The Charleston region remained South Carolina’s top economy even as it slipped in the latest ranking of “best performing cities” by the Milken Institutedropping 25 spaces in the think tank’s 2022 count to number 54 among the largest US metropolitan areas.
The annual index assesses the economic performance of the 200 largest metropolitan areas and the 201 smallest metropolitan areas, using metrics such as job and wage growth, high-tech job growth, housing affordability and broadband access. The report includes data compiled in 2020, when the nation was in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and during a five-year review that began in 2015.
Housing affordability was the biggest factor in the decline of the Charleston region, with the area ranking 137th out of 200 large metropolitan areas in that category. Nearly a quarter of households in the region are burdened by high housing costs because they spend more than 30 percent of their monthly income on a place to live, according to a study by the Chicago-based company. Anderson Economic Group For him Charleston Trident Association of Real Estate Agents.
The median home price in the local market has risen steadily, reaching a record high of $365,000 in February. Rental rates have also been on the rise for years, with the median price for a two-bedroom apartment topping $1,690 a month, $400 more than the national average.
The region also scored lower than the national median for the dollar value created by its high-tech labor sector. Job growth and wage growth also fell in the bottom half of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, slowing markedly during the pandemic compared to the rapid growth seen a few years earlier.
Most South Carolina metro areas saw declines in their rankings, including Spartanburg at 83rd, down 43 places; Greenville at No. 88, 43 below; Columbia at No. 100, bottom 23; and Myrtle Beach at No. 101, down 51. The Augusta, Georgia region, which includes Aiken, was the only metro area to rise in the rankings, moving up 20 places to 106th.
Hilton Head Island in Beaufort County saw the biggest decline of any South Carolina location, finishing 94th in the small metro category, a drop of 79 places from last year. The decline was largely due to a lack of affordable housing in the area, with only 26 small metro areas seeing higher costs. Hilton Head also scored poorly on job growth and its concentration of high-tech jobs.
The Charlotte metro area, which includes Rock Hill and other parts of South Carolina, finished 31st in the large metro category, down five places from last year.
Provo, Utah maintained its No. 1 ranking nationally, with a low cost of living, a talented workforce, and several high-tech companies, including Adobe, Oracle, and Amazon.
The index, published annually since 1999, is the first of its kind to include data during the pandemic and assess the performance of US subways in the context of the global health crisis.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally altered the way we live and work, and that has had a direct impact on our cities,” he said. Kevin KlowdenCEO of Milken’s Center for Regional and California Economics. “When comparing urban areas, access to opportunity is an essential consideration, especially in light of the growing inequalities that the pandemic has exposed.”
Attain David Wren at 843-937-5550 or on Twitter at @David_Wren_