Most Expensive Places To Live In West Virginia For 2020


We used science and data to determine which cities in West 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 West Virginia.

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Everyone wants a home that mixes affordability with comfort and West Virginia does this very well. Families love the Mountain State'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 West 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 West Virginia for 2020.

So where is the most expensive place to live in West Virginia? That would be Morgantown.
the 2014-2018 American Community Survey for the 27 places in West Virginia with more than 5,000 people.

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

So hopefully Clarksburg (the cheapest place to live in West 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 West Virginia and the most expensive cities in the country:

The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In West Virginia For 2020

Morgantown, WV

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 30,539
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.8x (1st most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 50.0x (3rd most expensive)
More on Morgantown: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Morgantown is a city in and the county seat of Monongalia County, West Virginia, situated along the banks of the Monongahela River. With a permanent population of 31,073 per the 2015 U.S. Census estimates, Morgantown is the largest city in North-Central West Virginia. The Morgantown metropolitan area has a population of 138,176, and is the 3rd largest in West Virginia. West Virginia University adds several thousand seasonal residents to the city and surrounding area from September through May. Morgantown is best known as the home of West Virginia University and the Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit system.

The median income in Morgantown comes in at $41,071 and the median home value is $198,300 for 2020.

Martinsburg, WV

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 17,497
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.6x (2nd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 43.7x (2nd most expensive)
More on Martinsburg: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Martinsburg is a city in and the county seat of Berkeley County, West Virginia, United States, in the tip of the state's Eastern Panhandle region. Its population was 17,687 in the 2016 census estimate, making it the largest city in the Eastern Panhandle and the ninth-largest municipality in the state. Martinsburg is part of the Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The median income in Martinsburg comes in at $41,649 and the median home value is $150,500 for 2020.

Charleston, WV

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 48,734
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.5x (3rd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 57.4x (11th most expensive)
More on Charleston: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Charleston is the state capital and the most populous city in the U.S. state of West Virginia, and the county seat of Kanawha County. It is located at the confluence of the Elk and Kanawha Rivers. As of the 2013 Census Estimate, it had a population of 50,821, while its metropolitan area had 224,743. It is a center of government, commerce, and industry.

The median income in Charleston comes in at $41,701 and the median home value is $145,300 for 2020.

Buckhannon, WV

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 5,566
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.3x (4th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 57.2x (10th most expensive)
More on Buckhannon: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Buckhannon is the only incorporated city in, and the county seat of, Upshur County, West Virginia, United States, and is located along the Buckhannon River. The population was 5,639 at the 2010 census. Buckhannon is home to West Virginia Wesleyan College and the West Virginia Strawberry Festival, held annually on the third week of May. The city is located 115 miles northeast from the capital city of Charleston and 140 miles south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The median income in Buckhannon comes in at $38,824 and the median home value is $127,700 for 2020.

Huntington, WV

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 47,420
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.2x (6th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 43.6x (1st most expensive)
More on Huntington: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Huntington is a city in Cabell County and Wayne County in the U.S. state of West Virginia. It is the county seat of Cabell County, and largest city in the Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH Metropolitan Statistical Area, sometimes referred to as the Tri-State Area. A historic and bustling city of commerce and heavy industry, Huntington has long-flourished due to its ideal location on the Ohio River at the mouth of the Guyandotte River. It is home to the Port of Huntington Tri-State, the busiest inland port in the United States.

The median income in Huntington comes in at $30,362 and the median home value is $97,100 for 2020.

Charles Town, WV

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 5,885
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.3x (5th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 75.0x (24th most expensive)
More on Charles Town: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Charles Town, officially the City of Charles Town, is a city in Jefferson County, West Virginia, and is also the county seat. The population was 5,259 at the 2010 United States Census.

The median income in Charles Town comes in at $72,329 and the median home value is $237,800 for 2020.

Elkins, WV

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 7,115
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.2x (7th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 59.8x (14th most expensive)
More on Elkins: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Elkins is a city in Randolph County, West Virginia, USA. The community was incorporated in 1890 and named in honor of Stephen Benton Elkins, a U.S. Senator from West Virginia. The population was 7,094 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Randolph County. Elkins is home to Davis and Elkins College and to the Mountain State Forest Festival, held in early October every year.

The median income in Elkins comes in at $35,313 and the median home value is $112,500 for 2020.

Hurricane, WV

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 6,477
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.7x (9th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 68.1x (22nd most expensive)
More on Hurricane: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Hurricane is a city in Putnam County, West Virginia, in the United States. The population was 6,284 at the 2010 census.

The median income in Hurricane comes in at $55,266 and the median home value is $150,800 for 2020.

Beckley, WV

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 16,697
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.8x (8th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 61.1x (17th most expensive)
More on Beckley: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Beckley is a city in and the county seat of Raleigh County, West Virginia, United States. It was founded on April 4, 1838. Beckley was named in honor of John James Beckley, who was the first Clerk of the House of Representatives and the first Librarian of Congress. It was founded by his son Alfred Beckley. The current mayor is Rob Rappold

The median income in Beckley comes in at $40,505 and the median home value is $111,800 for 2020.

Bridgeport, WV

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 8,466
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 5)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.7x (10th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 76.2x (25th most expensive)
More on Bridgeport: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Bridgeport is a city in Harrison County, West Virginia, USA. The population was 8,149 at the 2010 census.

The median income in Bridgeport comes in at $80,666 and the median home value is $220,100 for 2020.

How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Mountain State For 2020

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In West 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 West 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 27 places in West Virginia that have more than 5,000 people.

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

Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck In West Virginia For 2020

Well there you have it, the places in West Virginia that have the highest cost of living, with Morgantown ranking as the most expensive city in the Mountain State.

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

  1. Clarksburg
  2. Weirton
  3. Grafton

For more West Virginia reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In West Virginia

Rank City ExpensiveScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Morgantown 2.33 30,539 4.8x 50.0x
2 Martinsburg 3.0 17,497 3.6x 43.7x
3 Charleston 6.67 48,734 3.5x 57.4x
4 Buckhannon 7.67 5,566 3.3x 57.2x
5 Huntington 8.0 47,420 3.2x 43.6x
6 Charles Town 10.0 5,885 3.3x 75.0x
7 Elkins 10.67 7,115 3.2x 59.8x
8 Hurricane 11.67 6,477 2.7x 68.1x
9 Beckley 12.33 16,697 2.8x 61.1x
10 Bridgeport 12.33 8,466 2.7x 76.2x
11 Fairmont 12.67 18,507 2.6x 58.3x
12 Nitro 13.67 6,201 2.3x 51.9x
13 Keyser 13.67 5,119 2.6x 54.7x
14 Moundsville 15.33 8,651 2.5x 53.3x
15 South Charleston 15.33 12,686 2.6x 77.2x
16 Parkersburg 15.67 30,328 2.5x 54.5x
17 Dunbar 16.0 7,462 2.2x 52.1x
18 St. Albans 16.67 10,442 2.3x 65.3x
19 Wheeling 16.67 27,190 2.5x 65.8x
20 Oak Hill 17.0 8,458 2.5x 60.1x
21 Princeton 18.0 5,907 2.3x 56.7x
22 Vienna 18.0 10,446 2.4x 78.3x
23 New Martinsville 18.33 5,190 2.3x 60.2x
24 Bluefield 18.33 10,022 2.5x 58.0x
25 Grafton 22.0 5,091 2.3x 61.6x
26 Weirton 23.0 18,894 1.9x 69.9x
27 Clarksburg 23.0 15,830 1.9x 62.1x

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.