These Are The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In North Carolina For 2019


We used science and data to determine which cities in North Carolina that will put a big dent in your wallet.

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Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the most expensive places to live in North Carolina.

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Everyone wants a home that mixes affordability with comfort and North Carolina does this very well. Families love the Tar Heel State’s beaches, midlands, and mountains as tourists before moving here and calling it home.

But before you decide to relocate, you have to do some research into the exact cost of living around the state — and that’s how we’re going to help you.

These are the places in North Carolina that cost a pretty penny — the most expensive cities in the state.

After we saved up for months and could finally afford it, we landed on this list of the ten most expensive cities in North Carolina for 2019.

So where is the most expensive place to live in North Carolina? That would be Boone.

So hopefully Sawmills (the cheapest place to live in North Carolina) can show these guys how to live on a budget in the coming years. Read on for how these places had costs rise faster than inflation.

And if you already knew these places were expensive, check out some more reading about North Carolina and the most expensive cities in the country:

The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In North Carolina For 2019

Boone, NC

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 18,493
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 15.4x (1st most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 20.7x (1st most expensive)
More on Boone: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Boone comes in at $17,424 and the median home value is $268,200 for 2019.

Elon, NC

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 9,939
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.6x (15th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 43.3x (11th most expensive)
More on Elon: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Elon comes in at $50,521 and the median home value is $232,600 for 2019.

Kill Devil Hills, NC

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 6,978
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.7x (13th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 44.1x (16th most expensive)
More on Kill Devil Hills: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Kill Devil Hills is a town in Dare County, North Carolina. The population was 6,683 at the 2010 census, up from 5,897 in 2000. It is the most populous settlement in both Dare County and on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The Kill Devil Hills Micropolitan Statistical Area is part of the larger Virginia Beach-Norfolk, VA-NC Combined Statistical Area.

The median income in Kill Devil Hills comes in at $50,898 and the median home value is $240,200 for 2019.

Woodfin, NC

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 6,394
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 11)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.0x (9th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 36.6x (3rd most expensive)
More on Woodfin: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Woodfin is a town in Buncombe County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 6,123 as of the 2010 census. It is part of the Asheville Metropolitan Statistical Area. The town is named for Nicholas Washington Woodfin, a renowned lawyer and statesman of early North Carolina, under whom Governor Zebulon Vance clerked as an attorney. Woodfin is the only municipality bearing the name Woodfin in the United States. The town was incorporated in 1971, although the community itself dates back to at least the mid-19th century.

The median income in Woodfin comes in at $36,946 and the median home value is $184,600 for 2019.

Wilmington, NC

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 115,261
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.3x (5th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 49.3x (35th most expensive)
More on Wilmington: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Wilmington is a port city and the county seat of New Hanover County in coastal southeastern North Carolina, United States. The population is 112,067; according to the 2010 Census it is the eighth most populous city in the state. Wilmington is the principal city of the Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area, a metropolitan area that includes New Hanover and Pender counties in southeastern North Carolina, which has a population of 263,429 as of the 2012 Census Estimate.

The median income in Wilmington comes in at $43,867 and the median home value is $232,900 for 2019.

Carolina Beach, NC

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 6,116
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.2x (7th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 54.1x (56th most expensive)
More on Carolina Beach: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Carolina Beach comes in at $61,997 and the median home value is $320,200 for 2019.

Asheville, NC

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 89,318
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.9x (11th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 48.7x (33rd most expensive)
More on Asheville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Asheville is a city and the county seat of Buncombe County, North Carolina, United States. It is the largest city in Western North Carolina, and the 12th-most populous city in the U.S. state of North Carolina. The city’s population was 89,121 according to the 2016 estimates. It is the principal city in the four-county Asheville metropolitan area, with a population of 424,858 in 2010. Asheville is home to the United States National Climatic Data Center, the world’s largest active archive of weather data.

The median income in Asheville comes in at $46,464 and the median home value is $227,500 for 2019.

Morehead City, NC

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 9,200
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.1x (8th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 48.2x (30th most expensive)
More on Morehead City: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Morehead City is a port town in Carteret County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 8,661 at the 2010 census. Morehead City celebrated the 150th anniversary of its founding on May 5, 2007. It forms part of the Crystal Coast.

The median income in Morehead City comes in at $39,951 and the median home value is $205,200 for 2019.

Carrboro, NC

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 21,099
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.9x (2nd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 57.6x (71st most expensive)
More on Carrboro: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Carrboro is a town in Orange County in the U.S. state of North Carolina. The population was 19,582 at the 2010 census. The town, which is part of the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill combined statistical area, was named after North Carolina industrialist Julian Shakespeare Carr.

The median income in Carrboro comes in at $56,573 and the median home value is $334,500 for 2019.

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 6,174
Rank Last Year: 28 (Up 18)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.7x (30th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 52.1x (51st most expensive)
More on Marvin: Real Estate | Data

The median income in Marvin comes in at $170,500 and the median home value is $633,300 for 2019.

How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Tar Heel State For 2019

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In North Carolina
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. How much do I have spend to live there?

You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.

For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it’s actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.

With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2013-2017 around incomes and costs. They are:

  • Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
  • Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
  • Median Home Price

We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).

You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in North Carolina to figure out which is the most expensive.

What you are left with is a “Cost of Living Index” by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 132 places in North Carolina that have more than 5,000 people.

The place with the highest cost of living in North Carolina according to the data is Boone.

Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck In North Carolina For 2019

Well there you have it, the places in North Carolina that have the highest cost of living, with Boone ranking as the most expensive city in the Tar Heel State.

Here’s a look at the most affordable cities in North Carolina according to the data:

  1. Sawmills
  2. Hamlet
  3. Nashville

For more North Carolina reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In North Carolina

Rank City ExpensiveScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Boone 7.33 18,493 15.4x 20.7x
2 Elon 17.67 9,939 4.6x 43.3x
3 Kill Devil Hills 17.67 6,978 4.7x 44.1x
4 Woodfin 19.67 6,394 5.0x 36.6x
5 Wilmington 22.0 115,261 5.3x 49.3x
6 Carolina Beach 24.33 6,116 5.2x 54.1x
7 Asheville 24.5 89,318 4.9x 48.7x
8 Morehead City 25.67 9,200 5.1x 48.2x
9 Carrboro 26.67 21,099 5.9x 57.6x
10 Marvin 27.33 6,174 3.7x 52.1x
11 Hendersonville 27.67 13,620 4.7x 44.1x
12 Chapel Hill 28.67 59,234 5.9x 59.7x
13 Pinehurst 30.67 15,580 3.5x 50.0x
14 Southern Pines 31.67 13,426 5.8x 58.9x
15 Jacksonville 33.83 73,661 3.7x 41.9x
16 Greenville 37.0 90,347 4.2x 47.0x
17 Hillsborough 37.67 7,033 4.3x 55.1x
18 Washington 38.0 9,721 4.5x 46.0x
19 Waynesville 38.33 9,804 4.8x 51.0x
20 Elizabeth City 38.67 17,732 4.0x 42.7x
21 Pineville 39.0 8,418 3.8x 50.3x
22 Oak Island 39.67 7,400 4.5x 59.8x
23 Black Mountain 41.0 8,110 4.9x 59.1x
24 Lincolnton 42.67 10,574 4.2x 47.0x
25 Graham 43.67 14,540 4.1x 45.5x
26 Smithfield 44.67 11,824 3.7x 44.1x
27 Brevard 44.67 7,759 5.2x 64.5x
28 Roxboro 45.67 8,273 4.3x 36.8x
29 Statesville 46.0 25,872 4.0x 50.1x
30 Dunn 46.33 9,657 3.9x 43.9x
31 New Bern 46.67 29,664 3.6x 49.5x
32 Clinton 48.0 8,630 4.1x 46.0x
33 Siler City 48.33 8,116 3.9x 42.3x
34 Durham 49.0 257,232 3.6x 56.7x
35 Fletcher 49.67 7,737 3.3x 54.1x
36 Raleigh 50.33 449,477 3.7x 60.9x
37 Goldsboro 50.67 35,432 3.7x 44.6x
38 Leland 56.0 18,023 3.3x 56.8x
39 Forest City 56.67 7,250 3.6x 39.6x
40 Oxford 57.0 8,614 3.6x 50.2x
41 Lexington 58.33 18,916 3.5x 44.3x
42 Greensboro 59.0 284,816 3.4x 55.3x
43 Shelby 59.0 20,058 3.4x 48.0x
44 Mint Hill 60.67 25,600 3.3x 68.5x
45 Henderson 61.0 15,009 3.5x 43.8x
46 Hickory 61.0 40,157 3.7x 64.6x
47 Davidson 61.33 12,325 3.4x 110.2x
48 Kinston 61.33 21,004 3.4x 44.4x
49 Charlotte 61.67 826,060 3.2x 57.2x
50 Laurinburg 61.67 15,320 3.5x 44.2x
51 Summerfield 62.0 10,957 3.4x 118.4x
52 Mills River 62.33 7,079 3.6x 75.3x
53 Monroe 63.67 34,368 3.2x 51.5x
54 Roanoke Rapids 64.0 15,107 3.3x 47.8x
55 Cary 64.0 159,715 3.3x 86.3x
56 Cornelius 65.0 28,052 3.2x 72.7x
57 Weddington 65.67 10,388 3.3x 120.3x
58 Wadesboro 66.33 5,414 3.2x 41.4x
59 Mount Airy 66.33 10,198 3.7x 60.7x
60 High Point 66.67 109,849 3.2x 54.4x
61 Wake Forest 66.67 38,473 3.3x 82.1x
62 Morganton 67.0 16,478 3.6x 62.6x
63 Kernersville 67.33 23,988 3.4x 67.4x
64 Morrisville 67.33 23,873 3.2x 75.9x
65 Tarboro 68.0 11,038 3.3x 50.5x
66 Mocksville 68.67 5,130 3.6x 63.2x
67 Salisbury 68.67 33,561 3.2x 50.3x
68 Matthews 69.0 30,760 3.0x 65.9x
69 Angier 69.33 5,151 3.3x 59.9x
70 Mooresville 69.67 36,577 3.1x 64.8x
71 Whiteville 69.67 5,487 3.5x 50.7x
72 Wilson 69.67 49,237 3.3x 55.3x
73 Gastonia 70.33 74,381 3.2x 54.6x
74 Fayetteville 70.33 210,324 3.0x 48.7x
75 Havelock 70.67 20,404 2.8x 48.2x
76 Lumberton 70.67 21,366 3.2x 48.3x
77 Selma 71.33 6,375 3.0x 34.9x
78 Burlington 71.67 52,813 3.2x 50.7x
79 Asheboro 72.33 25,863 3.3x 54.3x
80 Waxhaw 72.67 13,343 2.9x 71.7x
81 Wesley Chapel 73.33 8,447 2.9x 83.1x
82 Clayton 75.0 19,306 2.8x 55.5x
83 Stallings 75.17 14,970 2.8x 64.7x
84 Harrisburg 75.33 14,856 2.8x 64.9x
85 Albemarle 75.67 15,874 3.3x 57.1x
86 Apex 77.33 45,899 2.9x 84.0x
87 Huntersville 78.0 53,302 2.9x 78.0x
88 Aberdeen 78.0 7,265 3.1x 65.3x
89 Oak Ridge 78.0 6,728 2.9x 137.4x
90 Mebane 81.33 14,426 2.9x 69.5x
91 Concord 81.33 87,607 3.0x 70.2x
92 Ayden 81.33 5,120 3.2x 51.6x
93 Kings Mountain 81.67 10,929 2.9x 51.3x
94 Garner 82.33 28,048 2.8x 60.5x
95 Clemmons 82.33 19,844 2.9x 84.1x
96 Belmont 83.0 11,373 2.9x 69.7x
97 Rolesville 83.33 6,308 2.8x 127.7x
98 Boiling Spring Lakes 84.0 5,777 3.0x 67.1x
99 Sanford 84.67 29,051 3.0x 63.8x
100 Long View 84.67 5,013 2.9x 47.5x

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