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Virginia is Losing Residents to Our Southern Neighbors

For the past few years fewer people have been moving to Virginia. Instead more are actually leaving the Commonwealth, moving to other states -- and they’re heading south. 

Virginians are moving to North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Spencer Shanholtz with the Weldon Cooper Center at UVA says part of the reason is housing costs. 

Members of the Virginia Housing Commission heard that news during a meeting Wednesday. 

“Manhattan and Silicon Valley are the only two counties that have a higher housing to income ratio than Arlington,” Shanholtz told the commission.

It’s not just Northern Virginia with an unaffordable housing market. Places like Charlottesville aren’t far behind. For example, the ratio of median home price to median income in the D.C. area is about 4.3. 

The lower the number, the more affordable the housing.

“Charlottesville metro’s around 4,” Shanholtz says. “We can compare that to Raleigh which is at 3.4. Atlanta at 3.3. Charlotte’s at around 3.” 

Andrew McCoy researches housing at Virginia Tech. He gave the Housing Commission a presentation on how new housing technology could help. 

He says part of the issue is that the builders aren’t building what people need, the market hasn’t been responsive. 

“Someone’s gotta decide that it’s in everyone’s interest to produce affordable housing,” McCoy says. “Because once we do that we really support the market, we grow the market. And it just can’t be one person.” 


Local and state lawmakers may find they have to get involved, if they want to stop losing Virginians to our southern neighbors.


This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.


Mallory Noe-Payne is Radio IQ's Richmond reporter and bureau chief.