The 10 Most Affordable Places to Live in North Carolina

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By Michael Yessis Updated June 13, 2024
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Edited by Ashley Simon

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The 28365 zip code in Mount Olive tops our ranking of the most affordable places to live in North Carolina.

We looked at 301 zip codes in the state, evaluating home values, rental costs, energy rates, property taxes, and five other affordability indicators. We used the data we gathered to calculate our proprietary Affordability Score for each zip code.  

Top 10 most affordable places to live in North Carolina

RankCity Affordability Score Median home valueRental costs
1Mount Olive 🥇100$122,747$1,710
2Goldsboro🥈99.0$174,603$1,233
3Eden 🥉98.7$143,341$1,710
4Roanoke Rapids98.1$110,571$1,710
5Rockingham97.9$132,063$1,710
6Ahoskie97.6$110,710$1,710
7Rocky Mount96.4$126,131$1,010
8High Point95.2$127,020$1,126
9Williamston94.8$124,650$1,710
10Red Springs94.6$93,186$1,710
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1. Mount Olive

Here's why the 28365 zip code in Mount Olive is North Carolina's most affordable place to live.

🔎 Key data about Mount Olive

Data pointValueRank (out of 301 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 100 No. 1N/A
Median home value $122,747[1]No. 8 -$232,442.03
Home affordability ratio 2.5No. 3-2.4
Home value five-year change 25.2%[2]No. 1-37.4%
Home value one-year forecast 0.8%[3]No. 1510.0%
Rental costs $1,710[4]No. 96$0
Rent affordability ratio 2.38%No. 900.0%
Median household income $48,406[5]No. 261-$23,483
Property taxes $875[6]No. 9-$1,169
Energy costs $0.12 kWh[7]No. 194$0.01
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Mount Olive's 28365 zip code is the cheapest place to live in North Carolina, leading the 301 markets we evaluated. 

The median home value is $122,747, making it the 8th-cheapest housing market in the state. Forecasts project a 0.8% change in home values in the next year. Rent in the zip code averages $1,710 per month, which is the 90th cheapest amount in North Carolina.

The median property tax for homeowners in Mount Olive is $875 per household, the No. 9 ranked market in North Carolina. 

Residents pay $0.12 per kWh of electricity, which ranks No. 194 among North Carolina markets.

2. Goldsboro

The 27530 zip code is the 2nd-cheapest place to live in North Carolina.

🔎 Key data about Goldsboro

Data pointValueRank (out of 301 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 99.0No. 2N/A
Median home value $174,603[8]No. 25-$180,585.79
Home affordability ratio 3.3No. 19-1.6
Home value five-year change 45.1%[9]No. 9-17.5%
Home value one-year forecast -1.1%[10]No. 2-1.9%
Rental costs $1,233[11]No. 10-$477
Rent affordability ratio 2.35%No. 870.0%
Median household income $52,466[12]No. 233-$19,423
Property taxes $1,257[13]No. 73-$787
Energy costs $0.12 kWh[14]No. 194$0.01
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Goldsboro's 27530 zip code has a median home value of $174,603, which is the 2nd-cheapest housing market in North Carolina. You can rent for an average of $1,233 per month. That's the 10th-cheapest price in the state.

The average household income in the zip code is $52,466, which ranks 233rd-highest in the state. 

Homeowners in Goldsboro pay a median property tax of $1,257 per year, making it the 73rd-most affordable market in North Carolina.

Goldsboro ranks No. 194 among North Carolina energy markets. You'll pay $0.12 per kWh of electricity.

3. Eden

The 3rd-cheapest place to live in North Carolina is Eden's 27288 zip code.

🔎 Key data about Eden

Data pointValueRank (out of 301 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 98.7No. 3N/A
Median home value $143,341[15]No. 17-$211,848.37
Home affordability ratio 2.9No. 8-2.0
Home value five-year change 39.9%[16]No. 3-22.7%
Home value one-year forecast 0.2%[17]No. 41-0.6%
Rental costs $1,710[18]No. 96$0
Rent affordability ratio 2.38%No. 900.0%
Median household income $49,219[19]No. 255-$22,670
Property taxes $1,054[20]No. 30-$990
Energy costs $0.10 kWh[21]No. 1-$0.01
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The No. 17 cheapest housing in North Carolina is Eden's 27288 zip code, with a median home value of $143,341. Rents in the market average $1,710 per month, making it the 96th-most affordable rental market in the state.

The median property tax for households in Eden is $1,054, which makes it the 30th-cheapest place in North Carolina. Eden ranks No. 1 among North Carolina markets by energy costs. Residents pay $0.10 per kWh of electricity.

4. Roanoke Rapids

The 27870 zip code in Roanoke Rapids comes in at No. 4 on our list of the cheapest places to live in North Carolina.

🔎 Key data about Roanoke Rapids

Data pointValueRank (out of 301 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 98.1No. 4N/A
Median home value $110,571[22]No. 4-$244,618.18
Home affordability ratio 2.5No. 2-2.5
Home value five-year change 48.4%[23]No. 13-14.3%
Home value one-year forecast -0.6%[24]No. 7-1.4%
Rental costs $1,710[25]No. 96$0
Rent affordability ratio 2.38%No. 900.0%
Median household income $44,416[26]No. 281-$27,473
Property taxes $1,450[27]No. 129-$594
Energy costs $0.12 kWh[28]No. 186$0.01
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The No. 4 cheapest housing market in North Carolina is Roanoke Rapids's 27870 zip code, where the median home value is $110,571. Renters here pay an average of $1,710 per month. 

When it comes to energy costs, Roanoke Rapids ranks 186th among North Carolina markets. Residents pay $0.12 per kWh of electricity.

The median property tax for households in the zip code is $1,450, which makes it the 129th-cheapest market in North Carolina.

5. Rockingham

The 28379 zip code in Rockingham ranks No. 5 among North Carolina's most affordable places to live.

🔎 Key data about Rockingham

Data pointValueRank (out of 301 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 97.9No. 5N/A
Median home value $132,063[29]No. 12-$223,126.20
Home affordability ratio 2.9No. 9-2.0
Home value five-year change 43.4%[30]No. 5-19.2%
Home value one-year forecast -1.1%[31]No. 2-1.9%
Rental costs $1,710[32]No. 96$0
Rent affordability ratio 2.38%No. 900.0%
Median household income $45,298[33]No. 274-$26,591
Property taxes $1,173[34]No. 52-$871
Energy costs $0.12 kWh[35]No. 194$0.01
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Rockingham's 28379 zip code has a median home value of $132,063, the 12th-cheapest market in the state. Forecasts project a -1.1% change in home values in the next year. 

The median property tax per household in Rockingham is $1,173. It's the 52nd-cheapest market by tax rate in North Carolina.

6. Ahoskie

The No. 6 most affordable place to live in North Carolina is the 27910 zip code.

🔎 Key data about Ahoskie

Data pointValueRank (out of 301 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 97.6No. 6N/A
Median home value $110,710[36]No. 5-$244,478.97
Home affordability ratio 2.6No. 4-2.4
Home value five-year change 44.0%[37]No. 6-18.7%
Home value one-year forecast 0.8%[38]No. 1510.0%
Rental costs $1,710[39]No. 96$0
Rent affordability ratio 2.38%No. 900.0%
Median household income $42,849[40]No. 286-$29,040
Property taxes $1,053[41]No. 29-$991
Energy costs $0.12 kWh[42]No. 180$0.00
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The back half of our top 10 kicks off with Ahoskie's 27910 zip code, which has the 5th-cheapest home values in North Carolina. The median home value is $110,710. Rents average $1,710 per month, making it the 96th-most affordable rental market in the state.

Residents pay $0.12 per kWh of electricity. It's the 180th-cheapest energy market.

7. Rocky Mount

Rocky Mount's 27801 zip code is the 7th-cheapest place to live in North Carolina.

🔎 Key data about Rocky Mount

Data pointValueRank (out of 301 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 96.4No. 7N/A
Median home value $126,131[43]No. 10-$229,058.31
Home affordability ratio 3.0No. 10-2.0
Home value five-year change 108.1%[44]No. 30145.4%
Home value one-year forecast 2.3%[45]No. 2961.5%
Rental costs $1,010[46]No. 3-$700
Rent affordability ratio 2.38%No. 890.0%
Median household income $42,488[47]No. 288-$29,401
Property taxes $1,329[48]No. 97-$715
Energy costs $0.12 kWh[49]No. 186$0.01
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You'll find the 10th-cheapest home values in North Carolina in Rocky Mount's 27801 zip code. The median value: $126,131. Renters in Rocky Mount pay an average of $1,010 per month.

Homeowners in Rocky Mount pay a median property tax of $1,329 per year, which is North Carolina's 97th-most affordable market.

The average household income is $42,488, which ranks 288th-highest in the state.

8. High Point

The 8th-cheapest place to live in North Carolina is High Point's 27260 zip code.

🔎 Key data about High Point

Data pointValueRank (out of 301 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 95.2No. 8N/A
Median home value $127,020[50]No. 11-$228,169.46
Home affordability ratio 3.3No. 18-1.6
Home value five-year change 59.9%[51]No. 109-2.8%
Home value one-year forecast 0.2%[52]No. 41-0.6%
Rental costs $1,126[53]No. 6-$584
Rent affordability ratio 2.92%No. 2680.5%
Median household income $38,482[54]No. 293-$33,407
Property taxes $1,031[55]No. 24-$1,013
Energy costs $0.10 kWh[56]No. 1-$0.01
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The 11th-cheapest housing market in North Carolina is High Point's 27260 zip code, with a median home value of $127,020. Renters pay an average of $1,126 per month, the No. 6 rental market in the state.

The median property tax for households in High Point is $1,031, which makes it the 24th-cheapest place in North Carolina. The average household income of $38,482 ranks 293rd.

9. Williamston

Williamston's 27892 zip code sneaks into the top ten of North Carolina's most affordable places to live.

🔎 Key data about Williamston

Data pointValueRank (out of 301 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 94.8No. 9N/A
Median home value $124,650[57]No. 9-$230,538.57
Home affordability ratio 2.7No. 5-2.3
Home value five-year change 53.2%[58]No. 37-9.4%
Home value one-year forecast 0.8%[59]No. 1510.0%
Rental costs $1,710[60]No. 96$0
Rent affordability ratio 2.38%No. 900.0%
Median household income $46,425[61]No. 268-$25,464
Property taxes $1,213[62]No. 65-$831
Energy costs $0.12 kWh[63]No. 186$0.01
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The 9th-cheapest housing market in North Carolina is Williamston's 27892 zip code, where the median home value is $124,650. Renters pay an average of $1,710 per month. It's the state's 96th-cheapest rental market.

The median property tax for households within the zip code is $1,213, which makes it the 65th-cheapest property tax rate in North Carolina. 

10. Red Springs

The final spot on our list of the most affordable places to live in North Carolina goes to the 28377 zip code in Red Springs.

🔎 Key data about Red Springs

Data pointValueRank (out of 301 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 94.6No. 10N/A
Median home value $93,186[64]No. 2-$262,003.32
Home affordability ratio 2.7No. 6-2.2
Home value five-year change 59.6%[65]No. 103-3.1%
Home value one-year forecast 1.2%[66]No. 1900.4%
Rental costs $1,710[67]No. 96$0
Rent affordability ratio 2.38%No. 900.0%
Median household income $34,367[68]No. 300-$37,522
Property taxes $884[69]No. 11-$1,160
Energy costs $0.12 kWh[70]No. 194$0.01
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The 2nd-most affordable market in North Carolina is Red Springs's 28377 zip code. The median home value is $93,186. Rent in the market costs $1,710 per month on average, making it the 96th-most affordable rental market in North Carolina.

The median property tax for households in Red Springs is $884, which is the 11th-cheapest property tax rate in the state.

Red Springs ranks No. 194 among North Carolina markets by energy costs, with households paying $0.12 per kWh of electricity.

How we ranked the most affordable places in North Carolina

We evaluated 301 zip codes in North Carolina with a population over 10,000 on nine metrics. We then assigned each market an Affordability Score based on its weighted and combined rankings. 

✍️ Editor’s note: Our Affordability Score identifies the most affordable places in a state by zip code.

Often the zip code we identify will represent an entire city or portion of a city. 

Occasionally the zip code we identify will encompass an area that includes one or more small towns. In these cases, the data we’ve gathered applies to the entire zip code, not just the single town we’re using to help identify the zip code's location. 

If you’re looking to move to one of these affordable places, we recommend doing additional research to make sure the costs in the area — and the quality of life it offers — meet your specific needs.

Methodology: What is an Affordability Score?

Our proprietary Affordability Score is a score on a scale of 0 (worst in state) to 100 (best in state) that estimates the affordability of a particular zip code. It takes into account these key data points for each zip code.

  • Median home value: The median home value for each zip code comes from the Zillow Home Value Index. The lower the median home value relative to the median value in North Carolina, the higher our score on this component. We assign a weight of 23.8% to median home value.
  • Home affordability ratio. The home affordability ratio is the typical median home value divided by the median household income in the zip code, which reveals the number of years of household income needed to afford a home in that zip code. A lower ratio is better because it means more households can afford a home. The data comes from the Zillow Observed Rent Index and the U.S. Census American Community Survey. We assign a weight of 23.8% to the home affordability ratio.
  • Home value five-year change: The home value five-year change is the amount that the median home value in the zip code has risen or fallen during the last five years. Our data comes from the Zillow Home Value Index. We assign a weight of 4.8% to the home value five-year change.
  • Home value one-year forecast: The home value one-year forecast comes from Zillow Forecast data. It projects how much home values in the zip code are forecasted to change in the next year. We assign a weight of 4.8% to the home value one-year forecast.
  • Rental costs. The rental costs are the observed rents in the zip code, sourced from the Zillow Observed Rent Index. The index includes "listed rents that fall into the 40th to 60th percentile range for all homes and apartments in a given region." We assign a weight of 11.9% to rental costs. 
  • Median household income: The inflation-adjusted median household income figures for the zip code comes from the U.S. Census American Community Survey. We assign a weight of 4.8% to median household income.
  • Rent affordability ratio. The rent affordability ratio is the ratio of rental costs divided by median household income, which provides the percentage of household income needed to pay a typical month’s rent in the zip code. The data comes from the Zillow Observed Rent Index and the U.S. Census American Community Survey. We assign a weight of 11.9% to the rent affordability ratio.
  • Property taxes: The property tax figures are the median real estate taxes paid in the zip code, sourced from the U.S. Census American Community Survey. The lower the property tax rate relative to the North Carolina average, the higher our score on this component. We assign a weight of 7.1% to property taxes. 
  • Energy costs: The energy costs are the costs of a kilowatt hour (kWh) of residential electricity in the zip code, sourced from the U.S. Department of Energy. The lower the cost of electricity relative to the North Carolina average, the higher our score on this component. We assign a weight of 7.1% to energy costs.  

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