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Rents and foreclosures rose nationally in May. In South Carolina, it's more complicated

Renters and homeowners in South Carolina fared better in April than much of the country, bucking certain trends felt in most major metro areas.
Scott Morgan
South Carolina Public Radio
Renters and homeowners in South Carolina fared better in April than much of the country, bucking certain trends felt in most major metro areas.

Rent prices across the country ticked up closer to record levels in May, according to data released Tuesday by Redfin. But the Charlotte metro area, even with rents on the rise, is bucking the trend of near-record highs.

In August 2022 – following a near-vertical escalation of asking rents beginning in the spring of 2020 – the median cost of renting a place to live, nationwide, hit an all-time high – $1,700 a month. That price cooled off over 2023, but not by much and has crept back closer every month so far this year.

From April to May, U.S. rents rose 0.5%. According to Redfin, the median US rent in May was $1,653. Meanwhile, according to Apartment List, which earlier this month released its June market report for the Charlotte metro – which includes Rock Hill – rents were between two and four hundred dollars per month less.

In May, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Rock Hill was $1,171 and for a two-bedroom, $1,230. While rents in the city have been climbing since February – up 0.9% from April – they took a sharp fall starting last August. Rents in May were 6.4% lower than their peaks a year earlier, according to Apartment List.

The Charlotte metro also bucked another national trend in May. Redfin reported last month that renters in most major-city markets in the U.S. were increasingly likely to stay in their homes longer between 2012 and 2022, compared to the prior decade. But more renters in Charlotte stayed put for 12 months or less and the share of renters who remained in one place for 10 or more years dropped slightly.

Redfin cited four key reasons renters stayed in place longer, including growing rental prices all around and a rise in apartment lifestyle living. But the report also cited a slow buildup of new houses nationwide following the 2007 crash, as well as the escalation in home prices that have, nationally, on average, risen 40% since 2019.

South Carolina’s median sale price for homes followed a similar spike. From April 2019 to April 2022, the median sale price in the state increased by close to 50 percent, to $385,800.

Over this same time period, the number of foreclosure filings started to climb across the country.

Important context: While the rates of foreclosure since 2019 are on the upswing nationally, according by ATTOM Data Services, they are still far below where they were a decade ago.

What is good news for South Carolina in ATTOM’s latest foreclosure report, released Tuesday, is that for the first time this year, the state is not represented among the top five locations with the highest rate of foreclosure filings.

According to data provided by ATTOM, South Carolina’s rate of one filing per 3,337 households in May placed the state eighth in the nation – slightly ahead of the District of Columbia and Indiana and about 0.01% higher than the U.S. average for the month.

May’s rate represents a 23% drop from April and an 18% drop from the prior May.

In April, ATTOM reported that South Carolina had the second-highest rate of foreclosure filings in the first quarter (behind Delaware), compared to Q1 of 2023 – one filing for every 929 households, which is 44% higher than May’s rate.

Scott Morgan is the Upstate multimedia reporter for South Carolina Public Radio, based in Rock Hill. He cut his teeth as a newspaper reporter and editor in New Jersey before finding a home in public radio in Texas. Scott joined South Carolina Public Radio in March of 2019. His work has appeared in numerous national and regional publications as well as on NPR and MSNBC. He's won numerous state, regional, and national awards for his work including a national Edward R. Murrow.