Beautifully situated on the southeast coast of the United States, North Carolina is an ideal place for mild weather, low unemployment and affordable housing.
Over 10 million Americans call the state home, according to the Office of State Budget and Management, and the population is expected to increase to 14 million by 2050. Data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that North Carolina residents will spend an average of $38,295 per year on living expenses in 2020, well below the national average of $42,635.
With the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains, 300 miles of Atlantic beaches and many well-known colleges and universities, this state’s popularity is sure to continue. Let’s break down the cost of living in North Carolina.
Buying a home in North Carolina will likely cost you less than many other states, according to Redfin data. The median retail price in the state as of October 2022 was $345,300, which is more than $30,000 less than the current national median of $379,100.
However, prices can vary wildly depending on where in the state you want to call home. For example, buying a home in a hot area, like the Wilmington coast or the metropolitan area of Charlotte, will cost you around $400,000 or more—sometimes significantly more—while houses in smaller towns or rural areas can be had for much less. Bankrate’s New Home Calculator can help you figure out how much house you can afford here.
Renters may also be able to strike a deal in North Carolina. Zillow Rental Manager data puts the state’s median rent at $1,875, which is more than $200 a month below the national average of $2,100.
North Carolina job market
North Carolina has a robust job market with lots of tourism and key industries like aerospace, pharmaceuticals and food manufacturing, according to the state’s Department of Commerce. The Research Triangle area of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill is home to three major universities – NC State, Duke and UNC – and the largest research park in the United States. Huge corporations like Lowe’s, headquartered in Mooresville, and Bank of America, headquartered in Charlotte, are also major employers.
The state’s unemployment rate of 3.8 percent places North Carolina in the middle of the country, ranking 31st according to the October 2022 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data from ZipRecruiter, a employment website, shows that the average annual salary in the state is just over US$54,000 -dollar lies .
cost of groceries
As in most markets nationwide, the region’s most recent consumer price index numbers are pointing higher on food costs. Food prices in the South rose just over 11 percent between October 2021 and October 2022. The ‘groceries at home’ category, which includes everyday groceries such as eggs, milk, produce and baked goods, saw an even stronger increase of 12.7 percent. The MIT Living Wage Calculator puts North Carolina’s grocery spending at $3,351 per year for a single person, or $9,856 for a family of four.
Public transportation throughout the state includes buses, trains, and ferries. Options are more robust in the larger cities — for example, the Charlotte Area Transit System (known as CATS) offers express buses, local shuttle routes, and two light rail lines.
The MIT calculator estimates the state’s annual transportation cost for a single person at $5,509. The average cost of gasoline in North Carolina was $3.29 a gallon at the end of November, according to AAA data — more than 20 cents cheaper than the national average.
Local and State Taxes and Fees
- North Carolina has no state property tax, giving Tar Heel state homeowners a break in this area. However, property taxes on real estate are levied at the local level.
- The individual income tax rate for the 2022 tax year is a flat 4.99 percent, up from 5.25 in recent years. State legislation has set the income tax rate to continue to decrease annually; By 2026 it should be 3.6 percent.
The state sales tax is a relatively low 4.75 percent, with the tax foundation ranking it 35th out of 50 states. But combined with locally levied sales taxes, the total rises to 6.98 percent, ranking 26th.
- At the end of November 2022, mortgage rates in North Carolina averaged 6.81 percent for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and 6.17 percent for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage.
Move to North Carolina
The overall cost of living in North Carolina can be cheap compared to where you currently live. While prices have risen in various sectors throughout 2022, real estate prices and many other costs remain below the national average.
Before you move, use Bankrate’s cost of living calculator to calculate the difference in cost between your current location and where you plan to move in North Carolina. If you decide to move here, especially from abroad, don’t forget to factor the cost of the move into your budget.