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Cary Ranks in Top 10 for Affordable Housing Statewide

Cary, NC – As North Carolina’s population grows, and Wake County’s grows particularly fast, questions about affordable housing become more pertinent. A new study looks at affordable housing across North Carolina municipalities, with Cary dropping its position in recent years.

Affordable Housing

In a study by, affordable housing in North Carolina towns and cities with a population of 60,000 or more was measured based on the relationship between housing prices and income. Using median home values and median incomes in each municipality, the study measured how long it would take to pay off those median homes.

Cary came in ninth in the study, coming in at 3.6 years according to data in the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey. This is down from 3.3 years in HomeArea’s previous study. Cary is on par with the national median multiple, both at 3.6 years.

This puts Cary behind cities such as Charlotte (3.5 years), Greensboro (3.3 years), Winston-Salem (3.3 years) and then at #1 and #2, High Point at 2.9 years and Fayetteville at 3.1 years respectively.

Cary Home

Less Affordable Now

Overall, the median multiple across the state has fluctuated from last year’s data. Not only has Cary dropped from 3.3 to 3.6, but North Carolina has gone from 3.3 years to 3.2. Durham has dropped from 3.8 years to 4.1. Gastonia, previously ranked #1 at 2.9 years, has dropped down to 3.1 years.

Some of the cities in the study experienced a large reduction in their median multiple. Jacksonville had a huge change, going from 4.0 years to 3.6 currently. And High Point at #1 went from 3.6 years to 2.9.

High Point is the only municipality in the list under 3.0 years and according to the HomeArea study, anything below 3 is considered affordable, though this is separate from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s “30 percent rule.”

Story by staff reports. Photos by Lindsey Chester.

4 replies
  1. JoAnn Wainwright
    JoAnn Wainwright says:

    Lori – we totally agree with you….we have seen what Seattle has gone thru with the influx of high paying jobs and lack of affordable housing. Even tiny houses out there are way out of price for young people or single parents….and that is just wrong. We don’t want our public workers having to live outside of our neighborhoods and having to drive long distances to get to work because they can’t live where they work and get to know the people that they serve. We want the diversity in our neighborhoods. We appreciate you speaking up….thanks

  2. Lori Bush
    Lori Bush says:

    Although this article accurately describes the study done by, I don’t agree with the title of their study, or this headline as accurate to the description of what “affordability” in our community means.

    Sure, it’s affordable for someone with a median income of $90K (the median income documented in this study) to pay less than 30% of their income on housing in Cary. The average rental price, or house prices are here in Cary for that price point. But, not everyone in Cary makes $90K. Our teachers, nurses, firefighters, service workers, public servants – they don’t make that. And at anywhere from $30K (starting salary for a teacher) – to $50K (median income for a teacher), it can be extremely difficult, if not impossible for folks to find housing without extending over 30% of their income.

    We are losing natural occurring affordable housing in Cary as redevelopment occurs, our attractiveness to new residents with a smaller supply of houses, increases demand for homes at lower price points, and drives up prices. What happens next – is that without a variety of housing stock at various price points, we become a community of higher priced homes and limited socio-economic diversity. We need to have places in Cary where everyone can find a home that works for them – from our grandparents and seniors that want to retire close to their grandchildren, to the new millennials just starting out, to residents that are doing the best they can, working day to day.

    We have work to do – and I’m glad that Cary has supported Habitat for Humanity with our CDBG funds, Group Homes, Senior and Affordable Housing, and has a program for rehabilitating homes, to protect Naturally Occurring Housing. But we can and I hope will, do more. We are in the process of reviewing our Affordable Housing plan, hiring a Housing and CDBG Director, and recently expanded our Rehabilitation program (doubled it!)

    Even though we are doing ALL of this, I would not say that Cary is Affordable for so many that want to live here.

    • Bob Blackmun
      Bob Blackmun says:

      I’m really glad to see your comments on this report, which I also found misleading. I particularly support your comment that housing is not affordable for people who are critical to the quality of life that Cary residents enjoy — teachers, police officers, fire fighters, merchants, etc. — who certainly don’t earn $90k!

      I hope that you will continue to advocate for affordable housing is Cary, since part of the problem is lack of understanding of why this is important to all of us.

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