MY Parents are moving to the area soon, and I have family thats lived there for years. The farther down the river(closer to the beach) the higher the prices go. Although compared to NY prices/taxes you'll probably feel like you're in heaven. I reccomend checking out the areas south and east of Washington.
Personally I would take specific care to look at history of flooding in areas. Older "established" neighborhoods that have been around for 100+ years are always a good bet, also houses on stilts. Hurricane season gets a bit hairy up that way when you start thinking about brand new homes on property that had never been developed, many found 5+ feet of water on their land in recent years.
Towns such as morehead city beaufort and new bern are all good places to look. All three have many homes that are 100+ years old with lots of history and great investment value. You can spend weeks looking at the area and small towns around there and not get bored. Either way with a new home or older home you can't go wrong with the Carolinas