Most Expensive Places To Live In Virginia For 2020


We used science and data to determine which cities in Virginia that will put a big dent in your wallet.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the most expensive places to live in Virginia.

Swipe left for slideshow. Article continues below.

Everyone wants a home that mixes affordability with comfort and Virginia does this very well. Families love the Old Dominion's beaches, midlands, and mountains as tourists before moving here and calling it home.

But before you decide to relocate, you have to do some research into the exact cost of living around the state -- and that's how we're going to help you.

These are the places in Virginia that cost a pretty penny -- the most expensive cities in the state.

After we saved up for months and could finally afford it, we landed on this list of the ten most expensive cities in Virginia for 2020.

So where is the most expensive place to live in Virginia? That would be Blacksburg.
the 2014-2018 American Community Survey for the 61 places in Virginia with more than 5,000 people.

What's the most expensive place to live in Virginia? Well, HomeSnacks crunched the numbers and discovered that Blacksburg is the most expensive place to live in Virginia.

So hopefully Covington (the cheapest place to live in Virginia) can show these guys how to live on a budget in the coming years. Read on for how these places had costs rise faster than inflation.

And if you already knew these places were expensive, check out some more reading about Virginia and the most expensive cities in the country:

The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In Virginia For 2020

Blacksburg, VA

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 44,245
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.8x (1st most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 34.8x (1st most expensive)
More on Blacksburg: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Blacksburg is an incorporated town in Montgomery County, Virginia, United States, with a population of 42,620 at the 2010 census. Blacksburg is dominated economically and demographically by the presence of Virginia Tech.

The median income in Blacksburg comes in at $37,151 and the median home value is $288,200 for 2020.

Williamsburg, VA

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 14,788
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.3x (7th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 48.9x (15th most expensive)
More on Williamsburg: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Williamsburg is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 14,068. In 2014, the population was estimated to be 14,691.

The median income in Williamsburg comes in at $56,163 and the median home value is $300,100 for 2020.

Lexington, VA

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 7,110
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.6x (4th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 45.1x (5th most expensive)
More on Lexington: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Lexington is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. At the 2010 census, the population was 7,042. It is the county seat of Rockbridge County, although the two are separate jurisdictions. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Lexington with Rockbridge County for statistical purposes. Lexington is about 57 miles east of the West Virginia border and is about 50 miles north of Roanoke, Virginia. It was first settled in 1777.

The median income in Lexington comes in at $36,466 and the median home value is $203,600 for 2020.

Richmond, VA

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 223,787
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.9x (8th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 46.1x (6th most expensive)
More on Richmond: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond Region. It was incorporated in 1742, and has been an independent city since 1871.

The median income in Richmond comes in at $45,117 and the median home value is $220,700 for 2020.

Fredericksburg, VA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 28,469
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.5x (6th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 53.5x (29th most expensive)
More on Fredericksburg: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Fredericksburg is an independent city located in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the Eastern United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 24,286, up from 19,279 at the 2000 census. The city population was estimated at 28,118 in 2015. The Bureau of Economic Analysis of the United States Department of Commerce combines the city of Fredericksburg with neighboring Spotsylvania County for statistical purposes.

The median income in Fredericksburg comes in at $63,274 and the median home value is $346,500 for 2020.

Alexandria, VA

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 156,505
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.8x (3rd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 56.8x (38th most expensive)
More on Alexandria: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Alexandria is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 139,966, and in 2016, the population was estimated to be 155,810. Located along the western bank of the Potomac River, Alexandria is approximately 7 miles south of downtown Washington, D.C.

The median income in Alexandria comes in at $96,733 and the median home value is $557,000 for 2020.

Charlottesville, VA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 47,042
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.8x (9th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 52.7x (24th most expensive)
More on Charlottesville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Charlottesville, colloquially known as Cville by locals, is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 2016, an estimated 46,912 people lived within the city limits. It is the county seat of Albemarle County, which surrounds the city, though the two are separate legal entities. This means a Charlottesville resident will list the City of Charlottesville as both their county and city on official paperwork. It is named after the British Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the City of Charlottesville with the County of Albemarle for statistical purposes, bringing its steadily growing population to approximately 150,000. Charlottesville is the heart of the Charlottesville metropolitan area, which includes Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene and Nelson counties.

The median income in Charlottesville comes in at $58,933 and the median home value is $283,800 for 2020.

Woodstock, VA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,192
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.6x (5th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 49.4x (17th most expensive)
More on Woodstock: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Woodstock is a town in Shenandoah County, Virginia, United States. It has a population of 5,097 according to the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Shenandoah County.

The median income in Woodstock comes in at $36,659 and the median home value is $203,600 for 2020.

Fairfax, VA

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 23,865
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.8x (10th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 58.8x (40th most expensive)
More on Fairfax: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Fairfax, colloquially Central Fairfax, Downtown Fairfax, Fairfax City, or the City of Fairfax, is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census the population was 22,565, which had risen to an estimated 24,013 as of 2015.

The median income in Fairfax comes in at $111,574 and the median home value is $533,300 for 2020.

Falls Church, VA

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 14,067
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 6.1x (2nd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 67.1x (52nd most expensive)
More on Falls Church: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Falls Church is an independent city in the U.S. state of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 12,332. The estimated population in 2015 was 13,892. Falls Church is included in the Washington metropolitan area. Falls Church has the lowest level of poverty of any independent city or county in the United States.

The median income in Falls Church comes in at $124,796 and the median home value is $757,300 for 2020.

How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Old Dominion For 2020

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Virginia
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. 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 Virginia to figure out which is the most 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 61 places in Virginia that have more than 5,000 people.

The place with the highest cost of living in Virginia according to the data is Blacksburg. You can download the data here.

Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck In Virginia For 2020

Well there you have it, the places in Virginia that have the highest cost of living, with Blacksburg ranking as the most expensive city in the Old Dominion.

Here's a look at the most affordable cities in Virginia according to the data:

  1. Covington
  2. Pulaski
  3. Big Stone Gap

For more Virginia reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In Virginia

Rank City ExpensiveScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Blacksburg 5.0 44,245 7.8x 34.8x
2 Williamsburg 11.33 14,788 5.3x 48.9x
3 Lexington 11.83 7,110 5.6x 45.1x
4 Richmond 12.0 223,787 4.9x 46.1x
5 Fredericksburg 14.33 28,469 5.5x 53.5x
6 Alexandria 14.67 156,505 5.8x 56.8x
7 Charlottesville 15.67 47,042 4.8x 52.7x
8 Woodstock 16.17 5,192 5.6x 49.4x
9 Fairfax 18.0 23,865 4.8x 58.8x
10 Falls Church 18.33 14,067 6.1x 67.1x
11 Norfolk 19.67 245,592 4.1x 47.7x
12 Warrenton 20.33 9,873 4.8x 59.1x
13 Farmville 20.67 8,076 4.6x 47.9x
14 Manassas 20.67 41,457 4.0x 53.5x
15 Harrisonburg 21.0 53,391 4.5x 50.2x
16 Winchester 21.0 27,789 4.4x 53.2x
17 Franklin 21.33 8,211 4.2x 46.1x
18 Manassas Park 22.33 16,423 3.5x 47.9x
19 Strasburg 22.33 6,585 4.0x 51.4x
20 Radford 23.0 17,630 4.5x 47.3x
21 Culpeper 23.33 18,113 4.0x 53.5x
22 Vienna 24.67 16,488 4.6x 76.0x
23 Emporia 24.67 5,381 4.0x 43.2x
24 Dumfries 25.33 5,224 3.3x 37.8x
25 Herndon 25.67 24,520 3.8x 62.5x
26 Virginia Beach 27.67 450,135 3.7x 55.4x
27 Newport News 27.67 180,145 3.7x 51.5x
28 Front Royal 29.0 15,240 4.0x 57.0x
29 Smithfield 29.0 8,324 4.2x 69.2x
30 Leesburg 29.67 52,125 3.8x 70.7x
31 Buena Vista 30.83 6,399 3.6x 46.4x
32 Hampton 31.0 135,583 3.4x 49.6x
33 Portsmouth 31.33 95,311 3.4x 48.9x
34 Chesapeake 32.33 237,820 3.5x 61.4x
35 Ashland 33.0 7,655 3.5x 53.3x
36 Lynchburg 33.33 80,131 3.7x 51.5x
37 Suffolk 33.33 89,160 3.5x 62.3x
38 Bridgewater 34.67 5,983 3.8x 68.4x
39 Waynesboro 36.0 21,926 3.7x 55.2x
40 Purcellville 36.0 9,709 3.4x 96.2x
41 Petersburg 36.67 31,827 3.0x 39.6x
42 Poquoson 37.67 12,039 3.4x 80.2x
43 Colonial Heights 37.67 17,593 3.1x 53.0x
44 Hopewell 38.33 22,408 3.0x 46.1x
45 Staunton 39.33 24,452 3.4x 55.7x
46 Abingdon 40.0 8,020 3.8x 65.7x
47 Christiansburg 41.67 22,049 3.2x 64.9x
48 Wytheville 41.67 8,000 3.7x 76.0x
49 Richlands 42.33 5,439 2.7x 46.8x
50 Roanoke 42.33 99,621 3.1x 53.9x
51 Salem 44.0 25,519 3.1x 62.5x
52 Martinsville 45.0 13,101 2.6x 49.5x
53 Galax 45.67 6,638 3.2x 54.6x
54 Bristol 46.33 16,843 3.0x 54.0x
55 Marion 48.0 5,787 3.2x 59.8x
56 South Boston 48.33 7,828 3.0x 60.0x
57 Vinton 49.67 8,074 3.0x 66.3x
58 Danville 50.33 41,512 2.5x 55.1x
59 Big Stone Gap 53.17 5,326 2.8x 68.9x
60 Pulaski 57.33 8,794 2.3x 73.7x
61 Covington 57.33 5,582 1.9x 65.9x

How Is The Area In ?

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.