Local News

Living In The Triangle Out-Costs Other N.C. Cities

Posted September 28, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Small town feel, big city costs. New figures show just about everything costs more in the Triangle than elsewhere in North Carolina.

While that is not a complete surprise, the Triangle also has a higher cost of living than people in Miami, Atlanta and Dallas.

A cost of living index comes out every quarter, and theRaleigh Chamber of Commercesays the meanings change because the average changes.

First quarter figures show Raleigh-Durham well above the national average, somewhere it was not at just five years ago. More expensive housing, higher electric and food bills all add up.

People stream to the Triangle from all parts of the country. They come for higher-paying jobs, a better lifestyle and higher education.

Once they arrive they will pay more to live than in most big cities in the Southeast. Housing, for example, is more costly in Raleigh than in the state's largest city.

"Our housing numbers have continued to grow at a faster rate than they have in Charlotte and some of the other communities in the southeast," said Harvey Schmitt of the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.

Apartment rent is also considerably higher on average. Some worry that lower income families are being shut out. Schmitt says no.

"There are still plenty of options below average or at the average prices which in many instances are well within people's ability to pay," said Schmitt.

Electric rates are lower for Charlotte and the Triad because they are served by Duke Power.

"The rates for electric service in North Carolina are generally less than the national average," explained Sam Watson of the N.C. Utilities Commission Staff. "In North Carolina however, the rates forCarolina Power and Lightare slightly higher than those for Duke."

As building continues in the Triangle, prices will likely continue to rise in places like Cary and inside the beltline.

One new resident said, "the Triangle has it all. That's why we live here and we're willing to pay for it."

Although the Triangle is by the far the most expensive area in the state, other areas have high indexes as well.

Asheville's altitude matches its cost of living, and any questions about the cost of living at the beach are answered in Wilmington's ranking.

Rocky Mount and Goldsboro each top Charlotte. In the viewing area, Fayetteville is the cheapest place to live.