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Triangle-Area Ranks High In Affordability


Several Triangle communities fared well on Movoto’s latest affordability index for North Carolina. There are so many excellent places that combine the amenities of big city living with the ease and convenience of small town life. Movoto looked at several factors to determine their affordability rankings; they used the U.S. Census data to find all of the places with populations over 10,000 and used 6 factors as criteria for their list. They looked at food costs, utility costs, miscellaneous costs, the median home price, unemployment rank, and adjusted median income. Here are the Triangle-area spots that made the top 10! Click here for Movoto’s full list!


With a median age of 30, Knightdale is one of the youngest, and arguably hippest towns in the Raleigh metro area (as residents will surely tell you.) But underneath it all, and perhaps what makes this possible, is the town’s affordability. Knightdale has one of the lowest unemployment rates in our top 10, just 7.5 percent, and better still, those employees make a median household income of $74,707, adjusted for the town’s overall cost of living of 104. And the cherry on top? This town ranked among the best for its miscellaneous costs; things like restaurants, clothes, and entertainment—great news for young families.


This Raleigh suburb has graced a Movoto list once before, as one of the best places in North Carolina, and much of that was due to its low cost of living. Overall, with a score of 96, Garner’s cost of living is four points lower than the national average. Where it really shined, though, was in its low unemployment rate of just 7.5 percent, its score of 98 for miscellaneous expenses, and its score of just 100 for food. This town has grown in leaps and bounds over the past several years and today, continues to be one of the fastest growing in the state. In looking at the numbers, it’s no wonder why. Within close proximity to one of the largest research parks in the world, Research Triangle Park, Holly Springs has been growing quickly over the past decade, serving as an affordable place to live, compared to nearby Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill.

Holly Springs

Holly Springs’ overall cost of living is a 107, where the national average is 100; but when considering the adjusted median income of $79,439, it clearly balances out. Also, considering the overall cost of living is a 107, this town’s low score of 98 for miscellaneous costs like clothes, shopping, repairs, and restaurants, is not just reasonable, but downright cheap.


The first of our No. 9 places is Cary; a veritable veteran to the Movoto blog. We first saw Cary as one of the best places in North Carolina, not just for safety and schools, but also for its high median household income. This certainly comes into play again in this list, because even with a cost of living well above average (116), with a median household income of $89,542, residents still make a median income of $77,191; one of the highest in the state. Cary also has a low unemployment rate of just 7.5 percent, compared to places like Newton, Hickory, and Morganton, where it is over 11 percent


The second No. 9 spot on our list goes to Clayton. With its famous downtown sculpture trail, the beautiful Hocutt-Ellington Public Memorial Library, the Clayton Center, and even the Clayton Youth Theater, it is clear that this Raleigh sattelite town is rich in culture—and yet, it’s one of the least expensive in the state. Clayton scores especially well in our ranking for its low cost of miscellaneous expenses, just a score of 95 where the national average is 100; and also for its low unemployment rate of 8.7 percent. Overall, Clayton’s cost of living is 100—right on track with the national average and four points higher than the state average—but with this town’s high median household income of $50,282, it actually works out to be more affordable for residents in the end.

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