Nickname: The Southern Part of Heaven
Population: 59,653 (North Carolina 2013 Certified Population Estimate)
Median Values of Homes: $367,800 (2009-13 American Community Survey Five-Year Estimates)
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Dubbed as ‘The Southern Part of Heaven,’ the town of Chapel Hill is famous for its quaint feel with a modern twist. Named after New Hope Chapel, the town’s first residents arrived in 1795. While the church is no longer standing, the legendary Carolina Inn now sits in its place as a reminder of its origins.
At the time of its beginning, Chapel Hill only covered 72 acres. Today, the town has expanded to more than 21 miles with the surrounding Carrboro area nearby. According to the 2010 U.S. Census and 2013 estimates, 59,653 people currently reside in Chapel Hill. This number includes UNC-Chapel Hill students living within the town.
Known for its stunning seasonal attributes, Chapel Hill makes it hard to ever want to leave. In the springtime, lovely woodland wildflowers can be found alongside gardens overflowing with multicolored azaleas. Greenways and deep-rooted trees line the sidewalks of the town, changing colors that stun as seasons pass by. Back in 1889, cutting down a tree in the town was punishable as a misdemeanor and came along with a $20 fine. Embracing its love for nature, Chapel Hill has continued to maintain its history by now focusing heavily on practices of sustainability and conservation.
Located 30 miles outside of the state capital of Raleigh, the town, along with the cities of Raleigh and Durham, compromise the well-known Research Triangle that has come to symbolize a place of technology and development-related companies. Chapel Hill is also home to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which happens to be the oldest state-supported university in the United States.
In terms of living in Chapel Hill, it doesn’t get much sweeter. In comparison to similarly sized towns on a national level, the town ranks in the top one percent for public transportation use, for having college educated adults and for having those who walk and bike to work. Chapel Hill also ranks in the top five percent of the state for having well-paid, single women and for median family incomes.
Living in Chapel Hill means being a Tar Heel fan, with 42 team NCAA Division I-A national championships to claim. As a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), UNC’s teams are known for its dominance in women’s soccer, men’s basketball, men’s lacrosse, and women’s field hockey. Alumni of the athletic program include Michael Jordan and Mia Hamm, to name a few.
Local attractions include the Morehead Planetarium, the North Carolina Botanical Garden, the Coker Arboretum, the Chapel Hill Museum, the Stone Center for Black Culture and History and more. Downtown Chapel Hill is home to Franklin Street, offering a variety of gift stores, bike shops, pharmacies, art stores and more.
In regards to education, Chapel Hill and its public schools are hard to top. With an 89 percent graduation rate among Chapel Hill-Carrboro City high schools, the average SAT score ranking among North Carolina public school districts takes the top spot. According to the 2010 census, almost 50 percent of Chapel Hill residents possess a graduate or professional degree.
As far as housing is concerned, relocating to Chapel Hill should be a no-brainer. Whether you’re looking for a home for sale or for something in new home construction, Chapel Hill real estate is diversified. A few of the larger neighborhoods include Briar Chapel, Claremont, Meadowmont , Ballentine, Winmore, Southern Village, and Legend Oaks.
Some of these neighborhoods offer historic vibes located near Franklin Street and UNC’s campus, while others feature townhomes and single family homes with community pools and clubhouses. Both Meadowmont and Southern Village are the “new” types of neighborhoods in Chapel Hill, featuring walkable town centers in master planned communities with dining and shopping nearby.
Built by Newland Communities, Briar Chapel happens to be the largest green-built community in the Raleigh-Durham area, with a full 50 percent (900 acres) maintained as natural, open space for walking trails and more.