Located near the Chesapeake Bay’s mouth, Virginia Beach is a short drive from Williamsburg, Richmond, and other major cities situated along the I-95 corridor. The miles of Atlantic Beaches make this area the summer fun destination for Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware residents. WalletHub ranked Virginia Beach in 2019 as the #1 large city to live in the country.
For the real estate investor, Virginia Beach’s most significant advantage is its stability. The largest metro area in Virginia includes the world’s largest naval station and one of its busiest cargo ports. Look closer at a few of its investment market indicators:
Virginia Beach Population Growth
Virginia Beach is the largest city in Virginia, with a population of nearly 500,000 within city limits. The entire metropolitan area, which includes Norfolk and Newport, boasts 1.73 million residents. It’s a sizable city for a real estate investor.
If you’re into leasing residential properties, there’s good news in Virginia Beach. The median age is 36.8 years, making it a youthful city more likely to need short-term lease and rental properties. Residents between the ages of 20 and 59 make up 52% of the total population.
Virginia Beach and its metro area’s population growth has been steady with a 0.274% year-over-year growth. While this isn’t impressive, keep in mind that it is stable, and its total population of 1.73 million ranks it as the 37th largest metropolitan area in the nation.
Virginia Beach Job Market
The job market in Virginia Beach is well-established. Naval Station Norfolk, the tourism and restaurant industry, and the healthcare field have developed a strong workforce. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the metropolitan area’s GDP has grown by more than 26% to over $103 billion in the last decade.
Low city and state tax rates, competitive wages, and a central location that puts the city within a two-day drive of more than two-thirds of the U.S. population makes setting up shop in Virginia Beach enticing. Indeed, the cost of doing business in Virginia Beach well below the national average.
A significant employment driver in the metropolitan area of Virginia Beach is Naval Station Norfolk. As a result, the city has the largest population of active-duty military personnel in the nation. Add to that the Port of Virginia, the third-busiest container port on the east coast, and you have a relatively stable job market foundation.
Virginia Beach isn’t all military and cargo. The city has a bustling biomedical industry and advanced manufacturing industry. It’s also home to Sentara Healthcare, Geico Insurance Co., Stihl Inc., The Christian Broadcasting Network Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp, and Gold Key/PHR.
The city’s young population and the innovative job market are supported by several universities, including the College of William & Mary, the nation’s second-oldest university and one with a reputation for excellence.
The city of Virginia Beach generates $5.6 billion in annual retail sales, helped by more than 19 million visitors every year. The miles of beautiful beaches make tourism an essential part of the region’s economy, and the area does have a large hospitality industry. However, early indicators show Virginia Beach is recovering well from the pandemic-induced job losses, with a reported unemployment rate of 5.9% in early 2021.
Virginia Beach Housing Market
Virginia Beach offers a predictable market over the long-term for investors opting for a buy-and-hold strategy. Strong year-over-year growth in appreciation makes Virginia Beach attractive for real estate investing.
Virginia Beach and its metropolitan area have seen a year-over-year increase in home values of 7.7%. It is projected to see another 10.3% rise in the next year, making the area an excellent choice for investors and landlords. As of November 2020, homes within the city had a median listing price of $285,000 and a median sale price of $325,000.
Houses in Virginia Beach sold on average 22 days faster year-over-year from 2019, one of the top three markets that saw improvements in the United States. This speed, coupled with a sale-to-list price of 100%, means investors working on a short-term strategy should have no worries about being able to sell properties fast in Virginia Beach.
Prices vary widely by neighborhood. North Virginia Beach tops the market with a median listing price of $867,000, while the more affordable Green Run neighborhood offers a $202,000 median listing price. That means new investors can find affordable properties as long as you’re willing to work and be patient.
Virginia Beach Rental Market
With most Virginia Beach residents aged between 20 to 59 years old, the heavy presence of active-duty military personnel, proximity to several prominent colleges and universities, and strong tourism industry, the rental market offers ample opportunities for investors.
The Virginia Beach metropolitan area has three of the top 30 places to rent in the country. The City of Virginia Beach, along with nearby Chesapeake and Newport News, are options worth investigating for the fix-and-flip investor or landlord.
The metropolitan area has about 39% of households occupied by renters. Single-family homes make up 71% of housing units and have a median rent of $1,612 per month for a three-bedroom home. Rent payments have grown 12% over the last three years.
The 19 million annual visitors to Virginia Beach create an excellent opportunity for investing in rental properties. The beaches and the proximity to places such as Historic Williamsburg attract vacation rental traffic. If you’re looking into short-term rentals, they are regulated in Virginia Beach, so check with city ordinances.
With more than 12,000 military personnel and 18,000 college graduates entering the workforce every year, rental properties will always be in demand in and around Virginia Beach.
Invest in Virginia Beach Real Estate
Virginia Beach’s housing and job market stability offers a level of security and predictability not found in other popular markets. Plus, the housing is still relatively affordable for a city of its size and interest. For this reason, the City of Virginia Beach and its metropolitan area are rich with opportunities for any real estate investor.