These Are The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In North Carolina For 2018


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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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 2018:

  1. Carolina Beach (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Oak Island (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Kill Devil Hills (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Wilmington (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Leland (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Boiling Spring Lakes (Homes For Sale)
  7. Morehead City (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Jacksonville (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. Havelock (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. New Bern (Photos | Homes For Sale)

So hopefully Eden (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 the best places to live in North Carolina or the cheapest.

1. Carolina Beach

Carolina Beach, North Carolina

Population: 5,755
Services: 98
Groceries: 101
Health Care: 111
Housing: 141
Transportation: 111
Utilities: 111
More on Carolina Beach: Homes For Sale | Data

2. Oak Island

Oak Island, North Carolina

Population: 6,899
Services: 98
Groceries: 101
Health Care: 111
Housing: 135
Transportation: 111
Utilities: 111
More on Oak Island: Homes For Sale | Data
Oak Island is a seaside town located mostly on the barrier island of Oak Island, in Brunswick County, North Carolina, United States. The town extends onto the mainland north of the island’s bridge. The population was 6,783 at the 2010 census. It was founded in 1999 by the consolidation of the towns of Long Beach and Yaupon Beach. Its main industry is tourism; the town has an average summer population of 30-50,000.

3. Kill Devil Hills

Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

Population: 6,714
Services: 117
Groceries: 104
Health Care: 107
Housing: 140
Transportation: 99
Utilities: 115
More on Kill Devil Hills: Homes For Sale | Data
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.

4. Wilmington

Wilmington, North Carolina

Population: 107,116
Services: 98
Groceries: 101
Health Care: 111
Housing: 118
Transportation: 111
Utilities: 111
More on Wilmington: Homes For Sale | Data
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.

5. Leland

Leland, North Carolina

Population: 13,732
Services: 98
Groceries: 101
Health Care: 111
Housing: 107
Transportation: 111
Utilities: 111
More on Leland: Homes For Sale | Data
Leland is a town in Brunswick County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 13,527 at the 2010 census, up from 1,938 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Myrtle Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area. A number of movies, such as Maximum Overdrive, Domestic Disturbance, and We’re the Millers have been shot in or around Leland.

6. Boiling Spring Lakes


Population: 5,329
Services: 98
Groceries: 101
Health Care: 111
Housing: 98
Transportation: 111
Utilities: 111
More on Boiling Spring Lakes: Homes For Sale | Data
Boiling Spring Lakes is a city in Brunswick County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 5,372 at the 2010 census, up from 2,972 at the 2000 census.

7. Morehead City

Morehead City, North Carolina

Population: 8,720
Services: 98
Groceries: 101
Health Care: 111
Housing: 94
Transportation: 111
Utilities: 111
More on Morehead City: Homes For Sale | Data
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.

8. Jacksonville

Jacksonville, North Carolina

Population: 69,393
Services: 98
Groceries: 101
Health Care: 111
Housing: 92
Transportation: 111
Utilities: 111
More on Jacksonville: Homes For Sale | Data
Jacksonville is a city in Onslow County, North Carolina, United States. As of the 2010 United States census, the population stood at 70,145, which makes Jacksonville the 14th largest city in North Carolina. Jacksonville is the principal city of Onslow County and is included in the Jacksonville, North Carolina metropolitan area. In 2014, Forbes magazine ranked Jacksonville as the fifth fastest-growing small city in the United States. Demographically, Jacksonville is the youngest city in the United States with an average age of 22.8 years old, which can be attributed to the large military presence. The low age may also be in part due to the population drastically going up over the past 80 years, from a mere 783 in the 1930 census to 70,145 in the 2010 census.

9. Havelock

Havelock, North Carolina

Public domain

Population: 20,670
Services: 98
Groceries: 101
Health Care: 111
Housing: 88
Transportation: 111
Utilities: 111
More on Havelock: Homes For Sale | Data
Havelock is a city in Craven County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 20,735 at the 2010 census. The city is home to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, the world’s largest Marine Corps air station, and home to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. Havelock is also home of the 4 time NCHSAA 3A State Champions in football.

10. New Bern

New Bern, North Carolina

Population: 29,420
Services: 98
Groceries: 101
Health Care: 111
Housing: 85
Transportation: 111
Utilities: 111
More on New Bern: Homes For Sale | Data
New Bern is a city in Craven County, North Carolina, United States. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 29,524, which had risen to an estimated 30,242 as of 2013. It is the county seat of Craven County and the principal city of the New Bern Metropolitan Statistical Area.

How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Tar Heel State For 2018

Cheapest And Most Expensive Places To Live In North Carolina Map
There are basic necessities that you have to buy no matter where in the country you live. Those things include:

  • Housing
  • Food
  • Gas
  • Health Insurance
  • Utilities
  • Transportation

You can then compare the cost of these things 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” that normalizes to 100 for an average place in the United States.

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.

And just so you can better understand how the cost of living index works, 100 is the average cost of a place in the United States. A score of 90 means that the place cost 10% less than average.

San Francisco has a score of 243 meaning it’s almost 2.5 times as expensive as the average place in the country.

Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck

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

If you’re curious, here are the least expensive cities in North Carolina:

  1. Eden
  2. Siler City
  3. Graham

For more North Carolina reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In North Carolina

Rank City Population Services Groceries Health Care
1 Carolina Beach 5,755 98 101 111
2 Oak Island 6,899 98 101 111
3 Kill Devil Hills 6,714 117 104 107
4 Wilmington 107,116 98 101 111
5 Leland 13,732 98 101 111
6 Boiling Spring Lakes 5,329 98 101 111
7 Morehead City 8,720 98 101 111
8 Jacksonville 69,393 98 101 111
9 Havelock 20,670 98 101 111
10 New Bern 29,420 98 101 111
11 Elizabeth City 18,645 117 104 107
12 Washington 9,731 117 104 107
13 Edenton 5,037 117 104 107
14 Summerfield 10,160 114 98 105
15 Whiteville 5,347 98 101 111
16 Oak Ridge 6,202 114 98 105
17 Williamston 5,484 117 104 107
18 Clemmons 18,680 114 98 105
19 Stokesdale 5,002 114 98 105
20 Lewisville 12,785 114 98 105
21 Boone 17,261 99 102 100
22 Kernersville 23,062 114 98 105
23 Mills River 6,806 99 102 100
24 Asheville 83,796 99 102 100
25 Marvin 5,484 97 100 101
26 Winston-Salem 230,030 114 98 105
27 Davidson 10,903 97 100 101
28 Weddington 9,577 97 100 101
29 King 6,659 114 98 105
30 Wesley Chapel 7,462 97 100 101
31 Fletcher 7,089 99 102 100
32 Black Mountain 7,885 99 102 100
33 Mocksville 5,034 114 98 105
34 Brevard 7,566 99 102 100
35 Cornelius 24,818 97 100 101
36 Huntersville 46,656 97 100 101
37 Waxhaw 9,743 97 100 101
38 Hendersonville 13,122 99 102 100
39 Waynesville 9,864 99 102 100
40 Matthews 27,516 97 100 101
41 Harrisburg 11,360 97 100 101
42 Stallings 13,638 97 100 101
43 Mount Airy 10,449 114 98 105
44 Mint Hill 22,890 97 100 101
45 Unionville 6,020 97 100 101
46 Woodfin 6,044 99 102 100
47 Indian Trail 33,246 97 100 101
48 Mooresville 32,462 97 100 101
49 Charlotte 740,931 97 100 101
50 Concord 79,171 97 100 101
51 Morganton 16,932 99 102 100
52 Belmont 10,156 97 100 101
53 Pineville 7,562 97 100 101
54 Monroe 33,101 97 100 101
55 Mount Holly 13,506 97 100 101
56 Hickory 40,075 97 100 101
57 Gastonia 71,865 97 100 101
58 Statesville 24,803 97 100 101
59 Kannapolis 42,845 97 100 101
60 Lenoir 18,171 99 102 100
61 Pinehurst 14,000 91 102 111
62 Cary 136,627 100 100 99
63 Morrisville 18,566 100 100 99
64 Forest City 7,480 99 102 100
65 Conover 8,118 97 100 101
66 Apex 37,589 100 100 99
67 Chapel Hill 57,088 97 96 101
68 Lincolnton 10,536 97 100 101
69 Carrboro 19,702 97 96 101
70 Marion 7,997 99 102 100
71 Holly Springs 24,663 100 100 99
72 Wake Forest 29,889 100 100 99
73 Lumberton 21,595 98 104 97
74 Southern Pines 12,439 100 100 99
75 Laurinburg 15,965 98 104 97
76 Albemarle 15,913 97 100 101
77 Cherryville 5,765 97 100 101
78 Raleigh 405,007 100 100 99
79 Newton 12,991 97 100 101
80 Shelby 20,331 97 100 101
81 Kings Mountain 10,835 97 100 101
82 Fuquay-Varina 18,143 100 100 99
83 Bessemer City 5,372 97 100 101
84 Reidsville 14,463 112 102 93
85 Winterville 9,117 100 100 99
86 Knightdale 11,567 100 100 99
87 Sawmills 5,200 97 100 101
88 Garner 25,784 100 100 99
89 Wadesboro 5,795 97 100 101
90 Hillsborough 6,114 97 96 101
91 Clayton 16,078 100 100 99
92 Rockingham 9,524 97 100 101
93 Durham 229,963 97 96 101
94 Aberdeen 6,311 100 100 99
95 Hamlet 6,554 97 100 101
96 Roxboro 8,400 112 102 93
97 Ahoskie 5,074 104 91 109
98 High Point 104,394 91 102 111
99 Greenville 84,445 100 100 99
100 Wendell 5,892 100 100 99
101 Fayetteville 200,439 100 100 99
102 Wilson 49,086 100 100 99
103 Archdale 11,205 91 102 111
104 Nashville 5,319 100 100 99
105 Sanford 28,081 100 100 99
106 Hope Mills 15,139 100 100 99
107 Elon 9,354 94 100 99
108 Smithfield 11,118 100 100 99
109 Oxford 8,518 97 96 101
110 Salisbury 33,548 91 102 111
111 Trinity 6,639 91 102 111
112 Spring Lake 12,465 100 100 99
113 Butner 7,566 97 96 101
114 Goldsboro 36,738 100 100 99
115 Asheboro 25,109 91 102 111
116 Rocky Mount 57,523 100 100 99
117 Dunn 9,310 100 100 99
118 Clinton 8,640 100 100 99
119 Roanoke Rapids 15,783 100 100 99
120 Lexington 19,038 91 102 111
121 Thomasville 26,760 91 102 111
122 Henderson 15,389 97 96 101
123 Kinston 21,746 100 100 99
124 Tarboro 11,401 100 100 99
125 Mebane 11,502 94 100 99
126 Selma 6,125 100 100 99
127 Gibsonville 6,377 94 100 99
128 Greensboro 270,619 94 100 99
129 Burlington 50,355 94 100 99
130 Graham 14,152 94 100 99
131 Siler City 7,967 94 100 99
132 Eden 15,488 96 96 88

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