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Renter's Guide to Winston-Salem
Winston-Salem is the 4th largest city in North Carolina with close to 240,000 residents, resting near the middle of the state about 100 miles west of Raleigh. It’s also a short 30 miles west of Greensboro, and about 75 miles northeast of Charlotte.
What was originally known a major tobacco town has since been transformed into a booming metropolis often referred to as the “City of Arts and Innovation” for its contributions to theater, fine arts, and technological research.
The weather in Winston-Salem makes it a very pleasant place to live, as residents enjoy a beautiful spring and fall, with very mild winters and warm, sunny summers.
Forsyth County, NC Demographics
- Total Population405,123
Female 192,801Male 212,322
- Median Age41.1
Cost of Living in Winston-Salem, NC
Overall, Winston-Salem has a very affordable cost of living for a city its size, and also a lower cost of living than many of North Carolina’s large neighboring cities like Raleigh and Greensboro.
There is no shortage of things to do or places to eat in Winston-Salem either, and although there are a wide variety of dining options, finding a meal for two for $50 or less is easy.
As for utility costs, like water, electric, gas, etc., Winston-Salem residents on average pay just $113 a month, much less than the national average of $140.
Average Rent in Forsyth County, NC
- Forsyth County, NC Average Rental Price, June 2019 $861 /mo
Forsyth County, NC Apartment Rent Ranges
- < $5006%
- > $2,0001%
Living in Winston-Salem, NC
One of the biggest pros to living in Winston-Salem is there’s always something to do, including visiting craft breweries, museums, parks, sporting events, and music venues. The combination of good school districts, a lively downtown scene, and a low cost of living even helped Winston-Salem make its way onto the BusinessWeek rankings as one of the best 50 cities in America to live.
The only negative aspect of living in Winston-Salem is that new jobs are being added very slowly, as the city has one of the lowest percentages of new job additions in the state. However, many also see this as a positive, because while Winston-Salem is growing, it is growing at a slow, steady, and maintainable rate.
For public transportation, there’s a bus line operated by the Winston-Salem Transit Authority, which offers 10-ride passes for $10.
Things to do in Winston-Salem
Winston-Salem offers a little something for everyone and is known for having some of the best craft breweries in the state. Foothills Brewing is one of the most popular, and is well-known for its IPAs and specialty beers.
For a night out in Winston-Salem for dinner, King’s Crab Shack and Oyster bar is one of the best spots in town, serving all kinds of great seafood dishes like oysters, crab legs, shrimp, mussels and more. And for dessert after dinner, the Winkler Bakery serves all kinds of tasty treats like sugar cake and Moravian cookies.
Winston-Salem also has great recreational options, especially at Salem Lake Park. The park includes nearly 400 acres for all types of activities, like boating or fishing, or even taking run or biking across the scenic seven-mile trail.
And for families and those with kids, Winston-Salem hosts the second-largest fair in the state every fall called the Dixie Classic Fair. It receives over 300,000 visitors every year, and has loads of fun activities and exhibits like rides, food, and (literally) tons of livestock exhibits. SciWorks is also a popular place for kids, with interactive science exhibits, nature trails, and a massive planetarium.
For free things to do in Winston-Salem, the Community Band Concert Series hosts concerts throughout the year at various venues, and has a special performance every Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Winston-Salem has a little something for music fans too, as Ziggy’s is known for hosting some of the most popular bands in the country, and actually gave the well-known Dave Matthews Band its first start.
And for the sports fans, the city plays host to the Winston-Salem Dash, a single-A Chicago White Sox affiliate, who play their home games at the gorgeous BB&T Ballpark.
Employment and Economy
Although there are plenty of major employers in Winston-Salem, like Novant Health, Unifi, and BB&T, the area has hit somewhat of a standstill as far as employment growth goes.
The city has a slow percentage rate of new job growth, although despite that statistic, Winston-Salem’s unemployment rate of 5% is still well below the state unemployment rate of 5.5%.
Forsyth County, NC Households
- Total Number of Households160,021
Family 102,452Non-family 57,569
Children 48,979No Children 111,042
- Average People Per Household2.47
- Median Household Income$50,091
- Median Housing Costs Per Month$832
Education in Winston-Salem
Winston-Salem offers excellent public school districts that are ranked among the best in the state of North Carolina, and the area also has great options for higher education.
The city’s flagship school, Wake Forest University, was actually ranked in a US News and World Report as the 23rd best university in the entire country, due to its excellent academics, beautiful campus, and involvement in the community
Forsyth County, NC Education Statistics
- No High School4%
- Some High School34%
- Some College25%
- Associate Degree8%
- Bachelor Degree19%
- Graduate Degree10%
Tips for Renting in Winston-Salem
Winston-Salem tenant regulations are governed by North Carolina state law, and are very similar to most other states and US tenant laws. However, North Carolina does have a slightly different policy when it comes to eviction notice. For monthly rentals, the eviction period is seven days; for a year-to-year rental, the minimum eviction notice is 30 days; and for mobile homes, the minimum eviction notice is 60 days.
North Carolina renters can also exercise their “right to repair and deduct,” meaning they can actually legally refuse to pay rent if major repairs (like an air conditioning unit) are left neglected.
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