I’m often asked about cost comparisons between the Savannah, Georgia area and the north east, “Is the cost of living really that much better in the south?”
We touched on the cost of living when we discussed buying a second home in the area…
the cost of living is much lower here. When compared with Newark, New Jersey for example the overall cost of living in the Savannah area is 31% lower*. The cost of housing alone is 58% lower* than Newark. Generally speaking if you’re living on $120,000 in New Jersey you could maintain your lifestyle in Savannah with $82,818.
Breaking Down the Cost of Living in the South
What makes the Richmond Hill / Savannah area so desirable?
Along with the beautiful weather, beaches, and 2nd biggest St. Patrick’s Day festival in the country – we also boast an excellent cost of living.
Forbes lists Savannah’s cost of living to be below the national average and considerably lower than the New England, New York and New Jersey area.
Looking for a home in the Savannah area often means getting more for less.
What does this mean to your pocketbook?
In basic terms, everyday items are a little bit cheaper here. AreaVibes.com notes that both kinds of liquid fuel trend below the national average. The price of gas in the Savannah area averages 1.2% below and the price of coffee averages 3.5% below.
With a longer warmer weather season than our friends in the north east our energy and utility costs run about 5.3% lower than the national average.
Health care and dental costs are also lower. You may also find other self-care costs such as getting your hair styled will save you a few dollars too.
The Richmond Hill / Savannah area can help stretch your retirement dollars too, all while providing the benefits of a top tourism destination – great hotels (for visiting relatives), world class events and a variety of outdoor activities.
A tax friendly town can be a crucial deciding factor when planning a relocation or retirement. Georgia does have a state tax on each home you purchase, but what makes it such a great option for retirees is that Social Security benefits are not taxable income and the state also offers exceptions on other types of retirement income.
Check with your accountant for tax information that will relate specifically to your needs.
Property taxes in both Chatham and Bryan Counties are assessed based on 40% of the fair market value of the property. A $240,000 home would have an assessed value of $96,000 for taxing purposes. The final tax bill will be based on the property and any exemptions available. For example, there is a senior citizen discount on property taxes.
Generally speaking, factor in approximately 1% for Bryan County yearly property taxes and 1.5% in Chatham and Effingham Counties for easy round numbers. All three counties use a mileage rate which equates to about these percentages. That means you could buy a $200,000 house in Bryan county and the property taxes are $2,000 per year even if you have no senior citizen discount.
Further, if you buy a home in the suburbs of Bryan County (Richmond Hill, GA), your 1% tax bill INCLUDES your waste bill for weekly curbside service, your yearly fire department dues (no separate bill), and your biweekly curbside recycle service (you do not have to sort). Those “extras” that are included in themselves save you a few hundred dollars each year!
There is no better example than my own: 3.5% home mortgage for 30 years, 1% property taxes on my home, no fire department dues, no waste monthly bill, approximately $45.00 each month for my water useage, no sewage bill, a local electric company (www.coastalem.com) which equates to $9.50 to $11.00 per KWH used. There are no yearly vehicle emission tests in Georgia. There are new vehicle purchase taxes and a yearly $25.00 car tag fee. Not a bad cost of living at all!
A better cost of living equals a great quality of life.
Please call or email me today for more information or questions about your relocation needs!
Keller Williams Realty Coastal Area Partners
912-658-1390 Cell Direct
*statistics pulled from payscale.com