What's the Cost of Living in Chapel Hill, NC?

October 17th, 2022

Raleigh Real Estate | Life in Raleigh | Buying
What's the Cost of Living in Chapel Hill, NC?

What's the Cost of Living in Chapel Hill, NC?

Are you looking to move to Chapel Hill, North Carolina? Let's dive into the cost of living.

Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is in Orange and Chatham County. Located only 30 miles from Raleigh, Chapel Hill makes up a large part of the research triangle: Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. The research triangle is home to numerous technology and development-related companies. It is also home to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the oldest state-supported university in the United States. Chapel Hill has something for everyone to enjoy, including a great job market, highly-ranked schools, beautiful scenery, and a small-town feel.

UNC Old Well with pink flowers

Let's dive into the cost of living and why Chapel Hill would make an excellent place for you!


Nicknamed the "Southern Part of Heaven," Chapel Hill was named after New Hope Chapel, located upon a hill crossing two roads. The University of North Carolina Board of Trustees decided on the area around New Hope Chapel to begin building the university in 1973. Due to that decision, the town was created to serve the university, and a committee was gathered to lay the town adjacent. It wasn't until 1975 that the university officially opened, and the first students began to arrive. The town was chartered in 1851, and its main street, Franklin Street, was named in memory of Benjamin Franklin.

Cost of living

graphic cost of living in Chapel Hill, NC

According to Payscale, the cost of living in Chapel Hill, NC, is 8% higher than the national average. When planning your next move, you must consider all necessities that make up your expenses. Using the most recent data, we will look into the annual income, housing cost, cost of utilities, and more!

Cost of Living Item Chapel Hill, NC National Average
Annual Income $41,893 per person* $35,384 per person*
Mortgage Payment $2,492* $1,621*
Rent $1,221* $1,096*
Natural as (therm) $1.23 $1.57
Electricity (kWh) $0.11 $0.14
Food (Gallon of milk) $3.57 $4.33
Transportation (Gallon of gas) $3.41 $3.84
Income tax rate 5.5.% 13.3%

*Denotes median rather than average


Your annual income is essential when planning to move to a new area. The median annual income per person in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is $41,893, which is $6,509 higher than the national average ($35,384). You can look at LivingWage to better understand the hourly rate you would need to make to comfortably support yourself or your family when living in Chapel Hill, NC.

Housing Cost

Depending on where you're moving from, the housing cost in Chapel Hill may either be a shock to you or a great thing. The median price of homes sits at around $330,000, which is higher than the national average. Chapel Hill has numerous notable neighborhoods and areas to choose from.

Meadowmont is just one of the well-known popular neighborhoods in Chapel Hill. Homes in this neighborhood range from around $500,000 to over seven figures. This neighborhood offers beautiful landscapes, space, and fantastic architecture. One of the reasons so many residents are attracted to this neighborhood is the walkability to Meadowmont Village, which offers restaurants, shops, offices, and more!

If you're a fan of golf, Governor's Club is the perfect neighborhood for you. Sitting on a 1,600+ acre of private gold community, Governor's Club has become one of the top neighborhoods in Chapel Hill.


Utilities are essential to consider when planning your next move because they must be discussed and turned on before moving in. Below, we'll dive into the leading providers/fees for utilities in Chapel Hill, including water, electricity, natural gas, and waste management.


Orange water and sewer authority (OWASA) is the primary provider of water and sewer services in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. OWASA is committed to delivering safe water to the Carrboro-Chapel Hill area and the Univerisity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. For residential services, water usage is based on an increasing block that goes off the total volume of drinking water usage per month. Blocks range from 0-2,000 gallons per month to 16,000+ gallons per month. Usage fees are rounded to the nearest thousand and are billed per thousand gallons used.

Block Number The Volume of Use (Gallons) Rate per 1,000 Gallons
Block 1 1,000 to 2,000 $2.96
Block 2 3,000 to 5,000 $7.18
Block 3 6,000 to 10,000 $8.81
Block 4 11,000 to 15,000 $12.31
Block 5 16,000 and up $22.26


The leading provider of electricity around Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is Duke Energy. Its goal is to provide the most energy-efficient services and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. They are also investing in significant electric grid enhancements and energy storage. Please take a look at the rates they offer.

Monthly facilities charge $14.00
Billing for the months July-October $0.116
Billing for months November-June $0.10659

Natural gas

The primary provider of natural gas in Chapel Hill, NC, is Dominion Energy/PSNC gas. Its mission is to be safe, reliable, affordable, and sustainable.

Facilities charge $10.00
Charge for November-April $1.2668
Charge for May-October $1.18775

Waste management

The town of Chapel Hill, NC, provides trash and yard trimmings pick up weekly for residents within the town limits. This service is included in property taxes, so no additional fees are billed, and there is no account to set up. Recycling services are through the Orange County Solid Waste Management Department. One trash cart is provided at no charge to residents, and an additional trash cart can be purchased for $60. Lastly, residents may also purchase a yard trimmings cart for $50.


The town of Chapel Hill is working on improving the convenience of travel along with safety. They are working on a few aspects: sidewalks, streets, trails and greenways, and calming traffic. They also offer free transit service to help residents and commuters get around the town.

Chapel Hill, NC green road sign surrounded by trees


Taxes are always a topic of discussion when planning to move to a new area. They vary all over the nation, so it's essential to consider how the taxes differ from area to area. Let's take a look at some of the tax rates in Chapel Hill and North Carolina.

Tax Type Rate
Chapel Hill Property Tax Rate 54.4 cents per $100 of taxable income
Income Tax Rate 5.5%
Corporate Income Tax Rate 2.5%
State Sales Tax Rate 4.75%
Max Local Sales Tax Rate 2.75%
The Average Combined State and Local Sales Tax Rate 6.98%


What is Chapel Hill known for?

Chapel Hill is known for being home to the highly-ranked University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This university was the first public university in the United States and the only institution to offer degrees in the 18th century.

Is Chapel Hill an excellent place to live?

Chapel Hill has something to offer for all ages. Chapel Hill is an excellent place for families, professionals, and young adults with an outstanding education, nightlife, a booming economy, and more.

Is it expensive to live in Chapel Hill?

While you need to consider your salary/career to determine if Chapel Hill is expensive for you, the housing expenses are 22% higher than the national average, and the overall cost of living is 8% higher than the national average.

Aerial view of UNC Chapel Hill campus in the Summer with lots of greenery

Find your dream home in Chapel Hill

If you plan to move to Chapel Hill, NC, Consider yourself a Tar Heel. With the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill being the heart of the town, people of all ages are attracted to the area. The education, job market, nightlife, restaurants, and more are just a few reasons that Chapel Hill continues to grow and be one of the best places to live. When choosing to move to Chapel Hill, there is no doubt that you will feel right at home with its charming and quaint feel.

After you've considered all factors, Raleigh Realty would be happy to help you find your dream home. Contact us today to get started on your home-buying journey!

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