These Are The 10 Best Cary Suburbs For 2018

We analyzed over 26 places around Cary to identify the most kickass place to live.

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Big city living isn’t for everyone–but at the same time, urban areas certainly have their perks.

There’s the culture, the food, the arts, the food, the energy, and you know, the food. But there are drawbacks. There’s traffic, expensive parking, expensive housing–pretty much, expensive everything, depending on which big city you’re looking at.

But that’s where the suburbs come in–they have all of the benefits of being near big cities, without actually having to be big cities.

Of course, not all suburbs of Cary are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado…

Here are the 10 best suburbs around Cary for 2018:

  1. Apex (Photos | Homes)
  2. Holly Springs (Photos | Homes)
  3. Morrisville (Photos | Homes)
  4. Wake Forest (Photos | Homes)
  5. Chapel Hill (Photos | Homes)
  6. Carrboro (Photos | Homes)
  7. Rolesville (Photos | Homes)
  8. Archer Lodge (Homes)
  9. Fuquay-Varina (Photos | Homes)
  10. Knightdale (Photos | Homes)

If you happen to be a resident of Apex, you’re probably not too surprised to find it on the top our list.

We’ll tell you what makes each of these 10 Cary ‘burbs better than the rest–but first, a bit about our methodology.

For more North Carolina reading, check out:

Editor’s Note: If you see a slight difference between the best in state rankings and this suburb ranking, it’s because of the methodology. We needed a way to include more places, so we eliminated crime and commute times as criteria for this analysis.

How We Determined The Best Suburbs Around Cary for 2018

Figuring out the best ‘burbs around Cary was pretty simple; we just needed to list several things that people like, and then find out which cities have the most of those things.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible:

  • Low unemployment rate
  • High Median household incomes
  • Population density (lots of things to do)
  • High home values
  • A lot of college educated people
  • Low poverty
  • High rate of insured families

Then we used the newest American Community Survey data (2012-2016) to research each suburb.

FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Cary.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 26 suburbs to evaluate around Cary.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 26 in each category, where 1 was the “best.

Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality of life index.

And finally, we crowned the city with the best quality of life index the “Best Suburb near Cary.” We’re lookin’ at you, Apex.

Read on below to learn more about what it’s like to live in the best of the best. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from best to worst.

1. Apex

Apex, North Carolina

Source: Public domain

Population: 43,893
Unemployment Rate: 4.7%
Median Home Price: $278,400
Median Income: $95,283
More on Apex: Real Estate | Data

Apex is always mentioned as one of the best suburbs in the Cary area. We’ll tell you the good about “Awesome Apex.”

Everyone here is rich; families average $95,283 a year, which is the 2nd highest in the Cary region. And only 4.7% are out of work. Homes average more than $278,400 each.

2. Holly Springs

Holly Springs, North Carolina

Population: 30,126
Unemployment Rate: 4.0%
Median Home Price: $249,500
Median Income: $98,041
More on Holly Springs: Real Estate | Data

Holly Springs is the second best ‘burb we looked at near Cary for 2018.

It ranks 1st for incomes in the area and only 4.5% of residents lack insurance, good for 3rd best.

3. Morrisville

Morrisville, North Carolina

Source: Town of Morrisville

Population: 22,600
Unemployment Rate: 3.9%
Median Home Price: $291,400
Median Income: $92,769
More on Morrisville: Real Estate | Data

Here in Morrisville, it’s really safe, and residents are just about as rich as you’ll see in the Cary metro area.

The bad side? Schools are more crowded, and the cost of living puts a large part of the city out of reach for most families.

But price is based on demand and a lot of people want to live in Morrisville.

4. Wake Forest

Wake Forest, North Carolina

Population: 36,472
Unemployment Rate: 5.7%
Median Home Price: $270,300
Median Income: $81,200
More on Wake Forest: Real Estate | Data

Wake Forest ranks as the 4th best suburb of Cary for 2018.

You won’t find many better places to raise your kids in the region than in Wake Forest and the schools are some of the best around.

5. Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Population: 59,005
Unemployment Rate: 5.4%
Median Home Price: $390,300
Median Income: $65,373
More on Chapel Hill: Real Estate | Data

Coming in as the fifth best is Chapel Hill.

Chapel Hill gets kudos for having the 1st most expensive homes in the Cary area, where houses sell for an average of $390,300. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.

6. Carrboro

Carrboro, North Carolina

Population: 20,867
Unemployment Rate: 3.4%
Median Home Price: $326,700
Median Income: $53,513
More on Carrboro: Real Estate | Data

Carrboro is proud of its 6th place finish on this list. And here’s why.

Most residents have great jobs and the unemployment rate sits at 3.4% which is 3rd best in the area.

According to online reports, Carrboro is quickly becoming one of the more affluent suburbs in the Cary area, meaning you need to get in soon.

7. Rolesville

Rolesville, North Carolina

Population: 5,583
Unemployment Rate: 10.3%
Median Home Price: $259,000
Median Income: $91,000
More on Rolesville: Real Estate | Data

The 7th best suburb on our list goes to Rolesville.

Rolesville schools are some of the best in the region, and crime is really low. The cost of living makes it a lot more desirable for many families, especially first-time home buyers.

And, it’s only 22.0 miles to downtown, which is a good thing.

8. Archer Lodge

Population: 4,614
Unemployment Rate: 2.2%
Median Home Price: $150,800
Median Income: $63,308
More on Archer Lodge: Real Estate | Data

Archer Lodge is growing quickly, and for a good reason. Crime is far below average, and most residents are gainfully employed. Even the cost of living is reasonable.

A solid 11.0% of people lack insurance, good for 13th in the area.

9. Fuquay-Varina

Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina

Source: Public domain

Population: 22,722
Unemployment Rate: 7.5%
Median Home Price: $208,100
Median Income: $70,226
More on Fuquay-Varina: Real Estate | Data

Is ‘Everything Better In Fuquay-Varina?’


It placed 9th on our list thanks to the fact that it’s really expensive to live here, but the schools are great, so you get what you pay for in that regard.

10. Knightdale

Knightdale, North Carolina

Population: 13,787
Unemployment Rate: 5.9%
Median Home Price: $171,300
Median Income: $67,167
More on Knightdale: Real Estate | Data

And rounding out the top ten for 2018 is Knightdale.

This city is far above average in every category, and the best part? It’s far more affordable than the other cities listed above. So, you get a big bang for your buck here.

Welcome to the Best Cary ‘Burbs of 2018

We said it once and we’ll say it again–life in the big city isn’t for everyone. At least not all the time.

So if you’re hankering for some of the amenities of a larger city like Cary, but don’t want to deal with the drawbacks, one of these suburbs might just be for you.

For more North Carolina reading , check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Cary Suburbs

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
1 Apex 43,893 4.7% $278,400 $95,283
2 Holly Springs 30,126 4.0% $249,500 $98,041
3 Morrisville 22,600 3.9% $291,400 $92,769
4 Wake Forest 36,472 5.7% $270,300 $81,200
5 Chapel Hill 59,005 5.4% $390,300 $65,373
6 Carrboro 20,867 3.4% $326,700 $53,513
7 Rolesville 5,583 10.3% $259,000 $91,000
8 Archer Lodge 4,614 2.2% $150,800 $63,308
9 Fuquay-Varina 22,722 7.5% $208,100 $70,226
10 Knightdale 13,787 5.9% $171,300 $67,167
11 Raleigh 441,326 6.1% $218,200 $58,641
12 Creedmoor 4,353 4.7% $153,900 $66,818
13 Garner 27,625 6.3% $164,800 $59,812
14 Clayton 18,553 7.6% $162,000 $60,989
15 Wendell 6,298 3.1% $127,100 $47,295
16 Hillsborough 6,428 5.9% $205,300 $50,240
17 Durham 251,761 6.5% $183,900 $52,115
18 Pittsboro 4,058 10.6% $209,700 $51,563
19 Angier 5,079 11.1% $151,800 $43,354
20 Zebulon 4,813 7.8% $139,300 $51,108
21 Butner 7,692 7.2% $127,200 $46,642
22 Sanford 29,048 9.5% $132,200 $42,070
23 Coats 2,344 11.3% $95,200 $35,761
24 Wilson’S Mills 2,433 8.0% $108,700 $43,346
25 Lillington 3,436 12.8% $127,800 $27,670
26 Franklinton 2,253 12.6% $96,000 $33,750

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