What’s the Cost of Living in Cary, North Carolina?

September 11th, 2022

Moving to | Life in Raleigh
What’s the Cost of Living in Cary, North Carolina?

Cost of Living Cary, NC

Is Cary, NC, an expensive place to live? Let's dive into the numbers around the cost of living in Cary, the average household income, typical expenses, and more!

Cary, North Carolina, is centered in the heart of the Triangle region, which is comprised of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. With abundant diversity, recreation, and employment, Cary, North Carolina, is consistently ranked among the top places to live in North Carolina.

There are many reasons why people are moving to Cary, as companies like Apple, Meta, Amazon, Google, and more set up shop in the area.

Before we dive into the cost of living, where did the town of Cary begin?

Cary, NC High school

Cary, North Carolina, was formally known as Bradford's Ordinary and was first settled in 1750. The creation of the North Carolina railroad in the mid-1800s became a major transportation rough and began drawing people to the area. This railroad linked the cities of Goldsboro and Charlotte through Raleigh, Hillsborough, Greensboro, and Salisbury. The land, now known as Cary, was first purchased by the farmer and lumberman Allison Francis and his wife Catherine page in 1884. The name Cary came from prohibitionist and former Ohio Congressman Samuel Fenton Cary. Cary, North Carolina, was officially incorporated on April 6, 1871

In its early years, Cary was not only famous for the railroad but also for education. Cary High School was founded in 1907 as the first public school in Wake County and one of the first public high schools in North Carolina.

Many aspects gravitate people to Cary, but it's essential to consider all financial factors before making your move. In this guide, we're going to break down the cost of living in Cary, North Carolina, with data that covers the average prices for all necessities. These categories will give you a better understanding of to plan for your move to Cary.

Cost of Living in Cary, North Carolina

The cost of goods and services in Cary, North Carolina, is generally lower than the national average. You might find yourself paying more than the national average regarding renting or monthly mortgage payments; however, the average annual income in Cary, North Carolina, is roughly $16,000 more than the national average.

Take a look at how the cost of living in Cary compares to the national data:

Cost of Living Item Cary National Average
Annual Income $52,017 Per person* $35,384 Per person*
Rent $1,312* $1,096*
Mortgage Payment $2,014* $1,62*
Natural gas (therm) $1.23 $1.75
Electricity (kWh) $0.11 $0.14
Transportation (Gallon of gas) $3.55 $3.84
Income tax rate 4.99% 13.3%

*Denotes median rather than average

The cost of living in Cary, NC is more than the national average


The income data from Cary and North Carolina residents shows that the annual income is higher than national rates. The median yearly income in Cary ($52,017) is $16,633 more than the national median ($35,384)

The minimum wage in Cary, North Carolina, is $7.25. Some believe this wage could be directly correlated to the poverty rates in the Triangle region. Cary's poverty rate sits at 4.7%, which is 6.7% less than the national average (11.4%)

Comparing the unemployment rates between Cary and the national data shows that Cary's is lower than the national average. As of July 2022, Cary's unemployment rate is 3.4% which has dropped 1.5% in the last year. The national unemployment rate is 3.6%.

Housing cost

As of February 2022, the median sales price for real estate in wake county is $420,000. The national average is $525,000, significantly higher than Cary's.

The cost of homes in Cary depends on the area you choose to move to. The median home price in the Preston neighborhood is $960,000, up 23.8% compared to last year. On the flip side, the average cost for a home in Cary Park is $429,900.


No matter where you're moving to, you'll need to budget for the cost of essential utilities. Water, gas, electricity, and waste are necessities often forgotten about when planning to move to a new area.


The town of Cary provides water to all city residential and commercial utility customers. Cary uses a tier system to determine the water rates. You can look at the rates and fees as of July 2022 to better understand how much you can expect to spend.

Waste management

The town of Cary is also responsible for garbage, recycling, and yard waste and charges a sanitation fee of $22 a month.


In the town of Cary, there are various providers to choose from, the main one being Duke Energy


A $14.00 basic facilities charge per month

$0.1116 from July - October

$.10659 from November to June

*For all kWh used per month

Duke Energy offers multiple beneficial products and services. They offer energy0saving solutions along with energy use and analysis tools.

Natural Gas

Dominion Energy is one of the many natural gas service providers in the town of Cary. Natural gas in your home has many advantages. A few are that it can increase the value of your homes, lower your overall energy cost, and cost less to operate natural gas appliances.


A $10.00 monthly charge

$1.26913 per therm from November to April

$1.19020 per therm from May to October


As of July 2022, the food index rose 1.3% in the southeast region. The food at home index increased by 1.6%, while the food away from home increased to 0.7%

While prices rise across the United States, the southeast region remains less expensive than the national average.

North Carolina provides various resources for anyone in need of food assistance. The Food and Nutrition Services is a federal food program that provides low-income families with the food and resources they need for a sufficient diet. North Carolina also provides a program called the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program Education. This resource offers educational information and classes to low-income families to help them make healthier food choices on a budget.

Cary, North Carolina


The town of Cary provides multiple different transportation options. Not only are there safe roadways for bicycles and pedestrians, but a variety of mass transit options. GoCary is the town bus that offers reliable transportation around the town of Cary seven days a week. There are fixed routes and a door-to-door service that caters to senior citizens (age 60 or older) and disabled individuals.


Single Ride $1.25
Day Pass $2.50
7-day pass $12.00
31-day pass $40.00

Youth between the ages of 13-18 always ride for free with a Youth GoPass. This benefit ensures that teens can get to school, jobs, parks, etc.

Along with GoCary, we have the transportation service, GoTriangle, which provides transportation to the Triangle region through bus and shuttle services, paratransit services, ride-matching, and vanpools.

The town of Cary accommodates bicycling, recently allocating $1 million to improving bicycling facilities and programs. An array of walking trails/greenways are safe for all pedestrians.


Since Taxes vary by state, it's one of the most important aspects to consider when planning your next move. Let's look at the tax rates in Cary.

Individual income tax rate: 4.99%

Corporate income tax rate: 2.50%

State sales tax rate: 4.75%

Max local sales tax rate: 2.75%

Average combined state and local sales tax rate: 6.98%

According to Forbes, on January 1, 2022, North Carolinas flat income dropped from 5.25% to 4.99% and is scheduled to fall to 3.99% in 2026.


The Triangle region gets its name from Research Triangle Park and the three renowned universities that encompass the area - Duke University, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. These three universities alone attract people from all over the nation.

Take a look at the average yearly tuition for each university.

Duke University $57,633
North Carolina State $9,131
North Carolina Chapel Hill $8,980

*Based on in-state tuition and does not include housing, books, etc.

North Carolina also has various community colleges. Wake Tech Community college is the largest in the area educating more than 70,000 students annually. The average yearly cost for in-state tuition at Wake Tech is roughly $2,400.


Is Cary, North Carolina, a safe place to live?

Cary, North Carolina, has some of the lowest crime rates and is consistently ranked one of the safest places to live.

Is it expensive to live in Cary, North Carolina?

While the cost of living continues to rise across the nation, the cost of goods and services in Cary remains lower than the national average.

How's the weather in Cary, North Carolina?

The climate is warm and temperate, with an average annual temperature of 68.5 degrees Fahrenheit. You can expect consistent rainfall and a short winter season.

Find your dream home in Cary.

After considering the cost of living in Cary, you can begin to make your decision on where to buy your next home. Weighing factors like the cost of goods and services, housing, and income can help you better understand what you'll need to budget to live in Cary.

Raleigh Realty can help you in your search to find your dream home in Cary, North Carolina.

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