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I moved to Raleigh back in '97 under the mistaken impression that it would be a major tech hub. While there are many good tech jobs there, the RTP area fell pretty far short of my expectations. Also, the dot-com crash gutted that area like a fish and I'm not sure the commercial real estate sector there has ever recovered even to this day. It was fun for a brief time in the late '90s. I moved away in '06, but went back to visit recently and now that area feels very overcrowded. I can't speak to the tech sector and how it is doing these days.

It fully recovered. I moved here in '12 from L.A. with a job that had the same pay, but the cost of living is probably close to half of California, so it was like having my salary doubled overnight. IMHO this place is a paradise for engineers who care about actual work life balance.

NC's growth has slipped in the last couple years, though, because of the HB2 nonsense. It'll be a few years before we recover our image.

It's only like doubling your salary if you spend your entire income. When you move to a new area, the change in disposable income is determined by salary - expenses*cost of living.


You make $100k in city A and spend $40k on expenses. That leaves $60k disposable.

You are considering a job in city B with half the cost of living and the same pay.

You still make $100k but your expenses have gone from $40k to $20k. Your new disposable income is $80k.

Cost of living is half but it's not like having 100% more income, it's 33% more .

Your math is right. But, you've got to understand the cost of real estate is much much more than double in SF. Realistically, in Ralleigh regional area you can pay 120$/sq ft vs 1000$/sq ft in the SF Regional area (perhaps 500$/sq ft if your willing to commute for 3 hrs/day).

Now, SF might be a great place if you have no kids, no expenses and rent a tiny little room. But, as soon as you want to have a family and backyard, you better get out! SF and CA in general is no place to raise a family. The key in this strategy is, don't put down roots in the CA bay area.

I live in SF, I understand the cost of real estate. I'm not arguing that lifestyle expectations are very different between cities. So given you move to SF and understand you'll be in a smaller house because that is the market norm, the COLA still is only on what you spend.

When my mortgage for a house on 1/2 an acre costs less than my 650 sqft apartment in L.A. did, it sure feels like my cost of living was cut in half.

When a round of golf at a Davis Love or Fred Couples designed course costs the same as playing at a shitty muni in L.A., it feels like my disposable income has tripled.

I did the opposite in 2011. Got tired of having nothing to do but go to bars and restaurants. Enjoying the LA life of having a beach and nice hiking at my door. Lots of diverse industries that need tech talent as well as a startup scene.

Raleigh felt stagnant when I left, with most of the jobs enterprise software in unsexy industries. Grass is always greener I suppose!

The Downtown Raleigh area picked up a lot after the market recovered. There's been a lot of regentrification and companies started moving into town instead of to RTP. There's Citrix, RedHat, a handful of co-working spaces, and many new stores/restaurants/breweries that have moved into Downtown Raleigh in the past 5 years. Downtown Durham has undergone similar changes.

Between Raleigh and Durham, it's mostly sister-sites for larger tech companies. Personally, I've worked at NetApp, Citrix, and now Nutanix -- all within 25 minutes of my house in Cary.

Not much of a start-up scene, AFAIK.

There are a handful of co-working spaces that house startups around American Tobacco Campus in Durham and Downtown Raleigh. There's not much VC in the Raleigh/Durham area though so most are bootstrapped by founders.

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