North Carolina Brims with Amenities Even Californians Can Love

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Making a big move is never easy. After all, you’re not just relocating things — you’re starting a new chapter in your life. These days, people are thinking long and hard about doing so.  

In 2022, our Finding Home study revealed those who moved felt the impact of inflation when it came to finding affordable housing (74%) and placing a competitive bid (68%). Unfortunately, 2023 didn’t bring relief. 

With home values and rent at an all-time high — never mind the fact mortgage rates are through the proverbial roof — people are looking to make it count. And truly make sense. 

Moving from California to North Carolina 

After much thought and decades spent living in the Golden State, Karen Merritt decided to move cross country from Gold River, California, to Asheville, North Carolina. 

“I was born in California,” she says. “I lived in Southern California for 22 years and spent 37 in Northern California, in the Sacramento region.”  

However, it reached a point where she no longer wanted to live there, citing reasons like high taxes. Simply put, she’d had enough. 

“There are just too many things that are wrong, from water issues to living expenses and exorbitant gasoline,” she says. “And young people can’t even afford to rent an apartment.” 

When weighing her options, she knew she wanted to live someplace green — and free of water shortages.  

“I was seeking a home where services were less expensive and the cost of living was reasonable, too,” she says. “Plus, I wanted to find a location with very light traffic.” 

Given California’s varied and beautiful terrain, Merritt preferred not to sacrifice her proximity to diverse landscapes. 

“I wanted to cross over into four different states within four- to-six hours,” she notes. 

Since moving to Asheville, Merritt says she’s “settling in just fine” and has found a sense of community. 

“People are friendly,” she says. “The service in stores is outstanding compared to California. And people let you pull out in traffic when you are leaving a parking lot — they wait for you! Strangers actually talk to you when you are out shopping or standing in lines in stores. People make an effort to get to know you. That is amazing!” 

Merritt is not alone. When taking a closer look at Asheville and all of the moves in and out of the area, this year 66% of its Mayflower moves are into the area. It was not the only city in the state to lure new residents. Topping our list was Wilmington with a whopping 80.7% of its moves into — versus out of — the area. Not to be overlooked are the Greensboro-Winston Salem area (64.9% of its moves inbound) and Carlotte-Gastonia (64.2% of moves inbound). 

Why Move to North Carolina 

Considering a move to North Carolina yourself? With a population of over 10 million people, North Carolina is the ninth largest state in the U.S. It’s also a relatively affordable one. The average cost of living is $43,959 per year, with housing costs averaging $892 to $1,844 per month in 2023. 

Moving here means you’ll not only be rewarded with stunning mountain views and breathtaking coastline, but also the region’s rich history and thriving culture. 

Divided into three geographic regions, to North Carolina’s east are coastal plains, accounting for about half of the state’s land. Meanwhile, the coast is home to a string of barrier islands — the Outer Banks — which are vacation-ready as they are postcard-worthy.  

Then, in the state’s central area is the Piedmont area, home to five of the state’s largest cities, you’ll find quaint towns like historic Hillsborough and Pinehurst, the latter having hosted many prestigious golf tournaments, including three U.S. Open Championships, one U.S. Women’s Open, a PGA Championship, the Ryder Cup and three U.S. Amateur Championships. 

Moving westward are the Appalachian Mountains, home to Mount Mitchell, At 6,684 feet, it’s the highest point east of the Mississippi River. Not to be overlooked? Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With nearly 13 million visitors last year, it remains the most-visited national park in the United States and for good reason. Home to black bears, it’s 95% forested, with a staggering diversity of flora and fauna. 

From hiking trails to tranquil lakes, whitewater rivers and the youthful “Triangle” region of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, there’s a lot to love. 

“I think I have found a beautiful forever home here.” Merritt says.  

Are you considering a Forever Home — or home for now – in North Carolina? Read more about what it’s like living in the state in our North Carolina guide.  

Still on the fence? Check out Finding Home, where we share some of the latest moving trends and motivations for moving to a new state. 

Ready to make your move? Get a quote from Mayflower to get the ball rolling.  

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