Winston-Salem Ranked Slightly Higher Than Greensboro-High Point for Affordability
If you’re looking for an affordable place to live, look no further than Winston-Salem and Greensboro, North Carolina! Recent research conducted by the Business Journals found that Winston-Salem ranked second among the most affordable U.S. metropolitan areas, while nearby Greensboro-High Point placed fourth. The rankings are based on data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ Regional Price Parity Index. The index relates costs in a metro compared to the national baseline of 100. That means the lower the index the more affordable it is. For example, a metro area with a score of 95 is 5% lower than the national average.
McAllen, Texas, was #1 on the list as the most affordable place among the 100 largest metro areas in the United States. Its overall regional price parity index score was 88.5. Winston-Salem’s score was a close second at 89. Jackson, MS was third at 90.1 followed by the Greensboro-High Point area in fourth.
The Triad metros also rank better than the other top-100 metro areas in North Carolina. Durham-Chapel Hill was 25th, with an overall index of 93.8 and 84.6 for housing. Charlotte came in at 29th overall with an index rating of 94.5 overall and 89 for its housing affordability rating, which gave it a ranking of 43rd. Raleigh-Cary was 38th overall with a 95.6 index, and its 95.6 housing rating came in at 50th.
After prices have surged since the pandemic, many Americans are seeking affordability. An analysis of U.S. Census and Internal Revenue Service data by The Business Journals found many people were leaving the larger cities but staying in the surrounding metro areas. Most often, they are moving to areas where housing remained cheaper in order to stretch their incomes further. A driving factor for this trend has been the ability for many employees to work remotely. Even though this trend had started prior to the pandemic, it has accelerated over the last couple of years with people moving to find a better job, more affordable housing and better amenities. This trend has favored North Carolina and especially the Winston-Salem area. Additionally, many retirees are choosing to retire in Winston-Salem due to the lower cost of living.
A great thing about living in Winston-Salem is that it’s chock full of amenities without costing you an arm and a leg. Food, entertainment, housing—you name it; the city has plenty to offer its residents at lower prices than the average metro area. Take restaurants for example: There are tons of options from both casual and upscale establishments throughout the city, all serving up delicious dishes without breaking your wallet. From cozy diners like Penny Path Café to chic eateries like Mozelle’s Fresh Southern Bistro, there are countless ways to enjoy yourself on the cheap!
Even better, you don’t have to sacrifice quality when trying to save a few bucks. Winston-Salem offers plenty of options no matter what your budget may be – whether you’re shopping at the local farmers market or opting for the latest trends at the local plazas. Everything from groceries and utilities to rent costs are quite reasonable compared to other locations throughout North Carolina and across the country. For goods, Winston-Salem’s rating was 95.3, which ranked 39th; in utilities, it had a rating of 99.2 that gave it an affordability ranking of 62 among the 100 largest metros nationwide. Greensboro-High Point was 39th in goods and 61st in utilities. The estimated utility costs are figured using the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey’s monthly cost of electricity, gas or other heating fuel, and the annual cost of water and sewage services.
Winston-Salem Housing Affordability
Housing costs are equally reasonable. Winston-Salem’s index score for housing was 64, ranking it third in affordability behind McAllen, Texas and Jackson, Mississippi. Greensboro-High Point came in at eighth in the housing category. Whether you’re searching for a simple starter home or something more luxurious, finding a home within your budget is not difficult in Winston-Salem or the Greensboro-High Point area for that matter. Similarly, property taxes tend to be quite favorable compared to other parts of the country. North Carolina property tax rates rank 18th out of 51, which includes the District of Columbia, according to Wallet Hub. Housing affordability is a major draw for business and economic development groups promoting the greater Triad area, which is made up of twelve counties in the region.
However, apartment fair market rental rates have increased since Covid. According to RentData.org, Winston-Salem rent prices are moderately priced compared to the national average. This Fair Market Rent (FMR) area is more expensive than 78% of other FMR areas. Fair Market Rent for a 2-bedroom apartment in Winston-Salem is $969 per month. The previous year, rent was $808 per month for a 2-bedroom apartment. This was a 19.93% increase year-over-year. Fair Market Rent is determined each year by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It is used to set payment standards for federal housing assistance programs. Fair Market Rent in Winston-Salem is in the 40th-percentile of typical rentals in a given region. In many cases, buying a home in Winston-Salem might be a better option than renting.
Things to Do in Winston-Salem, NC
Beyond goods and services, living in Winston-Salem has many intangible perks that can make life here pretty sweet. There’s always something fun going on around town; from artsy festivals to outdoor concerts and sporting events, there’s never a shortage of things to do. Plus, with its mild climate and breathtaking scenery, Winston-Salem makes for a great backdrop for any occasion. It truly is a diverse community offering something special for everyone.
First on the list is Old Salem Museum & Gardens, which provides an immersive experience into life in North Carolina during colonial times. This historic village features over 60. acres of land with reconstructed homes from the 18th century, artisan workshops, and even a scenic herb garden. If you’re interested in learning more about our history or just want to take some stunning pictures, this is definitely one spot that shouldn’t be missed.
Next, take advantage of all the natural beauty surrounding Winston-Salem by visiting Reynolda Gardens. These sprawling grounds feature over 40. acres of lush plants and flowers, providing plenty of space for hiking and biking trails. The park also offers fishing opportunities along its five miles of streams – so don’t forget your rod and reel! If you’d rather stay indoors, check out the greenhouse or local art gallery located within the grounds.
For a more offbeat experience, head to Wake Forest University’s Sculpture Garden. This tranquil setting features more than 25. works of modern sculpture from around the world, creating a stunning backdrop for pictures or just a peaceful stroll. Once you’ve soaked up enough culture, grab a bite to eat at any of the eateries nearby.
The evening hours should be spent downtown, where dozens of lively bars and pubs await. Whether it’s live music or karaoke, there’s always something going on in this happening area. Afterward, end the night with a sweet treat from one of Winston-Salem’s famous ice cream parlors.
Taste Local Craft Beer: With over a dozen breweries across the city, Winston-Salem has become known as “North Carolina’s City of the Arts and Crafts Beer Scene.” Grab a pint at Foothills Brewing or Small Batch Beer Co., taste regional brews at Wise Man Brewing, Hoots Roller Bar & Beer Co., or go on a brewery tour.
If you’d prefer a day full of outdoor adventures, head to Hanging Rock State Park about 40 minutes from downtown. This 7,000-acre park has it all – camping spots, hiking trails, swimming areas, and breathtaking views! You can explore cascading waterfalls and rock formations while admiring nature’s beauty. For those who are feeling brave, there are also plenty of opportunities for rappelling and rock climbing.
Hike Pilot Mountain State Park: Immerse yourself in nature at this serene park located just outside of Winston-Salem. Take a hike along one of its scenic trails, admire the views from the summit, or camp beneath the stars. There’s something for everyone to enjoy!
So, whether you’re moving to Winston-Salem or just visiting, you won’t be disappointed. With plenty of activities ranging from educational excursions to wild nights out, this city has something for every one. Come discover what makes Winston-Salem such a gem – you won’t regret it!
What’s It Like Living in Winston-Salem
Living in Winston-Salem, NC is an economical choice for anyone looking to get the most bang for their buck. The city more than lives up to its reputation as one of the nation’s most economical places to live. With easy access to great food, nightlife, and real estate—all without sacrificing quality—it’s truly an ideal spot for anyone seeking value for their money. When considering where to call home, Winston-Salem should definitely be high up on your list. You’ll love it! Its affordability combined with all its cultural amenities make it one of the best cities around to enjoy both the small pleasures and luxuries of life without having to break the bank.