Leland named ninth best place to retire in North Carolina

Once they found out about Leland’s low property tax rate, that just made retirement even better
Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 3:41 PM EST
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LELAND, N.C. (WECT) - Leland is arguably one of the fastest-growing communities in the Cape Fear. You may be wondering what’s bringing all these people to the once-quiet town.

Retirees say there are many reasons from friendly faces to less pressure on their wallets after leaving the workforce. The cheaper housing is only the tip of the iceberg when you tally up the savings, but there are other things attracting retirees to Leland.

“Philadelphia — you look around and people just put their heads down because... You’re kind of afraid of everybody, you know, or you don’t know how they’re going to react,” said Donna Udry, who moved here in 2017.

A friendly atmosphere checked off only one box on a list of must-haves for Udry and her husband. Once they found out about Leland’s low property tax rate, that just made retirement even better.

“That was a big thing because now we’re living on a fixed income,” said Udry.

It’s a factor that has sealed the deal for a lot of retirees. One woman from Long Island says she found the perfect house in a small neighborhood here. It offers more square footage and a bigger yard than she had when she lived in New York, giving her more bang for her buck.

“[The same house] would have been at least twice as much,” said Barbara Baumgarten.

Baumgarten moved here less than two months ago and, like many others, came from a more populated area up north.

“The taxes I pay a year here are pretty much what you’d pay per month in New York on Long Island,” said Baumgarten. “You just can’t beat that, especially at this point. I’m trying to enjoy life a little bit more. I really don’t want to spend most of my money on taxes.”

While Leland isn’t Boston or Philadelphia, city officials say it still provides entertainment and a relaxing atmosphere for retirees.

“The proximities to downtown Wilmington and its features, including concert venues and theaters and arts and fine dining, its proximity to the beaches,” said Leland’s economic and development director Gary Vidmar. “It’s just a whole quality of life that we have to offer.”

While the beach or fine dining is great, retirees say the low taxes is a major selling point. A recent study found Leland is the ninth best place in the state to retire to because of its lower taxes.

Vidmar says over the last decade, the town has seen about a 70 percent increase in population, according to the 2020 census.

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