South Carolina Best Places to Retire - A Guide

If you are thinking about the best places to retire in South Carolina this website is your source for information and insight into the best places to retire in South Carolina. The Palmetto State is many people's first choice for retirement. This state of 4.8 million people in 2013 has a mild winter climate, low cost of living, and plenty of recreational activities. There are 4 regions in the state: Low Country near the ocean, Sand Hills, Piedmount, and Upstate - which contains an escarpment of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It also has southern charm and history.  Don't miss our retirement duel article: "What is the Best State for Retirement:  SC or NC"?  (Updated Sept, 2016)

Traditional Town of Charleston SC

Charleston SC - a great retirement community

Best retirement towns in South Carolina
Here are some of the top retirement towns in South Carolina:
- Beaufort
- Bluffton
- Charleston
- Hilton Head Island
- The golfing capital of the world - Myrtle Beach
- The college town of Clemson 
- Lancaster
- Aiken
- Summerville

Many national and local builders are busy building active adult communities for active adults over 50 in  towns all over South Carolina. See our article: "10 Best Places to Retire in South Carolina"

South Carolina Climate
The South Carolina climate is called humid-sub-tropical. Summers are hot and humid and winters are mild. It is a bit cooler near the ocean and in the western mountains.

South Carolina Taxes

Tax Burden: South Carolina is a very tax-friendly state with the 9th lowest tax burden in 2011 according to the Tax Foundation.

Marginal Income Tax Rates.  Income tax ranges from 3% - 7%, with the highest bracket kicking in at  a low threshold - $14,400. Those brackets are quite low, so for people with significant income, income taxes could be high. Residents can take all deductions and exemptions available on your federal return. For couples filing jointly when both are 65 or older you do not need to file a SC tax return unless your gross income is greater than the federal gross income filing requirement plus $30,000. Here is a link to the SC Dept of Revenue page.

Retirement Income Exemptions.  Residents 65 and over have an exemption for the first $10,000 of qualified retirement income. People up to age 65 can deduct up to $3000 of qualified pension income. Most disability services are not taxable.

Social security exemption. Social security is not taxable. 

Sales Tax: State sales tax is 6%, local communities can additional sales taxes up to 2.5%.

Property Taxes: SC is the 46th highest state for property taxes, taxing homes on .57% of home value on a statewide basis.

Homestead Exemption. People over 65 might be eligible to exclude $50,000 of market value from property taxes.

Estate and/or Inheritance Taxes. The state does not collect inheritance taxes or estate taxes.

SC Cost of Living and Economy
Living in South Carolina is less expensive than many other states. Inflation adjusted 2007-11 per capita income of $23,854 was well below the national average. South Carolina’s median home value was $134,700 in early 2015, according to Zillow (the U.S. median was $178,700. Prices can be higher in selective active adult communities in places like Hilton Head. The Greenville SC median home value index was $166,000, Spartanburg's was $130,900, but in pricier Charleston the median was $215,500 (source: Zillow). South Carolina’s cost of living is the 21st lowest in the nation.

Certified Retirement Communities
South Carolina does not have a certified retirement community program.

Free eBook - Baby Boomers Guide to Selecting a Retirement Community - 16 Factors
Download this free eBook and use its fun exercises to help you find your perfect active adult retirement community.

Click on the South Carolina Retirement Community reviews on the right. Or to find other guides to the best retirement states


D R Horton
South Carolina Retirement Communities
Village Park Homes
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