Best Places to Retire in South Carolina (Affordable & Budget-Friendly!)

retirees comparing and choosing south carolina as an affordable place to retire

In the pursuit of the perfect retirement destination, affordability takes center stage, and South Carolina boasts several hidden gems that cater to retirees seeking a budget-friendly oasis to spend their retirement years. 

If you’re considering an out-of-state move to kick off or continue your retirement, it’s wise to include South Carolina on your shortlist. Over the last 10 years, the state’s popularity with retirees has grown exponentially – and for good reason!  With expertly crafted communities sprouting up across various locales and a consistently mild climate conducive to year-round outdoor activities like golf and fishing, South Carolina beckons as an ideal destination for affordable and enjoyable retirement living.

Let's explore some of the most affordable places to retire in this Southern sweet spot.

Is South Carolina a Cheap Place to Retire?

South Carolina stands as an enticing destination for retirees seeking an affordable yet fulfilling lifestyle. The state's cost of living is notably lower than the national average, ensuring that retirees can stretch their dollars without compromising on quality. From charming small towns to bustling cities, South Carolina offers diverse communities that cater to various preferences and budgets. 

Beyond the financial aspect, the state boasts a moderate climate, picturesque landscapes, and a rich cultural heritage, enhancing the overall retirement experience. Affordable housing options, coupled with the availability of quality healthcare and recreational amenities, make South Carolina a haven for those looking to embrace a comfortable and economically sound retirement. In the Palmetto State, the dream of a vibrant and affordable retirement becomes a tangible reality.

If you'd like to know more about the amazing tax benefits and financial incentives available for retired homeowners in South Carolina, be sure to check out our exclusive Myrtle Bech Retirement Guide We've broken down the property taxes, sales taxes, and exemptions to give you a full picture of how affordable and budget-friendly retirement can be in South Carolina!

Which is more affordable for retirement: Florida or South Carolina?

  • Florida is 10.1% more expensive than South Carolina in overall cost of living
  • Floridians pay 12.9% more for groceries than South Carolinians
  • Floridians pay 8.5% more for gas than South Carolinians
  • Housing is 10.1% more expensive in Florida than South Carolina

According to data from mylifeelsewhere.com

Choosing between South Carolina and Florida for retirement involves weighing various factors, including affordability. Both states have their unique advantages, but when it comes to cost of living, South Carolina often stands out as a more budget-friendly option. 

South Carolina typically offers lower housing costs, property taxes, and insurance rates compared to Florida (in fact, the Sunshine State has gotten so prohibitively expensive, many retirees are looking to leave). Additionally, South Carolina doesn't have a state income tax on Social Security benefits and offers various exemptions for retirees, contributing to potential savings. While Florida boasts no state income tax at all, other living expenses can be higher, especially in popular retirement destinations. Ultimately, the choice between South Carolina and Florida depends on individual preferences, but retirees may find that South Carolina provides a more appealing combination of affordability and quality living.

happy retired people in south carolina

Is there anything like The Villages in South Carolina?

Median value of owner-occupied homes:

  • The Villages, FL: $346,900 📈
  • Bluffton, SC: $390,200
  • Myrtle Beach, SC: $287,900 📉

According to data from the 2022 US Census

If you're drawn to vibrant retiree-centric communities like The Villages in Florida and are searching for a similar atmosphere in South Carolina, while you may not find one matching The Villages in size, there are numerous 55+ communities in South Carolina offering world-class amenities, activities, and a welcoming community.

One community that offers a similar lifestyle to The Villages is Latitude Margaritaville Hilton Head, a community inspired by the legendary music and lifestyle of Jimmy Buffett. Nestled in Hardeeville, South Carolina, just 2.5 miles east of I-95, this vibrant community captures the essence of easygoing living, where neighbors become friends, and the party never ends. The town center, with its awesome recreation, dining, and endless entertainment, serves as the vibrant heartbeat of this community. 

Retirees searching for an alternative to The Villages in South Carolina should also check out Sun City Hilton Head in Bluffton, an excellent choice for those yearning for an active lifestyle in a quieter location that’s a little more off the beaten path. Here, a unique setting awaits retirees, ready to embrace a new chapter in a community that mirrors the charm and liveliness they seek.

In Myrtle Beach, Grand Dunes stands out as a master-planned resort spanning 2,600 acres along the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway. A near-perfect year-round climate sets the stage for a plethora of outdoor activities and social gatherings. The community's par-71 golf course, 126-slip marina, and additional amenities, including the Tennis Club and Ocean Club with beach access, create an active and vibrant atmosphere.

Whether it's the easygoing vibe, vibrant town centers, or a variety of amenities, these communities beckon retirees to savor the next chapter in a setting that aligns with their desires and aspirations.

Most Affordable Places to Retire in South Carolina

labelled map of best and most affordable places to retire in soutj carolina

From the serene landscapes of Conway to the vibrant atmosphere of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina offers a diverse range of affordable options for retirees. As we delve into specific locales, each with its distinct charm, let's explore the unique tapestry of retirement-friendly communities that grace different parts of South Carolina. Whether you're drawn to the tranquility of small towns, the cultural vibrancy of urban settings, or the coastal allure, the following list unveils the affordable gems scattered throughout the state, inviting you to envision your ideal retirement lifestyle in the heart of the South. 

Average home values according to data from Zillow.com.

1. Greenville

Average Home Value: $295,094

Nestled as one of South Carolina's most economical living spots, Greenville offers a suburban lifestyle without breaking the bank. This city provides a perfect blend of picturesque outdoor areas, vibrant festivals, diverse dining options, and quality healthcare. Greenville is perfect for retirees looking to enjoy life without compromising on their savings.

2. Anderson

Average Home Value: $246,782

Known as "The Friendliest City in South Carolina," Anderson warmly welcomes retirees with its nationally recognized quality of life and affordable housing options. With a median home price of $150,000 and a population of 27,181, this city offers a friendly atmosphere, historical attractions, lovely parks, and diverse entertainment options.

3. Florence

Average Home Value: $204,681

For those who prefer a smaller city vibe with significant retail offerings, Florence stands out. Boasting a population of 37,961 and a median home price of $118,950, Florence provides a low-key yet engaging lifestyle. Retirees can enjoy budget-friendly housing, proximity to the largest shopping center between Myrtle Beach and Columbia (Magnolia Mall), and a cost of living that allows for a comfortable retirement.

4. Georgetown

Average Home Value: $244,960

For those captivated by history and charm, Georgetown stands as a testament to South Carolina's rich past. From its early European settlement in 1526 to its present status as a gracious city of 9,000, Georgetown is a historical gem. The affordable cost of living and budget-friendly housing make it an attractive option for retirees who appreciate historical neighborhoods and a charming atmosphere.

5. Summerville

Average Home Value: $373,310

Dubbed the "Flower Town in the Pines," Summerville offers retirees a scenic town with preserved vintage houses and gardens. With a portion listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Summerville is a blend of old-school charm and modern comfort. A prime choice for those seeking a quiet place at the center of everything, Summerville stands out as one of the best places to retire in South Carolina.

6. Myrtle Beach

Average Home Value: $299,291

If golf, beautiful beaches, and budget-friendly real estate sound appealing, Myrtle Beach is the place to be. With a fluctuating population of 29,992 permanent residents and a median home cost of $179,000, this city offers an array of activities beyond golf and beachcombing. The vibrant shopping scene and diverse restaurant options make Myrtle Beach an increasingly popular choice for retirees.

Myrtle Beach's charm extends beyond its coastal beauty and exceptional golf courses. It excels in providing an enhanced retirement experience through dedicated 55+ communities that cater to diverse senior needs. More than just residences, these communities foster vibrant living. The city's appeal lies in its moderate climate, affordability, and excellent healthcare, creating the perfect retirement backdrop. Myrtle Beach seamlessly combines relaxation with recreational opportunities, making it a consistently top-ranked choice for retirees seeking an enriching lifestyle.

In the quest for an affordable and fulfilling retirement, these South Carolina cities paint a picture of diverse options, each with its unique charm and offerings for retirees. Stay tuned for more insights on the best places to retire in Myrtle Beach and other key considerations for making the most of your golden years.

Exploring the Best 55+ Communities in Myrtle Beach, SC

infographic explaining the best neighborhoods and active 55+ communities for retirement in myrtle beach

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is an enticing retirement destination, with an enchanting blend of affordability, a temperate climate, world-class golfing, top-tier healthcare, and postcard-perfect beaches.  And what’s more? Myrtle Beach has some exclusive options for seniors – a range of 55+ communities crafted with their unique needs and preferences in mind. Here’s a look at the top 55+ communities in Myrtle Beach, exploring what makes each of them a great choice for retirees like you. So, let's dive in and uncover the real stories behind these wonderful retirement spots!

Average home prices according to Coastal Carolina MLS data available on December 18th, 2023.

Del Webb North Myrtle Beach

  • Positioned along the Intracoastal Waterway, Del Webb North Myrtle Beach provides single-family homes complemented by exclusive amenities such as a clubhouse, pool, fitness center, and an activities director.
  • With proximity to the Claire Chapin Epps YMCA and a spacious dog park, the community caters to active retirees.
  • Offering six personalized floorplans ranging from 1600-2600 square feet, residents can enjoy a tailored living experience.
  • Average price of home for sale: $535,538

Cresswind at Market Common

  • With a prime location in Myrtle Beach's top dining and retail district, Market Common,  Cresswind is a gated community featuring resort-style amenities and miles of walking trails and easy access to the beach, award-winning golf courses, and the best entertainment the Grand Strand has to offer.
  • Ample recreational activities and a full calendar of organized events, ranging from yoga to community clubs to cooking classes.
  • The community features spacious homes, with customization options, are designed to foster an engaging active adult lifestyle.
  • Average price of home for sale: $526,400

Carillon at Tuscany Myrtle Beach

  • Developed by DR Horton Homes, Carillon at Tuscany is a gated community conveniently situated at the crossroads of Highway 501 and Highway 31.
  • Luxury single-family homes, boasting eight floorplans ranging from 1,460 to 2,772 square feet, are complemented by amenities such as a clubhouse, large pool, sundecks, and a state-of-the-art fitness facility.
  • The community provides an appealing blend of luxury, location, and lifestyle for active adults.
  • Average price of home for sale: $387,125

Seasons at Prince Creek

  • Nestled in the south end of Murrells Inlet, Seasons at Prince Creek is a gated adult-only community emphasizing convenience and low-maintenance living.
  • HOA fees cover a comprehensive array of services, including cable, phone, internet, lawn maintenance, and an on-site lifestyle director.
  • Homes within the community feature various upgrades, from vaulted ceilings to hardwood flooring, providing an attractive and hassle-free retirement environment.
  • Average price of home for sale: $430,21

Myrtle Trace

  • Encompassing the Burning Ridge Golf Course, Myrtle Trace is a 55+ community with three distinct neighborhoods, each boasting a pool and amenities.
  • The community offers a mix of ranch and traditional-style homes equipped with modern upgrades, creating a serene park-like atmosphere within reach of golf courses, hospitals, and shopping.
  • Average price of home for sale: $315,865

Myrtle Beach, with its appealing attributes of affordability, favorable climate, quality healthcare, and scenic beaches, emerges as a standout retirement paradise. The diverse selection of 55+ communities caters to the varied preferences of retirees, ensuring a fulfilling and vibrant retirement experience. Whether opting for golf-centric living in Del Webb North Myrtle Beach, embracing an active lifestyle in Cresswind at Market Common, or indulging in luxury living in Carillon at Tuscany, Myrtle Beach provides an array of options for seniors seeking a dynamic and enriching retirement journey.

If these options are a little out of your price range, be sure to check out the wide range of more affordable options available in Myrtle Beach, from low-maintenance villas and townhomes to single family homes. While some more affordable communities will not be age-restricted, you can be sure there will plenty of retirement-aged homeowners in any community you explore (26.6% of Horry County residents are are 65 or older) and a plethora of activities and social groups to keep your days busy.

Affordable Retirement in South Carolina

South Carolina is a standout destination for retirees seeking an affordable and enriching lifestyle. From the charming country neighborhoods to the coastal escapes of Myrtle Beach, the state offers a diverse range of options to suit various preferences.

In this post we’ve explored just a few of the top 55+ communities in Myrtle Beach, highlighting their unique features that make each a compelling choice for seniors looking to make the most of their retirement years.

Whether you're drawn to the golf courses, picturesque beaches, or the vibrant communities designed for active adults, South Carolina provides a welcoming environment. The affordability, moderate climate, and top-notch healthcare further contribute to its appeal. While Myrtle Beach takes center stage for its commitment to enhancing the retirement experience, other areas like Greenville, Florence, and Georgetown offer affordable alternatives for those seeking a tranquil retirement setting.

As you embark on this exciting journey towards retirement, consider exploring the real estate opportunities in active 55+ communities in Myrtle Beach. Right Find Homes agents are ready to guide you through the process, ensuring you find the perfect home that aligns with your lifestyle and preferences. 

Start your search today and discover the fulfilling and vibrant retirement that awaits you in the beautiful state of South Carolina. Your dream home in an active 55+ community could be just a click away!

Our experienced agents have a deep understanding of the local market and can provide invaluable insights to ensure your moving process is as smooth and successful as possible.

Contact us today for more information about the local market and trends in Myrtle Beach, SC! We look forward to working with you!

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Provided courtesy of the Coastal Carolinas MLS. Copyright 2024 of the Coastal Carolinas MLS. All rights reserved. Information is provided exclusively for consumers' personal, non-commercial use, and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing, and that the data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the Coastal Carolinas MLS.

Listing information last updated on June 21, 2024 at 7:30 AM EST.

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