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Three new cities moved into the most affordable places to call home in West Virginia according to our HomeSnacks 2020 report.
How did we determine West Virginia's most affordable places? We consulted West Virginia's most recent Census data on cost of living.
The competition was fierce to say the least. Many of the Mountain State's top ten most affordable places boast great home prices, safe neighborhoods, and good jobs. Any one of these West Virginia places would be a great place to enjoy life while saving money. Not only does living in West Virginia's most affordable places free up cash for your overall cost of living, it provides extra money for the fun 'West Virginia' things to do and see. Like, rafting The Gorge in Lansing or scoring tickets to the West Virginia State Fair in Lewisburg.
Now, don't get it twisted; just because these West Virginia places are affordable, doesn't mean they're unsafe. It's actually quite the opposite. When you save money on your cost of living, you have more money to spend on your home, keeping your community safe, and providing funds for necessary programs. So, it's definitely not lost on us that some of West Virginia's most affordable places are also some of its safest places.
Have we piqued your curiosity? If so, take a look below at our list of West Virginia's most affordable places.
The 10 Most Affordable Places To Live In West Virginia
It's simple economics, folks. When you choose to live in one of West Virginia's most affordable places, you're choosing to live where your West Virginia dollar will go the furthest. And that, friends, makes perfect sense.
So, what's the most affordable place to live in West Virginia for Clarksburg? Drum roll... the number one most affordable place to live in West Virginia is Clarksburg.
To see how your city compared, take a look at the list below. And if you don't see you're favorite there, head to the bottom.
And if you already knew these places were cheap, check out some more reading about West Virginia and the cheapest places in the country:
The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In West Virginia For 2020
Kicking off our list of most affordable places to live in West Virginia is Clarksburg, a small city in the north-central part of the state. If you're looking to settle down in West Virginia for the long-haul, Clarksburg has you covered with the fourth cheapest homes for sale in West Virginia, with a median price of $86,000. Thanks to a median income of $44,187, Clarksburg residents enjoy the second best home price to income ratio in the state. Clarksburg's rent to income ratio is also safely in the top ten, with a median rent of $711/month. Just be sure that you come to Clarksburg with your party-face on, because this city has five festivals a year, celebrating everything from ethnic heritages to Jesus.
The median household income in Clarksburg comes in at $44,187 and the median home value is $86,000 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 7.4%.
Welcome to Weirton, the second least expensive to call home in the Mountain State. At a median price of $94,900, Weirton has the ninth cheapest homes in West Virginia. But that's not the most important point here; it's that, with a median income of $48,775, Weirton residents pay the smallest proportion of their salaries on homes. On top of that, Weirton has the fifth best rent to income ratio statewide. Weirton also scored a 8/10 on our overall SnackAbility scale, with an emphasis on good schools, solid amenities, and on being one of the safest places in West Virginia. All that for some of the lowest prices in West Virginia. Sounds like a bargain to me!
Weirton is about 45 minutes west of Pittsburgh.
The median household income in Weirton comes in at $48,775 and the median home value is $94,900 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 6.4%.
Located in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, Grafton ranks as our third most affordable West Virginian city for 2020. If you're looking for dirt-cheap housing, then Grafton is the place for you. A median home price of $75,900 is the cheapest in the state, and a median rent of $536/month is the lowest you'll see on this list. In fact, the rent in Grafton is nearly half the average rent in West Virginia, a state already known for affordable rent. In any case, once you get to Tygart Lake State Park and start fishing or kayaking on the 10-mile lake, we're pretty sure that financial worries will be the last thing on your mind.
The median household income in Grafton comes in at $33,012 and the median home value is $75,900 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 15.4%.
Bluefield comes in as the fourth cheapest place to call home in West Virginia, thanks to super low prices on housing. How low are we talking here? Well, at $84,900, Bluefield has the third least expensive homes for sale in the state. And a sub-$600/month rent gives Bluefield the second lowest rent on this list. If you want to rise above the stress of personal finance, we recommend a visit to East River Mountain Overlook for stunning views of Mercer County.
Bluefield is in the southern part of the state, on the Virginia border.
The median household income in Bluefield comes in at $34,283 and the median home value is $84,900 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 7.4%.
Located along the Ohio River in northern West Virginia, New Martinsville ranks as the fifth most affordable place in the state for 2020. We don't think folks in New Martinsville need any convincing that they live in one of the cheapest states in America. Not when they can get a house for $98,300 or an apartment for $718/month. New Martinsville is affordable for both renters and buyers, but buyers have a slight edge, thanks to the city's standing as the fifth easiest place to pay off the mortgage statewide.
The median household income in New Martinsville comes in at $43,209 and the median home value is $98,300 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 8.0%.
Some of the other cities on this list might top Vienna when it comes to buying a home, but there's nowhere better in West Virginia for renters. That's because, with a median rent of $687 and a median income of $53,776, Vienna has the best rent to income ratio in the state. And while Vienna does have the priciest homes on this list ($129,200), the city is still in the top ten for home price to income ratio. Not to mention that with awesome amenities like the McDonough Wildlife Refuge, low unemployment, and high levels of education, Homesnacks named Vienna one of the best places to live in West Virginia.
Vienna is located along the Ohio River, 5 miles north of Parkersburg.
The median household income in Vienna comes in at $53,776 and the median home value is $129,200 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 3.8%.
If you're a single guy or gal looking for an affordable place to find love in West Virginia, Princeton might just be the place for you. That's because, in addition to being the seventh cheapest city to live statewide, Princeton is also one of the best cities for singles in West Virginia, thanks to awesome date-night options like catching a show at the Chuck Mathena Center. Buying a home in Princeton will set you back about $90,600, which, combined with a median income of $39,826 gives the city the fourth best home price to income ratio in West Virginia.
The median household income in Princeton comes in at $39,826 and the median home value is $90,600 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 7.5%.
Located an hour southeast of Charleston, Oak Hill ranks as the eighth most affordable city in West Virginia. Oak Hill is one of the best places to raise a family in West Virginia, so if you're just starting off with some new kiddos, Oak Hill is a great, affordable option. Especially when you can get a home here for the eighth cheapest price in the state, with a median price of $94,700. And for adventure-seekers, white-water rafting on Lower New River is a must-do experience.
The median household income in Oak Hill comes in at $37,567 and the median home value is $94,700 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 9.0%.
One of principal cities of northern West Virginia, Wheeling comes in as the ninth least expensive place to live statewide. West Virginia is already known for being a state with some of the lowest rent prices in America, but Wheeling takes those savings to the next level. The median rent in Wheeling is $646/month. Add to that a median income of $42,489, and you've got residents paying the seventh smallest percentage of their income on housing statewide.
And as a major city, you can be sure you'll never be bored in Wheeling. Between the Capitol Theater, Centre Market, the Good Zoo, Oglebay Park, and countless other hot spots, you'll never run out of things to do in Wheeling.
The median household income in Wheeling comes in at $42,489 and the median home value is $107,700 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 5.4%.
We finish of our list of cheapest places in West Virginia in St. Albans, a city about a half hour west of Charleston. St. Albans is safely in the top ten for housing to income ratios, both for renters and buyers. That's with a median home price of $114,800 and a median rent of $759/month. That does give St. Albans the most expensive rent and second most expensive homes on this list. However, a median income of $49,554 means that slightly pricier housing in St. Albans is no big deal for the city's residents.
To take full advantage of St. Albans' affordability, don't miss out on all the free annual events at St. Albans City Park.
The median household income in St. Albans comes in at $49,554 and the median home value is $114,800 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 7.4%.
How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Mountain State For 2020
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:
- How much do money do I make?
- How much do I have spend to live there?
You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.
For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it's actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.
With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2014-2018 around incomes and costs. They are:
- Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
- Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
- Median Home Price
We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).
You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in West Virginia to figure out which is the least expensive.
What you are left with is a "Cost of Living Index" by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.
So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 27 places in West Virginia that have more than 5,000 people.
The place with the lowest cost of living in West Virginia according to the data is Clarksburg. You can download the data here.
There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. West Virginia Cheapskate
If you're looking at the cost of living numbers in West Virginia, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in West Virginia for 2020.
Here's a look at the most expensive cities in West Virginia according to the data:
For more West Virginia reading, check out:
- Best Places To Raise A Family In West Virginia
- Best Counties To Live In West Virginia
- Richest Cities In West Virginia
The Most Affordable Places To Live In West Virginia