7/29/2018 – Sawmills ranks 9th most affordable place in North Carolina

Posted on: July 30th, 2018 by admin


July 29, 2018


By Virginia Annable
(Lenoir) News-Topic


Living in Sawmills is objectively inexpensive.


A studying of affordable places ranks Sawmills as the ninth most affordable place to live in North Carolina.


The study by Smart Asset, a financial technology company that provides financial advice online, considered house closing costs, property tax rates, homeowners insurance, average mortgage payments and median income to rank 150 towns and cities in the state. Stokesdale, near Greensboro, ranked as most affordable.


Sawmills Town Administrator Christopher Todd said the ranking didn’t come as a surprise since keeping costs low is something the town council is always considering, especially during budget season.


“It’s part of the ongoing conversation we have with every decision we make,” Todd said.


He also attributed the town’s affordability to the jobs available in the area. While jobs in Sawmills and Caldwell County on average don’t pay as much as those in the other cities and towns ranked in the top 10 most affordable places, the ratio of the income to living costs is what makes the difference, Todd said. Sawmills’ average income is about $37,000, $15,000 less than any other median income on the top 10 list, but Sawmills’ average mortgage payment is only about $4,300, $2,000 less than any other in the top 10.


Todd said the town prides itself on being a place where people can come to settle down and be able to afford it.


“We want ownership to be accomplishable,” Todd said. “And you are able to support a family here, you can do things and have a life and pursue things.”


Todd said he hopes the recognition as the ninth most affordable place in the state draws more people to the town, but that’s not the only thing affordability can bring. Cost of living plays a big roll when companies are looking to come to Caldwell, said Deborah Murray, the executive director of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission.


When she’s pitching Caldwell County to businesses thinking about coming to Caldwell County she emphasizes the area’s low cost of living — just 84.4 percent of the national average.


“Affordability does make a huge difference, whether we’re talking to a very large company, like a Google, or a medium or a small company, it’s one of the things we tout in our marketing,” Murray said. “It’s a significant factor.”


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