The Cheapest Places to Live in South Carolina

The entire state of South Carolina holds a prominent place in U.S. history. A prime location for battles during both the American Revolution and the Civil War, the entire state was practically torn down and rebuilt.

Today, with a thriving economy and plenty of opportunities in the tourism industry South Carolina combines its own style with plenty of luxury along the coast.

South Carolina average rent prices

With strong local economies throughout the state and a healthy combination of affordable and quality housing — living in South Carolina has plenty of upsides.

The average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in the state is $1,246; only up 0.2 percent over last year. This tiny increase keeps housing in even the cheapest places to live in South Carolina at an affordable rate aligned with the national average.

The cheapest cities in South Carolina for renters

Whether you're looking to live in the Lowcountry and feast on the best food and freshest seafood or you are looking for a restful spot a little further north, South Carolina has it all at a reasonable price.

With plenty of southern hospitality and over 2,800 miles of coastline, living here can feel like you're on a permanent vacation.

If it's time to make the Palmetto State your new home but you're worried about breaking the bank, start your search with the 10 cheapest places to live in South Carolina.

10. Beaufort

Beaufort, SC.

  • Average 1-BR rent price: $1,191
  • Average rent change in the past year: -0.14 percent

Located on Port Royal Island, right off the coast of South Carolina's mainland, Beaufort stands out thanks to its architecture. Concentrated mostly in the historic downtown district, you'll find beautiful antebellum mansions perfectly preserved.

This little harbor town offers up affordable housing for year-round residents, but also draws in a healthy bunch of tourists thanks to its assortment of hotels, bed and breakfasts, restaurants and scenery.

You could easily plan a day that involved dolphin watching, a long walk on the beach, a museum and finally a delicious Lowcountry seafood dinner.

A popular destination for retirees to call home, the city's proximity to Savannah, Charleston and Hilton Head make it a convenient place to live even if you commute into a larger city for work.

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9. Greenville

Greenville, SC, one of the cheapest places to live in south carolina

  • Average 1-BR rent price: $1,166
  • Average rent change in the past year: 10.81 percent

For a home within South Carolina's Upcountry, consider Greenville. Situated in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the city caters to all ages and walks of life. The downtown area features one-of-a-kind shops and boutiques alongside many art galleries and museums. There's also no shortage of excellent outdoor activities to keep you busy.

The number of parks and green spaces, alongside the busy city center, gives Greenville an urban/suburban mix. You can spend one day sitting in a coffee shop or shopping until you drop, and the next at Falls Park on the Reedy with its 32 acres next to downtown.

Another perk of living in Greenville is its access to great weekend getaways. About an hour's drive will get you to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As part of the Appalachian Mountain range, this national park offers spectacular, tree-lined views, fresh air and a peaceful break from the daily grind.

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8. Blythewood

Blythewood, SC.

Photo source: Blythewood Town Hall / Facebook
  • Average 1-BR rent price: $1,152
  • Average rent change in the past year: 14.17 percent

Close enough to earn the designation as a suburb of Columbia, the town of Blythewood has its own historic charm. Steeped in southern hospitality and tradition, you'll experience a close and diverse community who come together to celebrate the city's interests including agriculture, horses and the arts. Even baseball gets taken pretty seriously here, according to locals.

Its location also enables it to provide small-town living without the loss of access to a big city. As a result, Blythewood attracts a lot of families who find the local parks, library and seasonal farmer's market are all great places to let the kids run free while connecting with the community.

Live music also plays a role in bringing the community together, and a few annual events invite the whole town out to enjoy the weather and each other. These include a yearly Beach Bash, an official 4th of July celebration, the IPRA championship rodeo and a butterfly festival.

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7. Mauldin

Mauldin, SC, one of the cheapest places to live in south carolina

  • Average 1-BR rent price: $1,126
  • Average rent change in the past year: 20.58 percent

Full of places to eat and places for families to play, you'll find Mauldin nestled in the heart of upstate South Carolina. A safe and comfortable community, there are beautiful homes and well-maintained neighborhoods to pick from.

Its proximity to Greenville, only about 15 minutes away, means there are lots of opportunities to take advantage of larger city amenities without necessarily living in the city. You'll also have access to more jobs with Greenville so close.

For those looking for some respite after a long week commuting — not five minutes away from Mauldin's city center, you'll find the Lake Conestee Nature Park. This 400-acre park is home to a variety of wildlife so get ready to spot deer, a raccoon or even a river otter when hiking.

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6. Duncan

Duncan, SC.

Photo source: Town of Duncan, SC / Facebook
  • Average 1-BR rent price: $1,032
  • Average rent change in the past year: 15.64 percent

A growing community, Duncan has that small-town feel but with easy access to other, more urban areas of the state. Attracting a younger crowd, as one of the cheapest places to live in South Carolina, the city really does have a lot to offer.

With a BMW manufacturing plant nearby, there are no shortages of jobs. Other key employers within the area include Adidas, Chick-fil-A and Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.

If you're looking for outdoor fun — make sure to visit Shipwreck Cove. This pirate-themed water park lets you slide down spiraling water slides or float along a lazy river. There's even a kiddie area for the little ones. It's a little something special that goes beyond a casual hike or trip to a local playground.

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5. Greer

Greer, SC, one of the cheapest places to live in south carolina

  • Average 1-BR rent price: $1,017
  • Average rent change in the past year: 9.70 percent

Another spot within the picturesque foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Greer is one of the state's fastest-growing cities. Natural beauty is everywhere you look — from the lakes to the mountains.

An exciting place to call home, most of the retail, dining, entertainment and professional services are within 12 square blocks in Greer's Central Business District. You'll also find plenty of community festivals throughout the year varying from live music in the park during the summer and Oktoberfest in the fall.

A few major employers call Greer home, helping provide plenty of job opportunities for locals. Here you'll find the headquarters for Mitsubishi Polyester Film. You're also not far from Michelin North America and the BMW manufacturing plant when you live here either.

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4. Rock Hill

Rock Hill, SC.

  • Average 1-BR rent price: $984
  • Average rent change in the past year: 7.68 percent

Only 20 minutes south of Charlotte in North Carolina, the South Carolina town of Rock Hill blends historic charm with modern development. Rated one of the best places to live in the state, you get a quiet place to call home with access to plenty of economic opportunity in the bigger city down the road.

Living here, your central landmark is the Civitas statues. The four, 22-foot-tall sculptures sit in front of City Hall and represent the key themes of Rock Hill — Gears of Industry, Flame of Knowledge, Stars of Inspiration and Lightning Bolt of Energy.

When not admiring the statues, the rest of the city turns its attention to industry, the outdoors and education. It's home to Winthrop University and 31 parks. This includes Cherry Park with 68-acres of hiking trails, manicured gardens and a large playground.

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3. Columbia

Columbia, SC, one of the cheapest places to live in south carolina

  • Average 1-BR rent price: $983
  • Average rent change in the past year: -6.93 percent

As the state capital, Columbia is a creative hub that combines old and new with nature, community and lots of shopping, eating and drinking. A true southern town, there are more than enough activities to pick from when planning out a day.

For a cultural experience, check out the Columbia Museum of Art with 26 different galleries containing treasures that date back up to 5,000 years.

When you need a dose of wildlife and plants, head to the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. You'll find nearly 2,000 animals from around the world and a 70-acre botanical garden.

To unwind, Riverfront Park is a great place to hike and bike. You can even get a little history lesson by exploring an old pump house from the Columbia Canal and Water Works.

If a more collegiate experience is on your mind, Columbia is home to the University of South Carolina, Columbia International University and a few other colleges.

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2. Elgin

Elgin, SC.

  • Average 1-BR rent price: $976
  • Average rent change in the past year: 12.86 percent

Another laid-back, suburban gem within the state, Elgin is one of the cheapest places to live in South Carolina.

The city's claim to fame takes place on the first Saturday in December —this is the day of the annual Catfish Stomp, where you can try some of the best catfish ever while enjoying live music and a parade.

The rest of the year, there's no shortage of fresh food, especially if you visit the Kershaw County Farmers Market. Everything from fruits and veggies to meat, eggs and baked goods go up for sale every Saturday morning.

With more of a rural feel, Elgin also boasts beautiful countryside and refreshing landscapes. Make sure to visit White Pond for some time in undisturbed nature.

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1. Spartanburg

Spartanburg, SC, one of the cheapest places to live in south carolina

  • Average 1-BR rent price: $823
  • Average rent change in the past year: -5.38 percent

Topping our list of the cheapest places to live in South Carolina, Spartanburg is so much more than affordable housing. It's a vibrant city, packed with all the amenities. Living here gives you easy access to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains alongside plenty of art, culture, festivals and history.

Spend one day visiting the Cowpens National Battlefield, the next day shopping in locally-owned stores and the next fishing on Lake Bowen.

The city also has a huge cultural presence with a designed cultural district downtown. Here you can walk through blocks of art galleries and studios, music venues, breweries, coffee shops, museums and libraries. You can easily get your fill of the arts with just a day's stroll.

Among the family-friendly fun, outdoor activities, lively nightlife and more, you'll also find a decent number of college students. Spartanburg is home to seven colleges and universities — making academia a major economic driver for the city.

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The most expensive places to live in South Carolina

It's no surprise that the most expensive places to live in South Carolina are some of the state's most well-known cities. Areas like Charleston and Mount Pleasant draw in large numbers of tourists each year, while other places on the list are popular suburbs. Check out where else in South Carolina may test your budget just a little when it comes to paying rent.

RankcityAverage 1BR RentYoY Rent Change
1Mount Pleasant $1,741 19.11%
2Bluffton $1,511 43.95%
3Charleston $1,488 -3.63%
4Indian Land $1,429 0.00%
5Fort Mill $1,390 17.43%
6Summerville $1,255 15.24%
7Ladson $1,241 0.38%
8Hardeeville $1,212 15.12%
9Myrtle Beach $1,210 2.91%
10North Charleston $1,195 1.60%

Methodology

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com's multifamily rental property inventory as of May 2021. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.

We excluded cities with insufficient inventory from this report.

The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

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Lesly GregoryLesly Gregory has over 15 years of marketing experience, ranging from community management to blogging to creating marketing collateral for a variety of industries. A graduate of Boston University, Lesly holds a B.S. in Journalism. She currently lives in Atlanta with her husband, two young children, three cats and assorted fish.

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