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West Virginia real estate

West Virginia – Housing’s Version of the Tortoise and the Hare

At the height of the recession, nearly 1 out of every 10 West Virginians was unemployed. Even two years after the Great Recession was officially declared over, the unemployment rate in the Mountain State was still well above 8% -- not exactly ripe conditions for home buying!

Foreclosures around the state increased 56% in 2012. While that statistic may seem like West Virginia’s housing market is getting worse, it’s actually not. The Mountain State has a judicial foreclosure process – meaning that each foreclosure has to go through the court system. As a result, things take longer. So, foreclosures that officially hit the books in 2012 may have been filed long before that. Now that they’re out of the way, the housing market here can start to recover with more “traditional” sales.

And that means it’s up to realtors around West Virginia to drum up demand!

Going into 2013, realtors around the state admitted that West Virginia’s housing market was definitely a buyer’s market. Since 2008, home prices here have remained relatively steady – which homeowners aren’t too happy about – but the realtors say that’s not necessarily a terrible thing. As they point out, by not seeing huge gains, they don’t have to worry about the huge losses that can result from them. In an already weakened economy, they’d rather see small, stable gains, rather than a rollercoaster of sorts.

And, while some other places around the country may get fancy headlines for bidding wars and giant increases in home prices, West Virginia’s housing market is actually much more in line with the national average. Take Ashland, for example. Between the end of 2011 and the end of 2012, home prices here increased 5%. That’s just under the national average – which saw a 5.5% increase in prices in November 2012.

But what if you’re looking for immediate results?

In Charleston, the state’s Housing and Development Fund is trying to jump-start some momentum on its own. Specifically, they created a $10 million program in January 2013 for homebuyers who are looking for better mortgages in West Virginia.

Over in Morgantown, renting is the name of the housing game. After all, this is a college town! Like most parts of the country, the apartments for rent in Morgantown got more expensive in 2012. However, unlike most parts of the country, rent prices here didn’t skyrocket. So, if you’re looking for affordable student housing (or simply looking to live on a student-sized budget!), you’ll find plenty of it here.

Bottom line – realtors in West Virginia say to be patient. Like the tortoise and the hare proved, slow and steady wins the race!

Living in West Virginia

West Virginia is the perfect place to live if you’re looking for gorgeous mountain views, breathtaking season changes, and a rich history!

Located in the Appalachian Region of the Southern United States, West Virginia is aptly nicknamed “The Mountain State” as the topography is almost entirely mountainous. The summers here hot, while the winters are typically cold – with snow accumulations from about 20 inches to more than 50 inches in the higher elevations.

Before you head up into the mountains of West Virginia, let’s go over some of the fast facts:

  • What is the population of West Virginia?
  • The population of West Virginia is 1,855,413
  • What is the capital of West Virginia?
  • The capital of West Virginia is Charleston
  • What is the largest city in West Virginia?
  • The largest city is Charleston

West Virginia has long depended on coal mining for its economy. Since the state is situated in the center of the Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Bed, West Virginia has earned its title as one of the top producers in the country. The state also produces substantial amounts of natural gas and a good amount of oil – so, if you’re looking for a new career, it will likely be in one of these industries.

If you enjoy nature and history, you’ll have to make regular trips to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and the New River Gorge Bridge. The historic town of Harpers Ferry is best known as the heart of 19th century industry and as the location of John Brown's abolitionist uprising. The New River Gorge Bridge is a steel arch bridge that’s over 3,000 feet long over the New River Gorge near Fayetteville.

If you like to relive days gone by, the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park located in the mountains offers steam-driven locomotive excursions through the breathtaking wilderness areas.

But if your family is truly adventurous, West Virginia is home to many ski resorts which also offer tubing and snowboarding. Located in Pocahontas County, Snowshoe Mountain, offers two black diamond trails in its area called The Western Territory which feature a 1,500 foot vertical drop and 60% pitch!

Legend has it that Mountaineers are always free, and you can be, too!

This is the Census data for West Virginia


Total population estimate for West Virginia (July 1) 2012
Total population change for West Virginia- April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012


Percentage of the population that's under 5 years old in West Virginia, 2011
Percentage of the population that's under 18 years years old in West Virginia, 2011
Percentage of the population that's 65 years and over West Virginia, 2011


Percentage of the population that are females in West Virginia, 2011

Race breakdown for West Virginia in percentages

White alone, 2011
Black alone, 2011
American Indian and Alaska Native alone,2011
Asian alone, percent, 2011
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone, 2011
Two or more races, 2011
Hispanic or Latino Origin, 2011
Not Hispanic, White alone, 2011

A little more about the residents of West Virginia

Percentage of residents who lived in the same house 1 year ago, 2007-2011
Percent of residents who are foreign born 2007-2011
Percent speaking a language other than English at home, 2007-2011


Percent high school graduates or higher for residents 25 years old and over in West Virginia, 2007-2011
Percent with a bachelor's degree or higher for residents 25 years old and over in West Virginia, 2007-2011


Total number of Veterans living in West Virginia 2007-2011


The average travel time to work for workers in West Virginia (16 years and over not working at home), 2007-2011
25.5 mins

Real estate stats in West Virginia

Housing unit estimates, 2011
Owner-occupied housing units - percent of total occupied housing units, 2007-2011
Housing units by units in structure - multi-dwelling structure, percent, 2007-2011
Median value of specified owner-occupied housing units, 2007-2011
Households, 2007-2011
Average household size, 2007-2011


Per capita income for West Virginia in the past 12 months (in 2011 inflation-adjusted dollars), 2007-2011
Median household income in West Virginia, 2007-2011
Percentage of people living in poverty in West Virginia 2007-2011

Business and commerce info for West Virginia

Private nonfarm establishments, 2010
Private nonfarm employment for pay period including March 12, 2010
Private nonfarm employment for pay period including March 12, 2010, percent change, 2000-2010
Total number of businesses in West Virginia, 2007
Percentage of Black-owned businesses in West Virginia, 2007
Percentage of American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned businesses in West Virginia , 2007
Percentage of Asian-owned businesses in West Virginia, 2007
Percentage of Native Hawaiian- and Other Pacific Islander-owned businesses in West Virginia, 2007
Percentage of Hispanic-owned businesses in West Virginia, 2007
Percentage of Women-owned businesses in West Virginia, 2007

Land size and population

Size of West Virginia in Square Miles, 2010
24,038.21 mi²
Population per square mile in West Virginia, 2010

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