Why Homebuyers Love Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh is consistently at the top of "Best Places to Live" lists. Find out why.

Look at any "Best Places to Live" list, and chances are, you'll find Raleigh, North Carolina, on it.

In 2009 alone, the Southern city racked up numerous accolades, including the #1 fastest-growing metro area in the nation, the no. 1 city with best economic potential, the no. 1 best place for business and careers, and the no. 1 city where Americans are relocating.

"We're in this perfect storm of business, real estate and lifestyle," says Eb Moore, CEO and vice chairman of Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston, which offers real estate services in the greater Raleigh area.

Even in a challenging market like this one, Moore says buyers are snatching up homes under the $200,000 range in the "Triangle" -- the region that includes Wake, Durham and Orange counties and is known for the main cities of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill.

Moore points to the affordable cost of living, mild climate, convenient access to recreational activities like the beach and mountains, steady job growth, and educational and employment opportunities.

"Many businesses and industries are relocating their corporate headquarters to Raleigh," Moore says. "We have favorable conditions for corporations, like tax abatements, so employees are relocating."

In addition, the nearby Research Triangle Park and the area's three major research institutions -- N.C. State University, the University of North Carolina and Duke University -- are a hotbed of technology and innovation for the lucrative healthcare, pharmaceutical and medical industries.

Not only is it a great place to raise family, says Moore, but it's also become a retirement destination. The influx of young professionals and empty nesters and the demand for walkable neighborhoods have led to growth in the downtown communities.

According to Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston, some of the most popular neighborhoods include Heritage, Cameron Pond, Highcroft Village, Southern Oaks, South Lakes, Avondale, Ren Park, Colvard Farms, Buckhaven, Weycroft and Greyhawk Landing.

Raleigh's housing market has taken a hit, though not as bad as some cities. Over the past year, home sales fell 25 percent and the average sale price is down 10 percent to about $230K.

To weather the rough patch, real estate companies like Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston are better prepared by providing more education and training for their agents than ever before.

All in all, Moore says, Raleigh is poised for recovery: "Knock on wood the worst is behind us and there is opportunity to build on where we're at."

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