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Last updated August 17 at 9:42AM
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City Guide
Moving to Cary

Getting to Cary is easy – the major international airport is RDU and is only a few minutes away. Major roads, such as Interstates 95 and 40, make driving into town a breeze. Learning your way around town is fairly straightforward as well, though you'll have to pay attention to road names: there's no discernible plan for the town's layout, since growth happened in fits and starts.

You won't find a lot of studio apartments in Cary. Most of the complexes are comprised of 3 or 4 bedroom units. Expect to pay at least $650 a month for a 1 bedroom apartment, while most rents for any size unit top out at about $1,500 a month.

Vacant apartments in Cary are rarer than a blizzard in July, so be prepared to search for a few weeks and to plop down your money the day you find your perfect spot. Landlords will want to see proof of income (usually 2 1/2 to 3 times the rent) and will require a background check. While you shouldn't have to pay for the background check, you should make sure there's nothing on it that will eliminate you. You can make yourself stand out from the crowd by also including references from your past landlords.

Neighborhoods in Cary

Each 'hood has its own feel. Here's a quick rundown on the different areas:

Downtown: Completely walkable, filled with restaurants, shops and cultural offerings. It's a small area, but extremely welcoming – you can spend weekend afternoons strolling the sidewalk with a coffee in hand, or feel transported to the past with a sandwich at the drug store lunch counter.

North Cary: Filled with a variety of homes and apartments. Nearby Reedy Creek Park, or hop on I-40 to be in Raleigh in just a few minutes.

Green Level/West Cary: A large, more rural area fits under this neighborhood heading. 540 (also known as the outer beltline) is the rough border, with everything falling west of it considered in West Cary. Rental prices vary greatly. Green Level is an in-demand area, but it should be easier (and cheaper) to find a rental the further west you go; just consider your commute time.

Regency Parkway and South Cary: A few apartment complexes and even more rental homes (of at least 3 bedrooms) exist in the area mostly close to Regency Parkway. Further south are strictly homes, a few available for rent. You'll need to move quickly to score a pad here, and with an almost bucolic setting and not-outrageous prices, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better spot.

Living in Cary

Cary is defined by its neighboring communities of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. While Cary has plenty of shopping and entertainment options all on its own – Cary Town is a popular shopping center -- you will find yourself jumping on the inner and outer beltlines on a regular basis.

Like much of the South, Cary isn't set up in a way that allows you to forego the car. Downtown areas are certainly walkable. The town is trying to move towards being more of a bicycle town, however, and bike trails can be found throughout the area.

Rent Report

August 2017 Cary Rent Report

Welcome to the August 2017 Cary Rent Report. In this report, we'll evaluate trends in the Cary rental market, including comparisons to cities throughout the state and nation.

Cary rents increase sharply over the past month

Cary rents have increased 0.8% over the past month, and are up significantly by 4.6% in comparison to the same time last year. Currently, median rents in Cary stand at $1,060 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,230 for a two-bedroom. This is the seventh straight month that the city has seen rent increases after a decline in December of last year. Cary's year-over-year rent growth leads the state average of 4.4%, as well as the national average of 2.9%.

Rents rising across cities in North Carolina

Throughout the past year, rent increases have been occurring not just in the city of Cary, but across the entire state. Of the largest 10 cities that we have data for in North Carolina, all of them have seen prices rise. North Carolina as a whole has logged a 4.4% year-over-year growth. Here's a look at how rents compare across some of the largest cities in the state.

  • Looking throughout the rest of the state, Charlotte is the most expensive of all North Carolina's major cities outside the Raleigh metro, with a median two-bedroom rent of $1,110; of the 10 largest North Carolina cities that we have data for, all have seen rents rise year-over-year, with Fayetteville experiencing the fastest growth (+5.3%).
  • Fayetteville, Winston-Salem, and Durham have all experienced year-over-year growth above the state average (5.3%, 4.6%, and 4.4%, respectively).

Cary rents more affordable than many large cities nationwide

As rents have increased in Cary, a few large cities nationwide have seen rents grow more modestly, or in some cases, even decline. Cary is still more affordable than most large cities across the country.

  • Cary's median two-bedroom rent of $1,230 is above the national average of $1,160. Nationwide, rents have grown by 2.9% over the past year.
  • While Cary's rents rose over the past year, the city of Miami saw a decrease of 0.8%.
  • Renters will find more reasonable prices in Cary than most large cities. Comparably, San Francisco has a median 2BR rent of $3,060, which is nearly two-and-a-half times the price in Cary.

For more information check out our national report. You can also access our full data for cities and counties across the U.S. at this link.

Methodology - Recent Updates:

Data from private listing sites, including our own, tends to skew toward luxury apartments, which introduces sample bias when estimates are calculated directly from these listings. To address these limitations, we’ve recently made major updates to our methodology, which we believe have greatly improved the accuracy and reliability of our estimates.

Read more about our new methodology below, or see a more detailed post here.


Apartment List is committed to making our rent estimates the best and most accurate available. To do this, we start with reliable median rent statistics from the Census Bureau, then extrapolate them forward to the current month using a growth rate calculated from our listing data. In doing so, we use a same-unit analysis similar to Case-Shiller’s approach, comparing only units that are available across both time periods to provide an accurate picture of rent growth in cities across the country.

Our approach corrects for the sample bias inherent in other private sources, producing results that are much closer to statistics published by the Census Bureau and HUD. Our methodology also allows us to construct a picture of rent growth over an extended period of time, with estimates that are updated each month.

Read more about our methodology here.

About Rent Reports:

Apartment List publishes monthly reports on rental trends for hundreds of cities across the U.S. We intend these reports to be a source of reliable information that help renters and policymakers make sound decisions, and we invest significant time and effort in gathering and analyzing rent data. Our work is covered regularly by journalists across the country.

We are continuously working to improve our methodology and data, with the goal of providing renters with the information that they need to make the best decisions.