Cheapest Places to Live in North Carolina

10 Cheapest Places to Live in North Carolina for 2023

Not surprisingly, North Carolina consistently ranks in the top 10 most popular states with so many career opportunities and so many outdoor activities. But with a larger population, the cost of living increases.

But no worries; Expensive housing won’t stop you from moving to Tar Heel State. How? Because we did a survey for you and found the 10 most accessible places in North Carolina!

Before compiling this list, we considered several factors such as the city’s income potential, cost of living, quality of life, attractions and employment rate.

Affordable Places to Live in North Carolina


A low unemployment rate is just as important as the affordability of the city. In terms of low unemployment, Cary has an unemployment rate of 5.6%, the lowest of any city on the list. In addition, employees have access to an exceptionally high annual salary. In fact, the median household income in Cary is $90,250. Cary also offers ways to cut costs, as well as several transit options.


Durham is a city where everything is in one place while keeping it affordable. Nearly 70% of homeowners spend less than 30% of their monthly income on housing costs. Plus, the average monthly rent in Durham is only $852! But living cheap does not mean giving up quality. Example: Durham has one of the most affordable healthcare services in all of North Carolina. Bon Appetit also called it “America’s Best Food City.”


Many homes in the United States cost between $300,000 and $400,000, making owning a home almost unaffordable. But Concord is where you can pursue your dream of a home. The average cost of a home in Concord is very low at $168,300 and the average mortgage is $1,441. Concord residents also earn a moderately high family income with an average annual salary of $53,000. What does this mean to you? You can spend less on household expenses and live more than you want.


Waterfront homes are generally expensive. But in Wilmington, the average home price is around $226,000. Depending on where you live in Wilmington, you can easily get around town eliminating the expenses of a car, such as fuel, repairs, and tire changes. Plus, most entertainment in Wilmington costs next to nothing. The Historic District and Riverwalk continually offer free places to visit each day.

Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill is full of options that extend accessibility even further. The city is home to some of the best employers in the country, such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield, which means plenty of jobs and higher salaries. There are also many high-quality educational opportunities that allow residents to further their careers. The median household income in Chapel Hill is $65,373, which is higher than the annual income in the United States.


One of North Carolina’s most popular suburbs, Morrisville is home to over 22,000 residents and is welcomed in areas such as job availability, public schools, and ethnic and economic diversity. The median household income in Morrisville is approximately $91,206.

Wake Forest

Wake Forest is another suburb of North Carolina, north of the state capital. The town has a population of nearly 35,000 and was previously home to Wake University before moving to Winston-Salem. As with all the other areas on this list, the median annual income for a family living in Wake Forest is quite high, at around $81,000. The average home price here is around $267,300.


Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina, also known as Oak City, is a great place for those who love the excitement of a vibrant city. This huge city is home to over 432,000 people who enjoy a low cost of living. Homes in Raleigh are worth around $209,000, so depending on the location, you may not be able to afford a three-bedroom single-family home.


Waxhaw is a small suburb and one of the fastest growing places in North Carolina. 11,600 people live there. Waxhaw is located in Union County, a few miles from the South Carolina border. Waxhaw also ranks highly on Education and Family Friendship; however, the cost of living is slightly higher than in other regions. The median home value is nearly $260,000. A better point is that the median household income is quite high, averaging $84,294.


Apex, a city of 42,000, is often cited by Indeed, Time Magazine, and Niche as one of the best places to live in North Carolina. With all the lucrative job opportunities, Apex’s quality of life is “unmatched”. The median household income is nearly $91,000 per year. Like Waxhaw, the cost of living is a bit high, averaging $265,000.

How much does it cost to live in North Carolina?

The cost of living in North Carolina is 2.0% higher than the US average. According to MIT, the required living wage for a family of four with two working parents in North Carolina is $91,578 and the median for a family of four with two working parents is $89,744. The median household income in North Carolina is $56,642.

What is the cheapest real estate market in North Carolina?

The cheapest real estate market in North Carolina is Roxboro. The median home value in Roxboro is $79,000, the lowest in the state. The median home value in North Carolina is $182,100, nearly 2.3 times that of Roxboro.

Other Some Cheapest Cities in North Carolina Data

Before packing up and moving to North Carolina, look over the average rents and year-over-growth in its cheapest cities.

City Average 2-Bedroom Rent YoY Growth
Greenville, NC $881.33 9%
Winston-Salem, NC $1115 23%
Fayetteville, NC $1155.67 18%
Kannapolis, NC $1225 11%
Greensboro, NC $1239.67 20%
Concord, NC $1248.33 20%
Wilmington, NC $1303 16%
Wake Forest, NC $1336.33 26%
Chapel Hill, NC $1380.67 16%
Durham, NC $1394.67 22%


From coastal gems to modern cities, these are the cheapest places to live in North Carolina. The best places to live in the country are brimming with history, Southern charm and promising job markets. Ready to go into Tar Heel mode? Sign up for an apartment listing and find affordable apartments in North Carolina.

If you’re concerned about the cost of living in North Carolina, find out about eligible rental costs. You may also want to stay, rent a short term or find a moving specialty!

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