D+
24%
Overall NAT. AVG.
1%
Goods & Services NAT. AVG.
84%
Housing NAT. AVG.
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Date & Last Updated: This data reflects 2023 and was released from C2ER in January, 2024; this is the most current data available.
The cost of living index is based on a national average of 100. For example, if the cost of living is 90, then it is 10% lower than average. If the cost of living is 110, then it is 10% higher than average. The breakdown for each index is as follows: goods & services (33%), groceries (13%), health care (5%), housing (30%), transportation (9%) and utilities (10%). If the cost of living data was unavailable for this city, estimates based upon nearby cities were used.
Index Cary North Carolina National
Cost of living12494100
Goods & Services9998100
Groceries9898100
Health care112108100
Housing18485100
Transportation9392100
Utilities9894100

An Overview of Cost of Living in Cary, NC

The cost of living in Cary affects the quality of life one can afford in this new location. It allows people to assess whether they can maintain their preferred lifestyle, including housing, leisure activities and dining options. Your total monthly expenditures can varry depending on the area, as well as many other factors. The cost of living in Cary is 124, which is 24% higher than the national average. Knowledge of the cost of living can help individuals make informed decisions about retirement savings, investments, and financial goals.

If you prioritize affordability when seeking a new place to live, Cary may not be your ideal choice, as it ranks among the most expensive locations in the entire United States. A very small amount of areas exhibit a cost of living at least 20% higher than the national average, and unfortunately, Cary falls into this category, which may not align with your preferences for a budget-friendly living environment.

When it comes to the cost of living in Cary, housing costs are a real heavyweight, often hogging a significant chunk of your earnings. Sadly, in this area, housing expenses for both buying and renting were 84.2% more expensive compared to your average city. That means you'll be shelling out more for homes, rents, mortgage rates and insurance.

What Do Locals Say About the Cost of Living in Cary?

Nobody knows their city better than the people who actually live there. So, we asked 27 local residents how they would rate the cost of living in Cary and this is how they responded. 48% of people said that the cost of living was affordable, with prices decreasing, while 52% of people said that the cost of living was very expensive and prices continue to rise.

Is Cary Affordable?

Is Cary affordable? It's a key consideration when pondering a move, as affordability often shapes your choices. The cost of living index (we discussed it earlier), coupled with housing costs and income levels, serves as the cornerstone for determining a location's affordability. Take Cary, for instance, where the median home price falls 103.9% higher than the national average, and monthly rent rates are 38.3% higher than usual. Additionally, median income levels contribute to the equation, with Cary flaunting a median household income of $107,463, 94.3% higher than the national norm.

What Factors can Influence the Cost of Living in Cary?

Taxes: Regions that impose higher taxes, including sales and income taxes, can contribute to an increased cost of living. Higher taxes for everyday necessities such as clothing, utilities and food inevitably leads to higher expenditures. Additionally, a higher income tax rate can also play a role in elevating the overall cost of living. In Cary, the prevailing sales tax rate starts at 4.75%, and income tax rates kick off at 4.99%.

Housing: Elevated demand for housing within coveted locales has the propensity to escalate both property values and rental rates, thereby serving as a primary catalyst for an augmented cost of living. Conversely, areas witnessing diminished housing demand, particularly within less desirable environs, often experience an inversely proportional effect, leading to price reductions and subsequently contributing to a more modest cost of living. In Cary, the housing index is 84.2% higher than the national average.

Transportation: In cities with limited or no public transportation, residents may find it necessary to own and maintain vehicles, thereby elevating the cost of living. Monthly expenditures include fuel, insurance, routine maintenance and potential lease or financing commitments. In Cary, the transportation index stands at 6.9% lower than the national average.

Where is the Data From?

The cost of living data in Cary displayed above is sourced from the C2ER cost of living index, which serves as a practical tool for comparing living expenses across urban areas. Published on a quarterly basis, this index aggregates data from over 300 independent researchers, encompassing more than 60 goods and services, in 6 different categories. The weightings assigned to cost differences rely on government survey data that tracks the spending habits of professional and executive households. It's worth noting that the C2ER index excludes data on sales or income tax rates, while AreaVibes integrates tax rates into the overall cost of living evaluation for each region.

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Cost Of Living Quick Facts

  • The cost of living in Cary is 33% higher than the North Carolina average
  • The cost of living in Cary is 24% higher than the national average
  • Cary housing is 84% higher than the national average
  • North Carolina general sales tax is 7% lower than the national average
  • North Carolina state income tax is 121% higher than the national average

Most Affordable Places to Live in and Around Cary

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Compare Cary, NC Cost of Living

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      Salary Calculator

      This is how much you would need to earn in
      Price difference in compared to
      Cost of living index
      Goods & Services index
      Groceries index
      Health care index
      Housing index
      Transportation index
      Utilities index

      Median Income & Debt-To-Income Ratio

      Median Income Per Year Per Month Max Budget (28% DTI) Max Budget (36% DTI)
      Owners$135,742$11,312$3,167$4,073
      Renters$65,543$5,462$1,529$1,966
      The affordability of the housing market in Cary, NC as well as the overall cost of living can be predicted by what percent of the monthly income is spent on housing related costs. This is konwn as the debt-to-income ratio (DTI). The overall rule of thumb is that no more than 28% of your gross income should be spent on the overall costs related to housing and no more than 36% of gross income on all expenses and debts. Among Cary homeowners, the median income is $135,742. This indicates that a monthly maximum of $3,167 should be spent by homeowners on all housing related costs. Renters have a median income of $65,543. This indicates that renters would have a maximum of $1,529 for their rent related monthly costs.

      North Carolina Sales Tax

      State General Sales Tax With Max Surtax
      North Carolina 4.75% 7.5%

      North Carolina Income Tax

      State Income Tax (Low) Income Tax (High)
      North Carolina 4.99% 4.99%

      Goods & Services

      Item Cary National avg. Difference
      Haircut $19.00$24.2621.7%
      Beauty Salon $29.58$45.5635.1%
      Toothpaste $3.65$3.701.4%
      Shampoo $1.09$1.2815.1%
      Movie $10.27$12.1315.3%
      Bowling $11.00$18.0038.9%

      Groceries

      Item Cary National avg. Difference
      Ground Beef $5.93$5.841.5%
      Fried Chicken $1.59$1.570.9%
      Milk $4.57$4.672.1%
      Potatoes $5.18$4.934.9%
      Pizza $10.47$12.0913.4%
      Beer $10.29$10.411.1%

      Health Care

      Item Cary National avg. Difference
      Optometrist $141.56$125.6812.6%
      Doctor $136.38$135.780.4%
      Dentist $100.17$113.2911.6%
      Ibuprofen $10.24$10.653.9%
      Lipitor $429.52$468.608.3%

      Housing

      Item Cary National avg. Difference
      Home Price $376,600.00$184,700.00103.9%
      Avg. Mortgage Payment $1,813.02$2,346.6922.7%
      Apartment Rent $1,312.00$949.0038.3%

      Transportation

      Item Cary National avg. Difference
      Gasoline $3.45$3.460.5%
      Tire Balancing $63.55$59.926.1%

      Utilities

      Item Cary National avg. Difference
      All Electricity $201.14$193.993.7%
      Phone $187.32$192.252.6%
      Although the cost of living data is updated regularly, this cost of living information is to be used as estimates only as prices can change on an ongoing basis.

      Nearby cities with low cost of living

      City Population Cost of Living Index National Avg.
      Moncure, NC7988020.0%
      Garner, NC30,3451054.9%
      Durham, NC276,3411055.4%
      Raleigh, NC469,69811110.5%
      Fuquay-Varina, NC29,11011312.8%
      Cary, NC169,17712424.3%

      Cities with similar population

      City Population Cost of Living Index National Avg.
      Corona, CA168,11214949.4%
      Eugene, OR170,45711717.2%
      Sherbrooke, QC170,686n/a 
      Springfield, MO167,6018416.4%
      Salem, OR171,80611616.1%
      Cary, NC169,17712424.3%
      Date & Last Updated: This data reflects 2023 and was released from C2ER in January, 2024; this is the most current data available.