Are you considering living in Richmond, VA? Known for its rich history, cultural attractions, and intricate canals, Richmond offers a great quality of life with plenty to see and do. Of course, cost plays a big role when deciding where to relocate.
What is the cost of living in Richmond, VA? Is Richmond affordable?
The good news is Richmond is one of the most affordable major cities in the country. With a cost of living below the national average, the River City is likely more affordable than where you’re living now.
This complete guide to the Richmond, VA cost of living covers everything you need to know to make an informed decision.
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Richmond, VA Cost of Living Index
How much does it cost to live in Richmond? Less than the national average, even when it comes to housing!
A good place to start to truly understand the cost of living in Richmond is a look at the cost of living index (COLI). This index is designed to make it easy to compare the typical living expenses in one area to another. It’s calculated by tracking the costs of basic expenses and services and how much they rise or fall compared to the national average. You can use the cost of living index to tell you how far your money will go and the salary you will need to earn.
The Richmond, VA cost of living index is 94.9. That means it’s 5.1% more affordable than the U.S. average. Groceries and transportation expenses are about 10% below the U.S. average, but the Richmond housing index is only 84.2. By comparison, the cost of living in Virginia is about 4% higher than the national average.
The Economic Policy Institute’s Family Budget Calculator is a great tool to estimate the cost of living in Richmond, VA. A family of four would need $6,950 per month or $83,400 per year for a comfortable, modest lifestyle in the Richmond metro area. This includes $1,050 in housing expenses, $800 for food, $1,275 for child care, and $1,000 in taxes. The cost of living in the city of Richmond is slightly lower at $6,650 per month.
You can also look at the Consumer Price Index and Consumer Expenditure Survey from the BLS. Richmond, Virginia is part of the South region where consumer prices have increased 7.2% year-over-year but food prices have increased only 5.5%, lower than the U.S. city average.
The average household budget in Richmond, VA includes:
- Housing: $19,029 (national: $21,409)
- Transportation: $9,745 (national: $9,826)
- Food: $6,477 (national: $7,316)
- Personal insurance/pensions: $6,591 (national: $7,246)
- Healthcare: $5,098 (national: $5,177)
- Other items: $8,857 (national: $10,360)
Cost of Groceries, Food, Gas & Household Items in Richmond
Below are the average prices for common items and expenses. Compare to what you pay now to better understand the average cost of living in Richmond, VA.
- Steak (1 lb, ribeye): $11.29
- Milk (half gallon): $1.53
- Eggs (one dozen): $0.94
- Rice (1 lb, white): $1.40
- Potatoes (five pounds): $3.31
- Movie ticket: $11.59
- Beer (six-pack, Heineken’s): $9.99
- 30-day GRTC Transit pass: $60 ($35 for minors, seniors, and disabled riders)
How much are Richmond city utilities? The average energy bill is $170.00. The average Richmond water bill is about $100 which includes trash collection.
According to Numbeo, the typical monthly cost for a family of four living in Richmond, VA is $3,173 without rent.
Richmond, VA Housing Market – Average Home Prices & Market Conditions
How much does it cost to live in Richmond, VA? One of the best ways to answer this question is by exploring typical Richmond housing prices.
The Richmond, VA real estate market is very hot with homes receiving an average of five offers and selling in just 11 days. The average home price in Richmond, VA is $290,000, up 8.5% year-over-year, with an average price of $189 per square foot.
Demand is high and inventory is low, although conditions are improving for buyers. At one point in early 2021, there were only 600 existing homes on the market in Central Virginia, a region with 1.3 million people. Homes have been selling for $50,000 or more over asking price, yet just a year before, sellers were getting 98% of asking price on average.
Fortunately, buyers can qualify for several first time home buyer programs in Richmond that make homeownership more affordable. The Virginia Housing Loan Combo offered through Virginia Housing, for instance, combines a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a down payment grant and a mortgage credit certificate for a federal tax credit.
Virginia House Bill 854 mandated a statewide study on housing affordability. The study, published in 2022, had several key findings:
- The demand for federal housing vouchers far exceeds supply.
- There are 500,000 cost-burdened renter households in the state spending over 30% of their income on housing. Half are severely cost-burdened and spend over half their income on housing.
- There is a low inventory of starter homes which creates a barrier for first-time home buyers. Between 2013 and 2021, the number of homes affordable to buyers making 80% of the region’s median income declined by 13% in Richmond.
Overall, Virginia needs a minimum of 200,000 affordable rental units to meet the needs of low-income residents.
According to Kiplinger’s, Richmond has an affordability index of 7 out of 10 which makes it one of America’s most expensive real estate markets. Freddie Mac’s house price index shows home prices in Richmond have increased a massive 45.3% in the five-year period ending in October 2021.
Richmond Rental Market – Average Rent in Richmond, Virginia
Planning to rent? The rental market has been just as hot as the real estate market over the past few years. In 2020 and 2021, there were record-breaking increases in market-rate apartment rents. The average rent at the start of 2020 was $1,050 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,130 for a two-bedroom apartment. By late 2021, average rent increased to $1,195 for a one-bedroom unit and $1,340 for a two-bedroom unit.
Average rent increased over 5% in 2020, the highest single-year increase in a decade, then rose another 11% in 2021. That’s higher than the average national rise of 11% over the same period.
How much does it cost to live in Richmond as a renter today? The average rent in Richmond, VA is $1,328 according to RentCafe. The average rent in downtown Richmond is $1,560. In the most affordable neighborhoods like Chatham Place and Cloverland, average rent is below $850.
Fortunately, your money does go far in Richmond, despite the rising rents. One of the most popular apartment buildings in downtown Richmond is The Locks Apartments. This upscale waterfront property earned the Urban Community of the Year Award for 2020 and has rent starting at $1,450!
Average Salary in Richmond
Another good metric for understanding the Richmond, Virginia cost of living is checking average salary and household income.
According to the BLS, the average weekly wage in the Richmond area is $1,145 compared to the national average of $1,241. The average salary is $64,000 or $18.23 per hour according to Payscale with a cost of living that’s trended downward 4% and wages that have trended upward 0.2% in one recent quarter.
The median household income is $51,285. That’s lower than the Richmond metro median of $68,000 and the Virginia median household income of $76,500.
Income, Sales & Property Taxes in Richmond, VA
Don’t overlook taxes when comparing the Richmond cost of living to your current city! Here’s what you can expect to pay in Richmond, VA taxes.
Richmond, VA Property Tax
The Richmond real estate tax rate is $1.20 per $100 of assessed value. Property is assessed at 100% of the fair market value.
A typical home assessed at $290,000 would have a property tax bill of $3,480.
Richmond, VA Sales Tax
The combined Richmond sales tax rate is 6%. The Virginia sales tax rate is 4.3%.
Virginia Income Tax Rate
State income tax in Virginia ranges from 2% to 5.75%. The highest tax bracket applies to taxable income over $17,000.
Richmond, VA vs Raleigh, NC Cost of Living
Trying to decide between living in the River City and Raleigh? It may help to see a Raleigh vs Richmond, VA cost of living comparison.
The Raleigh cost of living is about 10% higher than the cost of living in Richmond, VA. The average home in Raleigh is $384,000 compared to $290,000 in Richmond. You’ll pay average rent of $1,510 to live in Raleigh versus $1,328 in Richmond.
Does Richmond sound perfect? It’s easy to see why more than 22,000 people moved to RVA between 2010 and 2020 alone with an average of 32 new people added to the population per day for a decade. You’ll enjoy not only an affordable cost of living in Richmond, VA but a great quality of life, plentiful job opportunities, and endless recreation.
If you’re ready to start planning your relocation, give us a call at On the Fly Moving Guys to request a free, affordable quote from our 5-star team of Richmond, VA movers!