The cost to live in Cola

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Compared to 5 other cities

Whether you moved here from somewhere else, grew up here, or have even contemplated moving away, you’ve probably been curious how Columbia’s cost of living compares to some of the most sought-after nearby cities.

We did some research (via Sterling’s Best Places, + NerdWallet) to see how Columbia stacks up – and here’s what we found.

Charlotte | 7% more expensive overall than Cola
Charlotte and Columbia are a lot closer than I would’ve thought, but cost of housing is the major factor that sets us apart, with Charlotte being

23.7% higher.

Average rental rates in Cola range between $921 and $1,202, compared to $1,065 in Charlotte. (Cola more expensive that you thought? Same – according to The Moore Company, avg. rent in Cola is skewed by luxury student apartment rental rates.) While a median home price is $240,784 in Charlotte vs. $189,787 in Columbia.

Charleston | 27% more expensive
Just about everything in Charleston is more expensive than it is in Columbia, including a staggering 73.1% hike in housing costs. 😧 That’s $1,202 vs. $1,229 for an apartment rental (which isn’t that big of difference) but ~$189K vs. ~$293K for the average home. I guess they do have the beach.


Greenville | 4% more expensive

Columbia and Greenville are pretty equal when it comes to cost of living. A $50K salary in Cola = a ~$52K salary in GVL. Utilities + transportation are both more expensive here, but housing is more expensive in Greenville: ~240K vs. ~189K to buy the average home.


Asheville | 20% more expensive

Apartment rental rates in Asheville are less than Columbia, too ($869 vs. $1,202), but buying a home in Asheville will still be 55.9% more expensive (~$309K~ vs. ~189K). So much for owning that mountain house…


Atlanta | 12% more expensive

Coming as a bit of a surprise, overall cost of living in Atlanta is only a little more expensive than Columbia. Housing costs plays the biggest factor again, with buying a home in Atlanta being

35.5% more expensive than Cola (~$266K~ vs. ~189K). We’re coming in with that more expensive apartment rent again, though ($1,053 vs. $1,202).


Just for S&Gs I decided to compare the cost of living in a couple bigger cities, because when I was younger (and obvi didn’t know the worth of $1) my dream was to live in the Big Apple. But after seeing all these numbers, I’ve never been more appreciative to live in Columbia.

NYC | 98% more expensive // Housing costs are $4,088 for a 2BR apartment + $1.6M for a median priced home. Living like they did on Gossip Girl is but a dream for me.

San Diego | 83% more expensive // Housing ($2,284 for a 2BR apartment + $789,427 for a median priced home) is 331% higher than Cola. Guess that’s the price you pay for perfect weather year ‘round vs. 95º in mid-October.

It’s clearly no wonder why Columbia was recently ranked one of the top 10 metropolitan cities to buy instead of rent by 🙌


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