Your Ultimate Guide for Moving and Thriving in Charleston, SC

Your Ultimate Guide for Moving and Thriving in Charleston, SC

About Area

Consider Charleston, SC, a fusion of historic beauty, dynamic economy, and Southern hospitality. Life in Charleston is similar to walking through a time machine, courtesy of its profound historical roots.

However, don't mistake Charleston for being a city in the south with a few historical exhibits. Born in 1670, Charleston stands as South Carolina's first and largest city. It is a bustling metropolis that is overflowing with activity and growth. You will immediately notice the city's commitment to education in its top-tier institutions and universities, such as the College of Charleston.

However, it goes beyond academia. You'll also recognize how important health is in this community, given that 75% of residents are in good health and that top-notch medical facilities are nearby. Additionally, you may rest easy knowing that Charleston is safer than 14% of other U.S. cities if that is your primary priority.

Charleston's appeal extends beyond its practical aspects. The stunning views, diverse culinary offerings, and friendly communities will steal your heart. If you are looking for a new place to call home, let Charleston, South Carolina, charm you.

Economic Opportunities

There are many reasons why Charleston's economy continues to pulse with energy and possibilities. A large number of automotive and aerospace manufacturing corporations, including Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, and Boeing, call Charleston home. Other industries thriving in Charleston include I.T., healthcare, and technology. In fact, Charleston has earned the nickname "Silicon Harbor" for the number of tech companies relocating to the area.

Cost of Living

Surprisingly, Charleston is more affordable than many might expect. Current data shows that the overall cost of living is 2% lower than the average for the rest of the United States. Everyday necessities such as groceries, clothing, and healthcare services are generally more affordable, with costs around 7% less than the national average.

However, not all costs are below the national average. Utilities in Charleston are about 17% higher than average. The increased utility costs are attributed to South Carolina's current energy policies that lean towards non-renewable energy resources. This factor could slightly impact monthly expenses, particularly for larger households or individuals who work from home.

On the bright side, the cost reduction of everyday necessities can help balance out the slightly higher utility expenses and contribute to a more budget-friendly living experience.


Charleston History

Around 1670, a group of English settlers decided to put down roots in what we now call Charleston. Back then, they dubbed it 'Charles Town' to pay homage to their king, Charles II. As the 18th and 19th centuries rolled around, Charleston really came into its own, constructing those beautiful antebellum homes that have become synonymous with the South.

The thing about Charleston is it's not just another American city - it's an important chapter in our nation's history. In 1861, the very first sparks of the Civil War ignited in Fort Sumter. Those initial shots marked the start of a gruesome four-year clash that turned the city to rubble.

Despite the destruction that resulted from the war, Charleston refused to accept defeat. Things were gradually rebuilt throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, and the economy began to diversify. Modern-day Charleston is a beautiful blend of the past and the present with its historic landmarks and cobblestone streets.


Charleston Bridge

Nestled in South Carolina's Lowcountry, Charleston holds a beautiful mix of coastal allure, lush wetlands, and striking views. Charleston's unique location plays a significant role in its climate too. We're talking about a humid subtropical climate with steamy, humid summers and pretty mild winters. The city's tucked away on a peninsula where the Ashley and Cooper Rivers merge before making their grand entrance into the Atlantic Ocean.

Looking to the southeast, you'll find Charleston snuggled up against James Island and the harbor. To the west and northwest, the mainland provides a backdrop. The outskirts are surrounded by a medley of sea islands and marshlands, painting a scene swarming with all sorts of wildlife. And those barrier islands dotting the coastline, like Sullivan's Island and Isle of Palms, are home to stunning beaches and endless outdoor fun.


Walking through Charleston's streets, one of the first things you'll notice is the assortment of ancient antebellum mansions dispersed throughout various neighborhoods. Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival, Italian, and Victorian architectural styles are typical of antebellum residences. They also stand out from other houses because of their high foundations, large verandas, and elaborate ironwork.

But Charleston's devotion to its past goes well beyond its beautiful buildings. Local celebrations of these unique structures, such as the Charleston Antique Show and the Festival of Houses and Gardens organized by the Historic Charleston Foundation, reflect this love.

Charleston not only honors its heritage but also hosts several creative events like the renowned Spoleto Festival USA, which draws artists from all over the world. The Charleston Symphony Orchestra also performs musical events, and the city is home to various art galleries.

Not to be overlooked are the culinary delights waiting to be explored, especially if you like seafood. Charleston's seaside position puts seafood front and center of many cuisine options offered at restaurants throughout the city. The genuine Southern charm that permeates the city is embodied in dishes like she-crab soup and shrimp and grits.

Last but not least, Charleston residents deeply value the beauty of the natural world surrounding them. Beaches, parks, and thriving gardens are essential components of the way of life. Many residents enjoy spending time on boating excursions, fishing excursions, and leisurely beachfront strolls in search of hidden treasures.


The Charleston County School District is the primary education provider for students in grades K-12. In addition, several private schools offer various philosophies catering to different learning needs and educational preferences.

When it comes to higher education, there are many impressive options to choose from. The most popular choice in the area is the College of Charleston, a liberal arts college distinguished for being the oldest educational establishment below Virginia in the U.S. It's popular for its rigorous academic programs in business, biology, and psychology and admired for its breathtaking campus.

Another prestigious college worth mentioning is the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). This college is pivotal in advancing healthcare education and conducting cutting-edge biomedical research. Lastly, Charleston Southern University, a private Baptist college, and The Citadel, also known as The Military College of South Carolina, contribute to the landscape for higher education choices as well.


Charleston Downtown

Historic Downtown

Historic Downtown is the heart of the city. Here you'll find cobblestone streets, many well-preserved antebellum homes, and historical landmarks like the Battery and Rainbow Row.

Harleston Village

Home to the College of Charleston, Harleston Village brings youthful energy with a mix of historic homes and new developments.


Ansonborough is one of Charleston's oldest neighborhoods. Located next to the French Quarter, it features antebellum homes as well and is close to both Waterfront Park and the shopping district.

Mount Pleasant

Just a quick drive over the Ravenel Bridge, Mount Pleasant offers a suburban feel with easy access to downtown. It is home to beautiful parks, shopping venues, and local restaurants.
New construction homes in Mount Pleasant.

West Ashley

Just west of the Ashley River from downtown Charleston, West Ashley is primarily residential and offers a range of housing options. It's also home to the historic plantations Magnolia Plantation and Gardens and Middleton Place.

James Island

This primarily residential area offers a laid-back, island lifestyle close to downtown and Folly Beach. It's known for its outdoor recreational opportunities, including the James Island County Park.

Daniel Island

A planned community located north of the city, Daniel Island is a mix of residential, commercial, and recreational spaces. It has a dedicated downtown area and is home to the Family Circle Tennis Center and the soccer-specific stadium for the Charleston Battery.

Folly Beach

Known as "The Edge of America," Folly Beach is a relaxed, casual beach town with excellent surfing, fishing, and dining. It's an ideal neighborhood for those who love seaside living.

New Construction Home Market

Most of the new construction homes built in Charleston are popping up in the planned community of Daniel Island, the family-oriented community of Mount Pleasant, the charming suburb of West Ashley, the rural ambiance of Johns Island, and the beach-centric lifestyle found on James Island.

In terms of affordability, many of these homes provide an affordable entry point into Charleston's housing market. The average range varies between $260,000 and $390,000 and is true to the steady growth of the local housing market. The available selection of homes includes single-family properties, townhomes, and condos. Many builders designed these homes to pay homage to Charleston's historic charm while aligning with modern living standards.

Embrace Southern hospitality, the coastal lifestyle, and the endless possibilities that await you in Charleston — partner with a New Homes Expert to begin the search for your new construction home.

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