West Virginia Offers an Affordable Lifestyle and Breathtaking Landscapes
Living in West Virginia combines affordability with landscapes that will impress the most demanding outdoor enthusiasts. West Virginia’s nickname, The Mountain State, does not provide adequate justice to what the natural surroundings have to offer. Outdoor activities include rafting, hiking, fishing, biking and more adventuresome pursuits such as zip-lining, paragliding and bridge jumping. The overall lower cost of living, at about 16% less than the national average, is a major draw for many newcomers. Although groceries and healthcare costs are very close to average, housing costs can be almost half.
Hospitals, food service establishments, and the school system currently represent West Virginia’s largest employers. The contribution made by tourism to West Virginia’s economy is growing faster than the national average. About $4 billion in annual visitor spending helps support 45,000 jobs related to accommodating tourists. The state’s mountainous and unspoiled environment and rugged outdoor lifestyle attract almost 16 million out-of-state visitors each year. State parks, with their appeal to hikers, provide more than 90,000 jobs in West Virginia.
Charleston and Morgantown
The state capital of Charleston is the largest city, followed by Huntington and Morgantown. In 2010, Forbes rated Morgantown #10 in its ranking of the best small cities in the U.S. to conduct business. The city has a suburban feel, with a large number of parks and restaurants, and is noted as one of the best places to live in West Virginia.
Morgantown’s school system is highly rated and young professionals have been drawn to this city of about 31,000 permanent residents on the banks of the Monongahela River. Home to West Virginia University and a commercial airport, the city boasts a riverfront park, a 91-acre arboretum, two museums, and an arts center. The average price for homes in Morgantown was about $183,000 in 2016 with owner-occupied properties accounting for about 43% of the residences within the city.
Affordable Homes in West Virginia
The median asking price for homes in West Virginia’s capital, Charleston, during the first quarter of 2019 was about $170,000 with a median sale price of about $130,000. Prices are predicted to fall, and the median home value in Charleston is currently about $108,000.
The overall median asking price of homes across the state is about $163,000 with a selling price of about $148,000. West Virginia’s overall median home value is slightly under $100,000. In some of the smaller cities in West Virginia, such as Bridgeport, it’s possible to purchase a family home with three bedrooms for about $70,000. In the city of Wheeling, which lies on the Ohio River in the Appalachian foothills, a townhouse with four bedrooms can be purchased for under $50,000.