Best counties to retire in North Carolina, five from ENC rank among best

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Clay County (Shutterstock photo via Stacker.com)

Buyers and sellers of real estate alike—when asked what are the three most essential considerations about a property—will nearly always reply “location, location, location.” While this answer is sometimes tongue-in-cheek, it is often quite accurate, and this reply perhaps applies to retirees more than any other demographic. Settling down after a lifetime of working and perhaps raising a family calls for the perfect location: a spot where you can enjoy life with as few concerns as possible.

When seniors aged 65 years or older decide on where they want to live out their golden years, they consider very specific factors, such as the cost of living, government services, health care facilities, weather and overall climate, crime rate, outdoor recreational activities, eating establishments, cultural and entertainment opportunities, and more.

Stacker compiled a list of the best counties to retire in North Carolina using data from Niche. Niche ranks counties based on a variety of factors including cost of living, healthcare, recreation and weather.

Location is critical as retirees determine where to spend their senior years enjoying favorite activities; however, it’s a very unique decision based on a multitude of preferences and needs. Whether it be bustling downtowns or access to parks, affordable home prices or cultural amenities like museums, retirees seeking to settle in a permanent spot are sure to find a private paradise in any of these counties recommended by Niche because, in the end, there is no place like home—no matter the location.

Read on to discover the best counties to retire to in North Carolina.

You may also like: People who retire comfortably avoid these financial advisor mistakes

1 / 25G Keith Hall // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Surry County

– Population: 71,971
– Median home value: $126,900 (73% own)
– Median rent: $628 (27% rent)
– Median household income: $43,597
– Top places to live: Elkin (A-), Mount Airy (B+), White Plains (B)

2 / 25Kenneth C. Zirkel // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Stanly County

– Population: 61,588
– Median home value: $138,900 (74% own)
– Median rent: $708 (26% rent)
– Median household income: $52,623
– Top places to live: Stanfield (B+), Locust (B), Albemarle (B)

3 / 25AbeEzekowitz // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Jackson County

– Population: 42,938
– Median home value: $196,100 (64% own)
– Median rent: $739 (36% rent)
– Median household income: $47,252
– Top places to live: Sylva (A-), Forest Hills (A), Webster Township (A)

4 / 25George Dukin // Shutterstock

#22. Clay County

– Population: 10,946
– Median home value: $180,300 (78% own)
– Median rent: $736 (22% rent)
– Median household income: $42,222
– Top places to live: Brasstown Township (C+), Hayesville Township (C+), Hayesville (C+)

5 / 25Nolichuckyjake // Shutterstock

#21. Caldwell County

– Population: 81,884
– Median home value: $118,100 (72% own)
– Median rent: $645 (28% rent)
– Median household income: $44,511
– Top places to live: Northlakes (A), Granite Falls (A-), Lenoir (B)

6 / 25Nolichuckyjake // Shutterstock

#20. Rutherford County

– Population: 66,599
– Median home value: $118,300 (72% own)
– Median rent: $636 (28% rent)
– Median household income: $42,608
– Top places to live: Rutherfordton (A-), Spindale (B), Forest City (B-)

7 / 25Shapard Wolf // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Yancey County

– Population: 17,760
– Median home value: $157,100 (73% own)
– Median rent: $634 (27% rent)
– Median household income: $42,222
– Top places to live: Green Mountain Township (B), South Toe Township (B), Burnsville (B)

8 / 25MarkVanDykePhotography // Shutterstock

#18. Dare County

– Population: 36,222
– Median home value: $289,000 (74% own)
– Median rent: $1,089 (26% rent)
– Median household income: $59,381
– Top places to live: Southern Shores (A-), Kill Devil Hills (B+), Kitty Hawk (B+)

9 / 25Theresaperry44 // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Bertie County

– Population: 19,380
– Median home value: $82,200 (74% own)
– Median rent: $638 (26% rent)
– Median household income: $35,527
– Top places to live: Windsor (B-), Woodville Township (B), Windsor Township (B-)

10 / 25Canva

#16. Alleghany County

– Population: 11,008
– Median home value: $139,800 (76% own)
– Median rent: $622 (24% rent)
– Median household income: $37,830
– Top places to live: Prathers Creek Township (B+), Piney Creek Township (B), Cherry Lane Township (B)

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#15. Craven County

– Population: 102,491
– Median home value: $157,900 (63% own)
– Median rent: $910 (37% rent)
– Median household income: $52,687
– Top places to live: Trent Woods (A), Brices Creek (A-), River Bend (A-)

12 / 25James R Poston // Shutterstock

#14. Cherokee County

– Population: 27,969
– Median home value: $159,100 (79% own)
– Median rent: $724 (21% rent)
– Median household income: $41,438
– Top places to live: Valleytown Township (B), Murphy Township (B), Andrews (B-)https://451e1d0ff239b081ed25db7b22523aa3.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

13 / 25Bethbrownebooks // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Chowan County

– Population: 14,097
– Median home value: $131,100 (67% own)
– Median rent: $798 (33% rent)
– Median household income: $46,519
– Top places to live: Edenton (B-), Yeopim Township (B+), Edenton Township (B)

14 / 25David Byron Keener // Shutterstock

#12. Beaufort County

– Population: 47,168
– Median home value: $132,800 (70% own)
– Median rent: $740 (30% rent)
– Median household income: $45,212
– Top places to live: River Road (B), Washington (B-), Chocowinity (C+)

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#11. Haywood County

– Population: 61,053
– Median home value: $179,700 (73% own)
– Median rent: $785 (27% rent)
– Median household income: $51,659
– Top places to live: Waynesville (B), Maggie Valley (B), Lake Junaluska (B)

16 / 25PatGallery // Shutterstock

#10. New Hanover County

– Population: 227,938
– Median home value: $243,600 (58% own)
– Median rent: $1,031 (42% rent)
– Median household income: $54,891
– Top places to live: Sea Breeze (A), Wrightsville Beach (A), Ogden (A)https://451e1d0ff239b081ed25db7b22523aa3.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

17 / 25Warren LeMay from Cincinnati, OH, United States // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Transylvania County

– Population: 33,775
– Median home value: $221,900 (76% own)
– Median rent: $756 (24% rent)
– Median household income: $50,212
– Top places to live: Brevard (B+), Dunns Rock Township (A), Boyd Township (B+)

18 / 25KAD Photo // Shutterstock

#8. Chatham County

– Population: 71,338
– Median home value: $281,700 (76% own)
– Median rent: $845 (24% rent)
– Median household income: $67,031
– Top places to live: Fearrington Village (A), Pittsboro (B+), Siler City (B-)

19 / 25Bud Davis, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Pamlico County

– Population: 12,701
– Median home value: $156,000 (78% own)
– Median rent: $767 (22% rent)
– Median household income: $46,728
– Top places to live: Grantsboro Township (B), Alliance Township (B), Grantsboro (B)

20 / 25JNix // Shutterstock

#6. Macon County

– Population: 34,813
– Median home value: $165,600 (73% own)
– Median rent: $756 (27% rent)
– Median household income: $45,507
– Top places to live: Franklin (B), Highlands (B+), Smithbridge Township (B+)https://451e1d0ff239b081ed25db7b22523aa3.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

21 / 25Anthony Ricci // Shutterstock

#5. Henderson County

– Population: 114,913
– Median home value: $214,000 (73% own)
– Median rent: $853 (27% rent)
– Median household income: $55,945
– Top places to live: Laurel Park (A), Mills River (A), Fletcher (A-)

22 / 25Limozine // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Polk County

– Population: 20,557
– Median home value: $225,700 (74% own)
– Median rent: $851 (26% rent)
– Median household income: $48,787
– Top places to live: Tryon (A), Green Creek Township (A-), Tryon Township (A-)

23 / 25KAD Photo // Shutterstock

#3. Moore County

– Population: 97,294
– Median home value: $216,500 (76% own)
– Median rent: $879 (24% rent)
– Median household income: $59,963
– Top places to live: Pinehurst (A), Southern Pines (A), Foxfire (A)

24 / 25iofoto // Shutterstock

#2. Brunswick County

– Population: 131,815
– Median home value: $212,200 (81% own)
– Median rent: $960 (19% rent)
– Median household income: $58,236
– Top places to live: St. James (A-), Leland (B+), Boiling Spring Lakes (B)https://451e1d0ff239b081ed25db7b22523aa3.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

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#1. Carteret County

– Population: 69,070
– Median home value: $214,100 (73% own)
– Median rent: $902 (27% rent)
– Median household income: $57,194
– Top places to live: Cedar Point (A), Emerald Isle (A-), Pine Knoll Shores (A-)

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