The Truth About Moving to Wilmington: A Renters Guide

The Truth About Moving to Wilmington: A Renters Guide

Sea waves crashing on beach shore across the pier in Wilmington, NC

Wilmington, North Carolina, has plenty to offer anyone looking to move sometime soon. Wilmington makes for a wonderful place to live, from being situated about 10 minutes from Wrightsville Beach, to the vibrant downtown life and rich local history. This coastal city is home to beautiful parks, welcoming communities, and plenty of great food and shopping. Wilmington is a wonderful place to move if you’re looking to relocate your family, or if you’re flying solo.

If you’re looking to move to Wilmington, NC, there is plenty you will need to know before signing a lease. Before your move, know there may be some competition in your search for apartments! The sooner you get started with researching where you want to live in Wilmington, NC the better. This guide should help you in figuring out everything you will need to know as a soon-to-be renter when moving to Wilmington NC, from housing costs, to where to find employment to things to do.

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Real Estate Market Overview

Whether you have just moved to Wilmington, or are planning on moving to the Wilmington, NC area soon, renting is a wonderful option for those looking for more flexibility in their living arrangements. However, before checking out apartments or individually owned rentals there is plenty of research to be done. It is best to get a feel for what the current housing and rental costs are in Wilmington, NC.

Housing Costs In Wilmington NC

The average rent in Wilmington is around $1,492 per month for around a 962-square-foot apartment. However, be sure to keep in mind prices will vary according to location and apartment size. You can get a studio apartment starting for as low as $701 a month. Larger apartments, however, are going for over $2,000 a month in neighborhoods like Masonboro and Pine Grove. Prices for housing in Wilmington can fluctuate depending on what you need from the apartment you’re searching for. For instance, if you want a house with a large number of bedrooms or you want to be a short walk from the beach or downtown, you may end up having to pay a little more to get everything on your wishlist.

However, renting is not always for everyone. If you wanted something a little more permanent, the median listing price for a home in Wilmington is around $391.4K. The median price per square foot is $207. However, don’t let the initial steep price drive you away from moving to Wilmington, NC. While the median listing price for a home in Wilmington is $391.4K, the median price homes are sold at is $350K.

Neighborhoods In Wilmington NC

Whether you prefer the hustle and bustle of downtown or the tranquility of the beach, there are many different neighborhoods to check out when moving to Wilmington, NC. You can investigate their location a bit more with this map.

Many areas have a suburban feel and are rather family-friendly, including Ogden, Myrtle Grove, and Mayfaire. For those looking for a neighborhood directly on the waterfront, Wrightsville Beach is the perfect area to check out. The island offers properties facing either the beautiful Intracoastal Waterway or ones right on the beach facing the Atlantic Ocean. Young professionals would likely enjoy Carolina Beach, with its thriving nightlife, delicious restaurants, and proximity to the ocean. Additionally, Carolina Beach features plenty of outdoor activities to keep you occupied, as well as great housing opportunities.

If you’re looking for a neighborhood that is closer to the historic downtown Wilmington, Harbor Oaks or Sentry Oaks may be a good fit for you. Harbor Oaks can be found right outside of downtown Wilmington with plenty of scenic views and a laid-back atmosphere. Sentry Oaks is a bit farther away from downtown Wilmington. However, the area is still a charming family-friendly neighborhood that offers plenty of shopping and dining options.

Tips For Finding An Apartment In Wilmington NC

When you’re starting your apartment search for your move to Wilmington, NC, you will want to begin by creating a budget. This way, you can filter through the options and find your best fit. First, you will need to determine the location of where you would like to live. Do you need to be close to the University of North Carolina Wilmington? Then checking out properties around Eastwood Road and the University area may be a good idea. Do you have the ability to work remotely, or will you need to go into the office? Consider commute times, as South College Road and Market Street both see heavy traffic throughout the day. 

Once you figure out where you’d like to live, you will need to decide on the size of your rental. Doing this will help narrow down your apartment search. Are you going to be renting by yourself, with family, or with roommates? After this has been decided, you will need to determine how many rooms the apartment will need to have for comfortable living. Remember to try not to overestimate the amount of space you need. Having too much unused space will drive up the price of both rent and utilities. After prioritizing your needs, you can use a rent calculator tool to help you out in determining your budget. 

When and Where to Start Looking

Be sure to begin looking at properties early to get a feel for the market, but try to avoid looking too early. Many listings are only available for a limited time after they are posted. The last thing you want is to fall in love with an apartment, only for it to not be available anymore when you’re moving. Make sure that you use a secure platform with verified listings so that you steer clear of rental scams. This is especially important if you are an inexperienced renter. Additionally, be sure to check your credit score before moving to ensure your rental application will get approved. You need a credit score of 650 or higher in Wilmington, NC to get your rental application approval. Although, as more people come in and compete for rentals gets tougher, you might need a higher credit score. 

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Cost Of Living In Wilmington NC

Wilmington has an estimated cost of living for a single person (excluding rent) at around $719 per month. Being so close to the shore, there is no shortage of amazing seafood restaurants or delivery options. However, it may be a better idea to limit how often you eat out. If you decide to cook the majority of your meals at home you can likely drive your eating out expenses down. Utilities in Wilmington, NC average at around $117 without internet, which typically costs around $82 per month. 

Wilmington has a varied job market, with careers ranging from being a bartender to a judge to a pharmacist. However, the average household income in Wilmington will be lower for most jobs than it would be in a larger city. With that being said, it is not impossible to live in Wilmington as a single resident. Most single residents report being able to live comfortably at a salary of around $56,134.

Employment & Education

Wilmington offers a diverse job market from jobs in the food industry to education, to pharmaceuticals. If you’re looking for employment in Wilmington, NC, know there has been steady job growth in the area for some time. Wilmington’s job growth has increased by 15.3% in the past 10 years. Additionally, Wilmington has a predicted future job growth rate of 37.3%. Some of the top employers in Wilmington include Pharmaceutical Product Development, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, nCino and, Live Oak Bank.

For students moving to Wilmington for educational opportunities, or those moving with a family, Wilmington has plenty to offer. In terms of K-12 schools, New Hanover County Schools ranks number 16 in all of North Carolina for the best school district. There are a few colleges and university options in Wilmington. This includes the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and the Cape Fear Community College. In addition to undergraduate degrees, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington offers several graduate degree options. There are several different specializations offered as both Masters and Doctoral degrees.

If you have just moved here, you’re probably looking for jobs in Wilmington, NC hiring immediately. For university and college students, you can find high-paying jobs as a mover with UniMovers.

Things To Do In Wilmington, NC

There is no shortage of things to do in Wilmington, NC. The city offers many activities, such as its museums, parks, restaurants, and shopping. One thing is for certain, there’s always something going on in Wilmington, NC. For those interested in art, you can enjoy a relaxing afternoon admiring the art galleries of the Cameron Art Museum. However, If history if more of your thing, there is still plenty for you to do as well. Consider taking a trip to the historic Fort Fisher or the Wilmington Battleship. These sports are the perfect destinations to learn about the area’s rich history. 

Walking Path in Wilmington Park

Be sure to check out one of the many parks Wilmington, NC, has to offer. Are you looking for a great free option for families interested in seeing the local flora and fauna? If so, you may want to check out Long Leaf Park, Halyburton Park, and the New Hanover County Arboretum. These parks offer plenty of outdoor fun and entertainment, from playground equipment to walking trails. The New Hanover County Arboretum even has a Koi Fish pond and zen garden to relax in. However, if you’re willing to pay a small entrance fee, then you may want to check out Airlie Gardens. The local Airlie Gardens are a beautiful display of greenery, from the various flower gardens to the butterfly gazebo.

Lastly, after enjoying your day exploring all Wilmington has to offer, you need to check out Wilmington’s restaurants and scenes! From fresh-caught seafood and southern comfort dishes to small local restaurants options, you can find everything you like. Historic Downtown Wilmington and the Mayfaire area both have plenty of restaurants to offer. In addition to great food, Mayfaire also offers luxury shopping. If you’re looking for something a little more local you can check out the various small boutiques throughout Wilmington.

Moving Companies In Wilmington, NC

Of course, when you move, you will likely need to find an affordable moving company in Wilmington NC. There are plenty of options when looking for movers in Wilmington. We recommend determining a budget and shopping around to find a good choice. Finding a good moving company is not as hard as it may seem. Just take a look at the company’s reviews, and you’ll certainly find a high-quality moving company for your needs.

I am originally from a small town in Western Maryland. Currently, I am a senior at the University of North Carolina Wilmington studying Communication and Pre-Law, and will be attending law school in Cincinnati in the fall. In my free time I love to try out new coffee shops, go to the beach with my friends, and spend quality time with my family.