CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — According to a ConsumerAffairs study, West Virginia is among the “10 states that offer the biggest bang for your buck.” The study ranks all 50 states and Washington, D.C., based on housing, taxes, groceries, healthcare and other factors.
#2 out of 51: West Virginia
Placing in second, ConsumerAffairs calls the state of West Virginia a “housing haven.” West Virginia ranks just below North Dakota, the state in the #1 spot.
The study says West Virginia has the lowest median prices for homebuying and renting. Both factors cost about one-fourth of what they do in Hawaii, the highest-price state, according to ConsumerAffairs.
The study uses Realtor.com data stating the lowest median listing price for West Virginia homes is $220,000. On the other hand, Realtor.com says the lowest median listing price for Hawaii homes is $850,000.
ConsumerAffairs also states West Virginia has the highest number of homeowners, outnumbering tenants by about three to one.
West Virginia’s median price per square foot is also the nation’s lowest — $120.
The study uses Apartment List information and United States Census data that shows West Virginia tenants pay the lowest rent in the nation — $595. ConsumerAffairs finds that Hawaii’s median rent is $2,295, almost four times as high as West Virginia’s.
The study also points out that West Virginia has the lowest state and local tax burden.
“To determine our low-tax honorees, we looked at state and local tax rates, the per-capita tax burden and state property tax as a share of family income. … As of 2018, on average, the middle 20% of U.S. taxpayers pay property tax equal to 3% of their annual family income.”ConsumerAffairs
The study finds that West Virginia, Louisiana and Alabama residents pay the lowest property taxes in the country. West Virginia’s property tax rate is 1.4%, well below the national 3% average.
Groceries & healthcare
ConsumerAffairs says the low housing and tax rates in West Virginia are “undeniable pluses.” However, the study also says the state’s groceries are costly, and its healthcare is the second-lowest in the nation, causing high premiums for employer insurance.
The urban/rural divide is an influential factor in grocery prices, according to ConsumerAffairs. The study finds that suppliers may charge premiums in remote or inaccessible locations, plus the added cost of gas to travel to those areas. West Virginians may feel those effects on grocery prices since state officials say two-thirds of residents live in rural areas.
West Virginia is not a top state for low grocery or healthcare costs. Minnesota is the best state for grocery prices, and Nevada residents pay the lowest healthcare costs, according to ConsumerAffairs.
Gas & utilities
The study also does not list West Virginia as a top state for cheap gas and utility prices.
ConsumerAffairs says “the states with the lowest utility costs are all on the Canadian border” — Maine, Idaho, Vermont, Montana and North Dakota. The study finds the Gulf Coast state of Alabama has the highest-priced utilities.
As for gasoline, ConsumerAffairs says “prices are lowest in oil-producing Texas, neighboring Arkansas and nearby Missouri.”
In conclusion, the study finds the 10 states with the lowest living costs are:
- North Dakota
- West Virginia
- South Dakota
To view ConsumerAffairs’ full report, click here.