Retiring in the South Doesn't Have to Be At the Beach

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Northern retirees looking for warmer weather and easy living are finding that other southern communities provide gated, carefree housing, cultural activities, and a lifestyle that rivals any beach, without the high prices, humidity, and tourism traffic.

Greenville, South Carolina is quickly becoming a bright spot on the map for many Americans looking to relocate for retirement or employment.'s recent national survey named Greenville as the fourth best destination city in its top 100, and described it as, "Where the Old South meets the New South".

Greenville, South Carolina homes are a lower cost alternative to beachfront retirement, with all the benefits - including exciting riverfront attractions and scenic Greenville golf course homes. There are many reasons that visitors fall in love with the Upstate of South Carolina, but quality of life is probably the primary driving force.

Greenville is not really a stereotypical southern city, but more of a cosmopolitan mix with an economy driven by international companies such as BMW, Michelin, and Fluor. The downtown Greenville area features a popular Main Street with mature towering trees and has won several awards for revitalization. There can be found a pedestrian-friendly promenade that hosts many sidewalk cafes, weekly public musical events, and Broadway productions. The Reedy River flowing through Falls Park offers prime South Carolina waterfront property. Outdoor Shakespeare productions at the park are common in the summer, and just down the road one can catch single-A baseball at a new stadium that is a replica of Boston's Fenway Park.

Thanks to an influx of companies supporting the automotive industry centered around BMW and the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research, as well as other progressive companies taking advantage of a pro-business environment, Greenville County was the fifth fastest growing county in the state between 2006 and 2007. But based on the amount of automobile traffic encountered on a daily basis, it does not seem that Greenville is the most populated county in the state with about 435,000 people. Moving around town is simple compared to many metropolitan cities and the friendly culture of the New South has led many visitors and new residents to proclaim, "I Was Blown Away!" This theme has been adopted by Upstate Alliance as their logo for the area. Testimonials and videos from residents can be found at their Web site (www

Greenville Offers The Best Climate in the South
Geographically, South Carolina is midway along the east coast, and is popular with retirees coming from the north or south, because travel time back to friends and relatives is minimized. Many Floridians who have relocated to Greenville like to fondly refer to themselves as "half-backs" since they raised families in the northeast, moved to Florida, and are now half way back. Northern retirees find the mild weather a big attraction over complicated winter life.

The Upstate enjoys a pleasant weather pattern for most of the year. The proximity to the Blue Ridge Mountains keeps the summers cooler than the coastal regions but the elevation is low enough that winter weather is mild with rare, short-lived snowfalls. It's more likely to find flowers blooming than ice on the ground. And on sunny winter days, people are often dressed comfortably in T-shirts. Spring comes early and in late February flowers and trees begin to blossom. July and August are the hot months, but temperatures seem to drop off after Labor Day. The inland location also buffers the effects of east coast hurricanes and the area typically sees only rain and windy conditions generated by hurricanes in the Gulf or Atlantic.

Spend More on Fun and Less on Necessities:
Cost of living in South Carolina is generally lower than many states and is a big consideration for families considering retirement in the area. For example, social security income is not taxable in SC. Residents over 65 years of age may be eligible for a $15,000 tax deduction against retirement income. In general, property taxes are surprisingly low and the state's homestead exemption will cut tax burdens in half for seniors.

Housing costs are a bargain compared to other parts of the country and because raw land supply is still high, new home construction continues to flourish. Greenville condos and garden homes continue to be a major trend as the Upstate prepares for a swarm of baby boomers that will choose retirement communities. These homes feature one story living with upgraded features and community maintenance for landscaping that have proven popular with the needs of these buyers.

Despite the current national economic slowdown, Greenville South Carolina real estate has proven to provide a stable environment. The number of homes sold in Greenville SC through August of 2008 is down about 19% over the same period in 2007, yet prices have actually increased almost 1% on average. That's a far cry from the declining markets in other metropolitan areas in the U.S. But, since there continues to be a large inventory of homes available for sale, the market still remains in the buyer's favor, particularly considering builder incentives on new homes.

For more information about relocating or retiring in the Greenville SC area, contact Lee Cunningham and his ReMax team below:

Greenville SC Real Estate
The Cunningham Team
RE/MAX Realty Professionals
600 Independence Blvd., Greenville, SC 29615
Office: (864) 679-0707

Upcoming Relocation Press Releases include:
Myrtle Beach Real Estate
Flower Mound Texas Real Estate


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