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Apartments for Rent in Charleston, SC - 314 Rentals available

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Renter's Guide to Charleston

Charleston is a historic, coastal city located in the southeast corner of South Carolina. Founded in 1670, it is the oldest city in South Carolina and one of the oldest in the country. Current growth trends project Charleston to be the fastest growing municipality in the state.

Charleston is the second largest city in the state behind Columbia. It is only 113 miles away from Columbia, 100 miles from Myrtle Beach, and 97 miles away from Hilton Head.

Brimming with Southern charm and hospitality, Charleston is a popular travel destination and is well known for its well preserved architecture, rich history, beautiful beaches, and lively downtown atmosphere which includes some of the best restaurants in the entire country, including Husk. In 2014, for the 4th consecutive year, Charleston was named the number one tourist destination in the country by Conde Nast’s Traveler magazine!

Charleston has a subtropical climate with moderate winters and hot, humid summers. The average high in the month of July is a whopping 91 degrees. The average low in January is 38 degrees. These numbers reflect the hottest and coldest months of the year. There is significant rainfall all year long. In the hottest summer months, afternoon thunderstorms are common. Snow only falls a handful of times a decade and is always a cause for excitement when it happens.

Charleston, SC Demographics

  • Total Population127,694
  • Female 60,549
    Male 67,145
  • Median Age33.8

Cost of Living in Charleston, SC

The cost of living in Charleston is higher than the national average in every category. Because Charleston is such an attractive tourist destination and place to live, the cost of a nice three-course dinner out is around $72.50. However, an inexpensive meal is only $10. An imported beer is around $6.00 and a cappuccino is $4.32. Comparatively, an imported beer in Greenville, South Carolina is just $ 4.50.

The average utility cost for a 915-square-foot apartment in Charleston is $172.00 a month. This is higher than the national average of $147.00.

Charleston has limited public transportation but is working to become more bike friendly. The public transit system in place is called CARTA, Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority. CARTA is comprised of buses and offers fixed route service to downtown and surrounding areas. The CARTA DASH trolley offers service in downtown, historic Charleston, on open air trolleys. A one-way fare on CARTA Is $2.00 and a round trip is $3.50. A 31-day pass costs $57.00 and is available for unlimited use until is expires.

Owning a car is necessity in Charleston for the majority of residents although downtown Charleston is very walkable and is bike friendly. There is also a water taxi that runs from downtown Charleston to nearby Mount Pleasant several times a day.

Average Rent in Charleston, SC

  • Charleston, SC Average Rental Price, January 2019$1,323/mo

Charleston, SC Apartment Rent Ranges

  • $701-$1,00022%
  • $1,001-$1,50057%
  • $1,501-$2,00015%
  • > $2,0006%

Charleston, SC Rent Trends

Average Rent Jan / 2016 May / 2016 Sept / 2016 Jan / 2017 May / 2017 Sept / 2017 Jan / 2018 May / 2018 Jan / 2019
Charleston, SC $1,174 $1,218 $1,255 $1,260 $1,265 $1,256 $1,276 $1,287 $1,323
National $1,290 $1,319 $1,334 $1,329 $1,354 $1,366 $1,366 $1,381 $1,396

Average rent is projected to grow by 2% in 2018 compared to 2017.

Please note that projected rent growth is calculated at city level.

Average rent values on this page are aggregated from data from the following zip codes: 294012940329407294092941229414294242945529492

Check out the average rent prices in Charleston by neighborhood.

Living in Charleston

While the weather, impressive architecture, and natural beauty of Charleston draw many people, the incredibly humid summer and high cost of living may cause others to choose another place to live. The public transportation system is also not as complete as mass transit options in other cities.

Things to do in Charleston

There is no shortage of fun things to do in Charleston, many of which are completely free. Charleston is surrounded by beautiful beaches and many have free parking. Kiawah Island Beach, about 45 minutes outside Charleston was named the “second most romantic beach in America” by National Geographic Traveler magazine. Other beaches closer to Charleston are Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island beach, and Isle of Palms beach. All three of these gorgeous beaches are public and parking is free. Sullivan’s Island Beach is known as being the most natural of the beaches since high-rise complexes are not allowed on the island. It also has beautiful maritime forests between the beaches and the residential areas where wildlife flourishes.

Charleston is also known for its shopping. King Street has a wide array of stores, ranging from an Apple Store to Louis Vuitton to Lily Pulitzer, and many more. For a great deal, Tanger Outlets in North Charleston is the place to visit.

Another top draw is the City Market which is downtown on Market Street, Charleston’s number one most visited attraction. The open air market is full of individual vendors and artists selling their wares, including sweet grass basket makers - one of the oldest crafts of African origin in the US. The design varies from artist to artist. This centuries-old tradition is a must see in Charleston. A stroll through the City Market is free but of course hand crafts, art, and other goods will be priced.

Looking for a place to relax and unwind with friends or family? Take a stroll down the Battery. The Battery is the name of Charleston’s historic waterfront where beautiful antebellum homes and shady oak trees mix perfectly with modern event spaces and incredible views. There is a park at the Battery with beautiful views of the Charleston Harbor, Fort Sumter, the Sullivan Island Lighthouse, and Castle Pinckney. Waterfront Park extends up East Bay Street and has a gorgeous fountain that many children play in on hot days. Walking through the Battery and parks is always free.

Charleston has an art gallery district as well as an art museum, The Gibbes. Many art galleries are found in the lovely French Quarter district and The Gibbes Art Museum is housed in the oldest museum building in the country on Meeting Street. The Gibbes presents six to eight rotating exhibits a year in addition to its impressive collection of art, which features pieces with an emphasis on Charleston and South Carolina history.

Charleston is also home to the Charleston Riverdogs, a minor league baseball team affiliated with the New York Yankees. The Riverdogs have their own stadium downtown, Joseph P. Riley, Jr Park, named after the former mayor.

Some top restaurants in downtown Charleston along with Husk are Magnolia’s, Fig, and High Cotton. These restaurants are located in the heart of the historic district and feature upscale cuisine. Hyman’s Seafood is another popular restaurant; it is located on Meeting Street and lines to get in often wrap around the block. This casual eatery attracts many tourists.

Spoleto Festival USA is a two-week long celebration of the arts that happens annually in Charleston. The Spoleto Festival has been in Charleston since 1977 and features national and international artists. The shows include chamber music, operas, theatre productions, ballet and other forms of dance. Spoleto also hosts outdoor concerts and avant garde performances that can include multimedia. These performances takes place in the lovely old theatres and auditoriums in Charleston, such as the Dock Street Theatre.  The Spoleto Festival concludes with a finale at one of the most famous plantations in South Carolina, Middleton Plantation. While nearly all Spoleto events require tickets be purchased, the Finale is free and fun for the entire family. It also features a fireworks display!

Employment and Economy in Charleston

Charleston is home to a joint Air Force and Navy Base, called the Joint Base Charleston. Around 22,000 people are employed there making it by far the largest employer in Charleston. The Joint Base has double the employees of the Medical University of South Carolina or “MUSC” – the area’s second biggest employer. Also part of the public sector, The Charleston County School District is the area’s 3rd biggest employer.

In the private sector, the largest employer is Boeing Aircraft, which recently opened a manufacturing center in North Charleston adjacent to the airport. Boeing employs 5,000 people in Charleston and many Charlestonians aspire to work there.

Additionally, the city has a thriving hospitality and tourism industry. Since Charleston is a top tourist city, hotels, bed and breakfasts, and bars and restaurants employ many people in and around downtown.

Charleston, SC Households

  • Total Number of Households52,450
  • Family 27,316
    Non-family 25,134
  • Children 11,553
    No Children 40,897
  • Average People Per Household2.32
  • Median Household Income$55,546
  • Median Housing Costs Per Month$1,189

Education in Charleston

Charleston has three universities downtown: The College of Charleston, a liberal arts college, the Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, and Trident Technical College. The College of Charleston was founded in 1770 and is the oldest college in the South Carolina. The College has a top performing basketball team that frequently makes the NCAA championships and has about 10,000 undergraduates.

The Citadel has around 2,250 students, called cadets, who pursue undergraduate degrees while living on campus. The Citadel also has a long history and was founded in 1842.

The Charleston County School District, or CCSD, is the second largest district in South Carolina and consists of a blend of urban, suburban, and rural schools. The schools serve 49,000 students in 86 schools. The graduation rate in the CCSD is 83.8% and the district has over 3,400 teachers. 61% of the teachers in the Charleston County School District have advanced degrees.

Charleston, SC Education Statistics

  • No High School2%
  • Some High School21%
  • Some College26%
  • Associate Degree7%
  • Bachelor Degree28%
  • Graduate Degree15%

Tips for Renting in Charleston

Renters in Charleston should be aware of certain laws that pertain to the return of a security deposit. The South Carolina Landlord Tenant Act has provisions in place to protect the renter’s deposit. The deposit must be returned to the tenant by the landlord within 30 days of the move out date and any deductions must be itemized with invoices attached. This ensures the landlord does not deduct from the deposit for something like painting and exhaust the entire deposit without showing the tenant exactly how much the work cost.

In a few rare circumstances, tenants in South Carolina can withhold rent due to a landlord’s failure to repair essential services such as heating. Tenants need to be very careful if they decide to withhold rent since only a few situations that compromise the habitability of a rental unit make withholding reasonable. Something like a broken dishwasher would not warrant withholding rent but for an essential service like broken plumbing, toilet, shower, etc. or heat, withholding rent can be justified.

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