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Moving to Virginia

Are You Moving From or To Virginia?

A State for Life’s Lovers. 

Love lives in Virginia for a good reason. Beaches, mountain hiking spots, green lodging staycations, a bustling nightlife scene, and the constant promise of a picturesque animated lifestyle is the norm for anyone who decides to live here. The fine life of aged vineyards, exploration of bodies of water, and diversity. It’s one of those places where you can both build a business and retire peacefully. Your move to VA may be one of your best decisions for your family. 

The many powerful benefits of living in Northern Virginia far outweigh the negatives. The Virginia Department of Education has created a vibrant system, including the Purple Star program specifically designed to smooth transitions for our Military Community. The robust local jobs market and economy deliver the ability for families to afford the high cost of living, especially housing – right here in Northern Virginia. It’s a richly diverse region with so many recreational options. If you can learn to manage the traffic congestion and find some high quality air conditioning in the peak of summer, then you will love Northern Virginia.

If you’re moving to Virginia, there are a lot of things you’re going to need to know. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place.

Moving to Virginia

Pros and Cons of Living in Virginia

Here are a few pros and cons to consider as you make your move to The Old Dominion:

Pros.
  • Growing diversity: Large numbers of Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, and other minority groups have been moving here. This influx has resulted in diverse culture in the swing state.
  • Stellas schools: Home to University of  Virginia and Virginia Tech (two of the best schools in the country), the state has the second-best schools systems in the South.
  • Rich history: Steeped in the historical significance- it’s one of the original 13 colonies, and the birthplace of eight US presidents- the Mother of Presidents is also one of the wealthiest states. 
  • Thriving economy: Close to the Pentagon and Washington DC (along with having 20+ Fortune 500 companies), Virginia offers plenty of ways to make great living.
Cons.
  • Traffic congestion: Due to its proximity to DC, North Virginia gets heavy traffic. It’s not uncommon to sit in a car for hours. Pro tip: Check for traffic updates in the morning.
  • Housing prices: It can be difficult to find affordable housing, practiculary in the northern part of the state. Fairfax County, for example, has a median home value of $547,000.
  • Peanuts in everything: Peanuts are popular here. If you have a peanut allergy, you should be aware that many dishes and packaged foods contain Virginia’s legendary legume. 
  • Swing state: Yes, your vote counts here. As a battleground state, however, it comes with national attention, hordes of canvassers, and visits by politicians during the election cycle.
  • Cultural divide: From liberal cities to conservative country towns, the state features a diverse cultural variety. This divergence in political view has led to a chasm between many urban rural areas. 
Tax Rates

Virginia has a progressive income tax, with a top marginal rate that is slightly lower than the national average. The average sales tax in the state, combining state and average local rates, is the tenth-lowest in the country. Virginia’s property tax is also below the national average.

  • Income tax: 2% – 5.75%
  • Sales tax: 5.3% – 7%
  • Property tax: 0.80% average effective rate
  • Gas tax: 21.95 cents per gallon of regular gasoline, 26.02 cents per gallon of diesel
Housing Market

Cheaper to Rent or Buy? This question depends on your location. For instance, it is much more expensive to own a home in Northern Virginia (NOVA)- Arlington County currently has a median home value of $691.800- and it can cost nearly 50% more per month to own versus paying rent. On the other hand, places like Richmond and Salem offer a median home value of only $218,100 and $175,100, respectively. In these areas, it may make more sense to buy a place. Median Home Value: $260,700. Median Rental Expense: $1,069 (1BR), $1,262 (2BR). 

What Should I Know In 2020?

Economy Outlook

Virginia has a well-balanced economy with diverse income sources, including business, farming, and military, federal, and local government. Virginia has over 4.1 million civilian employees, and 33.3% of them are working in the service sector. The state’s unemployment rate in November 2019 was 2.9% representing 116,096 jobless people. The state’s employment rate was 0.9 percentage point lower than the national rate for November 2019. The highest-income area in the state is Northern Virginia. Northern Virginia is home to 6 of the top-20 highest-income counties in the country. The CNN Money Magazine listed Great Fall as the highest-income town in the United States. According to Phoenix-Marketing International, this state had the seventh-highest number of millionaires per capita in the country. There are 9 Fortune-500 firms headquartered in the Richmond region and 7 in Northern Virginia. There are 10 Fortune-1000 companies in Northern Virginia and a total of 29 in Virginia.

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Traffic & Transportation

Virginia, especially Northern Virginia, is known for having impressive public transportation systems (metro). Taking into consideration both public and private transportation (gas prices), the state’s average transportation costs come in at 0.6% lower than the national average.

Many folks say that Northern Virginia has some of the worst traffic in the nation. With it hugging D.C., the area can become packed like sardines, quickly. If you’re moving from New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles… this might not be a concern for you. But, if you’re used to being able to jump in a car and get anywhere in less than five minutes, you might want to think twice about moving to Virginia.

Cost of living

If you want to buy a home in the beautiful state of Virginia, you will find that it is one of the highest residential home markets in the country. Purchasing a home can be a lengthy and complex process. Besides the down payment, which is usually 15-20% of the selling price, there will be closing costs. If you own a home in your former location the sale of that home needs to be completed as well. Once you have purchased and moved into your new home, there will be utility and maintenance costs as well as property taxes and home insurance that will contribute to your cost of living. The advantages of living in Virginia are many, but the high cost of buying a home is not one of them.

Virginia is ranked number 29 out of all states in overall healthcare access and affordability. Healthcare costs make up a significant part of the cost of living. The ability to afford healthcare as well as the ability to access care are key indicators of how much you will be paying for this important resource if you move to another state. Affordability is generally measured by the rates set for insurance coverage in a state, as well as the out-of-pocket expenses that need to be paid by you when receiving the care. If rates or out-of-pocket expenses are high, your cost of living will increase. Access to healthcare is how easy or difficult it may be to receive the care. Access is measured by identifying barriers that might prevent the delivery of care such as the inability to obtain insurance coverage, having to travel long distances to health care centers, and lack of sufficient facilities and/or healthcare professionals.

Moving to Virginia

Things to Know When Moving To Virginia

Virginia Climate

Virginia is known for it’s four seasons and relatively mild weather- not too hot and not too cold. It is also renowned for its varied and unpredictable climate, which is one of the most diverse in the US.

The Mid-Atlantic state has a mix of humid, subtropical zone (Roanoke Valley, the southern portion of Shenandoah Valley, and east of the Blue Ridge Mountains) and a humid continental zone (West of the Blue Ridge).

Employment

Job opportunities in Virginia are expected to continue to expand. Overall, employment in Virginia is projected to grow 9.3 percent by 2024 exceeding the national growth rate of 6.5 percent.

Real Estate

The median home value in Virginia is $291,002. Virginia home values have gone up 3.6% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will fall -1.9% within the next year. The median list price per square foot in Virginia is $160.

Average Income

Median household income in Virginia is $72,577. Males in Virginia have an average income that is 1.33 times higher than the average income of females, which is $58,156. The income inequality in Virginia (measured using the Gini index) is 0.48, which is higher than than the national average.

Industries

The service sector is the biggest industry in the economy of Virginia, The public sector (local, state, and federal government), social and health services, and retail and wholesale trade account for a considerable portion of employment in the state. Technical, scientific, and professional services are a crucial source of income in the state as well, with many people working in the business and communications sectors.

Crime Rankings

Virginia is one of the safest states in the U.S.: the latest FBI crime data shows that the state had the nation’s 13th lowest property crime rate and 4th lowest violent crime rate, and its major cities all boasted violent crime rates below the national average.

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