What is the Real Cost of Living on Lake Norman?

Julie Cash

Lake Norman is the largest manufactured lake in North Carolina, created in 1963 by Duke Energy. The lake is 34 miles long and features 520 miles of shoreline to enjoy, making it perfect for fun in the sun! As one of the top-rated lakes in the country, it’s easy to see why so many people want their own slice of Lake Norman paradise.

Lake Norman provides a gorgeous backdrop and ample outdoor recreation, and the charming towns along its banks make it the ideal place to call home. You’ll find cities like Huntersville, Cornelius, Troutman, and Mooresville offer unique opportunities and amenities for locals and visitors alike. Most of these towns also offer a small-town atmosphere and sense of community while providing modern amenities.

Cornelius is one of these relatively small yet upbeat waterfront communities. Cornelius features a significant amount of the Lake Norman shoreline at 54 miles and is the perfect destination for lake fun. In addition to water recreation, there are fine dining restaurants, lakeside parks, charming boutiques, and unique attractions to explore. When searching for waterfront homes for sale in Cornelius, NC, you’ll notice various price points that make lake living accessible to many.

Whether you own a piece of Lake Norman real estate or are considering a move, you’ll want to know everything you can about the cost of living on Lake Norman. Everything from the purchase price of your home to the utility bills will factor into the cost, and it’s important to know upfront. Here’s everything you should consider.

Housing: average purchase price

The most substantial component to living on Lake Norman will be the price of your home. Despite a significant rental market surrounding Lake Norman, the real estate market is hot for homeowners. The median home price will vary slightly depending on your chosen city. In Cornelius, the average sold price is $499,000, while the average sold price in Huntersville is just over $500,000. That’s above the national median sales price of $436,800. It is also well above the average sales price in North Carolina, which sits at around $309,861. The cost of real estate is higher due to its proximity to Lake Norman, as lakefront properties are significantly more valuable than those landlocked. Another thing that helps determine housing affordability is the average income.

Average salary

The average salary in Lake Norman will vary among the communities. In Cornelius, NC, the average income per household is $128,977. The income changes only slightly for homes that are either single or married families, ranging between $90,000 and $140,000, respectively. Cornelius has a population of around 32,000, with the majority of those owning their homes and having obtained higher education. This will contribute to the median income of each household.

Another thing to consider here is taxes, which vary from town to town. When accounting for federal and state income taxes, plus Social Security and Medicare, the average working adult will pay around $7,638 each year. This is slightly higher than the state average of $6,987 annually.

Cost of food

Another everyday expense that has a significant impact on the cost of living is food. The U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that food costs vary from city to city and between regions. The cost of groceries in Cornelius, along Lake Norman, is 3% below the national average. For example, while you might pay $4.35 for a loaf of bread in New York, you’ll only pay around $3.78 in Cornelius.

The average cost of food for a family of four in Cornelius is around $9,354 annually or nearly $800 per month. While this might seem low, remember the cost of food in this region is below the national average. The average price of food will vary depending on the number of people in your family but is calculated based on a nutritionally adequate diet that has been prepared at home. This does not take into consideration the cost of eating out.

Cost of utilities

While the average housing cost in Cornelius is nearly 10% above the national average, the cost of utilities is almost 8% less than the national average. Residents can expect to spend roughly $146 per month on their energy bills, which is nearly 12% below the national average, though this will vary based on the size of the home and usage. The average cell phone bill runs almost $173 per month, while other expenses, like healthcare costs, are well above the national average.

Cost of transit

Transportation is a significant component of the cost of living, whether you own a vehicle or use public transportation. Of those living in Cornelius, nearly 87% of commuters drive to work. Many who go to work daily commute to areas outside of Lake Norman, taking additional time and gas. If the average commute in the area is around 35 minutes, compared to a national average of 26 minutes, you can expect to spend more on average. If you consider the average cost of gas, car maintenance, and public transit, a single person in the area could spend upwards of $10,000 per year on transportation.

Childcare costs

Families with children will have to consider the cost of childcare, which can add thousands of dollars to overall spending each year. The average annual price for two children is roughly $15,000 in Cornelius, which is slightly higher than the national average. This will depend on which daycare or preschool the parent/s chose. North Carolina also provides free early preschool options through Head Start and other programs.

Ready to find your next home?

Are you interested in purchasing a home for sale in Lake Norman? Contact J.CASH Real Estate if you’re ready to begin the journey into homeownership or want to discuss your home’s value. This highly qualified real estate professional team has all the tools you need for a successful journey.


We pledge to be in constant communication with our clients, keeping them fully informed throughout the entire buying or selling process. We believe that if you’re not left with an amazing experience, we haven’t done our job. We don’t measure success through achievements or awards, but through the satisfaction of our clients.

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