Living in the Raleigh Area: What will 250K Buy Me in North Carolina?

Relocation to Raleigh, N.C. What will $250K buy in N.C.

I talk about my hometown of Raleigh a lot on this blog.  I love it. Visit Raleigh just interviewed me this week on my favorite thing to do for a date night. You can see that story here and it's also fun to see what others in the area have to say about our town, too.

House Sale Information for Relocation to Raleigh, NC and the surrounding area.
Visit VisitRaleigh's website for more information on the area.

Moving to this area in 2000 was the best decision I made.

Raleigh encompasses a large area in Wake County from the Northern area of Wake Forest to the Southern side of the town of Fuquay-Varina. Morrisville is the closest town to the Research Triangle Park and in between are the towns of Cary, Apex, and Holly Springs. We've got homes Inside the Raleigh Beltline, which are closer to downtown Raleigh, and homes now  sandwiched between the Inner Beltline and Outer I-540-Beltline. Boy, that makes us feel so "big" city.

I love to look at real estate. As a blogger, I get asked a lot about area schools, where to eat, where to shop, where to stay, and other area facts.

According to research, the average home price in Wake County is around $250,000. So, what will a mortgage of $250,000 get you for a house in some of the areas of Wake County?

For this research, I put the following criteria together and I only looked at the homes that met these guidelines.

Budget: $250,000 to $260,000
Square Footage Minimum 1750
3 Bedrooms and 2 baths 
Single-Family Detached

Apex, North Carolina

I have a lot of friends who live in Apex, and I think this town is adorable. The schools are good. It has a cute downtown with upscale shops and restaurants. It also has some urban sprawl with Target, and the brand new Costco. You can hop on the new I-540 Outer Beltline in a flash, and it can take you to other parts of the Triangle quite quickly.

There is a lot to like about Apex. Single family homes in the price tag we're targeting for this market fly off the market about as quickly as the Lilly Pulitzer stuff did at Target.  If you want to move to Apex then you may want to call my friend, Raleigh Realty Mom, quickly. When I did our search only five homes popped up, and they were all either pending or on contingent. None of the listings in the price range were active.

My Favorite:

Home in Shepherds Vineyard Neighborhood
Asking Price: $255,000
Square Footage: 1865 on .025 acre
4 Bedroom/2 Baths 1 Half Bath
Year Built: 1987

With this home, you could be at the new Apex Costco in four minutes, and in downtown Raleigh in 24 minutes. It is 25 minutes to the RTP via I-540. This home was on the market for zero days according to sources. That's fast.

Cary, North Carolina 

Cary is larger than the town of Apex and borders Apex, Raleigh, and Morrisville. It encompasses a large area. Cary has an older section, and a newer developed section of town as you move toward Morrisville. The historic downtown area opened its first luxury boutique hotel, The Mayton Inn, this month. Cary has a lot to offer as a suburb of Raleigh. It has two beautiful country clubs, a Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and many ethnic markets. Cary is a good place to raise a family.

My favorite: We found nine homes that met our search criteria and all, but one of the listings were active. Out of the nine. I liked this one the best. It sold in ten days and was at the top of our price range.

Home in Cary Park Neighborhood
Asking Price: $259,900
Square Footage: 1892 on .09 of an acre
3 bedrooms, 2 baths 1 half bath
Year Built: 2002

It is 17 minutes to the new Costco in Apex and 38 minutes to downtown Raleigh and 19 minutes to RTP.

East Raleigh (Includes Raleigh, towns of Knightdale, and Wendell)

I know very little about this area. It's closer to the cute town of Wake Forest. Wendell and Knightdale have easy access to downtown Raleigh. The schools do not flourish as well as Apex, Cary and other parts of Raleigh, but Wake County has good schools. Magnet schools are going into this area. And the towns are now on the cusp of booming like Western Wake towns did years ago. I think this area is on the rise with new home developments, and even a brewery. You definitely get more house for the money here. We had 22 listings on our search.

Home in Princeton Manor in Knightdale, N.C.
Asking price: $260,000
Square Footage: 2462 on .029 acre
4 bedrooms, 2 baths and 1 half bath
Home built: 2005

In this home, you can be to downtown Raleigh in 18 minutes, and to RTP in 34 minutes via I-540. And believe it or not, you could get to the new Apex Costco in 26 minutes.

Raleigh, Inside the Beltline

Inside the beltline is the area inside the area's original beltline I-440. Downtown Raleigh, the State Farmer's Market, NC State University, Cameron Village, an upscale shopping center, and historic neighborhoods are in this area. It's a very walkable area depending on where you live, but this budget does not get you much. There were four listings for our search. I had to bend our criteria a little bit and take off the square footage minimum to even get a favorite to show. There was only one house for $260K over our minimum square footage requirement. It was in an area that still needs some revitalization.

My Favorite:

Home in Woodcrest neighborhood
Asking price: $250,000
Square Footage: 1257 on .37 acre
3 bedrooms, 2 baths
Move-in-Ready: Remodeled and up to date
Home Built: 1957
This home is 9 minutes from downtown Raleigh, 23 minutes to RTP, and 22 minutes to Costco in Apex.

North Raleigh

North Raleigh is still Raleigh, and it is a very large area.It is basically land north of Crabtree Mall and the area that borders the town of Wake Forest.  Only 9 homes popped up, and only one is still an active listing.

My favorite:
Home in Quail Hollow neighborhood
Asking Price: $254,900
Square Footage: 1905
3 bedrooms and 2 baths
Interior could use an update
Built in 1971

Honestly, nothing wowed me in the price range for North Raleigh which tells me your budget may need to be higher. I chose this home because of its location to North Hills shopping center and the schools around it. This home was on the market awhile, but at a higher price. It's probably not very North in its Raleigh location, but it is north of downtown Raleigh.

This home is 14 minutes to downtown Raleigh and 23 minutes to the RTP without TRAFFIC. I think it would be longer in traffic.  It's also 23 minutes to the new Costco in Apex, but they have their own Raleigh Costco on their side of town so I doubt they will be going across town much to shop.

South Raleigh

This area is South and Southeast of downtown Raleigh and includes the town of Garner, N.C and areas in the county of Wake County before getting into the city limits of both Holly Springs and  Fuquay-Varina.

There were 12 homes in this price point. All seemed a lot alike. I'm going to feature this one to give you an idea.  This is in a golf, swim and tennis community.

Home in Eagle Ridge
Asking price: $254,900
Square Footage: 2325 on .025 acre
4 bedrooms and 3 baths
Year Built: 2001

This home is 18 minutes to downtown Raleigh and 30 minutes to RTP in good traffic.  Yeah, Yeah, it's 18 minutes to the new Apex Costco. It's back country roads, baby!


Wake County is large and there were 101 homes for sale in  Wake County in this price point when we searched. The one with the most curb appeal goes to this home for sale in Wake Forest.  It's a pending sale now and was on the market for 12 days. Asking price: $259,900

If you enjoyed this series, we'll slowly start increasing our budget. My thanks to Costco for the wonderful products they have sent me in preparation for their store opening. Costco offers members savings on both travel and on services, such as insurance and identity protection. You can find more information on and on Here is a link to the digital version of the My Costco Services magazine, which contains additional information and a link to a video that highlights Costco Services

If coming to check out homes in Wake County, book your hotel directly  via Marriott for the best direct savings, Mayton Inn,  and at  Also, be sure to visit the Visit Raleigh website and get a free visitor's guide. 

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