These Are The 10 Best Places To Buy A House In Virginia For 2019


Using science and data, we can tell you which places in Virginia have seen home prices rising and people flocking over the past year.

Editor’s note: This is not investment advice and we are not financial advisers. Article updated for 2019.

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There’s a the age old question everyone thinks about when they decide to move to a city in Virginia:

Should I buy a place or rent?

Well, we aren’t here today to solve that problem for you exactly. We are just assuming you’ll do the right thing and a buy a place 😉

And while we are happy to tell you the best place to live in Virginia, this analysis is going to tackle the question of the best place to buy a house as an investor. That is we are going to try and determine the up and coming cities in the Old Dominion.

To do that we are going to look at places in Virginia that are growing faster than average, but where home prices are below average. In every day terms, the “deals”.

The best deal in Virginia at the moment? That would be Radford according to our analysis.

Here’s a look at the top ten places to buy a home in Virginia for 2019:

  1. Radford (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Dumfries (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Pulaski (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Culpeper (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Covington (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Richmond (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Lexington (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Strasburg (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. Lynchburg (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Ashland (Photos | Homes For Sale)

The methodology that wen’t into this can be a bit complicated, so we’ll break it down for you in as much detail as we can below.

If you’re not worried about finding a deal on good places to live, check out the most expensive places to live in Virginia and, for those of you on a budget, the cheapest places to live in Virginia.

For more Virginia reading, check out:

How do you determine the best places to buy a home in Virginia for 2019?

We were in real estate for almost five years and have been working on this site for another three. Suffice is to say, we’ve put a lot of thought into what goes into finding a good place to buy a home.

So all that thinking has come to this moment where we get to spell out how we’d approach finding an up-and-coming place to live in Virginia. Put differently, the analysis will try to find places in Virginia with undervalued homes relative to pent up demand.

To do that we looked at the most recent American Community Survey Census data for 2013-2017 and compared it to the previous vintage (2012-2016). Specifically, we used the following criteria:

  • Y-o-Y Change In Population (People want to live here)
  • Y-o-Y Change In Median Home Prices (People are willing to pay for it)
  • Home Prices Relative To The State Average (It’s still kinda cheap)

We want places that are growing, have seen home prices increase in recent years, and are still “cheap” for Virginia with the following caveats:

So of the 593 cities and towns in Virginia, only 62 places made it through our initial filters to even be considered.

We then ranked each place from 1 to 62 for the criteria mentioned above with 1 being the best for that criteria. We averaged the rankings to create a “best place to buy” index with the place having the lowest index being the best.

Turns out that Radford is the best potential gem in the not-so-rough in the Old Dominion.

Read on for more on these places.

Radford, VA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 17,380
Median Home Price: $160,600
Population Change: 1.1%
Home Price Change: 4.4%
More on Radford: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Radford was named for Dr. John B. Radford. Dr. Radford’s home Arnheim was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. Radford was originally a small village of people that gathered near the New River, which was a major draw to travelers for fresh water and food while traveling west. The town had a major population increase in 1854 when the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad came through. A large depot was placed at Lovely Mount because of its strategic positioning between the eastern and western parts of the state. The actual station was not on Lovely Mountain, located on the southwestern side of town, but Lovely Mount was a known mountain and naming the station this would help people to remember the location of the depot. The Railroad Depot caused the population of Radford to boom. It also caused a major increase in the amount of trade and business in the area. Radford became a railroad town. The original name for Radford was Lovely Mount because of the location of the depot; the name was changed in 1891 to Radford. Radford, or at least the train station area, was called Central Depot because of its central location halfway between Lynchburg and Bristol, Virginia of the original railroad, the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad.

Dumfries, VA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 5,216
Median Home Price: $189,300
Population Change: 0.7%
Home Price Change: 13.6%
More on Dumfries: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

The history of Dumfries began as early as 1690 when Richard Gibson erected a gristmill on Quantico Creek. A customhouse and warehouse followed in 1731, and many others cropped up along the estuary by 1732. The Town of Dumfries was formally established on 60 acres of land at the head of the harbor of Quantico Creek, provided by John Graham. He named the town after his birthplace, Dumfries, Scotland.

Pulaski, VA

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 8,860
Median Home Price: $109,300
Population Change: -0.7%
Home Price Change: 10.6%
More on Pulaski: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Pulaski was incorporated as a town in 1886. The town was named for Count Casimir Pulaski, a Revolutionary War hero from Poland.

Culpeper, VA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 17,882
Median Home Price: $224,800
Population Change: 1.8%
Home Price Change: 7.2%
More on Culpeper: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

After forming/erecting Culpeper County, Virginia, in 1748, the Virginia House of Burgesses voted to establish the Town of Fairfax on February 22, 1759. The name honored Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron who was proprietor of the Northern Neck peninsula, a vast domain north of the Rappahannock River; his territory was then defined as stretching from Chesapeake Bay to what is now Hampshire County, West Virginia.

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,675
Median Home Price: $72,200
Population Change: 0.4%
Home Price Change: 1.8%
More on Covington: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Richmond, VA

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 220,892
Median Home Price: $209,200
Population Change: 1.9%
Home Price Change: 5.0%
More on Richmond: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

After the first permanent English-speaking settlement was established in April 1607, at Jamestown, Virginia, Captain Christopher Newport led explorers northwest up the James River, to an area that was inhabited by Powhatan Native Americans.|In 1737, planter William Byrd II commissioned Major William Mayo to lay out the original town grid. Byrd named the city “Richmond” after the English town of Richmond near London, because the view of the James River was strikingly similar to the view of the River Thames from Richmond Hill in England, where he had spent time during his youth. The settlement was laid out in April 1737, and was incorporated as a town in 1742.

Lexington, VA

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 7,113
Median Home Price: $252,500
Population Change: 1.1%
Home Price Change: 9.5%
More on Lexington: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Lexington was named in 1778. It was one of the first of what would be many American places named after Lexington, Massachusetts, known for being the place at which the first shot was fired in the American Revolution.

Strasburg, VA

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 6,570
Median Home Price: $195,900
Population Change: 0.7%
Home Price Change: 7.0%
More on Strasburg: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

German-speaking Pennsylvanians were among the first non-native settlers to arrive in the northern Shenandoah Valley and Strasburg area. The luscious greenery and fertile land were prime targets for immigrant farmers. On August 21, 1734 speculator Henry Willis was granted 2,030 acres total of this land by William Gooch, Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor and Commander in Chief. Gooch wished to settle the valley to create a buffer between Native American tribes and the rest of the Virginia colony. During the summer of 1735, Willis sold his entire property to Jacob Funk. Jacob in return, partitioned his new purchase, reselling a part of it to his brother John.

Lynchburg, VA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 79,237
Median Home Price: $153,800
Population Change: 0.6%
Home Price Change: 2.8%
More on Lynchburg: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Monacan people and other Siouan Tutelo-speaking tribes had lived in the area since at least 1270, well before English settlers arrived in Virginia. They had driven the Virginia Algonquians eastward. Explorer John Lederer visited one of the Siouan villages in 1670, on the Staunton River at Otter Creek, southwest of the present-day city, as did the Thomas Batts and Robert Fallam expedition in 1671. Siouans occupied the area until about 1702, when, weakened by illness, the Seneca people and hunted along the Shenandoah valley to the West conquered them. Beginning in 1718, certain Iroquois ceded control to the Colony of Virginia, as later did others at the Treaty of Albany in 1721 and Treaty of Lancaster in 1744.|First settled in 1757, Lynchburg was named for its founder, John Lynch. While about 17 years old, he started a ferry service at a ford across the James River to carry traffic to and from New London, where his parents had settled. The “City of Seven Hills” quickly developed along the hills surrounding Lynch’s Ferry.

Ashland, VA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 7,554
Median Home Price: $186,000
Population Change: 2.0%
Home Price Change: 2.2%
More on Ashland: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

The Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad, initially developed the town in the 1840s as a mineral springs resort with a racetrack. The town was named -Ashland- after native son Henry Clay-s estate in Kentucky and officially incorporated on February 19, 1858. The area had been known as “The Slashes,” sometimes translated as “swamp,” but which also reflected the small ravines that formed in the sandy clay soil after hard rains.

There You Have It – The Best Places To Purchase A House In Virginia for 2019

There’s our analysis of the best places to buy a house in Virginia. And, to be clear, we aren’t necessarily saying these places are the best places to live, just that it looks like they might be in a couple of years based on the data.

In fact, every place in the following table meets our criteria, so even though it may not look super long, remember we started off with all 593 places in the state.

So if we’d could rent or buy in these cities, we’d definitely buy.

For more Virginia reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Places To Buy A Home In Virginia

City Rank Median Home Price Population Change Home Price Increase
Radford 1 $160,600 1.1% 4.4%
Dumfries 2 $189,300 0.7% 13.6%
Pulaski 3 $109,300 -0.7% 10.6%
Culpeper 4 $224,800 1.8% 7.2%
Covington 5 $72,200 0.4% 1.8%
Richmond 6 $209,200 1.9% 5.0%
Lexington 7 $252,500 1.1% 9.5%
Strasburg 8 $195,900 0.7% 7.0%
Lynchburg 9 $153,800 0.6% 2.8%
Ashland 10 $186,000 2.0% 2.2%
Big Stone Gap 11 $110,900 -1.2% 7.6%
Waynesboro 12 $161,600 1.2% 1.8%
Galax 13 $105,500 -1.0% 3.8%
Front Royal 14 $193,100 0.1% 5.2%
Bridgewater 15 $220,000 0.4% 5.2%
Fredericksburg 16 $341,200 1.0% 6.1%
Bluefield 17 $125,100 -3.7% 8.7%
Christiansburg 18 $182,300 0.4% 2.4%
Franklin 19 $186,100 -0.9% 8.4%
Petersburg 20 $112,900 0.1% 1.4%
Manassas Park 21 $263,300 1.8% 2.1%
Winchester 22 $226,200 0.6% 3.5%
Bristol 23 $114,100 -1.5% 4.6%
Roanoke 24 $133,700 0.2% 0.5%
Alexandria 25 $537,900 2.1% 3.3%
Salem 26 $174,000 0.9% 0.1%
Farmville 27 $170,300 -1.3% 6.2%
Manassas 28 $307,000 0.6% 4.6%
Purcellville 29 $435,400 3.4% 2.1%
Leesburg 30 $394,000 3.3% 1.8%
Harrisonburg 31 $196,200 2.1% -0.6%
Suffolk 32 $238,200 1.1% 0.7%
Chesapeake 33 $260,900 1.0% 1.7%
Falls Church 34 $742,000 1.8% 2.5%
Blacksburg 35 $286,500 0.2% 3.6%
Danville 36 $90,900 -1.1% 0.1%
Herndon 37 $415,700 0.5% 3.5%
Staunton 38 $162,500 0.2% -0.3%
Vienna 39 $687,000 0.6% 3.7%
Abingdon 40 $159,200 -0.9% 1.6%
Martinsville 41 $90,100 -2.2% 1.6%
Hopewell 42 $122,400 0.1% -2.4%
Poquoson 43 $316,800 -0.4% 5.0%
Woodstock 44 $199,600 -0.7% 3.0%
Charlottesville 45 $277,800 2.1% -0.8%
Colonial Heights 46 $163,300 0.2% -2.1%
Richlands 47 $84,300 -1.0% -3.0%
Norfolk 48 $194,800 0.0% 0.9%
Vinton 49 $144,200 -1.2% 0.4%
Virginia Beach 50 $267,300 0.1% 1.9%
Portsmouth 51 $169,400 -0.6% 0.0%
Newport News 52 $189,300 -0.5% 0.2%
Fairfax 53 $501,900 -0.2% 2.9%
Hampton 54 $186,600 -0.4% -0.6%
Buena Vista 55 $111,700 -1.7% -0.6%
Marion 56 $91,300 -1.3% -15.3%
South Boston 57 $111,700 -1.4% -2.6%
Emporia 58 $115,700 -1.3% -5.6%
Wytheville 59 $175,000 -1.5% -0.1%
Smithfield 60 $274,100 -0.5% 0.1%
Warrenton 61 $312,400 -0.3% -2.6%
Williamsburg 62 $307,000 -1.1% -3.9%

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

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