Department of Numbers

Charleston South Carolina Residential Rent and Rental Statistics

The median monthly gross residential rent in Charleston, SC (the Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville metro area) was $1,051 in 2016 according to the Census ACS survey.1 Average gross rent in Charleston was $1,046 in 2016. The median rent more accurately depicts rental rates in the middle of the distribution of rents and is thus preferred in the analysis below. 2017 Charleston median and average rent data will be released in September of 2018.

Data is also available below for Charleston rental vacancy rates, Charleston rent as a percent of median income and the fraction of renters in Charleston.

Show dollars as: Nominal Real

Real Gross Rent in Charleston South Carolina (2016 dollars)2

2016 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US Median Gross Rent $981 +0.93% +7.80%
South Carolina Median Gross Rent $841 +1.33% +9.22%
Charleston, SC Median Gross Rent $1,051 +0.29% +9.82%

Charleston, SC Real Gross Rent Trends

At $1,051, real median gross rent in Charleston was at its highest level in 2016 since the series began in 2005. Average gross rent for Charleston peaked in real terms in 2015 at $1,066 and is now $20 (1.88%) lower.

Real Gross Rent in Charleston: Charleston SC Median, Charleston SC Average, South Carolina Median, US Median

Lower quartile, median and upper quartile real gross rent

Real Gross Rent History for Charleston

Date US
Median
South Carolina
Median
Charleston, SC
Median
Charleston, SC
Average
2016 $981 $841 $1,051 $1,046
2015 $972 $830 $1,048 $1,066
2014 $942 $798 $994 $1,022
2013 $910 $770 $957 $950
2012 $898 $766 $973 $975
2011 $898 $764 $939 $937
2010 $912 $777 $950 $974
2009 $916 $768 $946 $947
2008 $932 $763 $931 $923
2007 $885 $724 $907 $863
2006 $895 $751 $918 $877
2005 $869 $729 $924 $880

Charleston Rental Vacancy Rate

The rental vacancy rate is the fraction of homes for rent that are not occupied.3 In 2016 the rental vacancy rate for Charleston South Carolina was 6.34% according to Census ACS data.

Rental Vacancy Rate in Charleston South Carolina

2016 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 5.89% +0.04% -0.60%
South Carolina 8.49% -0.96% -2.05%
Charleston, SC 6.34% -3.50% -4.47%

Trends in Charleston, SC Rental Vacancy Rate

The rental vacancy rate in Charleston peaked in 2009 at 13.77%. Since then it has fallen by 7.43% to 6.34%. Data records for this series originated in 2005.

Rental Vacancy Rate: Charleston SC, South Carolina, US

Rental vacancy rate in South Carolina

Historical Rental Vacancy Rate data for Charleston

Date US South Carolina Charleston, SC
2016 5.89% 8.49% 6.34%
2015 5.85% 9.45% 9.84%
2014 6.32% 10.54% 7.21%
2013 6.49% 10.54% 10.81%
2012 6.77% 12.68% 10.10%
2011 7.40% 12.12% 11.22%
2010 8.17% 13.69% 13.32%
2009 8.43% 13.35% 13.77%
2008 7.86% 12.38% 13.39%
2007 7.87% 11.99% 11.11%
2006 7.70% 11.42% 9.37%
2005 7.74% 11.43% 9.35%

Rent as a Fraction of Income

Using median household income data for Charleston, we can calculate the fraction of income the median household would use to pay rent at the median monthly gross rent rate. For Charleston, median monthly gross rent as a fraction of median household income was 21.87% in 2016 according to the ACS.

Charleston South Carolina Median Annual Rent as a Fraction of Median Household Income

2016 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 20.43% -0.20% -0.35%
South Carolina 20.39% -0.42% -0.43%
Charleston, SC 21.87% -0.11% -0.19%

Trends in Charleston, SC Rent as a Fraction of Income

The fraction of median Charleston household income required to pay median monthly gross rent peaked in 2012 (relative to the 2005 series origin) at 22.94%. Since then it has fallen by 1.07% to 21.87%.

Fraction of Income towards Rent: Charleston SC, South Carolina, US

Percent of median household income going towards median monthly gross rent in Charleston South Carolina

Historical Data for Annual Rent as a Fraction of Income in Charleston South Carolina

Date US South Carolina Charleston, SC
2016 20.43% 20.39% 21.87%
2015 20.63% 20.81% 21.99%
2014 20.89% 20.98% 22.09%
2013 20.78% 20.81% 22.07%
2012 20.65% 20.99% 22.94%
2011 20.70% 20.99% 21.75%
2010 20.50% 20.79% 22.22%
2009 20.12% 19.96% 21.61%
2008 19.00% 18.15% 18.88%
2007 18.66% 17.86% 19.46%
2006 18.90% 18.69% 20.24%
2005 18.89% 18.65% 20.52%

Renter Fraction in Charleston South Carolina

You can calculate the renter fraction in Charleston in at least two ways: by housing units or by population. I've gone with the housing units measure here. This measure looks at the number of renting households in Charleston as a fraction of total Charleston households. In 2016 34.57% of households were renters according to Census ACS data.

Charleston Fraction of Renters by Household Units

2016 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 36.88% -0.09% +0.38%
South Carolina 31.37% -0.50% -0.46%
Charleston, SC 34.57% +0.02% -1.97%

Trends in the Charleston, SC Renter Fraction

The Charleston household renter fraction peaked in in 2012 at 36.64% and is now 2.07% below that level. The origin year for the series is 2005.

Fraction of Renting Households: Charleston SC, South Carolina, US

Fraction of renters in Charleston

History of Charleston Renter Fraction

Date US South Carolina Charleston, SC
2016 36.88% 31.37% 34.57%
2015 36.97% 31.87% 34.55%
2014 36.90% 31.95% 35.97%
2013 36.50% 31.83% 36.54%
2012 36.09% 31.87% 36.64%
2011 35.42% 30.83% 33.74%
2010 34.65% 31.30% 34.58%
2009 34.13% 29.86% 35.25%
2008 33.36% 29.42% 31.20%
2007 32.80% 29.96% 33.23%
2006 32.73% 29.66% 33.24%
2005 33.10% 29.91% 33.22%

1. Gross rent is defined as contract rent plus the estimated average monthly cost of utilities (electricity, gas, water, and sewer) and fuel (oil, coal, kerosene, wood, etc.). Because some rentals include utilities and others don't, gross rent is a way of normalizing the variability.

2. Real dollars are calculated using the CPI-U less shelter series.

3. The rental vacancy rate is computed by dividing the number of vacant units for rent by the sum of the renter-occupied units, vacant units that are for rent, and vacant units that have been rented but not yet occupied.