The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In North Carolina For 2022


We used science and data to determine which cities in North Carolina that will put a big dent in your wallet.

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Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2022. This is our ninth time ranking the most expensive places to live in North Carolina.

You're going to need a little more than some pocket change and luck to afford to live in one of the Tar Heel state's most expensive places. For many, you're going to need a miracle and a job that pays at least $25,535/year. Unfortunately, HomeSnacks can't help with a miracle, but we did help by creating a list of the top ten most expensive places in North Carolina for 2022 and the list is below.

Incidentally, if you don't currently have a booming bank account, don't worry. Places that made our top ten list like Wilmington and Asheville might be some of the most expensive places to buy a home, but the least expensive to rent.

Yes, in order to determine the most expensive places in North Carolina, we looked at the American Community Survey for the home price to income ratio and the rent to income ratio for North Carolina places with at least 5,000 residents. This gave us 134 North Carolina places that you're going to need to win a hefty Powerball to live comfortably.

Did we mention that this is our ninth time ranking North Carolina's most expensive places? That's right, we know what we're talking about. So, it would be in your best interest to take a look at our list below before you make any major financial decisions.

Here are the 10 most expensive places to live in North Carolina for 2022:

  1. Boone
  2. Woodfin
  3. Asheville
  4. Morehead City
  5. Hendersonville
  6. Wilmington
  7. Elon
  8. Black Mountain
  9. Carrboro
  10. Pineville

What's the most expensive place to live in North Carolina? Well, HomeSnacks crunched the numbers and discovered that Boone is the most expensive place to live in North Carolina.

So hopefully Sawmills (the cheapest place to live in North Carolina) can show these guys how to live on a budget in the coming years. Read on for how these places had costs rise faster than inflation.

And if you already knew these places were expensive, check out some more reading about North Carolina and the most expensive cities in the country:

The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In North Carolina For 2022

1. Boone

Boone, NC

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 19,466
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 10.9x (most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 26.8x (most expensive)
More on Boone: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Boone comes in at $25,535 and the median home value is $279,400 for 2022.

2. Woodfin

Woodfin, NC

Source: Wikipedia
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 6,689
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.8x (10th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 43.5x (6th most expensive)
More on Woodfin: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Woodfin comes in at $50,794 and the median home value is $244,100 for 2022.

3. Asheville

Asheville, NC

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 92,328
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.4x (6th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 49.5x (28th most expensive)
More on Asheville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Asheville comes in at $53,621 and the median home value is $291,800 for 2022.

4. Morehead City

Morehead City, NC

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 9,495
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.7x (5th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 48.5x (25th most expensive)
More on Morehead City: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Morehead City comes in at $44,802 and the median home value is $255,700 for 2022.

5. Hendersonville

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 14,020
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.0x (9th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 43.7x (7th most expensive)
More on Hendersonville: Real Estate | Data

The median income in Hendersonville comes in at $41,185 and the median home value is $206,600 for 2022.

6. Wilmington

Wilmington, NC

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 122,162
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.2x (8th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 50.7x (33rd most expensive)
More on Wilmington: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Wilmington comes in at $51,137 and the median home value is $264,600 for 2022.

7. Elon

Elon, NC

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 11,941
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 5)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.3x (17th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 51.0x (35th most expensive)
More on Elon: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Elon comes in at $69,085 and the median home value is $297,300 for 2022.

8. Black Mountain

Black Mountain, NC

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 8,177
Rank Last Year: 29 (Up 21)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.2x (20th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 45.6x (10th most expensive)
More on Black Mountain: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Black Mountain comes in at $55,975 and the median home value is $235,500 for 2022.

9. Carrboro

Carrboro, NC

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 21,254
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 6)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.7x (4th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 58.6x (70th most expensive)
More on Carrboro: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Carrboro comes in at $67,469 and the median home value is $386,900 for 2022.

10. Pineville

Pineville, NC

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 8,923
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.2x (2most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 46.3x (14th most expensive)
More on Pineville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Pineville comes in at $53,873 and the median home value is $225,000 for 2022.

Methodology: How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Tar Heel State For 2022

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In North Carolina
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. How much do I have spend to live there?

You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.

For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it's actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.

With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2016-2020 around incomes and costs. They are:

  • Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
  • Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
  • Median Home Price

We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).

You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in North Carolina to figure out which is the most expensive.

What you are left with is a "Cost of Living Index" by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 134 places in North Carolina that have more than 5,000 people.

The place with the highest cost of living in North Carolina according to the data is Boone. You can download the data here.

Summary: Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck In North Carolina For 2022

Well there you have it, the places in North Carolina that have the highest cost of living, with Boone ranking as the most expensive city in the Tar Heel State.

Here's a look at the most affordable cities in North Carolina according to the data:

  1. Sawmills
  2. Ayden
  3. Hamlet

For more North Carolina reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In North Carolina

Rank City ExpensiveScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Boone 10.33 19,466 10.9x 26.8x
2 Woodfin 18.67 6,689 4.8x 43.5x
3 Asheville 19.67 92,328 5.4x 49.5x
4 Morehead City 22.0 9,495 5.7x 48.5x
5 Hendersonville 23.67 14,020 5.0x 43.7x
6 Wilmington 24.67 122,162 5.2x 50.7x
7 Elon 25.0 11,941 4.3x 51.0x
8 Black Mountain 25.33 8,177 4.2x 45.6x
9 Carrboro 27.0 21,254 5.7x 58.6x
10 Pineville 28.33 8,923 4.2x 46.3x
11 Chapel Hill 31.0 61,912 5.8x 61.6x
12 Carolina Beach 31.0 6,324 5.2x 59.4x
13 St. James 33.0 5,889 4.1x 59.4x
14 Lincolnton 34.0 11,099 4.5x 47.4x
15 Kill Devil Hills 35.67 7,249 4.3x 56.1x
16 Pinehurst 39.33 16,382 3.6x 56.4x
17 Brevard 39.67 7,841 6.1x 58.2x
18 Waynesville 42.33 10,145 4.1x 51.5x
19 Durham 42.67 276,341 3.9x 56.4x
20 Mills River 43.67 7,319 4.3x 63.3x
21 Selma 43.67 6,950 4.8x 33.2x
22 Raleigh 45.33 469,698 3.8x 59.3x
23 Fletcher 46.0 8,287 3.8x 56.0x
24 Charlotte 46.0 873,570 3.6x 55.2x
25 Hillsborough 47.33 7,162 4.5x 67.0x
26 Jacksonville 47.67 74,313 3.4x 44.3x
27 New Bern 47.67 29,985 3.7x 50.3x
28 Elizabeth City 49.33 17,725 3.5x 45.9x
29 Dunn 49.67 9,738 3.9x 47.9x
30 Greenville 50.0 92,826 3.7x 51.8x
31 Cornelius 50.33 29,836 3.9x 73.1x
32 Boiling Spring Lakes 50.33 6,156 3.3x 48.2x
33 Southern Pines 50.67 14,347 4.3x 73.4x
34 Statesville 50.67 27,114 3.8x 55.1x
35 Smithfield 51.5 12,697 4.2x 53.7x
36 Clinton 51.67 8,480 4.0x 50.2x
37 Oxford 52.17 8,812 3.7x 50.2x
38 Washington 53.0 9,555 3.8x 50.8x
39 Mount Airy 53.33 10,213 4.3x 51.3x
40 Angier 54.0 5,748 3.6x 54.5x
41 Zebulon 54.67 5,712 3.6x 50.3x
42 Goldsboro 55.0 34,610 3.6x 47.0x
43 Mooresville 55.0 38,498 3.5x 60.1x
44 Oak Island 55.67 8,118 3.6x 64.9x
45 Leland 56.33 21,903 3.5x 61.2x
46 Forest City 58.17 7,150 3.7x 46.4x
47 Monroe 58.33 35,339 3.3x 53.2x
48 Cary 58.67 169,177 3.5x 81.9x
49 Hickory 59.0 41,067 3.9x 63.1x
50 Graham 59.0 15,168 3.5x 54.0x
51 Laurinburg 59.33 15,118 3.5x 44.2x
52 Fuquay-Varina 59.67 29,110 3.4x 64.0x
53 Lexington 61.67 18,970 3.4x 42.8x
54 Morganton 62.0 16,517 3.8x 59.1x
55 Morrisville 62.33 27,582 3.3x 68.9x
56 Greensboro 62.67 294,395 3.3x 55.4x
57 Garner 64.0 30,345 3.2x 55.5x
58 Mint Hill 64.33 27,258 3.5x 78.1x
59 Kings Mountain 64.33 10,885 3.5x 52.8x
60 Gastonia 65.67 76,635 3.2x 55.7x
61 Davidson 65.67 12,920 3.3x 101.1x
62 Clayton 66.67 23,179 3.2x 58.4x
63 Whiteville 67.33 5,348 3.4x 48.5x
64 High Point 67.33 112,434 3.3x 56.4x
65 Knightdale 68.0 16,798 3.2x 60.0x
66 Summerfield 68.33 11,283 3.3x 100.0x
67 Holly Springs 68.67 36,595 3.2x 74.4x
68 Wilson 70.67 49,310 3.4x 57.7x
69 Salisbury 71.0 33,961 3.2x 53.0x
70 Mebane 71.0 15,564 3.3x 64.2x
71 Stallings 71.67 15,781 3.0x 61.3x
72 Belmont 71.67 12,292 3.4x 76.3x
73 Kernersville 72.0 24,876 3.4x 67.0x
74 Matthews 72.0 32,682 3.1x 66.6x
75 Huntersville 72.67 57,288 3.2x 73.9x
76 Aberdeen 74.33 7,862 3.4x 73.0x
77 Havelock 74.33 19,927 2.8x 47.2x
78 Indian Trail 74.67 39,644 2.8x 58.1x
79 Wadesboro 75.0 5,273 3.2x 32.1x
80 Wesley Chapel 75.0 9,287 2.9x 74.2x
81 Winston-Salem 75.0 245,787 3.2x 57.2x
82 Apex 75.67 55,220 3.1x 79.5x
83 Shelby 77.0 20,046 3.4x 57.6x
84 Fayetteville 77.33 211,201 2.9x 48.3x
85 Wake Forest 78.0 44,068 3.1x 84.2x
86 Waxhaw 78.0 16,165 3.0x 83.0x
87 Asheboro 78.33 25,877 3.2x 54.3x
88 Kinston 78.67 20,173 3.1x 45.9x
89 Wendell 79.0 7,962 3.2x 64.7x
90 Mount Holly 79.33 15,947 3.2x 66.4x
91 Harrisburg 81.0 16,073 2.7x 67.2x
92 Hope Mills 81.0 15,972 2.9x 52.9x
93 Bessemer City 82.33 5,536 2.8x 48.0x
94 Burlington 82.67 54,534 3.0x 55.4x
95 Clemmons 83.0 20,574 3.2x 83.6x
96 Conover 83.33 8,488 3.3x 66.5x
97 Concord 84.0 94,147 3.1x 70.2x
98 Reidsville 86.83 13,928 3.0x 53.6x
99 Sanford 87.33 29,758 3.1x 60.3x
100 Henderson 88.67 15,127 2.8x 47.6x

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About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.