Mel Coker, Columbia Realtor BUYER'S GUIDE
Columbia, South Carolina Real Estate
Mel Coker
Realtor, CRS, ABR, GRI, SRES
RE/MAX Metro Associates
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Schools, Cost of Living, Average Home Prices, Taxes & More (Chapter 9)

The Greater Columbia area has some of the top-rated schools and school districts in South Carolina, including:
Lexington District 5 (Irmo, Ballentine, Dutch Fork and Chapin areas)
Lexington District 1 (Lexington area, Gilbert, Pelion, and White Knoll areas)
Richland District 2 (Northeast Columbia, Fort Jackson and Blythewood areas).

Columbia schools information Two districts were recently in the overall top four districts in the state for composite SAT scores - Lexington 5 was #2 with a 1064 composite score and Lexington District 1 was #4 with a 1055 composite score. South Carolina has an excellent 529 College Savings Plan.

School Information Links | State of South Carolina School Report Cards | South Carolina's 529 College Savings Plan

Columbia has a very reasonable cost of living compared to many other areas of the country. A recent comparison to other South Carolina and Southeast locales, revealed that Columbia's cost of living is lower than all of the following (percentage difference in parenthesis): Charleston (5.5), Greenville (1.0), Myrtle Beach (4.0), Hilton Head Island (12.3), Charlotte (2.7), Asheville (6.5), Atlanta (7.1) and Orlando (4.8). Electric rates in South Carolina are on average about 10% lower than the national average.

Sperling's BestPlaces has computed the cost of living index for Columbia at 82.31 . The United States average is 100. Columbia's cost of living index is 17.7% lower than the national average.

Home values in Columbia are excellent. The average single family home price for the entire Columbia Multiple Listing Service is $174,661 (closed transactions January - September 2008).

An "*average" home in the best school district areas (Lexington, Irmo/Chapin, Northeast Columbia) had an average closed price of $220,452 (avg. $89.26 / square foot).
(* - Average home is: 3 bedroom min; 2 baths min; 2000 - 3000 square feet; 2 car garage min.)
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Property taxes are reasonable in South Carolina. Tax legislation passed in 2006 and implemented in 2007 lowered homeowner taxes approximately 50% at that time. The state sales tax rate was raised to 6% from 5% and all additional revenue is designated to lower owner occupied real estate taxes. In a typical situation, taxes for a residential home would be about .50% to .65% of the market value of a home. As an example, a $200,000 home would have an approximate tax bill of $1,000 to $1,300 (taxes vary depending on actual assessment and millage rates by area). If you are 65 or older, totally disabled or legally blind and have lived in South Carolina for at least one year, you may qualify for the homestead exemption. The homestead exemption excludes the first $50,000 from the fair market value of you legal residence.
Tax Guide for new South Carolina residents

Previous | NEXT | Home Search Criteria Registration Form | Buyer's Guide PDF format

Chapter 1 - Introduction | Chapter 2 - Searching for a Columbia area home | Chapter 3 - Mortgage Information / Pre-qualification | Chapter 4 - Columbia (SC) area information and links | Chapter 5 - First-time Homebuyer information and benefits | Chapter 6 - Lake Murray Information / Golf Course Communities | Chapter 7 - About Mel Coker / Your Choice of a Realtor IS Important | Chapter 8 - Retirement in the Columbia area | Chapter 9 - Schools, Cost of Living, Average Prices, Taxes & More | Chapter 10 - Home Buying Steps | Chapter 11 - An Internet Special for working with Mel Coker - Receive a Lowe’s Gift Card

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Mel Coker
MAX Metro Associates
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690-B Columbiana Drive
Columbia, SC 29212

Office: 803-223-6214
Direct: 803-388-8011


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