So what about the Carolina Coast Climate, Lifestyle and Cost of Living?
Many of you are in the middle of winter, so it’s not a surprise based on the survey we conducted last month, while cost of living and housing affordability were in the top 5 concerns, the majority of participants (78%) indicated climate and weather as a reason for relocating or retiring to the Carolinas.
Also not surprising is that although most of us want to move to the Carolinas for the weather, many still want a change of seasons.
Among the factors that have created such great interest in Carolina coastal living is the sunny and warm climate.
According to our survey, North Carolina tops the list as the #1 place to relocate or retire to.
Of the 38% planning on moving to NC, the Piedmont (middle) region is the #1 choice with coastal NC a close second.
Not far behind is South Carolina with 26% however unlike NC, more than half plan on living along the SC coastline.
Most notable is the 36% of the survey participants who are still undecided on which state, North Carolina or South Carolina, is their Best Place to relocate or retire to.
While it will take weeks to analyze all the data we collected, I wanted to begin to talk about some of the concerns and questions that were shared.
Based upon the top reason for relocating or retiring to the Carolinas, I want to take a closer look at each region (Coastline, Piedmont, Mountains) within each state.
How the weather and climate may effect your lifestyle and pocketbook and point out some “other” considerations before you make your final decision on where Your best place to live is.
Before we talk about those “other” considerations, let’s first look at the geographical diversity of the Carolina Coast.
Both North Carolina and South Carolina fall within the Atlantic coast plain consisting of miles of flat sandy beaches at very low elevations. In fact, the Carolina Coast (both states) are no more than 20 feet above sea level.
Starting in North Carolina we see two distinct coastal plains;
The Outer consists of the long thin line of barrier islands we call the Outer Banks. The North Carolina Outer Banks are characterized by white sandy beaches and distinctive sand dunes.
While marshlands and large freshwater estuaries mark the Inner coast.
Like North Carolina, as you move further south along the South Carolina coast, you find two distinct geographic zones.
The long flat uninterrupted beaches of the Grand Strand (Myrtle Beach SC area)to the north, and the Low Country creeks and salt marshes to the south.
With areas in between containing beautiful inland tidal rivers, natural bays and dozens of small coastal sea islands.
It is the combination of geography and climate that makes the Carolina Coast region such a desirable place to live.
Since the Carolina Coast is located in the middle latitudes they are privy to a lot of sunshine with most coastal areas having over 200 days of sunshine annually.
Moreover, the Carolina Coast is situated very close to the Atlantic Gulf Stream and tropical air masses coming up from the Bahamas providing both states with a warm subtropical climate throughout much of the year.
Winters along the Carolina Coast are mild given the Appalachian mountain ranges to the west prevent cold fronts from moving in from the northwest so your average winter temperature is in the 50-60 degree range.
Snow along the coastline in both North Carolina and South Carolina is pretty rare but you will see on average over 50 inches of rain a year.
The western mountains also trap much of the hot and humid air coming off the oceans further inland which combined with cool breezes coming off the Atlantic ocean make humid 80-90 degree weather on the coasts during the summer months that much more bearable.
Sounds great so far right? Mild winters, hot summers with cool breezes. Paradise?
So how will the climate of the Carolina Coast potentially affect your living situation?
One of the brighter sides of an agreeable Carolina Coast climate as I’m sure you already know is all the opportunities for year round outdoor activities including various water sports (sailing, boating, fishing, kayaking, etc.), golfing, tennis, swimming, hiking, bird watching, you name it.
If you’re used to being cooped up 3-5 months out of the year, this can be a revelation.
Another plus is the cost of living (taxes, housing, food, utilities, etc.) in both North and South Carolina remain below the national average.
And something I bet you haven’t thought about is clothing.
No more winter coats, boots, hats and gloves. Saves on not only clothing expense but oh what to do with that extra closet space.
And what about snow blowers, shovels and winterizing your car.
I wouldn’t miss that but….I do love my snow days. A kind of time out. Okay, so I digress.
But what about living along the North Carolina or South Carolina coastline that I may not know much about.
I’m sure you’ve thought about it but seriously, are you prepared to contend with various tropical storm patterns throughout the summer?
Hurricane season starts in early summer and runs into late fall. And if you have ever lived in a hurricane prone area, you know there may be many times throughout the season you preparing for a storm.
Not only hurricanes but tropical depressions. This means storm shutters or plywood for boarding up windows, making sure you have provisions for an extended period of time, what happens if you don’t have electric for a few days or weeks and possibly even evacuating your home. It may not seem like much however, from someone who knows, this is not fun.
And since there is a tropical storm season on the coast, you need to be aware that required home, wind and flood insurance is expensive with a combined average somewhere between $1500-3000 a year and assured future rate increases.
However, given the temperate weather and low cost of living, retirees have flocked to both Carolina coasts over the last 20 years meaning you’ll probably find people from the same places you’re leaving which can be great, but there will also be an increase in traffic at the very least during winter months.
The desirability of living and buying a home close to the water means real estate is more expensive on the coasts in both North Carolina and South Carolina.
I know this may be a steal compared to where you are currently but it’s extra money out of your pocket.
Both North Carolina and South Carolina coastlines, with their agreeable climates have definitely made them a best place to not only retire or relocate to, but also for vacationing.
The Carolina Coast offers fun, sun and a variety of affordable living options but don’t forget to do your homework.
Make sure you take a good look at all the considerations before you make your final decision on your best place to relocate or retire.
See you next week!
Bob Bencivenga is a professional site locator and location analyst for major corporations. Bob researches the growth of NC and SC to find the Best Places to Retire or Relocate that are still affordable.
Bob Does Not Sell Real Estate!
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