Have you looked at your bank account recently and thought to yourself, “I really need to start saving more money,” but don’t know how? If you like beautiful mountains, weekend getaways in Washington, D.C, the beach, and historical sites, you may want to give living in Virginia a chance.
To make your feeble mid-20s cash supplies last longer, you have to think smarter. And what’s a smarter way to lower monthly costs than living in a place that is super cheap? You can have great careers and social lives in smaller towns that won’t take thousands away per month in rent alone.
“Virginia is for lovers” is a common phrase seen across the state. Perhaps you would enjoy drinking wine at one of Virginia’s many vineyards, sipping hot chocolate after an afternoon skiing on the slopes of Wintergreen, or even have a picnic on Virginia Beach on a sunny day.
Virginia is a great place for you and any date and the best part of it is that these dates won’t wreck your wallet. Have we caught your attention yet? We hope so because Virginia is a great state to live in for many reasons and it’s low cost of living is one of the state’s best attributes. Let’s get ready to explore the cheapest places in Virginia.
The 10 Most Affordable Places To Live In Virginia
What is the cheapest place to live in Virginia? According to the most recent data on cost of living, Pulaski is the cheapest place to live in Virginia.
Looking to live in a cute foothills town? Check out Big Stone Gap. Maybe the mountains aren’t for you? No worries, because Martinsville and Danville are ready for you.
If you are looking for research hubs, there are many places surrounding UVA in Charlottesville and if you are seeking to make more religious roots, Liberty University near Lynchburg might be a great hub for you. Christiansburg is just outside of Virginia Tech.
No matter where you choose in Virginia, you will likely have more to save at the end of each month. Who doesn’t like having extra cash?
And if you already knew these places were cheap, check out some more reading about Virginia and the cheapest places in the country:
The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Virginia For 2022
If you’re looking for the most affordable place to live in Virginia, look no further than Pulaski, a town about an hour southwest of Roanoke.
Housing in Pulaski is super cheap when taken as a proportion of income, whether you’re renting or buying. The median home price in Pulaski is $112,100 and the median rent is $775. With Pulaski residents earning a median income of $50,417, the mortgage or rent payments are a barely noticeable dent in the budget. If you move to Pulaski, you won’t know what people are talking about when they say that Virginia is one of the most expensive states in America.
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.2x (3rd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 65.1x (47th cheapest)
More On Pulaski: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
Another southwestern VA city, Galax is the second cheapest place to call home in Virginia. The median rent in Galax is $571, the second lowest on this list. Homes in Galax go for a median price of $97,400 and residents earn a median income of $35,184, so it’s quite affordable whether you’re renting or buying here. And if you fancy fiddling or picking at the banjo, definitely check out the Blue Ridge Music Center.
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.8x (6th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 61.6x (56th cheapest)
More On Galax: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
A bedroom community of Roanoke, Vinton ranks as the third cheapest place in Virginia. Vinton has the highest median rent you’ll see on this list at $724/month, but that’s still less than half than the statewide average, and taken as a proportion of income, it’s the sixth best place to rent in Virginia. Folks in Vinton earn a median income of $52,048 and pay a median home price of $147,900, putting Vinton in the top ten for most affordable places to buy in the state.
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.8x (7th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 71.9x (34th cheapest)
More On Vinton: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
Located about 50 miles south of Roanoke, Martinsville ranks as the fourth most affordable place in Virginia. With a median income of $36,166 and a median rent of $664, Martinsville is the least economical place to rent on this list, which is why it isn’t featured higher up. On the other hand, the median home price in Martinsville is $79,000, which makes the city the second most affordable place to buy a home in Virginia.
Living in Martinsville, you won’t feel like you’re in one of the most expensive states in the country.
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 5)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.2x (2nd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 54.5x (17th cheapest)
More On Martinsville: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
Located in Alleghany County, Covington is the fifth cheapest city in Virginia.
While it’s impressive that you can rent a place in Covington for under $600/month, that’s not what lands Covington so high on this list. It’s because Covington has the #1.0 cheapest homes in Virginia, at a median price of $70,400. And it’s not like homes are cheap because the residents aren’t paid well — with a median income of $41,024, Covington residents enjoy the best ratio of home price to income in the state. Living in Covington, you’ll notice your savings growing as fast as the waters of the local Falling Springs Waterfall.
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.7x (most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 54.0x (5th cheapest)
More On Covington: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
Big Stone Gap ranks as the sixth most affordable city in Virginia, thanks to cheap housing options for both buyers and renters. The median income in Big Stone Gap is $39,919, which is more than enough to cover the median cost of a home, $127,200, or the median rent $634. You’ll be able to enjoy overlooking Powell Valley without stressing about the bills thanks to Big Stone Gap’s affordable housing.
Big Stone Gap is located in the far western part of the state, near the Kentucky border.
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.2x (14th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 63.0x (55th cheapest)
More On Big Stone Gap: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
With a population of 40,668, Danville is the biggest city to make this list, proving you don’t have to move to a small town to live economically. With a median rent of $688 and a median income of $37,147, renting in Danville won’t take full advantage of the city’s affordability. However, because home prices are cheap at a median price of $95,500, Danville has the fourth lowest ratio of home price to income in the state. If you stick to free hobbies like strolling down Danville’s Riverwalk Trail, you’ll have even more money in your pocket at the end of every week.
Danville is located in the south-central part of Virginia, on the border of North Carolina.
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.6x (4th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 54.0x (50th cheapest)
More On Danville: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
Christiansburg is a town in Montgomery County, Virginia, United States. The population was 21,041 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Montgomery County. Christiansburg, Blacksburg, and Radford are the three principal municipalities of the Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford Metropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses those municipalities and all of Montgomery County.
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.1x (11th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 67.3x (3rd cheapest)
More On Christiansburg: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
Roanoke is an independent city in the U.S. state of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 97,032. It is located in the Roanoke Valley of the Roanoke Region of Virginia.
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.0x (9th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 56.8x (49th cheapest)
More On Roanoke: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
Salem is an independent city in the U.S. commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 24,802. It is the county seat of Roanoke County, although the two are separate jurisdictions. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Salem with Roanoke County for statistical purposes.
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.2x (13th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 68.5x (29th cheapest)
More On Salem: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
Cheapest Places To Live In Virginia FAQs
What county in Virginia has the lowest cost of living?
The county in Virginia with the lowest cost of living is Clarke County. The average living wage in Clarke County is $100,569 according to MIT data. Clarke County has the lowest cost of living because it has relatively less expensive childcare and housing costs compared to Virginia as a whole. Childcare costs $15,996 a year in Clarke County for two children compared to the Virginia average of $19,363. Housing costs, defined as a blend of the average rent and average mortgage payment, are $21,180 per year in Clarke County compared to $15,304 on average in Virginia.
What is the cost of living in Virginia?
The cost of living in Virginia is 8.9% higher than the US average. According to MIT, the required living wage for a family of four with two working parents in Virginia is $97,710 vs the national average for a family of four with two working parents of $89,744. The median income of a Virginia household is $76,398.
What is the cheapest housing market in Virginia?
The cheapest housing market in Virginia is Covington. The average home value in Covington is $70,400, the lowest in the state. The average home value in Virginia is $282,800, almost 4.0 times higher than Covington.
Methodology: How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Old Dominion For 2022
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 2016-2020 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 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 62 places in Virginia that have more than 5,000 people.
The place with the lowest cost of living in Virginia according to the data is Pulaski. You can download the data here.
Summary: There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Virginia Cheapskate
If you’re looking at the cost of living numbers in Virginia, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in Virginia for 2022.
Here’s a look at the most expensive cities in Virginia according to the data:
For more Virginia reading, check out:
- Richest Cities In Virginia
- Best Places To Raise A Family In Virginia
- Most Dangerous Cities In Virginia
The Most Affordable Places To Live In Virginia
|6||Big Stone Gap||14.0|