Don't Move to Lexington, SC Before Reading This

Dated: March 14 2024

Views: 11

Are you thinking of moving to Lexington, South Carolina?

If you are, then there are some things about Lexington you should be warned about. Although there are many great things about Lexington, this city also has its downsides that you should know about before moving here. 

But before I reveal what those are, I’ll share a little bit about the town. Lexington has a population of over 25,000 people (3) and is conveniently located about 15 miles or 20 minutes west of South Carolina’s capital city of Columbia. It’s also located just southeast of beautiful Lake Murray. 

Besides being right by the lake, another thing I appreciate about Lexington is that it has a small town feel and strong sense of community. It’s also known for its thriving downtown and community events. Despite the town’s small size, Lexington always has something going on for all ages. So what are the worst things about Lexington that you need to know? 

#1. Higher Cost of Living

My first one is that Lexington has a higher cost of living. Wait a second, I thought Lexington had a lower cost of living than most other cities in the country?! Well, that is true. According to Payscale.com, Lexington’s general cost of living, including housing costs, is 3 percent lower than the national average.1 But what you may not know is that living in Lexington is more expensive than living in Columbia and some of Columbia’s other suburbs. 

First let’s compare the cost of living in Lexington with that of Columbia. According to Bestplaces.net, it’s 3.3 percent less expensive overall to live in Columbia than in Lexington. Also, health related expenses are 1.8 percent less in Columbia  compared to Lexington. 2

After digging into MLS data covering the last year, focusing on single-family homes with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, it's clear that Columbia is a more wallet-friendly option compared to Lexington. Columbia's housing costs come in around 10% cheaper than those in Lexington.

For instance, the median home price in Lexington hits $235,000, while Columbia sits at a more affordable $214,000. Keep in mind, though, these numbers only reflect Columbia's city limits, not including the surrounding areas like the Northeast, South, or Southeast.

Now, let's talk about the neighboring suburbs. Take West Columbia and Irmo, for example. Compared to them, Lexington's cost of living and housing are also higher. In fact, Lexington's housing prices are about 10% higher than those in West Columbia. For context, a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home in West Columbia median price is $214,000, whereas in Lexington, as we noted is $235,000.

And if you're eyeing Irmo, you're in luck! Housing costs there are roughly 12% less than in Lexington. Over the past year, the median home price in Irmo has been around $210,000. So, if you're looking to save a few bucks without compromising on quality of life, Irmo might just be your spot.

#2. Traffic Congestion and Infrastructure

The second fact you should know is that Lexington is known in the area for having frequent traffic congestion and confusing intersections, and it’s not pleasant to drive there. Anyone who has driven around Lexington can tell you that the traffic can be frustrating and it’s busy all the time. 

This is because Lexington’s population has grown a lot, so traffic has increased. Especially where Highway 378 and US 1 meet, traffic can be quite tricky and can get backed up along both of those roads. So the current infrastructure doesn’t accommodate the growing number of drivers or getting in and out of the many businesses. And although the city has done things to help traffic flow, it hasn’t done enough. 

So if you plan to move to Lexington, prepare to have some patience when driving around town. However, locals believe the high quality of life and sense of community in Lexington is worth putting up with the traffic. 

#3. Population and Size

Compared to many other cities, Lexington actually has a small population. According to World Population Review, Lexington has a current population of just 25,230 people.3 

For some people, this might be too small and limiting without some of the amenities you’ll find in larger cities. 

Lexington also has a slower pace of life that maybe some people don’t prefer. But what it does offer is a thriving Main Street downtown with a variety of shops, studios, and restaurants. Lexington also offers the convenience of several large chain retailers, a community theater, bowling alley, movie theater, and the Ice House Amphitheater. This outdoor theater area hosts outdoor concerts, festivals, community events, and farmer’s markets year round. 

But if you’re used to larger downtown districts and big city venues that host nationwide talent, or if you prefer high-end shopping or the night-life scene, then maybe Lexington isn’t for you. But what makes this town so special is its slower pace of life, family friendliness and strong sense of community.

#4. Heat and Humidity

Another downside to living in Lexington is the heat and humidity. Now, anywhere you live in South Carolina, you can expect it to be more humid than in many other parts of the country. That’s because the average humidity index for South Carolina is over 82 percent which is higher than the national average. In fact, South Carolina is the 11th most humid state in the U.S. And the Columbia area’s humidity index is 85 percent which is even higher. 

If you add Lexington’s hotter summer’s temperatures to the humidity, the summer weather can feel hot and muggy. Mid-summer temperatures usually hover in the lower to mid 90’s, so when you add the heat to the humidity, for some people it can be almost unbearable. But the good thing is that the high heat and humidity lasts just 2-3 months out of the year, and many locals get used to it. Just make sure you have working air conditioning. And it also helps that Lexington has a lake nearby plus community pools and splash pads to cool off in! 

#5. No Vibrant NightLife

One reason so many people are moving to Lexington is because of its small town feel and sense of community. In fact, much of Lexington’s charm and appeal is that it’s a quaint town and suburb secluded from its bigger neighbor of Columbia, yet this town stands apart on its own. Although Lexington has grown a lot in recent years and has a lot to offer, it still has a small town feel and sense of community.

That said, don’t expect to find a vibrant nightlife here. Lexington is great for families and all ages but is not so great for the night club scene. This town has its fair share of bars, restaurants, and outdoor concerts with local talent. But you’ll need to drive to Columbia or about 2 hours east to Charleston to find more nightlife options. Columbia and Chaleston both host concerts with big names, live theater with touring shows, and many nightclubs and restaurants that stay open late. 

As you can see, Lexington definitely has some disadvantages, but it also has many advantages that I’ll cover in my next post! Plus many locals believe that this town’s higher quality of life, lower cost of living, and strong sense of community make up for its downsides. Do you live in Lexington? What do you like or dislike about it? Please let me know in the comments.

****

Sources:

  1. https://www.payscale.com/cost-of-living-calculator/South-Carolina-Lexington
  2. https://www.bestplaces.net/compare-cities/lexington_sc/columbia_sc/costofliving
  3. https://worldpopulationreview.com/us-cities/lexington-sc-population

 

Author Vanessa Pham

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Sandra Sturkie

 Originally from Colombia, South America, I now proudly call Columbia, South Carolina, my home.With a degree in Accounting from the University of Quindio in Colombia, I bring a solid educational ....

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