What Is The Cost Of Living In Alexandria, VA?
Virginia plays a huge role in American history, and every inch of the state tells a story. Cities like Richmond, Norfolk, and Alexandria, VA are staples of the American south and beautiful places to live. With all that it has to offer, what is the cost of living in Alexandria, Virginia, and can you afford it?
Alexandria, Virginia’s cost of living is 50% higher than the national average and 47% higher than Virginia’s. Housing costs are more than double the US average, with a median home price of $585,300. Renting is more affordable, and costs $1,747 per month in Alexandria with a $130 minimum for basic utilities. Groceries cost single Alexandria residents roughly $200 per month, but families can easily spend over $300 each month on food.
Alexandria is expensive, but countless residents find the cost worth lifestyle available in the city. Let’s explore the ins and outs of the cost of living in Alexandria, VA.
A Closer Look At The Cost Of Living In Alexandria, Virginia?
From Alexandria, it’s just a quick trip across the river to the heart of D.C. or National Harbor in Maryland, where there is plenty to do. The Potomac River offers many outdoor activities like boating and fishing.
In a region known for its aggressive hustle, Alexandria gives off a smaller, more relaxed vibe. If all of that sounds great to you, you might be wondering – how affordable is it to live in Alexandria?
Housing Costs In Alexandria, VA
When you weigh the pros and cons of living in Virginia, expensive housing costs are certainly a downside. The same can be said for Alexandria, VA, where the median home value is $585,300. Alexandria is one of the most expensive cities in Virginia, and homeowners spend $2,773 per month in homeownership costs.
However, that is cheaper than the median cost in Washington, D.C. of $1,000,000. Home prices have been rising at a rate of over 10% annually in Northern Virginia, but interest rates remain low. Plus, Alexandria residents pay about $5,215 in property taxes.
Buying a home right now in Northern Virginia is difficult due to the high prices and limited inventory on the market the closer you get to D.C.
Median Home Price Comparison
|Location||Median Home Value||Homeownership Rate|
The majority of homeownership costs in Alexandria come from the high mortgage rates available in the city. Unfortunately, $950-$1,000 of monthly ownership costs in Alexandria come from bills, repairs, and maintenance. That could explain why only 40.0% of Alexandria residents are homeowners, and the rest of the population rents instead.
Builder-owners in Alexandria face a high price to build per square foot, and it can cost as much as $390. Many builder-owners can construct a house in Alexandria for roughly $300,000, but costs vary.
If you choose to build a house in Alexandria, be wary of high material, labor, and construction costs. The majority of homes in Alexandria, VA have a value of $500,000 to $999,999.
Cost Of Living In Alexandria, Virginia: Rent Prices
Only 40.0% of Alexandria, VA residents are homeowners, and that leaves room for thousands of renters. The average cost of rent in Alexandria is $1,747 per month, and that is considered high for the state of Virginia. Compared to cities like Roanoke, where rent is $814 per month, Alexandria boasts some of the highest rent prices in Virginia.
Your average one-bedroom apartment in Alexandria is 700 square feet and starts at $1,100 per month. Two-bedrooms can also cost around the $900-$1,100 mark at the low end, but they can be as expensive as $10,000 per month. The amount of bedrooms and plumbing fixtures, as well as the neighborhood you choose ultimately determines rent prices in Alexandria.
Rent Prices By Neighborhood In Alexandria, VA
The most affordable neighborhood in Alexandria is Landmark – Van Dorn and rent averages $1,600 per month. Braddock Road Metro, however, is the priciest neighborhood in Alexandria, and rent costs an average of $1,950 per month.
|Landmark – Van Dorn||$1,600|
|Land of Herbert||$1,670|
|Braddock Road Metro||$1,950|
Cost Of Living In Alexandria, VA: Average Utility Costs
Basic utilities typically will cost you at least $150 per month in Alexandria, and that includes heat, water, and electricity. Sadly for Alexandria residents, Virginia is home to the 21st most expensive utility bills in the United States. You could spend $1,800 per year in basic utilities before phone, cable, and internet bills as an Alexandria resident.
Natural gas is expensive in Virginia, and Alexandria residents may pay up to $100 per month in gas bills. Additional utilities, such as cable, can range between $45 and $90 per month depending on your provider of choice. Internet is also a major expense in Alexandria, and it can cost you $40-$75 per month.
By the time you’ve paid basic utilities, internet, phone, and cable bills, you will likely have spent $400-$450. That is a major expense, and it makes up a large part of your monthly budget as an Alexandria resident. At the end of the year, you could easily have spent $4,800 between basic and added utility bills.
Tax Rates In Alexandria, VA
Alexandria residents are subject to the dynamic state income tax scale that is based on income brackets. Low-income residents can pay as little as 2% in state income tax, and residents who earn over $17,500 per year pay 5.75%. Besides that, Alexandria is mostly a low-tax city, and that includes the generous 6% sales tax rate.
However, this sales tax does not apply to products such as gasoline and liquor. For example, liquor sales in Alexandria, VA carry a 20% sales tax that is high even for the south. Gasoline, on the other hand, is not heavily taxed, and you only pay $0.16 per gallon at the pump.
|Taxes||Rate & Cost|
|State Income Tax||2%-5.75%|
|Property Tax||$1.13 Per $100 (Assessed Value)|
|Gasoline Tax||$0.16 Per Gallon|
Property taxes are unique in Alexandria, and you pay $1.13 per $100 on the assessed value of your home. If you are 65 or older and disabled, you may qualify for exemptions on your property tax payments in Alexandria. Otherwise, you can rest easy knowing that Alexandria has one of the fairest property tax rates in Virginia.
Cost Of Living In Alexandria, VA: Food Prices
You can easily spend $200 per month on groceries as a single resident in Alexandria, Virginia. Essential groceries, such as milk, eggs, bread, and produce are on par with the national average in Alexandria. A gallon of milk, for example, is $4.05, on average, in Alexandria which is barely over the national average.
Eating at restaurants in Alexandria, however, can be expensive and costs up to $19 or more per person. The cheapest option in Alexandria is to stock up on groceries, but fast food is the cheapest dining option at $7-$10 per person. Grocery costs become more expensive for family households, and you can spend over $300 per month.
|Gallon of Milk||$4.05|
|Pound of Beef||$6.50|
|Pound of Chicken||$5.90|
|Meal At a Restaurant||$15.00-$19.00|
|Fast Food Meal||$7.00-$10.00|
Cost Of Living In Alexandria, VA: Education
Alexandria, VA boasts an impressive public education system, and that’s the most affordable option. However, many parents choose private schools for their children, and that can be quite expensive in Alexandria. The average private elementary school tuition in Alexandria, VA is just over $16,000 per year.
Private high school education is much more expensive and can cost as much as $39,000 per year in Alexandria. Although private tuition is pricey in Alexandria, you can find options as low as $1,100 per year for elementary school. There aren’t currently any colleges in Alexandria, but nearby cities like Arlington, VA have universities.
One great example is George Washington University in Arlington, and it costs $34,000 per year, on average. Marymount University in Arlington is a more affordable option, and it only costs $25,000 per year.
Driving Costs In Alexandria, VA
Gas prices in Alexandria, Virginia range between $3.15 and $3.24 per gallon, depending on where you go. This can add up to $2,100 per year in gasoline if you use the average 656 gallons each year as a regular driver. Alexandria is only 15 square miles, but many residents commute daily which leads to hefty bills at the pump.
Your average Alexandria resident spends roughly $1,133 each year on car insurance premiums, depending on the service provider. Some providers, such as Erie, only cost $949 per year on the low end for Alexandria residents. Car insurance premiums in Alexandria are generally below the national average of $1,548 per year.
With that said, drivers that are in their 20s spend an average of $1,567 per year in car insurance premiums. Premiums are lowest for Alexandria residents that are in their 50s, and they spend $969 per year, on average. Of course, variables such as driving history largely determine how much you’ll spend on premiums in Alexandria.
Cost Of Living In Alexandria, VA: Public Transportation
Public transportation is available for Alexandria residents, but it isn’t always an affordable alternative. You have access to the Fairfax Metro train, as well as the Metrobus as an Alexandria resident, and both are pricey. For example, a one-day pass for either Metrorail or Metrobus costs $13, and there are seemingly no discounts available.
|Public Transit||Average Cost|
|Metrobus||$2.00 (Regular) $4.25 (Express)|
|1 Day Metrorail & Metrobus Pass||$13.00|
|Weekly Metrorail & Metrobus Pass||$58.00|
|Regional Bus Pass||$15.00|
You can save money by choosing the weekly pass, but even then you’ll spend $58 per week. Monthly passes are also pricey and can cost you between $72 and $216 for the train or Metrobus. The cheapest option is regional bus travel, which is less expensive, but only costs $15 for a weekly pass.
Summing It Up
The cost of living in Alexandria, Virginia is quite expensive, and you should earn $8,500 or more per month as a resident. The median home value is $572,900, and owners spend $2,773 per month between the mortgage and bills. Luckily, rent is more affordable and costs an average of $1,747 per month for Alexandria residents.
You can spend roughly $200 per month on groceries as a single resident in Alexandria, but families spend $300 or more. Alexandria has a high cost of living, but it’s ultimately worth it for the quality of life that you can find.
How much do you need to make to live in Alexandria VA?
You should make roughly $8,500 or more per month to keep up with the cost of living in Alexandria, Virginia and be able to pay the bills. Both renting and owning are expensive in Alexandria and cost you at least $1,700 per month. That combined with the high cost of utilities, sales tax rate, and monthly food budget means that you should earn between $80,000 and $100,00 per year in Alexandria.The minimum wage in Virginia is $7.25 an hour, which is consistent with the federal minimum wage. At the same time, the City of Alexandria has adopted a $15 livable wage. Federal workers may look to live in Alexandria and commute to the city.The average income for an Arlington resident is $54,597 and the median household income is. $87,319. Unemployment is currently 4.9%.
Is Alexandria, VA safe?
Alexandria is mostly safe, but crime still affects 1 in 57 residents of the city. Sadly, Alexandria has worse crime than 77% of the rest of the United States. Alexandria residents face a 1 in 63 chance of violent crime, and 1 in 544 chance of property crime.
Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.
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