than a few other cities:

  • Charleston costs 4.4% more to live in than Dallas, Texas
  • Charleston costs 9.8% less to live in than Miami, Florida
  • Charleston costs 13.2% less to live in than Chicago, Illinois
  • Charleston costs 49.3% less to live in than Boston, Massachusetts
  • Charleston costs 78.7% less to live in than New York, NY
  • Charleston costs 84.3% less to live in than San Francisco, California

How Charleston’s cost of living compares to where you’re moving from depends on the state and city/town that you’re currently in. How you spend your money can also have a sizeable impact, as some categories differ more than others.

The best way to find out how much more or less you’ll spend living in Charleston is to use a cost of living calculator. A calculator will let you input the nearest town or city to you, which will provide a more accurate comparison. Some calculators also let you input specific expense amounts, so you can see how spending more/less on housing, transportation, groceries, entertainment, travel or other categories affects the cost of living comparison.

Average Housing Prices in Charleston

Housing costs have been steadily creeping upward as people have been moving to Charleston in recent years. Like many areas, housing prices spiked in the past two years.

Overall, Charleston’s housing costs range from the national average to 14.8% above the national average. Much of the variance depends on where in or near the city you choose to live, how large your chosen house is, and what the house’s age and condition are.

The median home price in Charleston is $510,992, but this isn’t representative of all the houses in the area. It represents a 31% spike in just the past year (not unlike many areas), and downtown, waterfront and mansion-sized houses disproportionately raise the average home price. You should be able to find a decent house for much less, if you’re willing to accept something that needs work, isn’t in the perfect neighborhood or is smaller.

Average Apartment/Townhouse Rental in Charleston

The rental market has seen price changes similar to what the housing market has undergone in the past couple of years. Over just the past year, rental costs in Charleston have increased by about 19.8%, which is approximately 4.5% more than the national average and 1.5% more than South Carolina.

In concrete numbers, the typical one-bedroom apartment or townhouse rents for about $1,400-$1,500 per month. A two-bedroom unit can go for around $1,700. These prices are just examples of what you might spend, as location, size, condition, amenities and other factors can significantly impact a lease’s cost.

Budgets and Life in Charleston

As you dig deeper into your personal cost of living adjustment, it’s helpful to know how broad categories’ expenses in Charleston compare to other areas.

Charleston Transportation

Charleston’s transportation costs are approximately 16.5% less than the U.S. average, which means they’re quite low considering the city’s total costs are a little above average. There’s only so much you can do to cut back on transportation expenses in Charleston, though, as a car is basically necessary.

Charleston Public Transit

Charleston is expanding its public transit services (in both geographic and schedule terms) as the city’s restaurants, shops and nightlife grow.

You can technically get to most places within and around the city via the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA). CARTA comprises a network of park-and-ride, shuttle and bus services. Getting between locations with only public transit can be inefficient, however, and select areas may not be served well.

If you do intend to use the CARTA public transit system, single-ride tickets start at $3.50. A 31-day pass is available for $57, and is an obvious choice if you’ll be using the shuttles and buses even semi-regularly.

Charleston Walking/Biking

The actual downtown of Charleston is quite walkable, and much of the city is bikeable if you need to go a little further. Sidewalks are available along virtually all city streets. Most people who bike just use the city streets themselves, though.

You can still technically bike if you live a little farther out, but the ride can quickly become quite a distance and not all roads are suitable for safe biking. Also, the summer heat can leave one quite unpresentable after just a medium-length ride.

Charleston Vehicle Ownership

Almost everyone in Charleston uses a car (or other vehicle) as their primary mode of transportation, and even those who are situated in places where they can use public transit, bike or walk still normally own a car.

Thus, you should plan on all of the expenses that accompany vehicle ownership. You’ll have to cover the costs of depreciation, maintenance, repairs, gas, registration and the like. Parking costs are minimal, unless you have to park right downtown every workday.

The average cost of gas in Charleston tends to be slightly lower than the national average, which is largely why Charleston’s transportation expenses are a little lower than the country’s average.

Single individuals might expect to spend around $5,000 on their annual transportation expenses, including vehicle and other costs. A family with at least one child might spend significantly more than that, possibly $13,000 in a year.

Charleston Food

Charleston’s affordability continues at the restaurant and grocery store, where prices tend to be about 13.9% below the national average. Although the average costs are lower, be aware that you might be tempted to eat out at the area’s chic restaurants more often.

Charleston has blossomed in recent years with many new (and tasty) restaurants and bars. While these aren’t necessarily cheap to eat at, you can get a good meal for less than it would’d cost at a restaurant in many other cities.

Expect to spend between $15 and $20 for a good-quality meal at a restaurant, although there certainly are less expensive and much more expensive options. This doesn’t include an appetizer, dessert or drink, so a date could easily reach north of $50. If you go to one of the city’s high-end restaurants for a special occasion, two dinners and extras could easily reach three digits.\

Grocery prices vary depending on supplies and what’s in season, but they’re generally quite affordable. Buying groceries always saves money compared to eating out at restaurants, and this can be especially true in Charleston. Unless you live in an area where food is already quite cheap, budget a little lower than the national average for your grocery store runs.

Charleston Healthcare Costs

Healthcare costs are highly variable, as they’re person-specific, change with age, and aren’t optional. While you can buy cheaper meat or skip a weekend trip if prices are too high, forgoing healthcare services can have drastic immediate and long-term consequences.

Most Charleston residents spend at least a little below the national average on healthcare costs, and some spend as much as 28.3% less than average. Exactly where you’ll fall on this spectrum will depend on your health conditions, chronic healthcare needs, and health insurance.

Of course, healthcare costs are a major concern for many retirees. If you’re considering retiring to Charleston, take solace knowing that you shouldn’t pay more than the national average for doctors’ appointments, screenings, services and operations. You could pay a lot less.

Charleston Utilities

Utilities are significantly more expensive in Charleston than throughout much of the country. Electric charges alone can be nearly 15% above the national average, and most Charleston residents spend at least $30 more than the average American on their combined utility costs.

How much your utilities will be is highly dependent upon your situation, and you shouldn’t create a budget for utilities until you determine your specific utility needs. As a general starting point, however, your utilities may be something like:

  • $150 per month for electricity and heat
  • $50+ per month for internet access
  • $20-$50 per month for water
  • $30-$45 per month for trash collection

Cell phone plans are in line with the national carrier’s typical charges for talk, text and data.

Other Expenses to Consider in Charleston

In addition to these core budget categories, you should also consider expenses for entertainment, travel, work and kids. Everyone also must pay taxes, of course. Many of these other expenses are detailed in the following sections.

Taxes in Charleston, South Carolina

Residents of Charleston, South Carolina can expect to pay the same taxes as everyone else in the United States. Income taxes, property taxes, sales tax, alcohol and tobacco tax, and gasoline tax all add to the cost of living. Some of these are more significant than others.

Income Taxes in Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston’s income taxes are determined at the state level, and South Carolina has one of the largest income tax ranges of any state. The state’s top marginal income tax rate is among the nation’s highest, and the state’s bottom income tax bracket is equal with the lowest. South Carolina also has no tax on SS benefits. 

South Carolina’s state income taxes range from 0% to 7%. As with all state income taxes, this is in addition to federal income taxes. South Carolina is one of 37 states that does not tax social security benefits. The tax rates escalate quickly with only small increases in income so many residents pay toward the upper end of the range. F

Charleston Income Tax Brackets and Rates for All Filers

South Carolina Taxable IncomeIncome Tax Rate
$0 – $3,1100%
$3,110 – $6,2203%
$6,220 – $9,3304%
$9,330 – $12,4405%
$12,440 – $15,5606%

Property Taxes in Charleston, South Carolina

Property taxes in South Carolina are among the lowest in the country. Although the raw property tax rate may seem higher than expected, few (if any) real estate owners actually pay this rate.

The official property tax rate is 4% for primary residences, and 6% for all other properties. Other properties could include raw land, second homes, rental properties, commercial properties, industrial properties, etc.

The 4% property tax is only applied to the assessed value of a property. While assessed value is theoretically the fair market value of a property, assessed value is frequently significantly lower. This is especially true given the recent rise in home prices, as assessments haven’t yet caught up.

There is a Homestead Exemption benefit available to South Carolina residents who are over 65 years old, blind, or disabled. This allows for a tax exemption on the first $50,000 of the fair value of one’s primary residence. 

Finally, the calculated property tax is multiplied by a “mileage rate.” Mileage rates vary throughout different parts of the city, but they average 0.253. Using a mileage rate of ¼ is a quick and easy way to figure this in.

The resulting figure is the real property tax that’s paid on a home or other property. It works out to approximately 1% of the appraised value. A 1% effective property tax rate is high for South Carolina (which averages ~0.5%), but low for most of the country.

To see how the calculations would work on a standard home, consider a Charleston house that costs the median $500,000 home price. The appraised value might actually be $400,00, especially given the recent 31% increase in home values. The assessed property tax would thus be $16,000 ($400,000 x 4%). The actual amount paid would be ~$4,000 ($16,000 x 0.25 mileage rate).

Sales Tax in Charleston, South Carolina

Sales tax rates throughout South Carolina are a combination of the state and local county rates. Charleston has the highest county rate of any county in the state, and Charleston residents thus pay the highest combined sales tax in the state.

The state sales tax rate in South Carolina is 6.0% for all non-exempt goods. The added sales tax rate for Charleston County is 3.0%, bringing the total rate that residents pay in the city to a 9% sales tax.

Residents could save a little by purchasing items outside of the city, as all other counties have lower rates. County rates tend to be 1.0% or 2.0%, though, and the difference generally isn’t worth making a drive for it.

Alcohol & Tobacco Taxes in Charleston, South Carolina

Alcohol and tobacco are taxed at the state level, without Charleston adding on its own taxes for these goods. The respective rates in South Carolina reflect the state’s history, particularly its long-established tobacco-growing industry.

Alcohol tax rates in South Carolina are among the highest in the country. The state collects $2.72 per gallon of liquor, $0.93 per gallon of wine, and $0.27 per gallon of beer. Charging by the gallon is common practice for alcohol taxes, and the amount is prorated when customers purchase bottles or glasses.

Tobacco tax rates in South Carolina are among the lowest in the country. Cigarettes are taxed at $0.57 per 20-cigarette pack, which equates to $5.70 per carton.

Sales tax doesn’t apply to alcohol and tobacco in South Carolina, as these are taxed at separate (and higher) rates.

Gasoline Tax in Charleston, South Carolina

Gasoline is likewise taxed at the state level rather than the municipal level. South Carolina’s gasoline excise tax is currently $0.26 per gallon as of June 2022, however a two cent increase will go into effect on July 1st, bringing the tax to $0.28 per gallon. This is just above the national average, and gasoline prices remain a little below the national average despite the state having a slightly higher-than-average tax.

The future of the state’s gasoline tax is uncertain. While it’s unlikely to decrease, it’s unclear whether the tax will remain at this $0.28/gallon rate or slowly rise.

New legislation could be passed, or the tax could be left at this rate during the forthcoming years. If new legislation that raises the rate is passed, presumably the new legislation would continue to slowly increase the tax over several years, rather than cause a sudden major jump in the rate.

What Salary Do I Need to Live in Charleston?

The salary that someone requires is highly dependent upon their situation. A single adult needs much fewer basic necessities than a family of four. A young individual might have minimal healthcare costs and be willing to forestall retirement savings temporarily, whereas a couple nearing retirement might have much higher healthcare costs and have to aggressively increase their nest egg. (Stalling retirement savings isn’t recommended, but is often done in practice.)

Calculating Salary Based on Housing Costs

One way to calculate the salary you personally need is to work backward from your known expenses. There are many ways to proportion a budget, but a general guideline is to keep your housing costs to approximately 30% of your income.

Capping housing costs at 30% ensures you have plenty of room in your budget for other expenses. It also ensures that your housing costs won’t be too high for a mortgage. Many lenders cap housing costs at 28% of income, which is near enough to 30% for rough needed salary estimates. Additionally, many lenders will allow higher housing costs through certain programs. A 30% housing cost ratio is unlikely to actually result in a mortgage denial.

(The ratio takes into account rent prices if leasing a place. It includes the mortgage payment, home insurance premium, property taxes and private mortgage insurance for those who own.)

The 30% housing cost ratio and standard rental rates in Charleston make it possible to estimate a needed salary. The average one-bedroom apartment rent price of ~$1,450 would call for a salary of $58,000 ($4,833 per month). The average two-bedroom apartment rent price of ~$1,700 would call for a salary of $68,000 ($5,667 per month).

The salary needed to purchase a house would likely be somewhat higher, as houses tend to be larger and have more associated expenses once maintenance and repairs are considered. Plan on a salary of at least $68,000 if you want to buy a place.

Ways to Save on Housing in Charleston

Of course, these figures are only averages and there are ways to reduce your housing costs. Any reduction in housing costs has about a threefold impact on your needed salary.

If you live in a less-desirable part of the city or less-desirable place, you could find an apartment that has below-average rent. Monthly rent of $1,200 would require a salary of $48,000 ($4,000 per month).

You also could share a place with a roommate, and thereby reduce your rent by half or more depending on how many people you live with. Sharing a place is cheaper even if you get a larger place so you each have a private bedroom. An average two-bedroom apartment would only cost you $850 per moth if you have a roommate. That corresponds to a salary of $34,000 ($2,833 per month).

Calculating Salary Based on Living Wage

A “living wage” is much less than what most people would consider a minimum salary, but it’s nonetheless helpful when considering how much you need to make in order to live in Charleston.

Living wage is the minimum amount that a person must earn to remain above the poverty line. The amount varies based on family size, but it’s often tabulated for a single working adult.

The living wage in Charleston for a single adult is $16.43 per hour, or $34,174 annually. This doesn’t take into account entertainment costs, travel costs, or long-term savings, but it’s in line with the recommended salary for a single person who shares a two-bedroom apartment with someone else.

Minimum Wage & Average Salary in Charleston

To further put salary calculations in perspective, the minimum wage in Charleston and average salary lend more light as to what you can reasonably expect to earn.

Minimum wage in Charleston is only $7.25 per hour, which is more than half as much as what’s considered a living wage in the city. If you earn minimum wage or close to it, you’ll have to significantly cut back on expenses. You also will likely need to work more than 40 hours each week.

The average salary in Charleston is $64,022 annually ($5,335 per month), which is just below what you would likely want for a two-bedroom apartment. It could comfortably afford a one-bedroom apartment with no additional family income or roommate.

You may have to increase your income in order to afford the lifestyle you want in Charleston. You can earn more by working overtime, getting an additional part-time job, or picking up some type of gig. Gig work tends to be the most flexible of these options.

Earning another degree or professional certification can provide a significant boost to your long-term earning potential.

Education Costs in Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina offers free primary and secondary school education, just as the rest of the United States does. The Charleston County School District has 16 public elementary, middle and high schools.

If private schooling is preferred, the average private school tuition for K-12 is $6,700 annually. High school tends to be a little higher, with most private high schools charging between $7,000 and $8,000 per year. Elementary school tends to cost a little less than average. The cheapest private school in Charleston is the Goddard School, which only charges $1,300 per year. Some schools may offer need-based assistance on a sliding scale.

The most prevalent university in Charleston is the College of Charleston, which operates several distinct schools in and around the city. Tuition is around $33,000 for out-of-state students, and around $13,000 for in-state students. Living off-campus can significantly reduce room and board costs. Also, students can attend part-time and pay lower tuition rates.

Childcare Costs in Charleston

Charleston has a network of nonprofit and for-profit preschools, and some of these have free enrollment options. Free enrollment may only be available to certain students, or may be awarded through a lottery system.

If you must pay for daycare services, budget $680 per month for each child. You might be able to find a lower-cost daycare, but this amount should ensure that you can afford to send your child somewhere in the area. Preschools that charge often have similar tuitions.

Average Office Space Rental Costs in Charleston

Office space in Charleston rents for an average price of $32.81 per square foot annually. This breaks down to $2.73 per month for each square foot of office space.

Using this average, a modest 10-foot by 10-foot office in a shared building would cost about $273 per month to rent. A large space that measures 5,000 square feet might go for $13,650 per month.

These are only averages, and many offices rent for less than average. Offices in non-downtown locations and more industrial locations frequently rent for a little less, and these can be perfectly suitable if you don’t regularly interact with clients. They also can work if you’re in a niche where clients will drive to meet you almost anywhere in the area.

Other Financial Benefits of Moving to the Charleston Area

Charleston’s costs of living are generally in line with national averages, although technically a little higher than average. Housing can cost a little extra, but energy, groceries, transportation, healthcare and other categories can cost significantly less than what’s normal in other areas.

A major additional financial benefit of moving to the Charleston area is the job opportunities. Both Volvo and Boeing recently built sizeable factories in the Lowcountry, and these factories have many high-paying jobs for nearby residents. The jobs at these facilities can usually cover people’s and families’ needed salaries.

The growth of the city’s food, shopping and entertainment industries is also increasing the number of service jobs available. While serving customers won’t normally pay as much as engineering vehicles or airplanes, these do ensure there are a good number of jobs available. They also can pay a decent wage (especially if customers tip), and some service jobs have flexible hours.

Travel To/From Charleston

Charleston is conveniently located to many desirable destinations in South Carolina and throughout the Southeastern United States. Flights can also quickly whisk residents away to farther destinations.

What is the Nearest Airport to Charleston?

The Charleston International Airport is located on the northwest side of Charleston’s beltway. It’s the largest and busiest airport in South Carolina.

Because of South Carolina’s coastal location, the Charleston airport isn’t a hub for any airlines. Plenty of regional and national airlines fly to and from the airport, though. Alaska Airlines, Delta Connection, JetBlue, United, United Express and Southwest all fly to/from the airport.

The airport recorded 122,663 flights (both passenger and cargo) in pre-Covid 2019. Those flights transported some 4.1 million passengers, and as many as 4.9 million passengers have flown through Charleston in the airport’s busiest year. Passenger air traffic trends are uncertain at all airports following the Covid pandemic.

Flight Prices in Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina is generally affordable to fly in and out of. Direct flights to other nearby airports can often be had for around $40 – $70 one way, and many flights along the East Coast or to the Midwest cost a few hundred dollars. You may pay several hundred dollars to reach the West Coast, and international flights from anywhere can run into the thousands.

Of course, flight prices can vary dramatically according to the airline, time of year, time of day, market conditions, and other factors. Many flights can differ in price by more than $100 depending on when exactly you fly.

The Charleston Executive Airport is located on John’s Island, South Carolina, which is technically within Charleston County limits. The airport doesn’t have commercial carriers. It’s instead for private and small (non-jet) planes.

How Far is Charleston From Hilton Head?

Hilton Head is a 98-mile drive south from Charleston, along State Route 17 and State Route 21. The drive takes a little over 2 hours to complete in normal traffic, although peak travel months may increase that time due to Hilton Head having only one road that vacationers can take on and off of the island.

Driving is the best way to get to Hilton Head Island from Charleston. Fuel prices and vehicle efficiency dramatically impact the cost of a drive such as this.

If gas prices are currently $5.00 per gallon, the fuel costs for a larger vehicle that gets 20 miles per gallon would be $50 round trip. Fuel costs for a smaller car that gets 30 miles per gallon would be just over $30 round trip. The drive there and back is well within the single-charge range of all Teslas, and most other electric cars.

How Far is Charleston From Myrtle Beach?

Myrtle Beach is a 94.8-mile drive north of Charleston. Driving is the best way to make the trip.

The most direct route follows State Route 17 up the coastline, although there are not many towns to see between Charleston and Myrtle Beach. The drive takes at least 2 hours 15 minutes, and can be significantly slower if you’re headed to Myrtle Beach during the peak tourist season.

The following fuel cost calculations again assume a gas price of $5.00 per gallon, and a 20 mpg and 30 mpg vehicle. The less efficient vehicle would cost a little under $50 round trip, while the more efficient car would cost slightly more than $30 round trip. Fuel costs are roughly the same as the cost of driving to Hilton Head.

How Far is Charleston Form Savannah?

Savannah, Georgia is a 108-mile drive southwest from Charleston. Although both cities are on the coast, the drive heads slightly inland to avoid the inlets that line this section of the Atlantic.

Driving is the best option for getting to and from Savannah. The quiet route is around 2 hours and 10 minutes, and it’s less influenced by tourists because there are multiple roads going into and out of both cities. The most direct route follows State Route 17 until it reaches Interstate 95, which goes into Savannah.

Again, the following fuel calculations assume $5.00 per gallon, and 20 mpg and 30 mpg. The less efficient vehicle would cost about $55 to drive round trip, while the more efficient car would be about $35 round trip.

What is the Population of Charleston

The U.S. Census Bureau placed the population of Charleston at 150,227 in 2020. That’s a good-sized city, and a concentrated portion of South Carolina’s 5.1 million residents.

Is Charleston, SC a Good Place to Live?

Charleston, SC is broadly considered a good place to live. It has the charm of a historic southern town, the amenities of a lively city, and prices that allow everyday people to enjoy what the city offers.

The city is known for having some college vibe while remaining a city that all can enjoy. Single adults, families and retirees can all find something that they like about the area.

Is Charleston, SC a Good Place to Retire?

Charleston, SC is likewise a good place to retire. The generally affordable cost of living helps savings last, and the lower healthcare costs and low property taxes are particularly beneficial to seniors. Seniors are more likely to need healthcare services, and they’re more likely to be able to afford a larger house. 

Charleston also has nearby attractions such as Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head, that can draw family members to visit the area. At the same time, the airport makes it easy for retirees to visit children and other family elsewhere.

In short, Charleston has affordability, fun amenities, nearby vacation destinations, and an airport. Those are the most important features for many retirees. For a more in-depth perspective on retiring in Charleston, check out this blog post from Jamie Runey, a local Charleston financial advisor, located in Mount Pleasant.

Is It Expensive to Live in Charleston, SC?

Charleston, SC costs a little more than the average U.S. city to live in, but the difference isn’t too much.

Much of the 11.5% above-average cost of living is due to housing, which runs about 14.8% higher than average. While housing is a significant and necessary expense, there are affordable houses and apartments available. If you find a cheaper one, the city can be especially affordable to live in because other expenses are frequently below the national average.

Additionally, Charleston has opportunities to earn a salary that’s sufficient for living in the city. Major manufacturing facilities have well-paying blue-collar and white-collar jobs, and the vibrant food and entertainment culture offer ample chances for aspiring entrepreneurs to start a business.

Is Charleston, SC Safe?

Charleston, SC is quite safe for a city of its size. While there’s a 1 in 39 chance of having someone commit a crime against you, this statistic includes minor offenses and is not high considering the city’s population.

Because of the population density, crime is 43% higher in Charleston than the rest of South Carolina. It’s not higher than similar cities in other states, however. The dodgiest places in Charleston are Dupont Station and Meyers, but they’re confined places and nothing compared to the seediest streets in major metropolises.

Does Charleston, SC Get Snow?

Every few years, Charleston, SC gets just enough snow to be fun. Accumulation of a dusting to an inch isn’t unheard of every few years, although what winters it snows during are unpredictable. Snow may fall for several consecutive writers, and then there may be nearly a decade with no accumulation.

An inch of snow is enough to make the outdoors beautiful, and you can go sledding, make snowmen, and have snowball fights. It’s not so much that you have to shovel, though, and it usually melts within a day or two.

The worst snowfalls in Charleston, SC were the Great Arctic Outbreak of 1899, the Great Southern Snowstorm of 1973, the White Christmas of 1989, and the Winter Storm of 2018. These heavier blizzards dropped up to 4 or 5 inches at once.

Experts weight in on the effects of inflation in Charleston

Inflations effect on the financial market in Charleston?

How has inflation affected both demand and pricing for your customers?

James Runey. Financial Planner at Runey & Associates Wealth Management commenting on the financial market and Cost of Living in Charleston.
James Runey

“We have definitely seen an uptick in inquires for our services. People are worried. Many of these individuals are holding large amounts of cash, which is losing to inflation every day and has no chance of recovery, or they’re very aggressively invested and have experienced large portfolio declines just as they prepare to retire.”

“They’re looking for guidance, and their anxieties are making it hard for them to make a decision. As professionals our job is to understand their concerns, partner with them, and educate them to the benefits of a certain course of action, so they can have confidence they’re making well-informed decisions, not only to navigate the current environment, but also to sleep better at night going forward.”

Financial Planning/James Runey – CEO of Runey & Associates Wealth Management

Inflations effect on the housing market in Charleston?

How has inflation affected the demand for your services?

Diane Leisner Hone. Realtor with Found Properties Group commenting on the housing market and Cost of Living in Charleston.
Diane Leisner Hone

“One of the many places and one of the most significant ways inflation has shown up in the Charleston housing market is specifically in construction material. When every product that goes into a house has more increases in price per year and those are made up of greater individual price hikes than have ever occurred before, it substantially impacts the overall cost of the home. When you compound on top of that the many different subcontractors and labor trades used in the building process are also raising their prices, It’s going to make a huge impact.”

“With so much of our local housing inventory being delivered by national and large regional homebuilders it means the foundation of the housing market and all the new construction housing units go up significantly in price and a large portion is passed on to the buyers.

Inventory supply shortages have caused incredible demand but even without the scarcity of inventory bidding prices up, the simple overall cost of the labor and material due to inflation has driven new construction housing units to an all-time high.”

Diane Leisner Hone – Realtor with Found Properties Group

Inflations effect on the economy in Charleston?

How has inflation effected your clients?

Robert Majernik. CEO of Robert Majernik, CPA commenting on the economy and Cost of Living in Charleston.
Robert Majernik

“Inflation has certainly spiked over the last year, reaching increases of 9.1% from Summer 2021 to Summer 2022 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is the highest inflation in approximately 40 years. Increased prices are most definitely affecting demand among our clients. We have clients that run restaurants that have seen product increases of nearly 300% for specialty products. “

“While their costs have skyrocketed, they are not always able to pass along that entire cost to their customers, without completing lowering the demand for those products. The higher costs seen in restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, and other retailers has affected demand as most salaries have not increased 9% to keep up with the rising costs, thus consumer buying power is reduced. We have clients across multiple industries – but have heard the greatest impact from our restaurant clients as their margins are already low; this just further reduces their profits.”

Robert Majernik – CEO of Robert Majernik, CPA

Inflations effect on the food and community in Charleston?

How has inflation effected the demand for your services?

Stephanie Kelley, Executive Director of East Cooper Community Services (ECCO) commenting on inflation and its effect on food and community in Charleston.
Stephanie Kelley

Inflation has affected both demand and pricing for ECCO.

“The average annual income of ECCO clients in FY22 was $15,094 with many of these families living on fixed incomes. We have seen a considerable increase in requests for assistance from the senior citizens ECCO serves who can no longer stretch their social security benefits to cover the rising costs of essential needs including food, prescriptions, gas, housing, and utilities. ECCO is here to assist our neighbors, so they don’t have to make difficult decisions between food and medicine.”

“As prices increase, it not only affects our clients, but also our neighbors who donate to ECCO – who are feeling the pinch as well. This results in a decreased number of food donations given to stock the shelves of our food pantry. The cash donations we receive to purchase food and hygiene items isn’t going as far as it did a year ago, making it challenging to meet the increased demand we are experiencing.”

“Without question, the impact of inflation is far reaching, especially for organizations that count on financial and in-kind donations to achieve our mission.”

Stephanie Kelley – Executive Director of East Cooper Community Services (ECCO)

How has inflation affected insurance prices in Charleston?

Kirk Matenaer. Partner with Franklin & Associates commenting on insurance prices in Charleston.
Kirk Matenaer

“According to the Genworth 2021 Cost of Care Survey the national medium costs associated with all long-term care service providers are steadily increasing. The cost of assisted-living facilities has risen an average of 4.65% since 2020, with the annual national median for a private one-bedroom is reported to be $54,000 a year in 2021. A national median cost for a private one bedroom in a nursing home is $108,405 a year and a semi-private room is 94,900 a year representing average increases of 1.96% and 2.41% respectively. Looking over the past 5 years the hourly costs of homemaker health aide services has risen by a compound annual growth rate of 5.92%.”

“In Charleston, our annual numbers are lower than the nation median costs, however, our annual increases are in most cases higher. Here’s how we look:

  • Home Care: 2021: $27/hr, 2022: $28.44 = 5.3% increase
  • Asst Living Private room: 2021: $43,200, 2022: $47,340 = 9.6% increase
  • Nursing Home Semi-Private room: 2021: $87,960, 2022: $90,156 = 2.5% increase
  • Nursing Home Private room 2021: $94,716, 2022: $97,824 = 3.3% inc”

“Long-term care expenses are climbing, notably with sizable hikes for assisted living and home-based services. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, every day until 2030, 10,000 Baby Boomers will turn 65 (2020) and seven out of ten of them will require long-term care services and support at some point. For most families seeking long-term care, cost is a key consideration.”

“Can you afford long-term care? This is the question most people should be asking themselves, but they never think to contemplate it, not when they are in their 40s, 50s, or even their early 60s. As a result of these rising costs, we find people are now contacting us at much younger ages – late 40’s early 50’s which is a significant change in our business.”

Kirk Matenaer – Partner with Franklin & Associates