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Jane0218

Differences/Similarities of Charlotte & Raleigh

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My husband and I are relocating to NC and we're curious about the cultural/economic/lifestyle/housing costs differences and similarities between Charlotte area and the Raleigh area, as seen by those who actually live there. There's only so much research that can be done....

My husband rehabs houses, so we're looking for an established area, not a new growing area with tons of new development. We'd like to live away from traffic, but close enough to an economic base so I can find a job that wouldn't have a long commute (under 30 minutes one-way; under 15 mins. would be fantastic!).

We come from a rural area with larger towns (pop. 20,000-30,000) 15-20 minutes away. We've just come into Raleigh and will be looking around soon. Then, on to the Charlotte area.

Regarding housing: Is one area generally more expensive than the other?

I see a lot of posts on other boards where people are gravitating towards Charlotte, but I'm not sure why.

Specific towns we could look at would be appreciated!

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Based on your requirements that you have shared with us, you might also want to consider the Triad. (Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Highpoint).

BTW, welcome to UrbanPlanet and to NC!

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Congratulations on your relocation. Whichever city you choose, rest assured you are moving to an amazing state.

Charlotte offers much of what you are looking for. Check out this link that will give you an overview of some of Charlottes in-town neighborhoods. in-town

NoDa is an area that has really made an amazing turn around over the last 10 years especially. Homes average about $150,000 after renovation. There are tons of fixer uppers in NoDa.

Wilmore is an area near uptown that is also on the upswing. I wish I could offer more info. So far as commutte times. Regardless of where one lives in the Charlotte area, the average commute time one way is about 28 minutes. Good luck.

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Cultural: Both areas are great. With lots of first run Broadway Plays/Concerts/Entertainment for family. etc.- Charlotte has the professional sports edge with NBA Basketball, NFL football, and Nascar but Raleigh and the surrounding area have the College sports on lock as seen by last years UNC Championship.

Economic: Judging from new business openings, new shopping centers and malls and the dropping unemployment rates you can't go wrong in either area. Money is also being seriously invested in rehabilitation projects in the downtown areas of both cities. Charlotte is big on banking and transport while the Raleigh area is big on Pharmaceuticals/research/and Hospitals and of course Government.

Lifestyle: This one depends on you and yours. Do you like to bike and go to parks? Then Raleigh is probably better as we have the most extensive greenway system in the state. But on the other hand do you want a bit more urban scene? Then downtown Charlotte may be more to your liking, but then again Raleigh's downtown isn't too shabby either especially the Glenwood South area. Raleigh/Wake County has one of the best school districts in the country so that is a plus there, and intellectuals abound with NC State/UNC/and Duke nearby. I do know that crime in Charlotte is apparently far worse than Raleigh. People who have lived there tell me that is the major drawback there. However, parts of Durham are questionable too.

Housing: Pretty much the same- Charlotte has more Downtown dwellings but outside of that it's similar to Raleigh. Both areas have are established neigborhoods some of which are historical, new subdivisions ranging from low 100,000-500,000+, Townhomes, planned neighborhoods and schools etc. Intermingled with shopping centers, parks, and eateries.

Since I live in Raleigh all I can say is check out both areas thoroughly, In the triangle I do recommend the suburbs of Wake Forest, Morrisville, the Brier Creek area in NW Raleigh, and Knightdale, North Raleigh, and Southern Durham near Southpointe mall.

In the Charlotte area I hear Huntersville and Pineville, Concord and Matthews are nice.

Just 1 factoid>>>> Raleigh (pop. 340,000) was the second fastest growing city last year after Las Vegas, NV- Apparently it beat out other cities for several people trying to make up there minds on where to live :)

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  NoDa is an area that has really made an amazing turn around over the last 10 years especially. Homes average about $150,000 after renovation. There are tons of fixer uppers in NoDa.

 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Excuse my ignorance, but what does "NoDa" stand for??

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Excuse my ignorance, but what does "NoDa" stand for??

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

NoDa is the nickname for the area around North Davidson street, it's sort of the "artsy" area.

My wife and I recently went through the same process and relo'd from upstate NY. I'd say go Charlotte all the way, it's incredible here we love it.

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My husband and I are relocating to NC and we're curious about the cultural/economic/lifestyle/housing costs differences and similarities between Charlotte area and the Raleigh area, as seen by those who actually live there.  There's only so much research that can be done....

My husband rehabs houses, so we're looking for an established area, not a new growing area with tons of new development.  We'd like to live away from traffic, but close enough to an economic base so I can find a job that wouldn't have a long commute (under 30 minutes one-way; under 15 mins. would be fantastic!). 

We come from a rural area with larger towns (pop. 20,000-30,000) 15-20 minutes away.  We've just come into Raleigh and will be looking around soon.  Then, on to the Charlotte area.

Regarding housing:  Is one area generally more expensive than the other?

I see a lot of posts on other boards where people are gravitating towards Charlotte, but I'm not sure why. 

Specific towns we could look at would be appreciated!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Almost everything inside Interstate 440 in Raleigh qualifies as established neighborhoods. Some areas approach 2 million dollars an acrea of land, others as little as 100,000 dollars (adjust for lot size naturally, translation is home prices from $50,000 to over $1,000,000 inside I-440). The commute time accross the diameter of 440 is about 15 minutes north-south (I do it ever day) to a little less than 30 minutes east-west.

Sorry to say, but finding both an established area for a nice rehab home that is without traffic will be hard to do...how little traffic are you looking for? Would you prefer 1900's style homes or 1960's style? What wide price range are you looking around?

Raleigh is a great town that can cater to a wide range of lifestyles. I am sure you could find something suitable here or in Charlotte as they share similar characteristics.

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Sorry to say, but finding both an established area for a nice rehab home that is without traffic will be hard to do...how little traffic are you looking for? Would you prefer 1900's style homes or 1960's style? What wide price range are you looking around?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I might have been too vague in my description of what we're looking for. We want a nice home(2000-2500 sq. ft) in an established neighborhood (anywhere from $150K-$275K). I say "established" neighborhood because we just came from Phoenix (where we lived for 2 years; before that it was eastern Long Island, NY for 42 years) and the HOAs in Arizona are SO strict; you can't have your garage door open in some of the neighborhoods unless you're entering or leaving your garage with your vehicle!

We have no idea what living in HOA communities in NC are like. Are they as bad as in AZ?

Also, we definitely don't want to rehab the house we live in; we want to purchase a house live in it for years to come; rehabbing will be with other houses.

We want to be located where there's availablility of houses (built from 1950's and on) to rehab. So, I'd say a 30 mile radius from where we would live would be a reasonable distance.

Oh, yeah, and low crime is critical in the town we settle down in. The Phoenix metro area abounds with it, and we sold our 1st house west of Phoenix (mind you, in a "new" tract housing development) after there was a drive by shooting there. We are used to walking outside and not having to worry about things like that. The nearest large town of about 20,000 (when we lived in NY) had some crime in pocket areas, so we knew where to go and where not to go.

I'd like to be near walking and biking trails, and my husband would like to be near some water (if possible---not a deal-breaker).

Does that open us up to (hopefully) a wealth of possible small towns to live in in both areas, or do these parameters narrow it down some to either Charlotte or Raleigh?

Thanks all!

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or Old Raleigh off of Mary's Street/Wade Avenue/Oberlin road. Tons of houses built in the '50's with really nice landscaping near meredith college. I saw a couple for sale when I did the benifit walk a couple months ago.

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I think Tay did a good job of discussing both areas. Both have much to offer. Triangle more high-tech, govt, healthcare, university, parks, etc. Charlotte more corporate, financial, manufacturing, larger downtown, sports teams ("major league" city), etc.

2000-2500 sq. ft... anywhere from $150K-$275K... low crime is critical..."established" neighborhood... we definitely don't want to rehab the house we live in

Cary is nice, but HOAs and ordinances tend to be very strict. Raleigh has low crime, but home prices in established "inside the beltline" (I440... "ITB") are going to be higher than your price range--more like $200+/sf, depending on location, especially if you don't want a fixer-upper. You could look at Durham, which has lower prices, but some areas have a significant amount of crime (you have to look carefully, there are some hidden gems). Chapel Hill is also very expensive--as much or more than ITB Raleigh. I would look at North Raleigh and parts of west raleigh for starters.

I would suspect that Charlotte has many of the same issues with home pricing, etc.

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Bottom line is that each city has good qualities and there are good things about both cities, it just depends on what u want to do. If you want a fixer upper you should look around durham as well, it's not nearly as bad as everyone makes it out to be. There is nothing any worse about any part of durham that is different about the bad parts of raleigh and/or charlotte. The traffic in durham is also not as bad as that in raleigh either (with I-40 being the notable exception.) Forest Hills and the areas around Duke/downtown are popular for relocation and are filled with quiet tree-lined streets. Again...nothing you cant also find in charlotte and raleigh too.

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The thing about the Raleigh area that makes it most different from Charlotte (in my estimation) is that there are so many different cities and towns in the Triangle, so there are tons of housing and lifestyle options, each has its own flavor. But there's not that strong central anchor of the region as I sense in Charlotte. Downtown Charlotte, or, rather "Uptown" as they call it, has really been transformed into a neat place of late.

I personally prefer the Triangle culturally and historically; Charlotte just seems to still have the new sheen of its recent influx of affluence (not a slam, just an observation), and feels somewhat generic to me when I'm there. For what it's worth, it also feels politically more conservative than the Triangle. My brother lives there, though, and loves it.

I'm afraid housing of that size in your target price range in either Raleigh or Charlotte may be hard to come by, especially within those commute times and in an established area; real estate prices in both markets are somewhat inflated.

Durham is a great city, housing is cheaper, there are cool things to do, and they've made great strides with their downtown development. But, as much as I wish it weren't the case, crime is still a serious problem.

You really might want to give the Piedmont Triad a look; housing is cheaper, and there is decent access to arts and culture. The area has a manufacturing history, but with the departure of the domestic furniture and textile industries, is trying to transform itself into something else. The Dell plant will advance that goal, one presumes.

We also know people who have moved from the Triangle to Burlington, which has some lovely neighborhoods at reasonable prices, and is close enough to both the Triangle and Greensboro areas that it is convenient for people to work in either.

Good luck, and welcome to NC! :)

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The perception that Charlotte is much more violent is false. Charlotte is has almost 250,000 more people than Raleigh so more crimes occur, however the crime rate is fairly similar. I have lived in both cities, and I appreciate Charlotte more. I am living in Raleigh now, and I feel that it is less open to people who haven't grown up in Raleigh their whole lives. Charlotte has done a better job in creating cool urban havens out of older buildings than Raleigh. Charlotte has a lot of history even though its not as old a city as Raleigh. Charlotte feels more like a big city than Raleigh. I'd call Raleigh a second tier city, although I do like it. I will move back to Charlotte when I am done with graduate work. I think the job market is stronger. Just my two cents. You may want to consider Huntersville, NC or Rock Hill, SC. Two towns just outside Charlotte.

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One big difference is that Charlotte is a one core metro like Atlanta. Raleigh is part of a multi core metro like Dallas/Ft. Worth or Tampa/St. Petersburg. Charlotte is the better place for singles but the Triangle is a better place for raising a family. Charlotte feels more like a bigger city Raleigh feels more like Greensboro or Winston-Salem.

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Maybe I'm wrong, but I recall hearing on the news recently that according to a national poll Raleigh outranked Charlotte in being a better place for singles.

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As far as singles go you are correct. This is per Forbes as published July 25.

1. Denver-Boulder

2. Boston

3. San Francisco

4. Raleigh-Durham

5. Washington-Baltimore

6. Atlanta

7. Los Angeles

8. New York

9. Chicago

10. Seattle

11. Austin

12. Philadelphia

13. Minneapolis-St. Paul

14. Phoenix

15. Sacramento

16. Detroit

17. Houston

18. Columbus

19. Portland

20. Dallas-Ft. Worth 21. San Diego

22. Nashville

23. Miami

24. Salt Lake City

25. Las Vegas

26. New Orleans

27. St. Louis

28. Cleveland

29. Pittsburgh

30. Cincinnati

31. Orlando

32. Milwaukee

33. Charlotte

34. Indianapolis

35. San Antonio

36. Tampa

37. Providence

38. Kansas City

39. Norfolk

40. Greensboro

full article

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Whats the big deal about bieng the best city for singles. Why are Raleigh boosters always saying raleigh is better than charlotte when more people choose Charlotte as a place to live. -_- please reply.

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The growth rates for both cities are very close. Raleigh's metro area is growing faster though I think. Charlotte just started off with a lot more people a decade ago.

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Exactly, Charlotte has a large lead. Raleigh (pop. 340,000) was the second fastest growing large city in the country last year after Las Vegas, NV. Apparently Raleigh has beat out other cities for more than a few people trying to make up there minds on where to live.

Also Wake County is, and has been long projected to surpass Mecklenburg as the states most populous. WRAL, CBS new affiliate

But Mecklenburg will be far denser because of the far smaller land area.

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