We have looked at several studies done near the end of 2016 that ranked the “Best Suburbs For First Time Home Owners Near Raleigh,” and while we think most of them are spot on, we disagree with a few. If you are considering a move to the area, you might like to get a perspective from folks who live here.
My mom was a Realtor in the area for almost 30 years, and we moved here in the 1970’s. I am a mortgage lender, and a member of the community, so this is just my perspective on the “Best Suburbs For First Time Home Owners Near Raleigh.”
Willow Spring, NC
One of the places we did not find mentioned in any of the studies we found is Willow Spring. This is a community located between Fuquay Varina (we just call it Fuquay here), and like Fuquay it straddles 2 counties. Part of Willow Spring is in Wake County, and part of it is in Johnston County. Eastwood Homes is currently building new homes in Willow Spring listed from the $260,000 to the Low $300,000. These homes are on large lots, going up to an acre in size, 2 car garages, and some of the plans have first floor master bedrooms.
Fuquay Varina, NC
Fuquay-Varina has a home ownership rate of 74.6% and monthly homeowner costs here take up 29% of median monthly household income, according to data crunched by NerdWallet. The median home value in this town is $222,900.
Fuquay Varina home values have gone up 7.7% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 3.0% within the next year. The median list price per square foot in Fuquay Varina is $122, which is lower than the Raleigh Metro average of $127.
Western Wake County, especially the areas closest to Fayetteville, are growing like wildfire. Not surprising, you can benefit from a home that’s located in “small town USA” with award-winning schools!
You can also find large parts of Fuquay that qualify for USDA Home Loans, which means you have no down payment requirements.
With a bustling Parks and Recreation department, Fuquay-Varina provides many free opportunities for family fun. The department is responsible for 18 park sites, a youth sports program, senior programs, and summer camps. Residents of Fuquay-Varina have access to six public schools, as well as to Wake Technical Community College, located in the 17 miles between Fuquay-Varina and Raleigh.
Holly Springs, NC
Another great Suburb near Raleigh with LOTS of New Home Developments is Holly Springs. With an estimated population of 28,915 in 2013, that number is definitely higher now! The town of Holly Springs has more than doubled in size since 2000. In this town where homeowner costs are 22.4% of income, 88% of homes are owned rather than rented.
The town is home to a manufacturing facility for the pharmaceutical company Novartis and is less than 20 miles from Raleigh, a major city with many employment options. Holly Springs has the third-highest monthly income on our top 10 list at $7,432, and the median home value is $236,700.
Because of the way USDA Home Loan Underwriters look at older Census maps, more than half of Holly Springs qualifies for USDA Home Loan financing. These are no down payment required mortgages with very low USDA PMI rates and mortgage rates are generally lower than Conventional Loans!
Apex always ranks high on the “Best Of” lists, as it really does have a small town feel, and the downtown is especially “walkable.” The Villages of Apex are located downtown, with public parks, and mixed use housing.
This suburb of Raleigh has one of the larger populations of the towns on NerdWallet’s list with 43,907 residents in 2014, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The home ownership rate here is 75.2% and 23% of the median monthly household income goes to homeowner costs.
Apex also has a fairly high median monthly household income of the “Best Suburbs For First Time Home Owners Near Raleigh.” at $7,450 a month. Like many of these towns, Apex has historic roots. Its restored downtown area is featured on the National Register of Historic Places. The town is also known for its annual Peak Fest, and Jazz Festivals held each spring.
Parts of Apex still qualify for USDA Home Loan financing and do not require a down payment. There are generous income caps, making it easier to qualify for this program.
The median home price in Sanford, NC in January of 2017 was 198,000, which is 5.3% higher than it was this time last year. The Median price per square foot is $90, which is considerable less than the more than $125 a square for Raleigh. Why is this important? It means buying a home in Sanford is affordable, and they are available.
However, we did not find Sanford listed on any of the “Best Suburbs For First Time Home Owners Near Raleigh.”
And we are not the only ones to notice… Smith Douglas Home, Savvy Homes, Stanly Martin, MI Homes and Meritage homes are all building out new neighborhoods in Sanford. It’s a 30 minute drive in rush hour traffic from Sanford to Apex, which by most standards is pretty good. Lee County Schools also offer an Early College High School program that is gaining high marks.
A Sanford highlight is the Deep River Park, where you can rent Kayaks or Tubes and go on floats down the River. A family adventure, the Deep River Park floats generally last for several hours and cost less than $20 an hour. Downtown Sanford is a very active part of the community and they host dozens of events each year, including an Annual Easter Egg Hunt. If you like small town living, Sanford is a cheaper version of Johnston County.
Niche Magazine recently recognized Cary, NC as one of the Best Suburbs in NC. They gave Cary a rating of A+, which is rare, based partially on Education, Safety and accessibility to jobs. Cary is located within 30 minutes of 22 colleges and Universities. Schools in Cary have consistently been named some of the top in the Country.
The Town of Cary is undergoing a huge revitalization project that is bringing more activities to the area and outdoor space for cultural events. The Cary Arts Center and Theater continue to offer interesting activities each week that draw folks downtown to the new Breweries. The Kooka Booth Amphitheater hosts concerts and events each year.
An estimated 150,000 will visit the Amphitheater this season to attend nearly 90 concerts, festivals, movie nights and more.
Again, this is just our perspective about “Best Suburbs For First Time Home Owners Near Raleigh.” We are EXPERTS at helping you buy a house with VERY LITTLE money out-of-pocket! We love working with first time home owners, and offer all of the First Time Home Owner Grants. We work with top Realtors in the area, and would be glad to refer you! Call Steve and Eleanor Thorne 919 649 5058 – or connect with us on Facebook or Google + or Twitter!