I lived in Wilmington for five years while going to RN school. The big hospital there is New Hanover Regional Medical Center. It's a trauma hospital, so they get trauma cases flown in regularly. New Hanover also owns Cape Fear Hospital, which is on the other side of town. Cape Fear is known for their ortho unit, but they also have a small ER and med/surg. New Hanover has everything else, plus maternity. It's a very nice hospital to work for, but with a small town comes small town politics, so make sure you don't get on anyone's bad side. When I graduated in May 2003, the starting pay for new grads was $17.52/hour. I'm sure it's gone up since then. They have a good shift differential (20% for 7P-7A shift) and they also have a weekend shift differential, which I think is 15%. I ended up moving out of state after graduation, and have noticed a bigger increase in base pay in other areas, but with the shift differential and the beach nearby, it's worth it. I have a ton of friends who still work there and like it. They do hire new grads for L&D and Post Partum, which are on two different floors. They also have a GYN Med/Surg on the same floor as post partum, so you could be cross trained if you wanted. Otherwise, you just do mother/baby.
There are other hospitals in the area-- Pender Memorial Hospital, which I think is now also part of New Hanover, Dosier Hospital (in Southport, an island south of Wilmington) and Brunswick Memorial Hospital, which is also south of Wilmington. Brunswick is probably the biggest of those three.
Hope this helps!
Oh yeah, the housing in Wilmington is reasonable, depending on where you live. Of course, if you live near the beach, it's more expensive, but live in town and you can find affordable housing or apartments. If you live in town, you're still only about a 10 minute drive to any of the beaches.