The Most Affordable Neighborhoods in Columbia, SC in 2020

in Renter Life

If you’re looking to make a move to Columbia, South Carolina, you might not be familiar with the smaller neighborhoods within the city.

Columbia is home to unique neighborhoods perfect for renters looking for vibrant culture, great schools, and interesting things to do and see. Below, we’ve compiled a list of essential moving tips and a guide to the most affordable places to live within the city of Columbia, South Carolina.

Know Before You Go: Moving Tips

Before you pack your boxes, it’s important to do your due diligence so you have a better chance of having a successful, stress-free move. Make sure you take the time to research the areas you may want to live in. The worst thing you can do before a big move is to rush your choice – you don’t want to make rash decisions when you are signing a lease that can keep you on the hook for a full year or longer. Above all, it’s critical that your new living space, whether you’re renting a home or an apartment, and neighborhood, are safe and reflect your lifestyle needs.

Here are a few tips for how to ensure your move is a successful one:

  • Research early: It’s critical that you take the time to decide what your priorities are when it comes to your living area. For example, do you want to be close to nightlife? Do you want to live next to restaurants and grocery stores? Are there good schools for your children nearby? You’ll have to take your own wishlist into consideration before deciding on a particular neighborhood.
  • Read neighborhood reviews: There are plenty of places you can use online to read reviews of potential neighborhoods. Try to gather as much information from actual residents who live there to get a sense of the community.
  • Choose the right area: When you’re moving to a new city, it can be difficult trying to narrow down what area you’d like to reside in. The best way to make this decision is to figure out the main location you’d like to be near. For example, maybe you want to live somewhere within commuting distance to your new job. Or, perhaps you’d like nature trails close by to take hikes on.
  • Get to know the local rental market: Find out what average rental prices are like in the area you’re interested in and start looking at local listing prices to help fill in the gaps of your knowledge.
  • Consider hiring a rental agent: Although you’ll save money if you do the research on your own, it can be considerably less stressful to move by enlisting the help of a rental agent. A rental agent will know your new city inside and out—plus he or she can help find properties that meet your specific needs, like pet-friendly apartments. They can give you better options and may know of rentals that aren’t advertised on listing sites.
  • Visit the city if possible: The best way to figure out where you want to live is to actually visit potential apartments. Plan a weekend with a rental agent or by yourself to get multiple showings done at once. This will help you narrow your focus and you might be able to even sign the lease while you’re still in town. 
  • Avoid frauds and scams: Unfortunately, one of the biggest issues with renting in a new city where you don’t live is opening yourself up to potential scams. It’s important to research landlords and never send cash or wire money. And, if a price or apartment setup seems too good to be true – it probably is. Listen to your instincts.

Now that you’ve got some basic guidelines, it’s time to explore some of the potential neighborhoods you may want to call home in Columbia, South Carolina. Columbia is a diverse city full of economic opportunities and parks. Keep reading to learn more about the most affordable and best places to live.

Forest Acres

Nestled in the midlands of Columbia, South Carolina, you’ll find Forest Acres. With a population of only 10,433, residents here enjoy an intimate, small-town feel. It’s been consistently rated as one of the best places to live in South Carolina. It offers beautiful nature parks and highly-rated schools. The median rent in Forest Acres is just $922.


For those who prefer a sparser suburban feel, Irmo is a great choice.  Located in Richland County, this town offers tons of restaurants and parks to keep you busy. Public schools in Irmo are highly rated, perfect for the needs of a growing family. Demographics-wise, Irmo is mostly comprised of young professionals and families. The median rent in Irmo is $1,149.

Seven Oaks

Seven Oaks is one of the larger towns in Columbia, with a population of 15,559. Residents of the area love the walkability of the area and the dog-centric neighbors. It’s a close walk to both the mall and downtown. And, if you’re looking for somewhere to retire, Seven Oaks is among the top 8% of retiree-friendly neighborhoods in South Carolina thanks to its reputation for safety and quiet. The median rent is $896.


Lexington is made up of mostly families and young professionals, offering a dense suburban feel. Lexington County is known as one of the fastest-growing counties in the state and region. With a temperate climate and access to Lake Murray, the town of Lexington offers new residents a mix of rich opportunity as well as diversity. The median rent of Lexington is $1,064.


Blythewood is a proud, traditional southern town with tons of community events for residents to partake in. From shows to cycling, there’s truly something for everyone.  This is a great place for those who like a little more space, as the population is only 3,148. This rural town has a median rent of $1,697.

Takeaways: Finding the right Columbia neighborhood for you

Moving to a new city can be a difficult process – but it can also be incredibly exciting. If you’re making the move to Columbia, South Carolina, you have an abundance of vibrant neighborhoods to choose to live in. Whether you choose the rural beauty of Blythewood or opt for the bustling nature of Forest Acres, Columbia has plenty to offer. Make sure that you follow our tips before you start packing up your boxes, so you can enjoy a successful move.

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