In many ways, Raleigh is the ideal place to call home.
Ranked as the third happiest city in America by Men's Health, Raleigh is also one of the nation's fastest-growing cities.
This vibrant destination offers a booming economy, a thriving job market, beautiful weather, easy access to mountains and beaches and family-friendly living. Even better, it provides a plethora of safe neighborhoods and suburbs from which to choose.
If you are thinking about taking advantage of all that Raleigh offers, rest assured your budget will stretch here. The city and its surrounding suburbs boast a low cost of living and housing. It's easy to find an ideal location within your budget.
The amount you spend on housing will affect everything else in your budget. In Raleigh, the average rent is only $1,275 for a one-bedroom apartment.
Despite an increase of 4.69 percent over the last year, this average rent in Raleigh is still more than $300 below the national average.
That price difference will make it easier to enjoy everything Raleigh offers, from the nearby mountains and beaches to the vibrant dining and entertainment scene.
Life comes with lots of expenses, but one of the biggest expenses you will need to consider is housing. Ideally, you should spend 30 percent or less of your gross income on housing to have enough left over for the other necessities and pleasures of life.
Taking the average rent in Raleigh for a one-bedroom apartment into account ($1,275) and using the recommended percentage of gross income (30 percent), you need to make at least $51,000 a year to comfortably afford life in Raleigh.
Since the city's average salary — thanks to high-paying tech, pharma and science jobs — is $67,000, affordable housing and great salaries make for comfy living here.
If you want a more tailored look at how much you can afford for rent in Raleigh, check out our rent calculator.
Figuring out how far your income will go in Raleigh also means finding out how much essentials such as healthcare, groceries and utilities cost. One of the most useful tools for getting a snapshot of these expenses is the cost-of-living index.
This index includes an overall cost of living score, as well as a score for everyday expenses. The national average has a score of 100. A score of more than 100 indicates a cost higher than the national average, while a score of less than 100 indicates a cost that is less than the national average.
Raleigh's score of 96.9 means that it is measurably less expensive than the national average. Here is how the city ranks for certain important living expenses:
Even though some expenses cost more than the national average, the low costs of many other essentials make up for it. As a result, you can plan to spend less on necessities and more on the things you want if you call Raleigh home.
With more than 175 neighborhoods, Raleigh offers you lots of options when it comes to finding a place to live that you can both love and afford.
The exact price you will pay for housing in this city depends upon where you look. Some areas will cost you more than $2,000 a month in average rent, while other neighborhoods will cost you less than $1,000.
In general, housing costs in Raleigh are higher inside the beltline (ITB) — the part of Raleigh encircled by Interstate 440. Here you will find the shortest commutes, easiest access to dining and entertainment, historic neighborhoods and the most expensive housing.
If you have a smaller budget, you may choose to live outside the beltline (OTB) — the area of Raleigh that lies outside the I-440 circle. This area has a longer commute time, and some areas are not as safe as those inside I-440. However, there are also many family-friendly, safe and accessible neighborhoods with affordable average rents.
You can also find affordable, family-friendly living in Raleigh's suburbs. Some rank among the safest suburbs in the nation while offering low average rents and easy access to the city.
Raleigh's most expensive neighborhoods lie within the beltline in the northwestern and central areas of the city, especially near downtown.
The two neighborhoods with the highest average rents are downtown neighborhoods Warehouse District and Glenwood. These vibrant neighborhoods are within walking distance to exciting nightlife, fine dining, convenient transportation and more.
These neighborhoods are hard to get into, though. Only a few apartments come available in those areas every year, and Glenwood saw a spike of 24.96 percent in its average rent between April 2020 and April 2021.
If you want the advantages of living downtown without the high rent, check out Glenwood South and Downtown Raleigh: These neighborhoods, despite high average rents, have seen dramatic rent drops in the last year (down 26.44 percent and 14.90 percent, respectively).
The neighborhoods closer to downtown offers easy access to a lively lifestyle, while those farther from downtown enable a quieter and more peaceful kind of exclusive living.
|Rank||Neighborhood||1BR Average Rent||YoY Rent Price Change|
|7||Brier Creek Country Club||$1,490||5.95%|
You do not need to bring in a lot of money to enjoy a good life in Raleigh. Many of the city's more affordable neighborhoods offer incredible features and excellent quality of life.
At least six Raleigh neighborhoods have average rents below $1,000 a month, and many of these locations sit near beautiful outdoor spaces, great shopping, delicious dining and attractions. Many of these areas are both safe and family-friendly.
For example, Cameron Village is a small but convenient and lively neighborhood just west of Glenwood. Despite having one of the lowest average rents in the city (and a rent drop of almost 5 percent in the last year), this neighborhood offers local, upscale shopping options and diverse dining options. It is truly like a mini downtown Raleigh.
Another of the city's least expensive places to live is Hillsborough, near North Carolina State University. Its tree-lined streets and affordable rent make it ideal for students. This area also attracts other residents with its beautiful outdoor spaces and desirable shopping options.
If you want an up-and-coming neighborhood, check out East Raleigh. There are some safe and attractive places to live there. Rent is up more than 15 percent since last year. So now is a good time to get in on this neighborhood.
|Rank||Neighborhood||1BR Average Rent||YoY Rent Price Change|
|1||Olde East Raleigh*||$910||-11.49%|
|1||South Central Raleigh*||$910||-11.49%|
|9||Triangle Town Center||$1,046||2.58%|
With so many options from which to choose, finding a great place to live in Raleigh may feel a bit overwhelming. Use the list below to quickly compare rents in some of Raleigh's most important neighborhoods.
|Neighborhood||1BR Average Rent||YoY Rent Price Change|
|Brier Creek Country Club||$1,490||5.95%|
|Olde East Raleigh*||$910||-11.49%|
|Reserve at Lake Lynn*||$1,291||21.15%|
|South Central Raleigh*||$910||-11.49%|
|Triangle Town Center||$1,046||2.58%|
Raleigh is growing fast and with good reason. With a low cost of living, beautiful outdoor spaces, entertainment and dining and a homey feeling that you don't find in many other cities — Raleigh is one of the best places to live in the nation.