Yes is the answer but what would help is having a more defined range of where you wish to be. I am currently about to help a client purchase acreage up in Granville county for her 3 horses and that she can build on. I have also shown horse properties out to the west of the Triangle as well as there are many out to the East. I would love to do a search for you or you can do your own search by using the property search tool on my website at www.RaleighHomeSite.com . This is an IDX link to our local MLS.
Please feel free to contact me personally if I can be of any assistance.
This is so interesting because a buyer I'm working with is facing the very same thing. It is nuts, and shouldn't make a difference if you are an owner occupant. The rules for lending change all the time, so it is worth calling some other lenders/banks to find out about the rules. Your note is very discouraging if it turns out to be true. I cannot believe that all the grad students and medical residents will face investment rates.
I'd love to help you explore the area! There are MANY neighborhoods in Raleigh and the surrounding communites that would be great to explore and in that price range. Please feel free to give me a call or email me.