The state of North Carolina is among the original states that share the distinction of being one of the 13 original colonies of the U.S. Today, North Carolina is the 10th most populated state and one of the few with a direct access to the Atlantic Ocean. The state geography involves a bit of extremes, ranging from the tallest point on the eastern seaboard to coastal, water-level beaches. The state can range from heavy forested zones to open plains and fields. Major developed areas include Asheville, Boone, Cape Hatteras, Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greensboro and Raleigh. The economy of the state varies by location. The capital sees significant industry associated with energy, science and technology. Both government and business share in the labor pool as well which has a high level of education with the number of universities and colleges in the state. Some of the more famous schools include Duke, Barton College, Guilford College and John Wesley College.
The Tar Heel State is only about average in size - its area ranks 28th - but it is home to nearly 10 million Americans, making it the 10th most populous state. With its highly educated population and business friendly tax environment, the state has attracted a high number of science, technology, energy, and math jobs, often referred to as STEM, and the economy produces over $400 billion annually.
As of this writing, the average NC home is worth a little north of $140,000, representing a small, 2-3% increase in the past year. The more expensive areas in the state are places like Cashiers and Lake Toxaway, where median sales prices are over $1 million. In the cities of Rockingham and Kannapolis, you can buy a home for between $120,000-$130,000 on average. North Carolina has nearly 10 cities with populations of over 100,000 people.
Charlotte is NC's largest city and the 17th biggest in America. If you count the entire metro, Charlotte is home to around 2.5 million people, about a quarter of the state's population. The Queen City is a financial hub, second only to New York City. It's home to Bank of America and was home to Wachovia, which was one of the nation's largest banks prior to its purchase by Wells Fargo. U.S. Airways, Chiquita Brands, and a number of other Fortune 500 companies call Charlotte home.
Raleigh, the capitol of North Carolina, is a planned city that is home to one of the state's major research universities, NC State. A large amount of biotech research is conducted at the university. Other major employers are WakeMed and Red Hat.
Greensboro and its surrounding metro area are home to around 1.5 million people. The local economy is reliant on tobacco production and textiles. The largest local employers are the public school system, the city, and the US Post Office.
Durham, the home of Duke University, is another one of North Carolina's major research cities (the third is the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill). The university and its health system are by far the largest employers in the city, though companies like IBM and GlaxoSmithKline also have offices in Durham to take advantage of the educated workforce.
North Carolina is America's second banking hub. It is home to Bank of America and BB&T, and it was the home of Wachovia until that bank was purchased by Wells Fargo. Although BofA has received some bad press in the last few years, it can be quite an attractive option for locals - great ATM coverage, excellent online banking, and locations throughout the country for those who travel frequently.
Of course, NC also have no shortage of smaller, community focused banks and credit unions. Though coverage is more limited and the tech might not be what you'd expect from the big banks, these institutions tend to know your community very well and put a high value on maintaing a good relationship with customers. Additionally, both have a reputation for originating home loans that larger banks or mortgage lenders do not provide to consumers in order to better serve the community.
When you're shopping for a savings account or looking for an auto loan, it's important to get prices from more than one financial institution. At the very least, you'll know that you're picking an option that's right in line with the rest of the market, but there's a chance that you'll do far better by finding a bank that you weren't even considering at the start. Use RateZip.com to get started!
For those looking to relocation to a university and history-rich state, North Carolina will definitely fit the bill and RateZip.com can help with detailed mortgage rate information. In addition to all the banks headquartered locally, NC is also home to multiple prominent mortgage bankers. This includes Wyndham Capital Mortgage & Roundpoint, two lenders who originate home loans primarily via the Internet and are known for competitive pricing.
As in the rest of the country, the most popular loan option in NC is the fixed rate mortgage, or FRM. As the name implies, the interest rate, and thus the monthly payment, remains constant over the life of the loan. At the other end of the spectrum, you have adjustable rate mortgages, or ARMs. These loans have an initial rate, which is often quite a bit lower than prevailing fixed mortgage rates, that lasts for anywhere from 1 to 10 years. Afterward, the rate and monthly payment adjust annually according to the market. home buyers who plan on moving in a short period of time often do better by choosing an ARM.
Finally, you have FHA and VA mortgages. FHA loans, insured by the Federal Housing Administration, offer lower down payments and more flexible credit standards. VA mortgages are for veterans of the armed forces, and these loans do not require a down payment, though a borrower may still need to pay closing costs.