People and places tend to change over time. A look at the Raleigh skyline in 2011 compared to today gives you an idea of the scale of development that has taken place there.
“I’m from Raleigh,” said Bob Coats, the North Carolina census liaison. “I was born here, so I can tell you it’s a radically different city to the one I grew up in.”
Coats says there’s no doubt Raleigh is growing. In 10 years, its population has jumped about 15%, according to census information.
“Migration is driving a lot of the growth,” Coats said.
This migration can, however, push up other parameters, such as housing prices.
“This migration is coming from an area where, traditionally, housing prices are higher,” Coats said.
The city as a whole has seen housing prices rise 98% over the past 10 years, according to data from Zillow.
Tom Dudeck, another Raleigh native, said he noticed more and more cars with license plates from every state. Dudeck’s North Hills home has doubled in value since he bought it in 2011.
“It’s supply and demand,” he said. “They’re not building houses near here any time soon and, if you wanted to buy this house, then there are a lot more people here today than there were 10 years ago who wanted to buy it.”
This is worrying, as housing costs are rising at a much faster rate than the average wage for city dwellers. Without adjusting for inflation, the median income of a Raleigh resident rose to $69,333 in 2019 from $49,931 a decade ago, according to the Carolina Population Center.
“You look at the rate of house price increases, and I worry,” Dudeck said. “If you were a younger person, I don’t know where and how you get your first home.”
But Dudeck and Coats think when you look around you can see Raleigh is brightening and getting better with each passing year.
“There’s a much better food scene, a different music scene, the character,” Coats said. “The city has changed a lot, and I think that’s all very positive. The face of the city, the languages you hear when you’re around, the diversity brings a level of insight.”