• $550   =  non-traditional average 1
  • $1483   =  average 2BR ÷ 2, or traditional roommate rent 2
  • $2227   =  average 1BR, rented solo 3
  • (traditional vs. non-traditional roommates)
  • (the rest of the  southeast US)

51% live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 4
Most errands require a car. 5
mosquitoes, pollen, hurricanes, alligators, snakes
pedestrian friendly 6
half hood half hippie, the slums, rich white people, college of charleston, tourist hell, shoot outs, desperate housewives, gentrified hood, west virginiaaaaaaaa, and the last remnants of old mount pleasant are the largest hoodmap tags 7

SO, roomiematch.com's Charleston roommate rundown:

In Charleston, you'll eat the best seafood surrounded by intense local history and equally intense humidity, almost year round.

When you're between two rivers and below sea level, water everywhere dictates most of the way of life.

So, if you can handle the heat AND the humidity, Charleston is more friendly to renters and more friendly to pedestrians than most cities similarly sized. Almost half of households include renters, and almost everyone walks, at least part of the time, at least during locally-produced events suggesting that many should amble around in the friendliest way (face-to-face on foot).

In fact, most describe Charleston as friendly overall. And all y'all are not lying, nope.

But you'll also have to handle some mosquitoes and pollen. Maybe even an unfriendly hurricane. New residents should ask their favorite long-term locals for ongoing instructions on how to deal.

Which you really should, go there and deal, at least short-term, if you're into it. FEMA says if global warming continues Charleston may cease to exist as we currently know it or in the future . . . shift inward? Which could seriously surprise those inward at present.

But for roommates right now? Probably as safe as other coastal cities, but with lower rent and a greater variety of seafood snacks that will rock you like a hurricane . . . with high winds on a floodplain . . . and free wine.

The rest of the Charleston roommate lowdown:

  • The heart of South Carolina Lowcountry -- featuring historic architecture near the ocean with a lot of interesting art, but affordable rents!
  • Lowcountry gets its name from its low-lying topography, with most of it at or below sea level. 2/3 falls within FEMA's 100-year floodplain. Unique flora and excellent local seafood are the good news. Charleston is known for gumbo, fried oysters, deviled crab cakes, Charleston red rice, shrimp and grits, pimento cheese, and Lowcountry boil.
  • Charleston is a peninsula bounded by two rivers. The Wando, Cooper, Stono, and Ashley tidal rivers display their drowned coastline, with a submerged river delta at the mouth.
  • Humid and subtropical -- mild winters, hot humid summers, and rainy all year long but more summer thundershowers
  • The city of Charleston is home to approximately 150,000, while the greater metro area including Berkeley and Dorchester is over 800,000. That population is expected to rise by at least 25% in the next several years, in part due to the "high tech boom" strongly encouraged by local business leaders. "The Holy City" (many churches, many stunning steeples) is now one of the fastest growing cites in America.
  • several major hospitals located in the downtown area, including Johnson VA Medical Center, Roper Hospital, Trident Regional Medical Center, and the Medical University of South Carolina Medical Center
  • home of the College of Charleston, The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, and the Medical University of South Carolina
  • Charleston is one of the best markets for renters, as almost half of Charleston's households are renter occupied, keeping roommate rents competitive.
  • Charleston is more pedestrian-friendly than most cities its smaller size. Some find the historic cobblestone streets challenging, but almost all find them quaint and absolutely all are encouraged to walk on them.
  • 3 things worse in Charleston than most cities: Hurricanes, mosquitoes, and pollen season. Even if you never worried about any of those before, you and your roommates will need to pay attention to all 3 in Charleston.
  • You and your roommates should assume any body of water substantially larger than a backyard pool has alligators and snakes swimming around in it. Keep an eye out for suspicious swimmers in uncovered backyard pools as well!

After you're settled down, you and your roommates should experience Charleston's:

  • Spoleto Festival USA: 17-day art festival featuring hundreds of performances throughout the city.
  • Charleston Food and Wine Festival: Enthusiastic participation by both local and tourists with new cuisine for foodies every single year.
  • Arts Walk Downtown: Is the First Friday of every month. Browse art with free wine!
  • Old Slave Mart: Fully acknowledging Charleston's horrific history of slavery
  • Tavern at Rainbow Row: If you and your roommates would like to buy your booze at the oldest liquor store in the country . . .
  • Sullivan's Island: Some say it's guaranteed you can see a dolphin here. Ask a local for the best view.
  • Bull Island: Y'all refers to one person, singular. All y'all refers to more than one person or an entire group. And all y'all roommates could go stare at a sunbathing alligator on Bull Island.

Here's the Charleston county's list of links for online services, including resources for residents.


1.   The non-traditional roommate rent average for this city we've experienced over the last 3 years. We can't predict future rental availability, because we're neither in control of any rental market nor psychic, sorry!

But in most cities most of the time, the recent and relatively recent past are the best predictors.

2.   This idea came from smartasset.com's ranking of what a roommate saves you in 50 cities. They ranked where roommates will save you the most money, based on the average cost of a 1BR as opposed to a 2BR ÷ 2. Unsurprisingly, the more expensive the city, the more you can save, but the savings are significant in all larger metros. So we got the data for the rest of our cities from Zumper too.

This is really the minimum you could save, as you could live with more than one roommate, split more services, share food or other supplies, etc. More sharing tends to lead to more savings too, as per our roommate roadmap.

As per the rest of the description at the top of this page, we're calling this "traditional" roommate rent.

3.   From zumper.com.

4.   Directly quoted from the Trust for Public Land's parkland rating system.

"The ParkScore index awards each city up to 100 points for acreage based on the average of two equally weighted measures: median park size and parkland as a percentage of city area. Factoring park acreage into each city’s ParkScore rating helps account for the importance of larger “destination parks” that serve many users who live farther than ten minutes’ walking distance."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual ParkScore, nature lovers might like to see all roommate cities ranked for parkland.

5.   Directly quoted from Walk Score's Cities and Neighborhoods Ranking. They've ranked "more than 2,800 cities and over 10,000 neighborhoods so you can find a walkable home or apartment."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual Walk Score, dedicated pedestrians might like to see all roommate cities ranked for walkability.

6.   From various lists here on our own best roommate cities.

7.   From hoodmaps.com: a collaborative map where residents use tags describing social situations you're likely to find. Other users can thumb up or down, so the largest tags have been thumbed up the most.