Cost of Living

Jana Klaasse
Jana Klaasse
Published on June 29, 2021

Thinking of moving to the Eastern Panhandle?  More and more people are thinking the same thing and one of the reasons is because it’s one of the best cheap place to live in this whole region . So Today we’re talking about the cost of living in the Eastern Panhandle and focusing on Berkeley County which is in the middle of the 3 counties and then we’ll compare  Berkeley County to the  cost of living to nearby areas.

ONE OF THE BEST CHEAP PLACES TO LIVE

There’s some good reasons to consider this area.  The slower pace and the lower cost of living is what I hear most often. .  According to areavibes.com, Berkeley County comes in at about 6% below the national average in overall all cost of living. 18% lower in housing costs. 4% lower in grocery costs than the national average. 2% higher in health care costs than the national average and about equal for the cost of utilities.

So comparing the cost of living in nearby areas where we see people moving  from and those include The DC/Baltimore area  and New Jersey.  So I picked cities in those areas .  Columbia outside of Baltimore.  For the DC metro area, Gaithersburg on the Maryland side and Fairfax on the Virginia side. And then Jersey City in New Jersey – that’s further away but we are getting inquiries from people in that area. .  And I got the cost of living  figures from areavibes.com.  Berkeley County comes in at 40% below Gaithersburg for the cost of living index, 36% below Colombia 46% below Jersey City, and a whopping   55% below Fairfax Virginia.  No wonder people are interested in this area. It’s not too far away and it’s a lot cheaper.  The main difference is the cost of housing and property taxes. 

COST COMPARISON

The pictures above show what $400K will typically buy you in each of these cities: And I used $400 because you can’t find anything for less than that in several of these cities.  And these are recently sold homes.  So in Columbia I found a 4 BR 2 BA home. 1500 sq ft on a quarter of an acre. Property taxes  about $4300.Gaitersburg Md. 3 BR 2.5 Ba. 1200 sq feet and $4500 in property taxes.  Jersey City.  1 BR 1 Bath condominium – very nice – 600 sq feet with a $325 month condo fee and $6,900 property taxes.  Fairfax VA. 2 BR 2 Ba townhome. 1220 sq feet and $4400 property taxes.  So compare all that to what’s typical  in Martinsburg for $400,000. 4 BR 3.5 bath. 2653 sq feet  on an acre.  $2302 in property taxes.  Quite a difference for an hours drive from MD and VA.  For Jersey City it’s a longer drive about 4 hours.  We are getting inquiries from New Jersey, people either retiring or telecommuting. 

Another cost consideration is the cost of gas.  This is a map of the US from Triple A showing how each state rates and West Virginia is about in the middle.

COMMUNITIES IN THE EASTERN PANHANDLE

And here’s some areas in Berkeley County you might consider.  If you are looking for Water front, consider the north eastern part of Berkeley County which is bordered by the Potomac River. The Potomac River divides West Virginia from Maryland so if you are commuting to MD That area  is right next to the MD line.  At the other end of the county close to the Virginia line is Inwood, Bunker Hill and to the west Gerrardstown.   Inwood and Bunker Hill is growing like crazy – Proctor Gamble is there which is a big employer for the area.  Gerrardstown is on the west side of 81 where it becomes more mountainous and rural.  In the middle of the county is Martinsburg and that includes the homes  in town as well as suburbs around the downtown area.  Then head west on I81 to Hedgesville and it tends to be more rural but there’s new subdivisions coming up there  all the time.  Seems like everytime I drive out that way, I see a new subdivision. The price point in that area is a little less than other parts of Berkeley County.   And here’s some other areas in the Eastern Panhandle to consider   Shepherdstown in Jefferson County – a charming university town. The Price Point in Jefferson County  is a bit higher than Berkeley County.  Kearneysville is to the east between Martinsburg and Charles Town and tends to be more spread out.  Charles Town and Harpers Ferry are both on Rt 340 which leads right into Frederick, MD.  Going in the other direction west from Martinsburg is Berkeley Springs in Morgan County. It’s the furthest out and more rural and mountainous. If you are looking for a home with  unrestricted  land you’ll probably have more luck finding that in Morgan County. 

And if you’ve got a million bucks, here’s a couple of homes that you can buy right now. 

Every Friday I send out an update on newly listed homes in all these areas.  If you aren’t getting that now and you thinking about moving to this area,it’s a good resource to see what the prices are like here. .  I also include a list of events  in this area and a  list of categories– like water front homes currently on the market.  there’s a link below – so click on that, let me know where to send it, and you’ll get that email once a week

https://meetmeinthepanhandle.com/marketupdate

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