As the 23rd most populous US state boasting a GDP of about $213.45bn, South Carolina sits in a strong economic position.
With its historic industries including textiles and agriculture, South Carolina has evolved into a state with a much more diverse economy in modern times.
Cities including Myrtle Beach, Charleston and Hilton Head Island are established tourism destinations, the largest overall industry in the state.
In addition, South Carolina has prosperous automotive, aerospace and port operations-based sectors that contribute to its diverse economy, with many cities offering investment opportunities.
By early 2023, the state had announced total capital investment over US$10 billion the single largest year in state history. As an investment that represents 120 projects and the creation of over 14,000 new jobs, it marks a significant growth for the state economy.
With a population of about 151,000 in the city and about 800,000 in the greater metropolitan area, Charleston is the third-largest city in South Carolina.
With a vibrant economy and a business-friendly environment, the region has a commitment to economic development which has been reflected in the economic prosperity across many industries in the past few decades.
As well as the world-class culture that has ensured it remains a popular driver if tourism in the state, local government support and corporate collaborations have made it one of the best cities to invest in South Carolina.
Both multinational corporations and start-ups are now enjoying the globally competitive business environment advantages in Charleston.
Companies that are investing more in Charleston include Boeing and Bosch, two major companies that showcase the draw of the city for other investors.
Charleston has a fast-growing population and a highly skilled workforce, both of which render it an attractive option for those considering investing in South Carolina. The business community in Charleston continues to experience ongoing growth across many sectors.
For those considering investing in South Carolina, Charleston offers state tax incentives as well as excellent access to the regional and international marketplace.
Real estate is one sector where people are enjoying investments, with the city offering a diverse portfolio of real estate options for both families and those looking to set up a business in the region.
Columbia has a population of 136,632, making it the second-largest city in South Carolina. Historically built on a largely agriculture-driven economy, the city now has a more diverse business sector and a multi-sector fiscal landscape.
Since the regeneration of the city district known as the Congaree Vista, the central city area has seen increased numbers of businesses investing in South Carolina and Columbia in particular.
With a diverse economy comes a wealth of major employers across Columbia. These represent sectors including healthcare, education, high tech and finance, with more than 70 foreign affiliated companies and 14 Fortune 500 companies in the metropolitan areas, showcasing it as one of the best cities to invest in South Carolina.
Companies that have invested in Columbia include Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, the University of South Carolina, Computer Sciences Corporation, UPS, Michelin and Bose Technology.
With a growing reputation for investment potential in both business and real estate, it has attracted the second-largest supplemental insurance company in the nation, Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company, which now has headquarters in the city.
When investing in South Carolina, companies are incentivised by one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the south-east, which currently sits at 5%.
Contributing to its status as one of the best cities to invest in South Carolina is the numerous tax credits offered by local government agencies in Columbia. These include a range of company tax credits that offset corporate tax liability such as job tax credits, research and development credits and state job training credits.
Alongside the initiative of no state property tax, investing in South Carolina is now an attractive proposition for families companies, and corporations that get an extra tax break for locating their corporate headquarters in Columbia.
Located on the east coast of South Carolina with a population of 36,000, Myrtle Beach has an economy driven by tourism, with an estimated $14.4bn spent in the region by domestic visitors annually.
With real estate an asset in this sought-after town, investing in South Carolina is something property buyers continue to do.
As the tourist economy thrives, the metropolitan area is expanding. According to the 2020 US Census, Myrtle Beach metropolitan area is the second-fastest-growing metropolitan area in the US.
In terms of investing in South Carolina, Myrtle Beach continues to attract businesses and families to the area, with more than 10,000 people recorded to have moved to the Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach area since 2013, in a 27.7% growth in population
Several urban redevelopment initiatives have helped business growth in Columbia and encouraged further investments in the area. These include the revitalisation of the central business district, which has created an influx of art galleries, restaurants, unique shops, and professional office space, each highlighting the diverse investment opportunities that make it one of the best cities to invest in South Carolina.
Hilton Head Island
With a year-round population of about 38,000, Hilton Head Island is a town driven by its tourist economy. In 2021, an estimated 2.25 million mainly domestic visitors contributed more than $1.5bn to the local economy.
When it comes to investing in South Carolina, the real estate market in the Hilton Head Island region is flourishing as more people look to the advantages of investing in South Carolina property.
A consistently high demand coupled with considerable property values draws both local and US-wide interest and investment in the market.
In terms of real estate, Hilton Head Island is one of the best cities to invest in South Carolina-wide, with tourism numbers also strengthening the market for tourist-related local business opportunities.
Information, Data and Statistics from Columbia Chamber of Commerce, Columbia Economic Development, Charleston Commerce Dept, US Census Dept, Myrtle Beach Tourist Board