Is Western North Carolina Affordable? A Cost of Living Analysis

Featured image of Is Western North Carolina Affordable Blog

Photo by Jeana Bala on Unsplash

The cost of living in Western North Carolina can be considered neutral as it is not too expensive or too cheap. It depends on where you will compare it. Analyzing the average cost of living in the Western North Carolina area shows that it is 4% lower compared to the average U.S City.

Although in 2023, there was an increase in the cost of living in Western North Carolina, particularly in Asheville, the largest city in the area, which increased up to 1.5% from a year ago. The most significant increases were traced to transportation, food, and housing expenses.

If you are residing in an expensive city already, saving a little money is no surprise since the everyday necessities in North Carolina are more affordable. However, if you previously lived somewhere cheap, your cost of living will increase upon moving to the area as this state exhibits neutrality in expenses.

For example, Western North Carolina costs, specifically Asheville, have been stable, with a slight upward trend. The area’s desirability has caused people to move into the area and resulted in a rise in housing prices.

In 2019, average housing costs in Asheville were $264,450, which is a bit greater than the country’s average housing costs of $232,933. In 2021, the standard list price of a home in Asheville was $349,000.

A single person living in North Carolina should have at least $38,295 per year for personal consumption or $3,191.25 per person monthly. Here’s how that breaks down:

CategoryAverage Annual Per-Capita Cost in North Carolina
Housing and Utilities$7,063
Health Care$6,250
Food and Beverages (non-restaurant)$3,470
Gas and Energy Goods$778
All Other Personal Expenditures$20,732

The Average Cost of Utilities (Electricity, Water, Trash) in North Carolina

The Average Cost of Utilities (Electricity, Water, Trash) in North Carolina

Photo by Imani on Unsplash

North Carolina’s summer weather can be scorching hot, primarily if you reside in the Piedmont region or near the beach.

This causes a high-level consumption of electricity as air conditioners during the summer might be overused to soothe the heatwave, and the thermostat might always be dialed up to the heat during the winter season. Fortunately, the rate of utilities in Western North Carolina is 6% less than in the average U.S. city.

Like housing prices, utility rates differ from one place to another. For example, utilities in Kill Devils Hills cost nearly 8% more than the national average because the area is situated near the ocean, but Durham-Chapel hill costs 10% less than average. It all depends on the location and its nearby advantage.

If you’re wondering how much it would cost to get all the utilities you would need when living in North Carolina, here’s a handy breakdown:

UtilityAverage North Carolina Bill
Cable & Internet$113

The Average Cost of Groceries in North Carolina

Average Cost of Groceries in North Carolina

Photo by Hanson Lu on Unsplash

The cost of groceries in North Carolina depends on your appetite and dietary preferences, as it can significantly contribute to the total amount of your food expenses per month. The annual food cost per person in North Carolina rounds up to $3,470, about $289 per person monthly.

In North Carolina, supermarket prices vary depending on where you live. Here is the grocery item index of the grocery of different areas in North Carolina:

Different Areas in North CarolinaGrocery Items Index
Kill Devil Hills104.2

The Average Cost of Transportation in North Carolina

Average Cost of Transportation in North Carolina

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Getting around in North Carolina will always cost money, whether you are just commuting to the bustling area of downtown Raleigh or spending a weekend relaxing in the Outer Banks. The expected amount you pay varies based on your origin and your point of destination, and what your household looks like.

The average transportation cost in North Carolina is approximately $5,113 to $13,896 per year. Here are a few examples of average transportation costs for different family structures from MIT’s Living Wage Calculator:

Family SizeAverage Annual Transportation Cost
One adult, no children$5,113
Two working adults, no children$9,378
Two working adults, two children$13,896

The Average Cost of Health Insurance in North Carolina

The Average Cost of Health Insurance in North Carolina

Photo by Anna Shvets

Health Care

The average healthcare cost in North Carolina is equivalent to $6,250 per person yearly. Healthcare expenses are influenced by several aspects, such as location, the type of coverage you have, and how often you need care will impact your bottom-line cost.

Child Care

The average childcare cost in North Carolina is about $1,038 to $1,170 per child monthly.

This expense concerns most parents, but the cost depends on the care you’re seeking. If you are having difficulties affording child care costs, you might want to look into the Child Care Subsidy Program for eligible families in North Carolina. Here are the average childcare costs in North Carolina:

Type of Child CareAverage Cost Per Month, Per Child
Infant Classroom$1,155
Toddler Classroom$1,038
Home-based Family Child Care$1,170

Cheapest Place to Live in North Carolina

Cheapest Place to Live in North Carolina

Photo by Pixabay

All states have their expensive and affordable neighborhoods to live in. If you have picked North Carolina, these are three major cities and metro areas with the lowest cost of living in North Carolina.

The Thomasville-Lexington area ranked the lowest in the council’s most recent data, as the cost of living is 86.4. If you’re ready for small-town life, Thomasville and Lexington are the perfect areas to settle down. The latest census data shows that Thomasville has a reported demographic of 26,649, and Lexington only has 18,933 residents.

Salisbury, home to 11 National Register districts, five local historic districts, and several museums, has a cost of living index of 85.2. To get the vibe of the town’s history, you might visit the Salisbury Heritage Walking Tour and the Salisbury History & Art Tour.

North Carolina’s third-most-affordable area is Raleigh, with a cost-of-living index of 102.4. As of 2019, this central city had over 474,000 residents. The area gives you a big-city lifestyle that can be achieved on a monthly budget.

Wrap Up

Familiarizing yourself with the cost of living in a particular area can significantly help you to prepare. It gives you an idea of how much money you should earn to live a comfortable life in your chosen city and can help you budget your finances and manage your cash flows effectively.

For further information on the cost of living in Western North Carolina or to help you find the perfect place, you may contact us at 828-550-5195. Follow us on our social media platforms below for the latest news and updates about Western North Carolina!

live in Western North Carolina

Frequently Asked Questions

The best place to live and reside in Western North Carolina is Asheville. Since it is the biggest city in the area, there are many things you can explore and enjoy within city limits.

Regions of Western North Carolina have a standard rate. Still, the affordability of each area depends on where you will compare it, as different places can be expensive for some or affordable for others.

When moving to Western North California, owning a vehicle is wise, as moving around in this city costs money when you commute. One place is far from other amenities.