By Tali Wee
Moving is a big step – whether that means relocating a few blocks away or moving across the country. Regardless of your situation, it’s best to do research about the potential communities you’re considering moving to. Check out the local amenities, demographics of the area and pay close attention to the value of homes.
Weigh the options of available inventory in your favorite neighborhoods and compare the features of each property. Are the properties in good condition? Do they have comparable square footage, number of bathrooms, updated appliances and yard space? The details can keep you researching for months. Many buyers struggle to find all they’re looking for in one home, especially in markets where inventory is limited.
One solution is to consider new homes. New construction homes offer all the latest amenities and extra perks like energy efficiencies that help you save long term. In fact, some builders offer new-age energy standards sealing seams, ensuring air purity, incorporating local and sustainable materials and checking water drainage for the entire property and yard which can save buyers 30 to 40 percent on estimated energy costs compared to resale homes.
If you’re considering moving to Raleigh, NC and are entertaining the idea of new construction properties check out Chatham and Johnston counties.
Residents of Chatham County are within close proximity to the University North of Carolina (UNC) and the UNC Hospital providing both jobs and a lively community. M/I Homes, a Raleigh home builder, runs an Everyday Hero program where fire fighters, educators, law enforcement officers, medical providers or armed forces members (active, reserve or retired) are eligible for $1,500 off the price of their homes or $1,500 applied toward home upgrades.
The median price of all homes in Chatham County is $234,800, significantly more than the U.S. median of $180,100. Home values increased in the last year by 2 percent and are expected to rise another 2.7 percent within the next year. Although homes are pricey, it takes only 2.3 years for the cost of renting ($1,361 per month) to break even with the cost of buying a home; so it’s best to buy if you plan to stay longer than a couple years. Forecasted appreciation with long-term employment options nearby make Chatham County a great potential relocation town.
Another popular option for new construction homes is Johnston County, offering both ranch-style villas and traditional two-story homes, perfect for families. The town of Clayton is a welcoming, southern community with a recently built, nearby shopping center that hosts a summer concert series drawing interest from residents in surrounding areas. The Everyday Hero program is available in Johnston, too.
The median home price in Johnston County is $146,500, less expensive than Chatham and the U.S. as a whole. In the last year, values rose slightly by 0.9 percent, but are anticipated to rise another 2.8 percent in the next year. This prediction indicates healthy community growth and sustainable appreciation, a sign of a good investment. Rents in Johnston County cost $1,136 per month, less than both Chatham and the U.S. median cost ($1,369). If Johnston is the perfect location and you plan to stay for two years, it’s more cost effective to buy since the breakeven horizon is 1.8 years.
Whether Raleigh or another U.S. city is the best fit for you, be sure to evaluate the value of properties from an investment perspective and consider which properties are best suited for your daily lifestyle.
*** Tali Wee writes about finances, home improvement and interior design for Zillow and other partners.