Renting Vs. Buying A House in Hilton Head

With its world-renowned golf courses, its miles of pristine beaches and beautiful weather year-round, Hilton Head Island may seem like the ideal vacation destination. However, after a visit to this charming island and its countless attractions, you may have a hard time leaving. Could it be time for a move to one of Hilton Head’s new home communities so you can experience the Hilton Head lifestyle year-round?


If the answer is “Yes” and you have decided to make HHI your home, you most likely have a lot of questions, such as the cost of living in Hilton Head and whether you should buy or rent a house. Read on, for we have all the answers!



When is the Right Time to Buy?

Few people buy a home on a whim and for good reasons. It is a significant personal and financial commitment that requires careful planning. There is no one-fits-all answer for "when is the best time to buy a house." However, if you are ready to settle, you will need to make sure that your finances are in order and that the property you are purchasing fits your lifestyle as well as your budget so you are in a house you can afford and enjoy for years to come.


Houses are more than a place to live. They also represent an investment that can have consequences on your future. That is why it is crucial to take global economic into considerations, from the local real estate market to the fluctuations of interest rates. If you are ready to buy a house, now is a good time to purchase a property since interest rates are low, and many home builders offer incentive programs.



Cost of Living in Hilton Head

Living in paradise has a cost, and the cost of living in Hilton Head is overall 22.1 percent higher than the national average.


Housing costs take the lion share of this premium, being 86.8 percent higher than the US average. While the median home price for a house in the United States is $231,200, Hilton Head home prices are significantly higher at $390,300, according to Groceries and miscellaneous expenses, such as clothing, entertainment, and restaurants, are also slightly higher than the US average. On the other hand, you may be able to save some money on transportation.


However, the cost of living in the greater Hilton Head area, which encompasses new homes in Bluffton and Beaufort, is lower than on the Island itself thanks to the lower real estate prices. If you want to enjoy everything HHI has to offer without the hefty price tag, the solution may be a short drive away.



Renting in Hilton Head

The median Hilton Head Island apartment cost is $2,150. Meanwhile, the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort Metro area median rent price is $1,700.


Pros of Renting

With such high real estate prices, renting an apartment will most likely be cheaper than buying a house in Hilton Head.


If you are considering using your property as a second home rather than your primary residence, renting is also easier. You will not need to worry about taking care of the issues that often come with living in a home. Typically, your landlord will be in charge of maintaining the property, including lawn care, and will take care of any repairs should the need arise.


Cons of Renting

Renting a property in Hilton Head does not come cheap. Although leasing may be less expensive than buying a house, your monthly rent payments may be put to better use in a mortgage that would build equity instead of going straight to your landlord's pocket. If you want to settle in Hilton Head in the long term, you may be better off buying a house that would increase in value over time instead of renting.



Owning a House in Hilton Head

The median price of homes currently listed in Hilton Head Island is $489,900, while the median price of homes that sold is $390,300. Meanwhile, the median price of homes currently listed in the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort Metro is $380,000.


Pros of Buying

Buying a house is the only way you can build equity on the property. Hilton Head home values have gone up 2.8 percent in the past year and 3.1 percent in the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort Metro area. When you own your home, you can also take on significant home improvement projects to either increase the value of your home or add to your quality of life (such as adding Smart Home features, for example) without needing the approval of your landlord.


Besides, as a homeowner, you also have access to numerous tax benefits while owning the property, and when/if you decide to sell it as well.


Cons of Buying

Buying a house is a significant financial commitment. Besides your mortgage, you will also need to budget for the numerous fees and expenses associated with owning a property.


For example, the house's maintenance is at your charge, including significant repairs like the roof or HVAC system. You will also need to pay for home insurance, tax properties, and homeowner association fees if applicable. If you don't intend to live in the property year-round, you may need to hire a property management company to keep an eye on it while you are gone. All these expenses add up quickly.


Whether owning a house or renting an apartment is the best choice for you, you will still be able to enjoy the numerous attractions of Hilton Head Island.


Ready to avoid the high cost of living of HHI without losing access to the island's pristine beauty? Explore Pulte Homes’ numerous new homes for sale in Hilton Head and find a new home catered to your budget and lifestyle!



Contributed to Your Home blog by Alix Barnaud

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Published 2.16.2021

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