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Everything You Need to Know About the Charleston Rental Market

Hello, property and potential property owners! Welcome to the RPM Distinguished Care blog, where we provide practical advice about property management! If you’re a return visitor, welcome back and we appreciate your support! RPM Distinguished Care specializes in managing successful rental properties in and around the Charleston area. We’re here to make your lives easier by giving you the resources you need to maximize profitability and have a successful rental property. If you haven’t already, make sure you check out our previous posts about summer lawnscaping and what to keep in mind when choosing a rental property. Our most recent article is a perfect starting point and will help you narrow down your list of potential properties!


Today, our focus is the Charleston rental market and the myriad positives which accompany investing in this area! We operate here in Charleston, but don’t just take our word for it. We’ll be providing plenty of statistics to help you understand exactly what you’re stepping into when you purchase rental property in Charleston. Every rental owner wants two things: profitability and high tenancy. Choosing the right place to buy can determine both of these figures. You want to invest in a place which is not just currently doing well, but also predicted to perform even better in the future. Charleston is that city! Here’s why:


Reasons to Invest in Charleston


Founded in 1670, Charleston has a long history. The city played a vital role in both the Revolutionary and Civil wars, acting as a commercial hub due to its proximity to Charleston Harbor and its unfettered access to the Atlantic Ocean. This coastal city enjoys mild winters and humid summers, with an attractive subtropical climate. As buyers leave stuffy, overcrowded cities, Charleston offers a relaxed, affordable alternative. In 2020, Charleston was predicted to become a top real estate market—a prediction which the city has fulfilled and overtaken. BiggerPockets ranked the city as one of the top seven best cash flow markets in the U.S., based on its low unemployment rate, high population growth, and almost 10% potential gross rental yields. While the Charleston Regional Business Journal predicts Charleston will be among the top ten housing markets in the country because of its affordability, consistent job growth, and local economic expansion.


Each of these aspects contribute to the overall success of individual rental properties. Therefore, we’ll break down affordability, job market, population, and rental market, to give you a clear picture of how Charleston performs in these regards.


Housing Market


Everyone’s aware the housing market is hot right now, but perhaps nowhere is this more true than Charleston. Most homes listed in Charleston sell in less than a month, according to the Charleston Regional Business Journal, and with multiple offers. In 2020, Forbes named Charleston one of their top ten housing market predictions. This might’ve been because of the 11.4% increase in Charleston’s home values in the last year (or the 30% increase in home values over the past five years). The level of interest in property in Charleston has completely outpaced Charleston’s actual inventory, with the inventory of homes decreasing by 74% yearly. The high level of demand versus supply is making Charleston one of the most sought-after places in the country. Yet still, Charleston was named one of the best markets for renters by WalletHub, based on their research into affordability of housing, activity in the marketplace, and quality of life.


Over the past year, rents increased by an average of 9%. Fifty-three percent of housing units rent between $1,001 and $1,500 monthly. However, as of September 2021, RentCafé lists the average apartment in Charleston at $1,677, which is up 18% from last year. The average apartment size for this figure is 962 square feet. The most expensive neighborhood to rent in are Downtown Charleston and South of Broad, while the most affordable are Four Mile Hiebernian and Rosemont. Likewise, South of Broad is one of the most expensive places to purchase a home, while Village Green is one of the most affordable.


Forty-seven percent of households in Charleston are renter-occupied, which means the rental market in Charleston is already established and profitable. The Charleston Regional Business Journal expects Charleston’s rental market to remain in the top ten in the country for another three to five years.




The city of Charleston holds about 137,000 residents. The Charleston-North Charleston Metropolitan area (which includes Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester), however, holds close to 802,000. These numbers are only estimated to grow, with an average of twenty-six people moving to the Charleston area every single day. In the past year, Charleston’s population grew 1.5%; and, between 2008 and 2010 alone, Charleston’s population grew 18.5%, which was three times the national average. In the next ten years, Charleston’s metropolitan population is expected to increase by more than a quarter of its current size. The ramifications of such growth include a higher supply-demand ratio, a more competitive market, and higher cash flow.


While Baby Boomers are moving to Charleston in droves for their retirement years because of the city’s climate and quality of life, Millennials are being drawn by the bustling economy and job prospects. The Charleston Regional Development Alliance named Charleston as a “millennial magnet;” and, with millennials strapped to debt unlike any generation before, they are more likely to rent than buy. In fact, as of 2020, 10.8% of millennials expect to always rent. The median age of residents in Charleston is 34, compared to the state-wide average of 39.


Job Market


Charleston’s job market is currently dominated by manufacturing, transportation, tourism, and technology. These sectors are what drive the nearly 1.5% job growth seen by Charleston in the last year. With unemployment at only 5.2%, according to the Department of Numbers, its unemployment rate is 2.6% lower than the national average. A whopping 90.9% of Charleston residents hold a high school diploma, while 37.5% hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, both of which are on par with the national average. Construction, manufacturing, and professional services show the fastest signs of growth. While the aerospace, automotive, information technology, life sciences, and logistics industries continue to grow steadily. Venture capitalists are eying Charleston as the next technology start-up hub. This doesn’t mean Charleston will become the next San Francisco or even Silicon Valley, but this does mean future investments into the city and further population growth as people move here for job opportunities. Charleston-North Charleston’s GDP is estimated at $45.6 billion, which exceeds the past ten years GDP by 75%. Forbes ranked Charleston as the 24th best place for business and careers in the country, based on rates of job growth, education, and the cost of doing business. Likewise, WalletHub found Charleston to be the 16th best city to find a job. Charleston’s economy is strong, healthy, and predicted to grow in coming years.


Quality of Life 


Aside from the stellar climate, Charleston has plenty to offer in terms of access, amenities, and accommodations. Its rich history is a draw for many who are interested in the study of the American narrative. From the cobblestone streets and horse drawn carriages downtown to the many beaches and Spanish moss-laden forests, Charleston has an old-world, antique feel which appeals to many. Charleston was given an A-grade on’s quality of life report based on diversity, nightlife, family living, housing, and public schools. In 2010, Charleston was named as the city with the country’s most attractive people! Charleston International Airport (CHS), which transports four million passengers per year, is a convenient addition to the city, as well. Young families, working singles, and retired individuals alike find Charleston the place to be!



We hope we’ve provided you with all of the information you need to make Charleston the home of your next rental property. There’s no shortage of benefits! We understand the most important thing to you is the success of your rental property, which is why there is no better place than Charleston. And, as the rental market continues to grow and the housing market becomes more competitive, there’s no better time to invest in Charleston. When you’ve taken the plunge and have your property here, we hope you’ll turn to RPM Distinguished care for your management needs.


With Real Property Management Distinguished Care, we treat your property as if it were our own. No hidden fees, only safeguards and guarantees. Up-front packages you can review and prepare for right here on our website! If you’d like more information on how we address and plan for maintenance, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are more than happy to assist you in setting up the perfect property management service for your properties. Protecting your investments is our priority!

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