These Are The 10 Best Raleigh Suburbs For 2018

We analyzed over 26 places around Raleigh to identify the most in demand places 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 Raleigh 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 Raleigh for 2018:

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

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

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

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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 Raleigh for 2018

Figuring out the best ‘burbs around Raleigh 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 Raleigh.

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 Raleigh.

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 Raleigh.” We’re lookin’ at you, Cary.

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. Cary

Cary, North Carolina

Population: 155,822
Unemployment Rate: 4.0%
Median Home Price: $309,800
Median Income: $94,617
More on Cary: Real Estate | Data

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

Everyone here is rich; families average $94,617 a year, which is the 3rd highest in the Raleigh region. And only 4.0% are out of work. Homes average more than $309,800 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 Raleigh for 2018.

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

3. 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

Here in Apex, it’s really safe, and residents are just about as rich as you’ll see in the Raleigh 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 Apex.

4. 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

Morrisville ranks as the 4th best suburb of Raleigh for 2018.

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

5. 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

Coming in as the fifth best is Wake Forest.

Wake Forest gets kudos for having the 6th most expensive homes in the Raleigh area, where houses sell for an average of $270,300. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.

6. 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

Chapel Hill 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 5.4% which is 9th best in the area.

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

7. 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

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

Carrboro 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 25.8 miles to downtown, which is a good thing.

8. 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

Rolesville 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 4.4% of people lack insurance, good for 1st in the area.

9. 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

Is ‘Everything Better In Archer Lodge?’


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 Raleigh ‘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 Raleigh, but don’t want to deal with the drawbacks, one of these suburbs might just be for you.

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Detailed List Of The Best Raleigh Suburbs

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
1 Cary 155,822 4.0% $309,800 $94,617
2 Holly Springs 30,126 4.0% $249,500 $98,041
3 Apex 43,893 4.7% $278,400 $95,283
4 Morrisville 22,600 3.9% $291,400 $92,769
5 Wake Forest 36,472 5.7% $270,300 $81,200
6 Chapel Hill 59,005 5.4% $390,300 $65,373
7 Carrboro 20,867 3.4% $326,700 $53,513
8 Rolesville 5,583 10.3% $259,000 $91,000
9 Archer Lodge 4,614 2.2% $150,800 $63,308
10 Knightdale 13,787 5.9% $171,300 $67,167
11 Fuquay-Varina 22,722 7.5% $208,100 $70,226
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 Durham 251,761 6.5% $183,900 $52,115
16 Wendell 6,298 3.1% $127,100 $47,295
17 Angier 5,079 11.1% $151,800 $43,354
18 Louisburg 3,530 5.6% $120,600 $27,269
19 Zebulon 4,813 7.8% $139,300 $51,108
20 Butner 7,692 7.2% $127,200 $46,642
21 Coats 2,344 11.3% $95,200 $35,761
22 Wilson’S Mills 2,433 8.0% $108,700 $43,346
23 Smithfield 11,746 8.8% $123,900 $33,415
24 Four Oaks 2,150 6.6% $116,700 $28,902
25 Franklinton 2,253 12.6% $96,000 $33,750
26 Selma 6,325 12.1% $85,400 $27,982

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