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Moving to West Virginia: Among the Top 10 Moving Destinations of 2023

American moving patterns have accelerated in recent years, particularly after the COVID-19 Pandemic that increased remote work trends and the desire for better affordability. According to United Van Lines’ annual report, an increasing number of Americans have been relocating to Southern states to access more affordable areas with metropolitan amenities. In this context moving to West Virginia has come up as a lucrative option, securing the 10th position among the top 10 states that experienced a notable increase in inbound moves.

moving to west virginia

Why are People Moving to West Virginia?

In 2023, 58% of relocation activities pointed toward the Mountain State. This indicates a considerable surge compared to the previous year’s statistics, where West Virginia held the 13th position with 57% of inbound moves. In this section, we have discussed the factors that explain the motivation of individuals and families moving to West Virginia.

Affordable Housing

Multiple studies have continuously ranked West Virginia as one of the most affordable states to reside in, whether for starting a family or for retiring. Cheaper housing is among the top concerns of those relocating to West Virginia. Data from FRED shows that the average cost of a house sold in the U.S. was $513,400 (Oct. 25, 2023) which is significantly higher than $313,349 (Nov. 30, 2023), the average sales price of a house in West Virginia.

Scenic Landscape

 Movers prefer states with mountainous landscapes. West Virginia is the only U.S. state completely within the Appalachian Mountain region, hence the moniker the “Mountain State”. Accordingly, the scenic natural beauty of West Virginia coupled with its economic feasibility are distinct factors responsible for the increase in inbound moves.

Remote Work

Remote work which began as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to increase over the years, becoming a desirable job perk among many Americans. In light of this trend, certain states and cities have introduced incentive programs featuring relocation assistance for remote workers. One such initiative is “Ascend West Virginia,” which provides up to $12,000 in cash for remote workers choosing to relocate to the Mountain State. The initiative includes multiple locations, such as Elkins, the New River Gorge, and Morgantown among others, contributing to the growth in West Virginia’s inbound moves.

Retirement Benefits for Moving to West Virginia

West Virginia with its tax relief policies has attracted the attention of retirees from across the country. Under the Homestead Exemption, the state offers property tax relief for residents of the age 65 and above. Additionally, eligible residents receiving Social Security income can exclude up to $8,000 from their taxable income when filing state income taxes.

Retirees moving to West Virginia is not merely due to tax exemption, it is also because areas like Morgantown are renowned for their excellent healthcare facilities. Wheeling, a historically rich city, offers a low cost of living with several recreational activities, such as historic tours and local festivals. West Virginia also has a lower crime rate compared to some other states.

West Virginia’s scenic beauty and low cost of living have contributed to a steady growth in inbound moves in 2023. As the demand for cheaper housing, tax exemptions, and remote working opportunities continue to rise, moving to the Mountain State is only expected to increase.