On the Lookout for the Most Affordable Home? West Virginia Is Waiting for You
If the Mountain State wasn’t popular before, it sure will be soon. As of August 2020, according to a study by The Ascent, West Virginia has a median home value of $107,064, which is the lowest in the U.S. by far. Comparatively, the most expensive housing market in the country is in Hawaii–with a median home value of $646,733. If the great outdoors outshines beach life, the Mountain State is the perfect hidden gem for you.
Home prices have soared nationwide, so finding the few remaining affordable housing markets isn’t an easy task. The National Association of REALTORS found that there were 18.2% fewer homes on the market in June of 2020 than there were around the same time in 2019. While record-low mortgage rates stirred the real estate pot and urged people to consider homeownership for the first – and even the fifth – time, the high demand isn’t balanced with the low inventory.
These rising prices have created great wealth for homeowners, although it hasn’t benefited everyone. As of January 2021, 5.2% of mortgages are in forbearance, which equates to $547 billion in unpaid principal. Seeing these startling numbers is all the more reason to consider relocation to low-cost states such as West Virginia, especially before too many others catch wind of the admirable balance of affordability and quality of life. As REALTOR chief economist, Danielle Hale, explains, “We expect sales to grow 7 percent and prices to rise another 5.7 percent on top of 2020’s already high levels. While we expect mortgage rates to tick up gradually, sales and price growth will be propelled by still strong demand, a recovering economy, and still low mortgage rates. High buyer demand and still-lagging supply will keep prices growing, but at a slower pace than 2020 as buyers contend with mortgage rate and price increases that create affordability challenges.”
If you’re considering making the move to this small but mighty state to reap the benefits of an affordable housing market, chances are you’ll be asking what is West Virginia all about?
With a scenic mountain view from anywhere in the state, it’s no wonder nature lovers never want to leave. West Virginia is small-town America in a nutshell. In one city in particular, Beckley, the majority of homeowners don’t even have a mortgage considering many houses are listed for only 5 digits. Beckley is a great representation of West Virginia’s strong connection to nature, community, and history. With a rich mining past and present, Beckley has been dubbed ‘The City with a Mine of Its Own’. But it’s likely put itself on the map due to being home to West Virginia Tech, attracting a youthful community. Much like other cities in West Virginia, Beckley prides itself on the variety of free activities that are essentially in everyone’s backyard.
Livability claims that the best places to live in the Mountain State are Charleston, Huntington, Wheeling, and Morgantown – and you’ll find these cities on most lists of the Best Places To Live In West Virginia For 2021. If tall buildings are your horizon as opposed to mountains, Wheeling is for you. It has a median income of $44,119 with a median home price of $110,100.Another large factor to take into account is the uptick in remote work since the pandemic hit. Not only can one purchase a large home here for a sliver of the price of a studio apartment in a metropolitan area, one can bring their higher income with them.
Whether you decide to go hiking through one of the many state parks, biking alongside the mountain tops, fishing or whitewater rafting in the New River Gorge, there is no time for boredom here. In a time when the outdoors is the star of our entertainment, there couldn’t be a better time to relocate to picturesque West Virginia.
With such a firm connection to nature, it’s only fitting that West Virginia has rich natural resources and is a “leading energy-producing state.” As of 2018, WV ranked 5th among the states in complete energy production, which accounts for 5% of the country’s total. The following year, the state became the second-largest coal producer in the nation, accounting for 13% of coal production in the U.S. Their most prominent renewable energy sources are hydroelectric power and wind energy, which contributed nearly 6% to West Virginia’s electricity net generation in the year 2019, while natural gas provided just over 3%. The coal trade is very much alive in WV but the state’s healthy economy can be attributed to the leading industries–aerospace, chemical research, plastics, biometrics, and medicine.
In a way, 2020 was a year of reflection. As so many Americans began not only working from home but spending all of their time at home, the importance of one’s surroundings and living situations have never been more important. It may be time to kiss concrete goodbye and greet the mountains with open arms. Stretch your dollar further than you thought possible while slowing down your life and appreciating your environment. Say hello to world-famous pepperoni rolls, the iconic State Fair of West Virginia, adrenaline-pumping activities, and most importantly, a home is affordable.