Special offer

Cary NC - What's not to Love? They love me, They Love me Not!

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Preferred Realty

Cary NC - What's not to love?

What's not to love about Cary? Everybody... well a lot of people would like to live in Cary NC. With growth comes good and bad, happy and sad. Let's talk about both.

My backstory:

We moved to the great state of North Carolina in 1997 and settled in Cary. We knew early in our marriage that we wanted to move to NC if or when the opportunity arose. One day my husband came home and asked how I'd feel about moving to Raleigh NC. I was pretty excited even though I had never been to this area. He flew to Raleigh for a job interview and checked it out. If you recall, we didn't have search engines back in 1997 like we do today. So, when he came home and told me about the area, I had to go on his findings. That and an article I read about SAS and Cary on a Delta flight magazine years earlier which was quite impressive. I moved to Cary sight unseen without knowing a soul.

We packed up the house and moved to corporate housing in Cary. I had been a Real Estate agent in FL prior to having our son so I knew a lot about Real Estate but not about this area. I was fortunate to have a Real Estate agent who knew a lot. After much research and looking, we settled on Cary. The main reasons why were because my husband didn't want long commutes like he had in Central FL and because the school ratings were good.

His new job was in DT Raleigh. We found the tech jobs to be in DT Raleigh, RTP (situated where Cary, Morrisville, Raleigh and Durham come together), and in Durham. Cary was the most obvious choice. It has been great because my husband has worked in Downtown Raleigh, Durham, North Raleigh and now in Durham again. Our home has been convenient to all those areas with under a 30 minute commute to any of his jobs. Settling in Cary was a great decision. I've had a front row seat to all the growth and change.

Honestly, when we moved here, I knew it had the potential of growing into a very influential town. I recall telling my husband that this area would be like Orlando except instead of having a theme park, we have business parks. The proximity to all the different types of employment and industry is key to a growing town. It's also convenient to the three major universities. It's like the piece that brings everything together. Now we have the Chatham Park area and guess what, it is about half an hour from Cary in another direction. Not only that, Cary has become a business magnet of its own. As a matter of fact, the new Google East Coast headquarters will be partially in Cary.

Cary's Growth:

Cary has grown in numbers and in size since we moved here. It has expanded the city limits by incorporating other areas into the town limits. This is controversial of course. Some people don't want to be incorporated because they have to pay taxes. The town of Cary which is in Wake county actually spills over into Chatham and Durham counties.  It has also grown by numbers. In 1997, Cary's growth was the highest in the state of NC! The population of Cary in 1997 was roughly 82k and the population according to US census bureau today is roughly 186k. The town of Cary has grown by over 100k people in a 25 year span. According to BeautifyCary.org, the town will be close to 300k by 2040. 

cary nc population growth

info from beautifycary.org

Of course, with grown comes good things and not so good thing. I hear a lot of people complaining about the growth. They want it to stop. I guess the question is, where do you draw the line? In 1871 there were less than 150 people living in Cary so there are very few original families. Here are some interesting numbers:

  • 1940 - 1,141 population
  • 1950 - 1,446 population
  • 1960 - 3,356 population
  • 1970 - 7,686 population
  • 1980 - 21,763 population
  • 1990 - 45,497 population
  • 2000 - 97,411 population
  • 2010 - 135,234 population
  • 2020 - 174,721 population

So where did the growth come from? RTP was founded in 1959 and after a few decades, landed some of the largest tech and research headquarters. Growth really started ramping up in 1978. SAS Institute started building their Cary headquarters in 1980 and truly put Cary on the map. Between RTP and SAS, people moved here from all over the US and the world. Almost everyone in Cary moved here from somewhere else.

What else brought people to Cary?:

It's great that there were jobs in Cary but that wasn't enough. In order to entice people of a higher education to move to Cary, you had to have good schools. Wake County Schools in general are some of the higher ranked in NC and schools near Cary in particular have some of the highest scores. The downside is with the growth, there is constant building of new schools and re-districting. Parents don't like their kids to be moved around. Hopefully Cary will have more stability in the future. The upside is Cary has some of the newest schools with state of the art technology. There are traditional schools, year round schools, magnet schools and private schools in Cary. I'll be the first to admit, the schools aren't perfect. And, they're not perfect anywhere. I think our schools system in the US really needs some careful consideration and teacher should be paid more but that's a story for another day.

With all the land this little bedroom town had, Cary had the opportunity to incorporate tons of greenways, walking trails and parks. Cary has long been known for having one of the best trail systems in the US. They have put a lot of thought and consideration into preserving parks. Let me tell you, this was a hot commodity during the pandemic. Cary has become a very active town.

One additional thing I'll mention is taxes. Many people move to NC because our taxes are less for what you get. That's not every state of course but a lot of our northern and west coast neighbors find this to be true. A lot of people think Cary has the highest taxes. That's simply not true and can be checked by comparing the town tax rates. Each county has it's own tax rate and then each town. If you're in the city limits you have the town's tax rate added to the county tax rate. Cary has one of the lowest property tax percentages added. However, Cary has some of the highest property values because it is such a desirable location and with higher property values comes higher tax bills. So, you will pay more taxes on your home vs. the same home in some other towns. Your Cary home will also cost/sell for significantly more than the same home in another town. 

Growth and Beautifying of the town of Cary:

I will say, love them or hate them, the town council is hard at work making plans for Cary and doing what it can to keep Cary Beautiful. They have revitalized the Downtown area bringing in more restaurants and shops, and renovating older Cary landmarks. The Downside is it is busier and taxes are rising for some of the original residents. Many of the original homes have been torn down or moved to make way for larger more modern homes. They're also building condos which allows more affordable housing for more people. The upside is everyone can enjoy the town, it's beautiful, and it is a destination town. It's honestly a little like a Hallmark movie setting. Another prediction of mine was that Downtown Cary has the opportunity to be like Downtown Winter Park FL. Well, it's pretty close.

The town recently had the grand opening of the new 7 acre, $7m Downtown Cary Park. Downtown Cary is beautiful and so usable! At the moment it is lit up for Christmas and is stunning. It has tons of features. 

The park features something for everyone regardless of age or physical ability. There are trails, a Play park with iconic Cardinal play structures, splash pad, botanical gardens, Barkyard dog park, Bark Bar, recreation courts, The performance Pavilion, The Skywalk, water features, multiple bathrooms, water bottle filling stations, the iconic Cary fountain, outdoor seating, and the Downtown Social District where purchased alcohol is allowed. I'll be writing more about the park with additional photos later.

Downtown Cary Park

Map from DowntownCaryPark.com

The town is changing a lot. Many people don't like change. There are changes I don't like as well. One reason I wanted to leave FL is because of the traffic. Our traffic is a bit worse than it was and can use some work. My husband just returned from a trip to FL and reminded me it's still not nearly as bad here as it is there. 

And there are changes that I absolutely love. One is the people. Cary and the Metro Raleigh area has some of the best folks around! Most of the people here are genuine and kind. If you hear differently, get to know people and judge for yourself. You can't base an entire town on one person's complaint about another on social media. 

And if you're moving here, please be patient and kind to the locals (aka people who have lived her 10+ years). The change over the last couple years has been challenging. We're still getting used to other folks way of driving. Yes, I know we don't use blinkers but other than that we're not too bad. Also, please be nice. I've worked with people from all over and one comment I get is how nice the people are. We'd like to keep it that way. You don't have to speak in a southern dialect but please say it nicely. Of course, I've been told you can say anything unkind in a southern dialect and it still comes across as nice. Who knew?

If you need a Real Estate agent who knows Cary and the surrounding towns well, I'm your person! 

Below are some accolades and recognition Cary has received

Architecture Design ranked Cary #8 Top Emerging Luxury City in America

Cary is #1 Safest City in Country

Cary is One of the Best places to raise a family

Cary is Best place to buy a house

Cary is Hotspot for millennials 

Follow me here or on social media for more information about Cary and the surrounding Metro Raleigh areas.







Posted by

Raleigh Cary Apex Realtor Carla Freund Realty

Presented by:

Carla Freund of Ask Realtor Carla

Carla Freund Realty Team

Keller Williams Preferred Realty

By Carla Freund Realty Team

Original Home of "Market In A Minute" Real Estate Report for Raleigh Cary CH & Durham Triangle

Carolina Life Real Estate and Relocation


Find Carla Freund Realty Team online:

   Ask Realtor Carla on Facebook    Ask Realtor Carla your Raleigh Cary Realtor on You Tube  Ask Realtor Carla your Raleigh Cary Realtor on Instagram  Ask Realtor Carla your Raleigh Cary Realtor on Twitter  


Created by Quinky - Freepik.com

Powered by RealBird.com

Contact Carla Freund, Broker, Keller Williams Preferred Realty,  Licensed Realtor® in North Carolina at 919-602-8489 to list your property for sale or to purchase a property in Cary, Raleigh, Morrisville, Apex, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Holly Springs, Pittsboro, Durham, Chapel Hill, Johnston County, and the surrounding areas.

Now accepting referrals.**Not meant as a solicitation to individuals already working with a Professional Real Estate Agent.**

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is supplied by several sources and is subject to change without notice. The Raleigh - Cary Home Reviews Blog, Keller Williams and Carla Freund does not guarantee or is any way responsible for its accuracy, and provides said information without warranties of any kind, either expressed or implied. Entries on Raleigh - Cary Home Reviews represent the opinions and ideas of the author(s). Raleigh - Cary Home Reviews Blog does not express the views of Keller Williams, or those of the broker.


Ask Realtor Carla your Raleigh Cary Apex Realtor

Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Raleigh NC




Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good afternoon Carla. You paint an honest picture of Cary that you would not have without years of experience. That experience has helped many make the best decision for themselves and will help others ih the future. Enjoy your day.

Dec 15, 2023 01:18 PM
Carla Freund

Thank you so much Wayne!

Dec 16, 2023 06:35 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hello Carla  from this post as well as others I have read from following you over the years on AR, Cary North Carolina fits you well.  Nice job. 

Dec 15, 2023 01:24 PM
Carla Freund

Hi Michael, I do love living here. 

Dec 16, 2023 06:35 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good afternoon Carla,

I love the lead photo! I like how you have described Cary..sure sounds like a wonderful place to live and you are the one to help anyone relocating there!

Dec 15, 2023 04:14 PM
Carla Freund

Thank you so much Dorie. It's a great town.

Dec 16, 2023 06:34 AM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Carla Freund  loved your post it has been a while since you posted and commented on other posts, hope all is well with you and are too busy, Endre

Dec 15, 2023 10:10 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Carla Freund  loved your post it has been a while since you posted and commented on other posts, hope all is well with you and are too busy, Endre

Dec 15, 2023 10:10 PM
Carla Freund

Hi Endre, I had a busy spring/summer. Things have slowed a bit. I did have several post in November. 

Dec 16, 2023 06:34 AM
Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

Growth is good, but when it comes to cities growing they certainly change along with the growth.

Dec 16, 2023 04:31 AM
Carla Freund

Brian, Yes they do. I see a lot of good and I find things that aren't so great as well. However, it's the kind of town I'd want to move to if I were moving. 

Dec 16, 2023 06:33 AM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Wow that is quite the overview of Cary! Great job!

Dec 16, 2023 04:49 AM
Carla Freund

Thank you Kat. I know it's a bit long and there's a lot I left out. The town is just growing by leaps and bounds.

Dec 16, 2023 06:32 AM