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Report: Buy in Berkeley, Dorchester counties, rent in Charleston County

Staff //January 11, 2018//

Report: Buy in Berkeley, Dorchester counties, rent in Charleston County

Staff //January 11, 2018//

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A new report by property data company Attom Data Solutions finds that buying a home is more affordable than renting in 54% of housing markets.

Berkeley and Dorchester counties follow that trend; Charleston County does not, according to the 2018 Rental Affordability Report.

“Although buying is still more affordable than renting in the majority of U.S. housing markets, that majority is shrinking as home price appreciation continues to outpace rental growth in most areas,” Daren Blomquist, vice president at Attom Data Solutions, said in a statement. “Renting has clearly become the lesser of two housing affordability evils in many major population centers.”

Blomquist added that when broken down by population rather than market, 64% of Americans live in areas where it is more affordable to rent than buy.

Percent change year over year

County Rent Wages Home Prices
Dorchester 7.1% 2.1% 1.5%
Charleston 7.1% 4.0% 0.0%
Berkeley 7.1% 1.6% -1.1%


County % to Buy % to Rent
Dorchester 41.4% 45.7%
Charleston 52.3% 36.2%
Berkeley 30.0% 35.0%

In the Lowcountry, Attom Data found that rents are rising at a higher rate than wages and that wages are rising faster than home prices.

The average weekly wage is $925 in Berkeley County, $915 in Charleston County and $713 in Dorchester County.

The average rent for a three-bedroom home in the tri-county area is $1,480, up about $100 from a year ago. According to the report, about 48% of the average wage would be needed to rent in Dorchester County, and 37% would go to rent in Charleston and Berkeley counties.

The highest median home price is $325,000, in Charleston County, requiring about 54% of average wages to purchase. The median home prices of $188,000 in Berkeley County and $203,000 in Dorchester County would require 30% and 41%, respectively, of average wages to buy.

Attom Data Solutions compiled the report using rental data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, average weekly wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and its own home price data from publicly recorded sales deed data.