A Guide to the Cheapest Places to Live in North Carolina
Nov 2, 2023
North Carolina, known for its diverse landscapes, rich history, and warm hospitality, is a state that has something for everyone. From the scenic Appalachian Mountains to the stunning Atlantic coastline, the Tar Heel State offers a variety of environments to call home.
For those looking to stretch their dollars further without compromising on quality of life, North Carolina presents an array of affordable living options. In this guide, we will explore some of the cheapest places to live in North Carolina, helping you discover a new home that suits both your lifestyle and your budget.
Situated in the southeastern part of the state, Fayetteville stands out as one of the most cost-effective places to live in North Carolina. Home to Fort Bragg, one of the largest military bases in the world, the city boasts a strong sense of community and patriotism. The cost of living in Fayetteville is significantly lower than the national average, with affordable housing options readily available. Additionally, residents enjoy access to a variety of recreational activities, parks, and cultural events throughout the year.
As the third-largest city in North Carolina, Greensboro offers a unique blend of urban amenities and small-town charm. With a cost of living that falls below the national average, it is an attractive option for families, young professionals, and retirees alike. The city features numerous parks, museums, and entertainment venues, providing residents with plenty of options for leisure and recreation. Greensboro’s diverse economy and job market further contribute to its appeal as a budget-friendly destination.
3. High Point
Known as the “Home Furnishings Capital of the World,” High Point is a haven for bargain hunters and interior design enthusiasts. The city hosts the world-renowned High Point Market, drawing visitors and buyers from all over the globe. In addition to its unique shopping opportunities, High Point offers residents a low cost of living, affordable housing, and a variety of community events throughout the year. The city’s strategic location in the Piedmont Triad region also provides easy access to other major cities in North Carolina, adding to its overall appeal.
Winston-Salem combines rich history with modern innovation, creating a vibrant community for its residents. Known for its contributions to the tobacco and textile industries, the city has transformed into a hub for research, technology, and the arts. The cost of living in Winston-Salem is notably affordable, with housing costs well below the national average. The city also boasts a variety of cultural attractions, parks, and recreational activities, ensuring that there is always something to see and do.
Located just west of Charlotte, Gastonia presents an affordable alternative to the bustling city life while still offering easy access to urban amenities. The cost of living in Gastonia is significantly lower than the national average, with a variety of housing options to fit any budget. The city is home to numerous parks, hiking trails, and outdoor recreational areas, providing residents with plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. Additionally, Gastonia’s growing economy and job market make it an attractive option for those looking to save on living expenses.
Nestled in the heart of North Carolina, Asheboro is known for its small-town charm and affordable living. Home to the North Carolina Zoo, the world’s largest natural habitat zoo, the city attracts visitors from across the state and beyond. Residents of Asheboro enjoy a low cost of living, with housing costs that are significantly lower than the national average. The city’s welcoming community, ample green spaces, and variety of local events further contribute to its appeal as a budget-friendly place to call home.
With its rich cultural heritage and vibrant arts scene, Kinston stands out as a hidden gem in Eastern North Carolina. The cost of living in Kinston is remarkably affordable, with housing options available for a fraction of the cost found in larger cities. The city is home to a thriving culinary scene, numerous historic sites, and a variety of community events, providing residents with a unique and enriching living experience. Additionally, Kinston’s revitalized downtown area and commitment to supporting local businesses make it an attractive destination for those seeking affordability without sacrificing quality of life.
8. Rocky Mount
Strategically located between Raleigh and Greenville, Rocky Mount is another North Carolina city that boasts affordability and a welcoming atmosphere. The cost of living in this city is lower than the national average, particularly when it comes to housing costs. Residents of Rocky Mount enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, thanks to its proximity to the Tar River and numerous parks. The city also has a burgeoning arts scene and is home to several annual festivals, providing ample entertainment options for its community.
Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Hickory is known for its furniture manufacturing and vibrant arts community. With a cost of living that is well below the national average, Hickory stands out as one of the most affordable cities in North Carolina. The city offers a variety of housing options, from charming historic homes to modern apartments. Residents can enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and fishing, as well as a range of cultural events and festivals throughout the year.
Located in Eastern North Carolina, Goldsboro offers an affordable cost of living without sacrificing quality of life. The city has a rich military history, being home to the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, and offers a supportive community for veterans and active-duty military personnel. Goldsboro residents benefit from low housing costs and a variety of amenities, including parks, museums, and a historic downtown area. The city’s economy is diverse, with opportunities in agriculture, manufacturing, and healthcare.
With its charming historic district and welcoming community, Salisbury is another great option for those seeking affordable living in North Carolina. The cost of living in Salisbury is lower than the national average, particularly in terms of housing. The city is home to several colleges and universities, providing a vibrant atmosphere and a variety of cultural and educational opportunities. Salisbury also boasts numerous parks and recreational areas, allowing residents to enjoy the great outdoors.
Situated between Greensboro and Durham, Burlington offers a strategic location and an affordable cost of living. The city has a diverse economy, with job opportunities in manufacturing, healthcare, and education. Housing costs in Burlington are significantly lower than the national average, making it a great option for families and individuals on a budget. The city also offers a range of amenities, including parks, shopping centers, and cultural events, ensuring that there is always something to do.
Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Lenoir is a city that offers affordable living and stunning natural scenery. The cost of living in Lenoir is well below the national average, with particularly low housing costs. Residents can enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and camping, as well as a variety of cultural events and festivals. The city’s supportive community and small-town charm make it a great option for those looking to save money without sacrificing quality of life.
In assessing North Carolina's cheapest cities, the median home price stands as a compelling indicator of affordability. For those aspiring to own property without the big city price tag, cities like High Point and Gastonia offer a welcoming reprieve. Here, the dream of homeownership becomes a reality, with median home prices that allow for a comfortable lifestyle, well below the financial stretch of larger metropolitan areas. These affordable places not only champion economic sensibility but also provide the cultural and recreational perks of urban living—often only a short drive from more bustling city centers. This harmonious blend of affordability and accessibility ensures that residents enjoy the best of both worlds: a serene, affordable area with the vibrancy of city life within easy reach.
Moreover, for individuals and families considering an affordable place to plant roots, the median household income in these locales presents a promising picture. Living in a region where your income stretches further enhances the quality of life, affording pleasures like memberships to local golf courses and leisurely weekends exploring nearby attractions. North Carolina's appeal is heightened by such affordable areas where economic opportunity aligns with low living costs. Whether you're a young professional starting out, a family looking for room to grow, or a retiree on a fixed income, these communities provide a backdrop for a life well-lived, where financial peace of mind isn't just a wish, but an everyday reality.