There’s a the age old question everyone thinks about when they decide to move to a city in West 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 West 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 Mountain State.
To do that we are going to look at places in West Virginia that are growing faster than average, but where home prices are below average. In every day terms, the “deals”.
The best deal in West Virginia at the moment? That would be Nitro according to our analysis.
Here’s a look at the top ten places to buy a home in West Virginia for 2019:
- Nitro (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Fairmont (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Charles Town (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Wheeling (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Weirton (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Elkins (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Grafton (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- New Martinsville (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Vienna (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Princeton (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 West Virginia and, for those of you on a budget, the cheapest places to live in West Virginia.
For more West Virginia reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Counties To Live In West Virginia
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In West Virginia
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In West Virginia
How do you determine the best places to buy a home in West 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 West Virginia. Put differently, the analysis will try to find places in West 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 West Virginia with the following caveats:
- Home prices had to be within 20% of the state average (Much lower than that and you get to some of the more dangerous places)
- Home prices increased in the last year, and
- Above 5,000 people (Bigger cities have more data points)
So of the 399 cities and towns in West Virginia, only 27 places made it through our initial filters to even be considered.
We then ranked each place from 1 to 27 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 Nitro is the best potential gem in the not-so-rough in the Mountain State.
Read on for more on these places.
Prior to the founding of Fairmont, the land that would become Marion County was part of Monongalia and Harrison County. In the 1700s, the earliest development of this area consisted of subsistence farming settlements. In 1789, Boaz Fleming, a Revolutionary War veteran, migrated to this area and purchased a 254-acre farm from Jonathan Bozarth. Oral history indicates that in 1808, Fleming made his annual trek to Clarksburg to pay his brother’s Harrison County taxes. While in Clarksburg, Fleming attended a social gathering that included his cousin, Dolley Madison, wife of President James Madison. Fleming complained to Mrs. Madison about having to travel over a hundred miles each year from his home to pay his Monongalia County taxes and his brother’s Harrison County taxes. Mrs. Madison supposedly suggested that he create his own county to save him all that travel. In 1814, Fleming circulated a petition to do precisely that, naming the proposed county Madison County, in honor of Dolley and James Madison.
Charlestown was established by an act of the Virginia General Assembly in January 1787. However, for about two decades, confusion arose because the same name was also used for a town established in Ohio County at the mouth of Buffalo Creek, and authorized in the 1791 term of that local court. That area in 1797 became known as Brooke County, with that “Charlestown” as its county seat until a December 27, 1816 act of the Virginia General Assembly changed its name to Wellsburg, to honor a trader and his son.
The origins of the name “Wheeling” are disputed. One of the more credible explanations is that the word comes from the Lenni-Lenape phrase wih link, which meant “place of the head.” This supposedly referred to a white settler who was scalped and decapitated. His severed head was displayed at the confluence of Wheeling Creek and the Ohio River. The area had been inhabited by Native Americans for thousands of years. In the 17th century, the Iroquois from present-day New York state conquered the upper Ohio Valley, pushing out other tribes and maintaining the area as their hunting ground.
The small village called Holliday’s Cove lanes – which is now most of downtown Weirton – was founded in 1793. In 1909, Ernest T. Weir arrived from neighboring Pittsburgh and built a steel mill later known as Weirton Steel Corporation just north of Holliday’s Cove. An unincorporated settlement called Weirton grew up around the mill that, by 1940, was said to be the largest unincorporated city in the United States. By then Hollidays Cove and two other outlying areas, Weirton Heights and Marland Heights, which as their names suggest were on hilltops or ridges surrounding the “Weir-Cove” area, had also incorporated.
Before its major development, the area that would become Elkins was known as Leadsville, and was the site of a few scattered homesteads – a place where the local farmers’ corn crop was loaded onto boats and floated down the Tygart Valley River. The City of Elkins was developed by U.S. Senators Henry Gassaway Davis and Stephen Benton Elkins – and named for the latter – in 1890. The two founders developed railroad lines, coal mines, and timbering businesses. Together, they built the West Virginia Central and Pittsburgh Railway into Elkins in 1889, opening a vast territory to industrial development by the late 1890s. After an intense political “war” with nearby Beverly, where the new county courthouse building was burned down in 1897 under suspicious circumstances, Elkins became the county seat in 1899. This was resolved, however, only after multiple referenda, court judgments, and the mobilization of armed bands in both towns. In the end, bloodshed was averted.
Grafton grew out of early white settlements at the confluence of Three Fork Creek with the Tygart Valley River, part of the headwaters region of the Monongahela River watershed. In 1776, Virginia’s remote District of West Augusta was divided into three counties, including Monongalia County, which included what are now Taylor County and Grafton. James Current, a Scots-Irish immigrant who fought in the Revolutionary War in 1778, had entered the continent by the way of Maryland and was residing somewhere in Monongalia County with his family by 1782 when he appears on a census there. The Current family story is that he traded a “gray horse” for 1,300 acres of land situated at present day Grafton. James and his wife Margaret, who may have been the pioneering settlers, are buried in Bluemont Cemetery ; his is the only known Revolutionary War soldier’s grave in Grafton.
The town was named after Presley Martin, an early settler.
In southern West Virginia, in the late 19th century, coal mining and transportation by the emerging technology of the railroads combined to form a new industry. Much of the region’s bituminous coal was sent northwest to the Great Lakes, or northeast to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad’s coal piers at Baltimore, or to the world’s greatest ice-free port of Hampton Roads in eastern Virginia.
There You Have It – The Best Places To Purchase A House In West Virginia for 2019
There’s our analysis of the best places to buy a house in West 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 399 places in the state.
So if we’d could rent or buy in these cities, we’d definitely buy.
For more West Virginia reading, check out:
Detailed List Of The Best Places To Buy A Home In West Virginia