Are you considering retiring in the Carolina's?

One of the most common questions that come to mind is, which state should you choose? North Carolina or South Carolina.

Both States are beautiful places to retire, but, both have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to the retiree lifestyle. 

Taxes, lifestyle, neighbors, crime rates, and accessibility are all things retirees look at when choosing North Carolina vs South Carolina. In this article, we are going to discuss which one is best for retirees.

North Carolina VS South Carolina Living

North Carolina Vs South Carolina

The Carolinas have become a hot-spot destination for retirees from all over the country. From the Outer Banks, Blue Ridge Parkway to the Sea Islands, and the Appalachian mountains, there are many great things for you to enjoy.

Both Carolinas will give you mild temperatures, lots of culture and nature experiences, and historical areas to enjoy. One of the best reasons to retire is the low cost of living and its close proximity to the beach.

Although this is probably reason enough to move to retire in either state, there are some logistics that you need to consider before locking up permanent residence. 

1. Tax-Friendly

Considering taxes when moving to your retirement destination is a necessity. Most of a retiree's income will come in the form of Social Security, and the best part about South Carolina taxes is that Social Security is not taxable.

Another great thing for retirees when it comes to taxes is that there are other sizable deductions for retirement income. If you are under the age of 65, you can claim a $3,000 while people over 65 can claim up to $15,000, which makes the income tax process for seniors extremely attractive.

North Carolina has the same type of deductions for seniors, but the income tax rate is where North Carolina edges the competition. South Carolina has a tax rate of 7%, which starts at an income of $14,400 annually. North Carolina has a flat tax rate of 5.4%.

Sales Tax is another reason why you should move to either Carolina. The sales tax for South Carolina is 6%, while the rate in North Carolina is 4.75%. This beats the national average of 7.5%.

2. Low Cost of Living 

Another great thing about South Carolina is its low cost of living. When choosing a retirement destination, you have to figure how much you're going to spend on the basic necessities—groceries, rent, gas prices. The great thing is that South Carolina is 7% lower than the rest of the nation when it comes to the cost of living.

Average Prices and Rates for South Carolina

  • Gas Rate - $1.96
  • Rent - $700 to $1500 per month
  • Utilities - $147.74
  • Auto Insurance Premium - $1257
  • Transportation Costs - $1,280 to $1,850 annually

Average Prices and Rates for North Carolina

  • Gas Rate - $2.80
  • Rent - $800 to $1250 per month
  • Utilities - $161.79
  • Auto Insurance Premium - $655
  • Transportation Costs - $1,375 to $2,025

While some factors are better than others, costs will vary depending on your financial situation and what area of the state you choose to reside in.

3. Southern Hospitality vs. Urban Oasis

South Carolina definitely has a unique southern charm to it compared to North Carolina. Charleston, one of South Carolina's largest city, was voted the friendliest city in the country in 2018.

You'll see more dining, golf courses, and entertainment in South Carolina. You'll find the infamous Myrtle Beach where you can enjoy beach life and historical museums and buildings like Fort Sumter and Charleston's Historic District. North Carolina is where you'll find more green spaces and parks. 

In North Carolina, you'll find Pisgah National Forest, The Great Smoky Mountains, and other smaller regional parks that will capture the naturist in you. 

4. Climate 

There isn't much difference in climate between the Carolina's. The great thing is that the climate is beautiful. The average low in January is between 35-42 Fahrenheit, while the average high in July is between 84-95 degrees Fahrenheit.

North Carolina will have colder winters compared to its South Carolina neighbors, but the difference isn't a cause for concern. Most of the time, the difference is about 15-20 degrees Fahrenheit.

5. Communities

Where ever your budget lands, If you want to live in an active retirement community, either of the Carolinas is a good fit. North and South Carolina are sprawling with mid-sized and significant developments that are geared toward the 55 and older age ranges.

Both states have realized that retirees from across the country are flocking to the Carolinas for permanent residency. And many retirement communities are popping up between the states.

6. Population

When it comes to population, North Carolina reaches the 10 million mark while South Carolina is about half of that at about 4.5 million people. Like the population, North Carolina has a much bigger area, which is approximately 54,000 square miles compared to South Carolina's 32,000 square feet. 

7. Housing Prices

One of the biggest reasons retirees are heading to the Carolinas is lower real estate prices. The median home value in South Carolina is $171,800. The values of home value have gone up 5.5% in the past year and will only continue to rise. 

North Carolina's home value medium sits at $191,400. This still beats the national average of $200,000. Like South Carolina, the home value has risen in the last year and will expect to grow into the future. If you are a retiree who is looking to buy property for retirement, it's better to do it sooner rather than later.

So which State Should I Choose to Retire?

When it comes to North Carolina vs South Carolina—which state should I retire in—this comes to personal preference. 

While it seems that North Carolina seems to be a bit more expensive to live in based on the cost of living and home values, it's still cheaper to live in South Carolina compared to many other states. 

If you like more green spaces, nature, and history, choose North Carolina. If you are into more urban areas, metro living, entertainment, and dining, and want the best of everything a retiree wants to enjoy, choose South Carolina. Follow these factors when deciding on making one of them your permanent residence as a retiree. Which state would you choose? 


To learn more about the new homes in South Carolina or schedule a tour of this beautiful community call us today.

Jerry Pinkas Real Estate Experts