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The Ultimate Guide for Moving to North Carolina

North Carolina boasts a booming economy and some of the best food, music, and sports scenes in the U.S. If you're thinking of making a move in 2019, the Old North State is a great option. Clever can help you connect with a local real estate agent with expertise in the North Carolina housing market.

North Carolina boasts a booming economy and some of the best food, music, and sports scenes in the U.S. If you're thinking of making a move in 2019, the Old North State is a great option. Clever can help you connect with a local real estate agent with expertise in the North Carolina housing market.

If you’re thinking about settling down in North Carolina, you wouldn’t be the first — the region has been inhabited by various cultures for at least 10,000 years.

Most recently, North Carolina was the 12th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution and is currently the 9th most populous state in America. It’s known affectionately as the Tar Heel State or simply the Old North State — and North Carolinians aren’t ones for putting on airs. The state motto, esse quam videri, means “to be, rather than to seem.”

If you’re considering a move to North Carolina, here’s what you need to know.

Top 5 Reasons to Move to North Carolina

5. North Carolina knows sports. The state is home to three major franchises: the Carolina Hurricanes in the NHL, the Carolina Panthers in the NFL, and the Charlotte Hornets in the NBA. North Carolina also hosts two NASCAR Cup Series races each year and is home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte.

4. North Carolina knows food. In addition to producing internationally-renowned wine, cheese, truffles, tobacco, and beer, the Old North State is famous for its pork barbecues. Every October, over 100,00 people attend the Lexington Barbecue Festival to taste some of the best BBQ in the world.

3. North Carolina has no shortage of things to do. Like historic sites? Check out Tryon Palace or America’s largest estate, Biltmore. Golfing more your thing? Play the famous Pinehurst Resort. For everyone else, North Carolina has 48 state and national parks, major shopping centers, and an endless inventory of quality museums, zoos, and other charming locales.

2. North Carolina has a fascinating legacy. From making important contributions to jazz and bluegrass music to opening the first public university in the U.S., to fighting and felling coastal pirates, North Carolina has a rich history with something for everyone to appreciate.

1. North Carolina has a booming economy. Charlotte, the state’s second most populous city, is the second biggest banking city in the country — right behind New York. It’s also home to the 23rd busiest airport in the world.

Quality of Life

With a population of over 10 million people — up almost 25% since 2000 — it’s no surprise that North Carolina is a pleasant place to live. The state has happy people, hot summers, and warm winters — especially along its 300 miles of beaches.

North Carolina has a diverse terrain that includes coastal plains, gentle plateaus, and some of the most stunning mountain ranges in the Appalachians. With such a variety comes some severe weather events, like tornadoes and tropical storms, so North Carolina isn’t for the faint of heart.

The state’s varied terrain comes with benefits as well: namely, a plethora of opportunities for outdoor recreational activities. Whether you’re into skiing, whitewater rafting, fishing, rock climbing, hiking, camping, or birdwatching, you’ll find a place to do it somewhere in North Carolina.

Economic Outlook

North Carolina has a diverse economy that’s seen continual growth over the past decades. In 2016, the Gross State Product (GSP) was a staggering $521 billion. North Carolina has such a strong economy that Forbes named it the 3rd best state for business in 2010.

Among the South Atlantic states, North Carolina leads in agriculture and the production of textiles. STEM industries (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) have also seen huge gains in the state — specifically, 17.9% growth since 2001. This puts metro areas like Raleigh-Cary among the top tech regions in the United States.

Even amongst all this growth, North Carolina has a cost of living 3.9% below the national average. The median household income in the state is $46,693. The unemployment rate has held at 4.5% since 2017.

It’s important to note that while jobs, employment, and wages have all been increasing in North Carolina, this boom is felt largely by the state’s urban areas. Rural counties have seen the opposite trend, in part due to a decline in manufacturing.

Housing Market Forecast for 2019

The median value of a North Carolina home is $183,400, according to the latest date from Zillow. This follows an increase of 8.5% over the past year; in terms of home values increasing, North Carolina has consistently surpassed the national average since 2015.

That trend, however, may be on its way out — the prediction for 2019 is a drop in the median home value of 13.1%. If you time the market correctly, you may be able to capitalize on this forecast. A North Carolinian real estate agent can offer sharper insight into when and why this decrease might occur.

Note that home values in North Carolina vary greatly by city. At the low end are cities like Fayetteville (median home value: $111,100) and Winston-Salem ($124,200). Popular, populous cities like Cary can see median home values as high as $369,500.

The state capital, Raleigh, has a similarly-high median home value of $272,800. But if that’s in your price range, it’s worth the cost: thanks to a strong economy and high quality of life, the Raleigh/Durham metro area recently made our list of the best places to buy investment property in 2019.

Other great places to settle down include Morrisville — a suburb of Raleigh, named the #1 place for young professionals in North Carolina — and Asheville, which is renowned for its beautiful scenery, an abundance of outdoor activities, and especially happy residents.

Next Steps

If you’re ready to get the ball rolling on a move to North Carolina, Clever can help you connect with a local real estate agent. A good agent can recommend the best city, suburb, and property for your personal situation, and can handle the brunt of the home buying process on your behalf — so all you have to worry about is packing.

Even better, Clever Partner Agents in North Carolina offer up to 1% of purchase prices right back to buyers in the form of a Home Buyer Rebate.


MJ Alba

MJ Alba is a writer specializing in real estate, personal finance, and technology. His work has been featured on industry blogs and some of the biggest sites on the web. MJ currently writes for Clever Real Estate, a free online platform that connects home buyers and sellers with top real estate agents.

See all MJ's Posts

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