North Carolina or South Carolina: Where to Retire?

Carolina Preserve is one of North Carolina\'s best active adult communities.
mnb mh
Carolina Preserve is one of North Carolina’s best active adult communities.

Over the past decade, the Carolinas have shifted from a stopover on the route to Florida into two of the top retirement states in the country. While North Carolina and South Carolina both have many features that make them fabulous destinations for retirees, it can often be hard to choose between these neighboring states. How can you tell which of the Carolinas is right for you?

When it comes to comparing retirement locations, there are certain factors that can help you decide which is best for you. Climate, culture, taxes, home prices, and proximity to friends and family are all important considerations.

Climate

When it comes to environment, both North Carolina and South Carolina experience a humid, sub-tropical climate. However, there are variations depending on the given location in either state. In general, summers are hotter and winters are more mild in South Carolina. The western areas are the coolest parts of each state, and this is particularly true in the higher elevations of North Carolina’s Appalachian Mountains. Summer temperatures are warmest along South Carolina’s coast, though in North Carolina the coast tends to be a bit cooler than inland areas.

Culture

The social culture can also vary throughout either state, but North Carolina and South Carolina certainly each have their own distinct personalities. In North Carolina, retirees will find many diverse destinations. The Raleigh-Durham area has popular urban attractions like museums, theaters, upscale shopping, and fine restaurants. In the Asheville area, active adults will enjoy an eclectic, artistic community which features rural recreations and a thriving live music scene.

mhgv
The grounds of Sun City Hilton Head are an active adult playground adorned with 16 clay tennis courts, a softball field, pickleball and bocce ball courts, a dog park and outdoor party pavilion.

In South Carolina, retirees are often enchanted by the state’s southern charm and fantastic golf courses. As one of the country’s original 13 colonies, South Carolina is rich in regional history. The Charleston area has homes and historic sites which date back to the 1700’s. On the coast, Myrtle Beach is often proclaimed to be the “Golf Capital of the World,” while the resort town of Hilton Head is one of the state’s most popular hot spots.

Taxes

Of the two states, South Carolina tends to be more favorable when it comes to the overall tax burden for retirees. The state allows a retirement income deduction of $10,000 for individuals as well as an age deduction of up to $15,000 for residents over the age of 65. In North Carolina, married couples who are age 65 and over are allowed a $7,200 deduction, and Social Security income is exempt. However, you should compare each state’s tax burden to your own financial situation.

Communities

Regardless of budget, those who want to live in an active adult community have many housing options in either state. Those who want affordable housing in smaller, more intimate neighborhoods may want to consider communities like The Elms of Charleston in South Carolina. Mid-sized developments, including both age-restricted and age-targeted communities, are also prevalent in both states.

Retirees who dream of living in a sprawling, amenity-rich community will also have no trouble finding a home in either state. In North Carolina, active adults can explore developments such as Sun City Carolina Lakes, Fearrington Village, or Biltmore Lake. South Carolina also has top-notch, resort-style communities, including Sun City Hilton Head or Del Webb Charleston.

Proximity to Friends and Family

The proximity of a retirement location to family and friends is also a common consideration for many active adults. Retiring to a new area often means leaving some people behind. However, choosing an area within easy distance of established friends or family members can also tip the scales in favor of one state over the other.

When choosing between the Carolinas, it really does come down to a matter of personal preference. To make the best decision, retirees should do their homework and visit each location in person. Whether opting to live in North Carolina or South Carolina, retirees can easily find the home of their dreams in one of these beautiful southern states.

Can you spot the $207,744 difference between these identical homes?

Financing is the difference!

Get the details in The 62+ Loan Homebuyers Guide.

55places Mortgage is a joint venture between Mutual of Omaha Mortgage and 55places.com.
Details here.

Share this post:

We're here to help! (800) 928-2055

Call us to speak with a customer service representative.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get Weekly Updates

I agree that 55places and its affiliates, partner providers or agents may call, text, or email me about my inquiry, which may be made with automated means. I understand that my consent is not a prerequisite for buying a property. I may revoke my consent at any time by contacting [email protected] Message/data rates may apply. I also agree to 55places.com’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

The Best Places to Snowbird in 2021

We’ve gathered 25 of the best places for snowbirds, including cities in Florida, Arizona, California, Texas, South Carolina, and Nevada. For each entry, we’ve also provided a list of recommended 55+ communities in the area. If you’re ready to find your own winter retreat this season, here are some of the best places to consider.

Closed up on a tiny wood home model on green grass with sunlight background.

This Month in Real Estate: A Housing Market Summary

The new year is showing that the predicted changes coming to the housing market were accurate and kept with the trend for 55+ homebuyers. If you’re just entering the housing market as a homebuyer, make sure you’re aware of the changes happening so you’re prepared to make the best purchasing decision. 

Aerial view of a picturesque olive plantation in Bakersfield, California.

The Cheapest Places to Live in California

With almost year-round sunshine, some of the world’s prettiest beaches, world-class shopping and dining, and a never-ending list of recreational and entertainment opportunities, it’s no wonder California is such as sought-after state to settle down in.

A sunset over Huntington Beach Pier in California.

The Active Adult Travel Guide to California

California is known for its diverse regions and cities. This means if you’re an active adult looking to vacation in the Golden State, you’ll have a lot of options. We breakdown the state into its three main regions and find everything you should do while on vacation.

3 Virginia 55+ Communities With Easy Commutes to D.C.

If you’re looking for a 55+ community but you’re still working in Washington D.C., here are several active adult communities that offer easy commutes to D.C. with a chance to take the first step toward retirement.

The Best Washington D.C. Area Communities for Downsizing

Outside of Washington, D.C. in Maryland, active adults can find a number of communities with condominiums and smaller attached homes perfect for downsizing. Here are the five best communities for homebuyers looking to downsize in the Washington, D.C. area.

Annapolis, Maryland: What to Do and Where to Live

Annapolis, Maryland is quaint and historic, with arts, culture, and outdoor activities. Active adults can find varied and affordable homes to buy in age-restricted communities.

About 55places

We’re changing the way people 55 and older are searching for their perfect next place. With a national network of hand-selected real estate experts, plus comprehensive information, unbiased content, and on-the-go insight about thousands of communities across the country, we’re a trusted resource paving the way from here to home. Whether you’re interested in a low-maintenance single-level residence, an active lifestyle or age-qualified community, an intimate enclave, or anything in between, we can help you make your next move the best one yet.

Scroll to Top