SWANSBORO (WNCT) –They don’t call it “The Friendliest City by the Sea” for nothing.

Earlier this week, Realtor.com named the community of Swansboro as the fifth most affordable beach town in the country. Swansboro, with a population of just over 3,200 people, is known for its friendly residents and the town’s amenities. Realtor.com said that played a big factor.  

“It just has that small-town feel, also it is literally the setting for a Nicholas Sparks novel,” said Elena Cox, a data journalist for Realtor.com. “So you kind of get that romantic beachy vibe that is a great alternative to some of the more expensive areas on the coast.”  

Swansboro currently has lots of single-family homes for sale.    

“In Swansboro, there are currently about 200 listings on our site,” said Cox. “So there are plenty of options to choose from for every price range, if you’re looking for a house this summer.”

Realtor.com tells 9OYS that the housing market is hot right now.   

“The housing market is pretty crazy right now,” Cox said. “Homes are selling super-fast, and prices keep rising. We’re seeing a little bit of a slowdown this summer, but not enough to kind of really cool off.”  

When comparing Swansboro to other coastal cities, it comes out to be relatively affordable.   

“Prices are going up about everywhere, so affordable is kind of a relative term at this point, but it does offer an alternative to the bigger coastal cities of North Carolina, like Wilmington, where a home in that metro area can go for $409,000,” said Cox. 

When putting together this list, the towns amenities also played a big factor.  

“Swansboro is great,” Cox said. “There’s lots of local restaurants, and it kind of has that small-town feel and lots of stuff to do. You have the ocean nearby, but you also have outdoor activities you can do like paddle boarding and kayaking, and really get out on the water and enjoy the outdoors.” 

Mayor John Davis and he’s excited about the news.  

“It’s exciting, right? Cause you work so hard, to improve the town, you have long-term goals and short-term goals, and this goal kind of jumped ahead of us,” said Davis. “You read the article that came out by Realtor.com, it’s about having these amenities like having Ward Shore as a beach access, we have Bicentennial Park, we have Riverwalk area.”  

Realtor.com puts this list together every year, but they said this year was extra special because getting a house and finding a place you can call home is really important to people right now.  

“We do this list every year,” said Cox. “But it was even more important to do it this year because prices are rising so much and with the pandemic, the vaccine rates are rising but we’re still not at that point where people are comfortable going to hotels or large resorts.”  

Davis adds that it’s the people that set Swansboro apart from the rest.   

“We have such a great town,” said Davis. “One of the things that we don’t talk about is the people, and we just have amazing people in our town and people help each other, and so not only do you get the restaurants and the beach access, but we have the people to go with it.”