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South Atlantic states
Old 07-27-2006, 01:03 AM   #1
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South Atlantic states

I've been intrigued lately by what I'll call the South Atlantic states.* It seems to be a pocket of population growth, high quality of life and affordable home prices.* I'm thinking primarily of VA, NC, SC and GA.* Some of northern FL could be lumped in this group I suppose.* I've heard people refer to the "Partial U-Turn" some retirees from the Northeast do when they relocate for better climate, etc.* They go to FL, find they miss some seasonal variation and end up in the Carolinas.*

I know there are some CA equity refugees out there who relocated to this region, some who are from there and some who relocated from other areas.* What, in your opinion, are the pluses and minuses of your location?

Here's the small group of cities I've investigated a little:* Charlottesville, VA; Richmond, VA; Raleigh-Durham, NC; Charlotte, NC; Columbia, SC; Charleston, SC; Savannah, GA; Athens, GA; Atlanta, GA.

As pleasant as VA is, it's a bit too far north and chilly in winter for me.* But Charlottesville in particular has gotten some nice press.

How is Athens?* Hilly or flat?* Small town thinking or progressive?

How about Charlotte vs. Raleigh-Durham?

Has success spoiled Atlanta?

Any other thoughts?

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Re: South Atlantic states
Old 07-27-2006, 04:32 AM   #2
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Re: South Atlantic states

Raleigh is having problems with unmanaged growth. Property taxes are set to double or triple over the next few years due to the need to build a huge number of schools for newcomers' kids, and to build yet more roads to try to help the traffic situation. City debt is growing rapidly on account of a number of questionable municipal projects. Housing is fairly expensive, and mostly mediocre (unimaginative -- think Levittown for the new rich). Congestion and air quality are becoming problems. Bottom line -- Raleigh was a great place 30 years ago, but most surely would not be my choice today.

Have you thought about some of the other towns in NC? Winston-Salem, Greensboro, etc? May be far better choices for ERs. Dont really know much about Charlotte . . .
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Re: South Atlantic states
Old 07-27-2006, 08:32 AM   #3
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Re: South Atlantic states

My mother lives just outside of Beaufort SC, which is about 45 mins from Charleston and 45 mins from Hiltonhead. It's a nice area, but hot! If you are from the new england area, you will be shocked at how slow the pace is down there. I found myself the only person racing thru the grocery store...

My wife and I liked visiting Charleston. But we only visited the historic district/waterfront. No clue on how it is to live there.
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Re: South Atlantic states
Old 07-27-2006, 08:45 AM   #4
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Re: South Atlantic states

I've posted many times on the delights of the Charleston, SC area--let me know if you need a rerun .

Significant population growth over the past 10-15 years in the greater SC area, not just retirees but also young families & singles, especially sprawly to the north (working class/middle class towns of N Charleston, Summerville, Goose Creek, Hanahan), more upper middle class Mt Pleasant (next town up the coast from Charleston), and upper middle to wealthy islands of Kiawah and Seabrook just down the coast, and Sullivan's and Isle of Palms abutting Mt P.

In retrospect, I wish I'd located in a real small town maybe an hour from the city (still on the coast), but we located in Mt Pleasant to be close to family. The growth here has been managed, but it's still too much IMO. We bought a new house in a small in-fill devt close to the city and to the beach. The island-long beach on Isle of Palms (10 minutes door to surf at my favorite spot) is especially beautiful.

Unless you need to be in or really close to the city, I'd recommend the small to mid-sized towns on or near the coast of SC such as Edisto Island an hour southwest of Charleston or McClellanville or Georgetown about the same to the northeast. (Edisto is about halfway from Charleston to Beaufort, but it takes more time to get from Charleston to Edisto than Beaufort because you can stay on a highway to Beaufort, but need the backroads to Edisto.

Even in Charleston & Mt Pleasant the pace is slower than anywhere I've been in the northeast or west coast. And it's been cooler here than most of the country lately And it's more comfortable on the coast than inland SC.
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Re: South Atlantic states
Old 07-27-2006, 09:49 AM   #5
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Re: South Atlantic states

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff2006
Raleigh is having problems with unmanaged growth. Property taxes are set to double or triple over the next few years due to the need to build a huge number of schools for newcomers' kids, and to build yet more roads to try to help the traffic situation. City debt is growing rapidly on account of a number of questionable municipal projects. Housing is fairly expensive, and mostly mediocre (unimaginative -- think Levittown for the new rich). Congestion and air quality are becoming problems. Bottom line -- Raleigh was a great place 30 years ago, but most surely would not be my choice today.

Have you thought about some of the other towns in NC? Winston-Salem, Greensboro, etc? May be far better choices for ERs. Dont really know much about Charlotte . . .
As a life-long Raleigh resident, I disagree with most of what jeff2006 posted here. If you want small town America, then Raleigh isn't the place for you. That probably isn't a surprise when you consider the metro area population is over a million and climbing fast. But if you want a vibrant city with jobs, friendly folks, variety, and culture, then you'd better pack the moving van and head on down!

There's traffic, sure, for part of the day. The other 22 hours per day aren't any worse than any similar size city.

Housing is expensive? Compared to where? Podunk, NC? Still plenty of affordable places for $100,000-200,000 for a moderate to nice house. There's historic gentrified neighborhoods and midrise condos in downtown and near the hip part of town. Or the burbs, which are pretty much like any other city's burbs. Here's a site featuring my neighborhood, where houses sell for $100k-$170k usually. www.beautifulbrentwood.com/ Traffic isn't too much of a concern, since you are close to everything.

Taxes? The lowest tax rate of any decent sized city in the state, with great municipal services. Or go out to the county and don't worry about city taxes! We did have a massive 5% tax increase this year, after a 0% increase last year and similarly small increases in years past. I'm now paying a whopping $1400 per year on my 4 BR house. The city and county have top-notch credit ratings, allowing cheap muni bonds to be issued to pay for growth over the long term (so the newcomers will have to chip in!). The city council freaks out over a two cent tax increase and forces the budgeters to squeeze out the crap and come back with a smaller tax increase. House values are appraised very neutrally and fairly, so you pay your fair share of taxes. When prop values are reappraised every 8 yrs, the tax rate always goes down to make the reappraisal revenue-neutral for the municipalities (and homeowners, on average).

To be fair, one downside of NC is our state income tax. May not be a significant concern depending on your source of retirement funding.
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Re: South Atlantic states
Old 07-27-2006, 10:41 AM   #6
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Re: South Atlantic states

Quote:
Originally Posted by califdreamer
I've heard people refer to the "Partial U-Turn" some retirees from the Northeast do when they relocate for better climate, etc.* They go to FL, find they miss some seasonal variation and end up in the Carolinas.
I've heard the term "halfbacks"...

Quote:
Originally Posted by astromeria
but we located in Mt Pleasant to be close to family. The growth here has been managed, but it's still too much IMO. We bought a new house in a small in-fill devt close to the city and to the beach. The island-long beach on Isle of Palms (10 minutes door to surf at my favorite spot) is especially beautiful.
I lived at 1134-2 Village Creek in Mount Pleasant from 1984-6 and I second the IOP bicycle ride. Of course it was always a challenge getting back home if you bar-hopped after the other beach activities.

But there've probably been a few changes in the last 20 years. I don't think I'll go back.
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Re: South Atlantic states
Old 07-27-2006, 03:56 PM   #7
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Re: South Atlantic states

Heard one time that a lot of folks that work in the Charlotte area, live in SC to save on taxes. Still true ?
.
Does the state of NC tax pensions ? PA does not, although our property taxes, I'm sure, are higher.
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Re: South Atlantic states
Old 07-27-2006, 04:09 PM   #8
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Re: South Atlantic states

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Originally Posted by bennevis
Heard one time that a lot of folks that work in the Charlotte area, live in SC to save on taxes. Still true ?
.
Does the state of NC tax pensions ? PA does not, although our property taxes, I'm sure, are higher.
I moved here from NJ, NC gives a small break on pensions. 4K

Big deal, They tax everything but as I said before the real estate taxes in NJ was nuts 9K. I am paying 3K here just south of Raleigh.

Great place and I am a NYC North Jersey Guy.

I can see some issues down the road BUt I will use the added school situation to my favor. I will get this WORK!

$hit I am a PHYSICAL EDUCATION TEACHER!

I have been offered two jobs already, problem is I must go back to NJ for 5 months and finish a contract.

So if the taxes rise oh well the mortgage is well a small car payment and I will just be the old PE teacher having fun at so called work!!

But would I be considered ER'd? Humm from NJ NO?
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Re: South Atlantic states
Old 07-27-2006, 07:05 PM   #9
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Re: South Atlantic states

Thanks for feedback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff2006
Have you thought about some of the other towns in NC? Winston-Salem, Greensboro, etc? May be far better choices for ERs. Dont really know much about Charlotte . . .
I'm a single guy who is used to urban/suburban life.* I'd probably stick to Raleigh or Charlotte areas if I ever moved to NC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by astromeria
I've posted many times on the delights of the Charleston, SC area--let me know if you need a rerun .
Thanks astromeria, I have enjoyed your posts about Spoleto festival, pretty beaches, etc.* It sounds like town of Charleston itself has become too congested.* I wouldn't have guessed that would be the case but I suppose the population boom has changed the area a lot.

Thanks justin for details on the Brentwood neighborhood.* Wow, love those mature trees lining the streets and yards.* Very nice!* Raleigh-Durham area always gets great ratings in the "Best Places to Live" studies.* Tell me honestly, is Raleigh area superior to Charlotte metro?* I'm sure you have an unbiased opinion*

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
I've heard the term "halfbacks"...
You know, I think that's the term I was trying to remember but I came up with "partial u-turns".

Quote:
Originally Posted by bennevis
Heard one time that a lot of folks that work in the Charlotte area, live in SC to save on taxes. Still true ?
.
I've heard that as well.

newguy, you're ER in my book*


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Re: South Atlantic states
Old 07-27-2006, 08:54 PM   #10
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Re: South Atlantic states

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Originally Posted by califdreamer
Thanks justin for details on the Brentwood neighborhood. Wow, love those mature trees lining the streets and yards. Very nice! Raleigh-Durham area always gets great ratings in the "Best Places to Live" studies. Tell me honestly, is Raleigh area superior to Charlotte metro? I'm sure you have an unbiased opinion
Re: Raleigh versus Charlotte - I don't really know enough about charlotte to comment intelligently. From what I do know, you'll have a fairly similar experience in both places.

Charlotte is a little larger. Downtown feels a lot more like a "big city".

Raleigh has a downtown, but there are only a few buildings I'd call "skyscrapers" (but it will change over the next 10 years I bet). Charlotte is limited in terms of the "college scene". Raleigh/Durham has Duke, UNC and NC State Univ., 80k-100k students all together.

Traffic-wise, both cities have their share of a few congested areas during rush hour.

Airports - pretty even. I've heard RDU has some better deals due to competition, but Charlotte is a Hub for one of the big full service airlines.

Charlotte is supposedly the banking capital of the south. I know Raleigh is starting to attract big names in banking too (RBC, Credit Suisse, Fidelity, etc).

Don't know much about parks, cultural activities or nightlife in charlotte. Probably similar to Raleigh. There's plenty of em, but it ain't NYC or LA. Plenty of "trendy" bars and nightclubs for the 20-somethings to get down (not my bag though).

Raleigh is the state capital - govt "stuff" happens here, politicos around town. All the govt buildings - capital, general assembly, Supreme court - are all downtown (touristy kind of things). Plenty of top-notch museums. Orchestra, Broadway South, other theatre and local music scene. Supposedly the highest number of Doctorates per capita in the nation.

Good restaurant selection from "down home hole in the wall" to 4 star fancy restaurants.

Raleigh/Wake county has a good library system and a good parks and recreation system.

I'd recommend a visit at some point if you've never been here.
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Re: South Atlantic states
Old 07-27-2006, 10:15 PM   #11
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Re: South Atlantic states

Good stuff, thanks Justin.

I have never been to the Raleigh area but back in ancient times I visited Charlotte. Your observations are pretty consistent with what I've generally heard. Raleigh-Durham has educated population, amenities from major universities in the area, good museums, pretty wooded areas, etc. Just curious, how far is it to the nearest beach area? Which area of the coast is most accessible? I have been to Ocean Isle, NC... again in ancient times.

Sometime this year I may get over there for a swing through the Carolinas and possibly Georgia.
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Re: South Atlantic states
Old 07-28-2006, 06:35 AM   #12
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Re: South Atlantic states

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Originally Posted by califdreamer
Good stuff, thanks Justin.

I have never been to the Raleigh area but back in ancient times I visited Charlotte. Your observations are pretty consistent with what I've generally heard. Raleigh-Durham has educated population, amenities from major universities in the area, good museums, pretty wooded areas, etc. Just curious, how far is it to the nearest beach area? Which area of the coast is most accessible? I have been to Ocean Isle, NC... again in ancient times.

Sometime this year I may get over there for a swing through the Carolinas and possibly Georgia.

Ocean Isle, We have a family vacation house ther.

It took 2 and 1/2 hours to get there on monday afternoon. A straight shot down 40 to wilmington then 17 south. EASY trip still a great beach.
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Re: South Atlantic states
Old 07-28-2006, 06:50 AM   #13
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Re: South Atlantic states

Dreamer -- when you visit Raleigh, be sure to visit Brentwood yourself. *Take a stroll down Capitol Blvd and up Atlantic Ave, and let us know if you still think it's what you want. *Then check the prices of a downtown condo or a small house in one of the rehabed near-downtown areas. *Also look into peripheral questions about downtown Raleigh living, like "where do I go the grocery store?" *Also, do some research regarding school construction and upcoming property tax increases. *As Justin well knows, a 980 million dollar bond issue is on the November ballot. *And that's just the first of several installments. *

I'm not saying that Raleigh is a bad place -- quite the contrary. *But it's having significant problems and doesn't live up the the relentless hype of its boosters (a lot of whom are in construction and real estate development).

BTW -- I am not a lifelong Raleigh resident. *But I have lived in the city limits of Raleigh for 36 years, and have owned four houses in various neighborhoods.

Good luck!
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Re: South Atlantic states
Old 07-28-2006, 06:54 AM   #14
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Re: South Atlantic states

Ooops -- forgot to mention the beach.* It's about three hours to Atlantic Beach (it's a little less to get to Wrightsville Beach).* To give you an idea about prices at Atlantic Beach -- my cottage (1400 sq ft, built in 1952) was just appraised at $900,000.* Second row -- not ocean front.

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Re: South Atlantic states
Old 07-28-2006, 10:31 AM   #15
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Re: South Atlantic states

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff2006
Dreamer -- when you visit Raleigh, be sure to visit Brentwood yourself. Take a stroll down Capitol Blvd and up Atlantic Ave, and let us know if you still think it's what you want. Then check the prices of a downtown condo or a small house in one of the rehabed near-downtown areas. Also look into peripheral questions about downtown Raleigh living, like "where do I go the grocery store?" Also, do some research regarding school construction and upcoming property tax increases. As Justin well knows, a 980 million dollar bond issue is on the November ballot. And that's just the first of several installments.

I'm not saying that Raleigh is a bad place -- quite the contrary. But it's having significant problems and doesn't live up the the relentless hype of its boosters (a lot of whom are in construction and real estate development).

BTW -- I am not a lifelong Raleigh resident. But I have lived in the city limits of Raleigh for 36 years, and have owned four houses in various neighborhoods.

Good luck!
Well, who walks up and down busy arterial streets for fun? Atlantic Ave and Capital Blvd (US 1 for those living florida to NY) aren't my top choice of walkable areas. But I can (and do!) walk for miles along sidewalked, tree-lined streets in my own neighborhood to and from destinations around my neighborhood WITHOUT going on these major streets. Within (~1 miles) walking distance from the neighborhood are two major grocery stores, a gym, a major computer/electronics store, a Sam's club, a Superwalmart, a Target, a Lowe's Hardware, a library, multiple parks, an elementary school, tons of restaurants of all types and ethnicities, ethnic food stores, etc. etc.

Let me warn you though, you might see some non-white people or some poor people. Some mexicans live in the neighborhood, occasionally speaking spanish. Plenty of SE asians, indians, middle easterners. Black folks too. Heck, I've got a couple of minorities living in my house! Some of people in the neighborhood are blue collar, too! Then there's the young professionals, families and older retired couples. If that scares you, Raleigh has plenty of high-end communities (some with gates to keep the undesirables out! ) that are still affordable for the middling rich (nouveaux or old).

Re: downtown living and where to shop? Welcome to downtown living across the country. Shop in the stores downtown (there will be more). Or drive out a couple of miles to go shopping at the Superwalmart or target. I live 3 miles from downtown, plenty of shopping near here. We're talking a 5-10 minute drive (at most) to tons of shopping options. Cameron Village (near the university) is under a mile from most of the recent downtown condo developments. It's the same development pattern you see everywhere: residential units pop up, then retail follows.

Re taxes: look at the historical tax increases - tiny, year after year. It's a fiscally conservative government that is efficient (at least the city - don't personally have much experience with the county). $980 million bond for schools? That's $1264 per capita, payable over 30 years (based on today's population) with interest payable at AAA muni bond rates. The debt service may add a few cents to the tax rate. When the new folks move in to fill those schools, they'll be paying back those bonds, too. What are folks paying now in prop tax in high cost of living areas? $5000/yr? $10k/yr?

re: beach - 2.25-2.5 hours to get to the nearest beaches around wilmington. Oak Island (caswell beach) is about 2.75 h. Outer banks - kill devils hill, nags head, kitty hawk, more like 4.5 hours. Day trips are very easy, it's interstate most of the way to a number of beaches near wilmington. Free/cheap parking. Beaches not too crowded most of the time (avoid holidays!). ~September 5th is the start of off-peak season - cheap hotels and rentals start around that time, crowds are minimal, too. Weather is not quite as hot as summer, but water is very warm.

My advice would be to check out Raleigh/Charlotte at some point to see if it's for you. I guess you have me and jeff with varying opinions. Raleigh isn't perfect, but I've seen a lot of worse places that are more costly.
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Re: South Atlantic states
Old 07-28-2006, 11:01 AM   #16
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Re: South Atlantic states

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Originally Posted by justin

My advice would be to check out Raleigh/Charlotte at some point to see if it's for you.* I guess you have me and jeff with varying opinions.* Raleigh isn't perfect, but I've seen a lot of worse places that are more costly.*
I agree completely, and think that this is a good suggestion.

But here is another way to look at the situation: sell a stock when its CEO appears on the cover of Time Magazine. It has peaked. Likewise, Raleigh may have peaked, as evidenced by all of the hype and the number of people now coming in (60 per day, by some estimates).

Here is yet another way: You and I may see the classic glass-half-full, half-empty problem. One difference, however, is that I have seen the Raleigh glass completely full, and headed down.

If someone comes here because of family ties, or a good job, or the like, more power to them. They certainly could do worse, as you have said. If they have no ties to the area, however, my opinion is that they're making a long-term mistake.

Think about your tax increases, as at your age you're going to be the one who pays them, not me . A more meaningful analysis might be burden per home, not per capita. BTW -- it is not a necessary to be a racist to dislike a neighborhood, as you seem to be implying.
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Re: South Atlantic states
Old 07-28-2006, 12:56 PM   #17
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Re: South Atlantic states

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Originally Posted by jeff2006
I agree completely, and think that this is a good suggestion.

But here is another way to look at the situation: sell a stock when its CEO appears on the cover of Time Magazine. It has peaked. Likewise, Raleigh may have peaked, as evidenced by all of the hype and the number of people now coming in (60 per day, by some estimates).

Here is yet another way: You and I may see the classic glass-half-full, half-empty problem. One difference, however, is that I have seen the Raleigh glass completely full, and headed down.

If someone comes here because of family ties, or a good job, or the like, more power to them. They certainly could do worse, as you have said. If they have no ties to the area, however, my opinion is that they're making a long-term mistake.

Think about your tax increases, as at your age you're going to be the one who pays them, not me . A more meaningful analysis might be burden per home, not per capita. BTW -- it is not a necessary to be a racist to dislike a neighborhood, as you seem to be implying.
I think conscious and/or subconscious racism, classism, etc. is a MAJOR factor for the rise and fall of neighborhoods (in general). I don't think people necessarily go check US census map data to obtain the % non-white or % living under 200% of the poverty line when selecting neighborhoods (although I did before I bought). I'm also not calling you a racist by any means.

re: taxes - ok, say 3 people per home, then we are talking $3800 per household over 30 years. Of course, the # households will probably double over 30 yrs, so more like $1900 per HH. If, like me, you own a house that is 50-60% of the median area value, then you pay 1/2 that. Live in a gated community and pay double or triple that. I don't mind paying up to educate the kids around here. It's either that or hire a bunch more cops in 12-13 years when the kids are out joining gangs instead of working due to poor education opportunities.

Jeff, just curious, what part of raleigh do you live in?
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Old 07-28-2006, 01:23 PM   #18
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Re: South Atlantic states

Hi, Justin The connection between juvenile crime and dollars spent on education may not be quite so direct (Washington, DC, comes to mind).

Regarding where I live -- I would rather not say, because I don't want to be characterized by my hood. I can tell you for sure that it's not a gated community!

All the best . . . Jeff
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Old 07-28-2006, 01:52 PM   #19
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Re: South Atlantic states

Quote:
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Regarding where I live -- I would rather not say, because I don't want to be characterized by my hood. I can tell you for sure that it's not a gated community!
I thought maybe you could provide more specifics for the folks considering relocating here. As in downtown/inside the beltline, rural (Johnston/Chatham/Franklin/Granville counties), satellite/bedroom community (Fuquay, clayton, angier, oxford, etc) or suburban. You may have specific insights into other aspects of the city that I'm not even considering.
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Old 07-28-2006, 02:07 PM   #20
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Re: South Atlantic states

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Ocean Isle, We have a family vacation house ther.

It took 2 and 1/2 hours to get there on monday afternoon. A straight shot down 40 to wilmington then 17 south. EASY trip still a great beach.
Sounds like a pretty easy hop over to the beach.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff2006
Ooops -- forgot to mention the beach. *It's about three hours to Atlantic Beach (it's a little less to get to Wrightsville Beach). *To give you an idea about prices at Atlantic Beach -- my cottage (1400 sq ft, built in 1952) was just appraised at $900,000. *Second row -- not ocean front.

Nice appreciation on that cottage jeff!

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin

re: beach - 2.25-2.5 hours to get to the nearest beaches around wilmington. Oak Island (caswell beach) is about 2.75 h. Outer banks - kill devils hill, nags head, kitty hawk, more like 4.5 hours. Day trips are very easy, it's interstate most of the way to a number of beaches near wilmington. Free/cheap parking. Beaches not too crowded most of the time (avoid holidays!). ~September 5th is the start of off-peak season - cheap hotels and rentals start around that time, crowds are minimal, too. Weather is not quite as hot as summer, but water is very warm.
Sounds like access to a variety of beaches is pretty easy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin
My advice would be to check out Raleigh/Charlotte at some point to see if it's for you. I guess you have me and jeff with varying opinions. Raleigh isn't perfect, but I've seen a lot of worse places that are more costly.
Thanks jeff and justin for your input. *Differences of opinion are to be expected especially regarding quality of life in a given place. *I absolutely agree the best way to evaluate a place is to actually go there and experience what it has to offer. *

Any Charlotteans, Columbians (the SC variety), Athenians (you know, from Georgia), Atlantans (?) out there?




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