Investing in the right real estate markets in Virginia is key to positive cash flow or a successful flip. Whether you’re looking for low entry costs to flip a home, high monthly rents, or the opportunity for long-term appreciation, here are Virginia’s best real estate investment markets.
Virginia home prices are expected to rise by only 4.1% in 2022 after rising by 9.4% in 2021, according to The Virginia Realtors Association. While housing inventory in Virginia is tight, the association expects demand for homeownership to cool slightly.
That doesn't mean it's a bad time to invest in Virginia real estate. Whether you're a newbie or a veteran investor, you need to choose a market that matches your goals and gives you the greatest return on your money.
Here are the top 5 real estate investment markets you’ll want to take a look at in Virginia.
5 Best Real Estate Markets in Virginia
1. Greater Richmond
Greater Richmond has a large, growing population: an average of 32 people have moved to the city every day over the past 10 years, bringing its total population to over 1 million.
The city also has a large millennial population accounting for 33% of its 1.2 million population. Millennials are more likely to rent over buying a home and this could mean an abundance of potential renters in the area. With this increase in demand from rentals should come higher rents over time.
After the 2006 slump in the area, landlords have begun selling their single family rentals to make a long-delayed profit. However, they are mostly selling these homes to first-time home buyers, rather than investors. This leaves existing renters who can’t yet buy a home seeking new housing. You’re likely to find good tenants if you can provide affordable housing in the area.
If you’re handy, Tidewater is a great place to invest in real estate. Tidewater refers to the low-lying plains of southeast Virginia, including the Hampton Roads area. Great fixer-upper deals are available in the $150,000 to $200,000 range (although prices are rising fast). Invest in repairs and improvements, and you may have a solid rental property on your hands.
The Tidewater area is a good market for a single-family rental property: the region has a large concentration of military personnel who tend to treat property well and move often, meaning they are likely to rent, rather than buy.
Plus, you may be able to collect rent via payroll allotments since the military may be covering their living expenses. Aside from military, Tidewater is made up largely of blue collar workers that could result in long-term tenants.
3. Green Bay
Green Bay is a small unincorporated community in Prince Edward County.
It might be the best place to invest in Virginia if you’re basing your decision solely on cash-on-cash return on investment. With a median property price of less than $150,000, it's easy to buy a property and rent it out for strong rental income.
Green Bay might also be a good market for an investor looking to flip, house hack, or complete the BRRRR method, given the low cost of entry.
4. Chase City
Another great option for Virginia investments in property in the small town Chase City. It has a population of just under 2,500, but the town is located within Mecklenburg County, which has a population of over 30,000.
The Chase City median home value is less than $100,000, with average rents north of $1,000, which means most of the properties for sale will meet the 1% rule in real estate.
Chase City home values have also risen by 14.8% over the past year, so you might even make some money in appreciation, too.
Chase City's leading industries include tobacco, lumber, glass vials, and food distribution, according to the town's website.
Another positive: the town's cost of living is 20% lower than the national average, so tenants might not have much difficulty coming up with rent.
Less than 10 miles from the nation’s capital of Washington, D.C., Alexandria provides a great opportunity for investors who may have a lot of money to work with - median home values are among the highest in the state at more than $600,000.
Alexandria consistently ranks as one of the best places to live in the country. In 2022, Niche ranked Alexandria No. 11 for best cities for young professionals, and the No. 23 healthiest city in America.
Since federal jobs aren’t going away any time soon and the market out prices most potential homeowners, you can expect there to be a steady stream of renters with a great income.
1. Use real estate investment software
One of the biggest challenges of flipping homes or finding rental properties in Virginia is finding great deals. Like other markets nationwide, it's a strong seller's market with limited homes for sale in most markets.
Real estate software or apps can help you spot good deals. Here's a few top picks to consider.
DealMachine: DealMachine's app helps Virginia investors find and research distressed homes (pre-foreclosures, foreclosures, short sales, etc), and get in touch with owners fast via batch skip tracing and direct mail campaigns.
Its driving for dollars app is fast and easy to use. When you're driving around town and spot a home that could be a great deal, pull up the DealMachine app to get the owner's contact info., or send the owner direct mail instantly (no post office visits required).
Download the DealMachine app to find undervalued Virginia properties as you drive. The company offers a 7-day free trial and $15 in free credits that can be used towards marketing (like sending out direct mail to homeowners).
Flipster: Primarily targeting house flippers, this app helps user find motivated seller leads, while also providing valuable comparable property information to help you estimate a home's fair market value before making an offer.
Flipperforce: The Flipperforce app helps BRRRR method investors analyze home values to calculate the maximum purchase price to offer on a property before making a purchase.
Zillow foreclosure center: Zillow makes it easy to find foreclosed and bank-owned properties in your area. However, unlike off-market properties you'd find on DealMachine and other software, most of Zillow's properties are publicly listed - meaning you'll likely face stiff competition from other investors.
2. Partner with an investor-friendly realtor
Partnering with an investor-friendly realtor is the best way to ensure a favorable, easy home purchase.
Find an agent that has expertise in your particular market, and someone who understands real estate laws and practices specific to the state. An agent can also provide access to lesser-known neighborhoods and properties that just may be your dream investment.
Clever's real estate agents can guide you through Virginia's real estate market and make your house hunting journey a breeze - and eligible buyers can get back 0.5% of their home's purchase price after closing, potentially saving you thousands on your home purchase.
3. Join a Virginia real estate investing club
If you're new to real estate, it could make sense to join a local real estate investing club to learn the business from local pros and find a lower-risk investment property for your first deal. Here are a few to consider.
Tidewater Real Estate Investors Group (TRIG): Founded in 1979, TRIG is an active real estate investors group which covers the areas of Hampton, Newport News, Williamsburg, Gloucester, York, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Eastern North Carolina.
Northern Virginia Real Estate Investors Association: This meetup group is dedicated to deals in the DC Metro area, specifically focused on deals in Northern Virginia. The group is very active with meetings every week, and currently has over 1,200 members.
Richmond REIA: This is a networking group of real estate investors focused in the areas of Richmond and the surrounding markets. The association offers networking, marketing, training and deal making opportunities to its members.