2024 Virginia Beach: Costly or Affordable?

Understanding the cost of living in Virginia Beach, Virginia, is vital for anyone considering a move to this coastal city. As of 2024, Virginia Beach remains a popular destination due to its appealing oceanfront area and the city’s urban amenities. The city's population enjoys a quality of life influenced by factors like housing, food, healthcare, transportation, and the various other goods and services available. 

Balancing these costs against the median income and job opportunities can give you a comprehensive picture of what it truly costs to live in Virginia Beach. The current economic climate of Virginia Beach indicates that housing expenses play a significant role in the overall cost of living. 

With a population owning and renting homes in different proportions, housing market trends can significantly affect your monthly budget. I always try and keep my mortgage payment under 25% of my family's income. As there are many other items to consider in your budget outside of housing.

Virginia Beach's combination of a robust local economy and a desirable location makes it an intriguing place to live within the United States. Although the cost of living might be higher compared to some other cities in Virginia, this reflects its status as a sought-after destination for both individuals and families looking for a high quality of life by the ocean.

Keep reading below as we discuss some of the major costs associated with living in Virginia Beach, Virginia. In addition, I recently published an in-depth video on these costs that you can see above.

Neighborhood in Virginia Beach Virginia

Housing in Virginia Beach

In Virginia Beach, the housing market in 2024 is similar to what other areas are experiencing across the country. There is a limited number of houses for sale, so house prices continue to rise. According to Bestplaces.net, the overall housing index is 109.9. This index shows that housing in Virginia Beach is higher compared to other parts of the country.

Typical homes in Virginia Beach vary in style and size, but they are often spacious enough to accommodate the lifestyle of their residents. Housing Costs in Virginia Beach are influenced by several factors, including location, home size, and market demand.

From a fiscal perspective, homebuyers and renters must pay attention to the housing costs as they form a significant portion of monthly expenses. As discussed previously, I would shoot for your housing costs to be under 25% of your household income.

While the Virginia Beach housing market can be more expensive than other regions, benefits such as proximity to the ocean, schools,  and  vibrant city life seem to justify the costs for many. Seeking a home in this locale, one must weigh the balance of cost against the quality of life the area provides.

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Living Essentials in Virginia Beach

In Virginia Beach, managing the essentials such as food, transportation, and healthcare is critical for residents hoping to have a balanced budget. The cost associated with these necessities can vary, but understanding them is key to maintaining a good quality of life in 2024. I will use bestplace.net again to validate what I have seen over the years.

Virginia Beach Virginia Pier

Food and Groceries in Virginia Beach

I find that grocery expenses in Virginia Beach reflect the costs that many Americans see regardless of where they live. For the most part, we have all faced increasing food costs for the last several years. This certainly has been the same in Virginia Beach and the surrounding areas as well.

For instance, products like milk, eggs, and local cheese maintain prices competitive with national averages. According to Bestplaces.net, Virginia Beach’s index for groceries was 100.3. Recently while shopping at the local grocery store, I purchased a gallon of milk for around $3.50. In addition to the grocery stores, fresh produce such as apples and tomatoes can be found at various local farmers' markets around the city.

Transportation in Virginia Beach

As a parent with teenage daughters, transportation costs are a significant factor in the overall cost of living for my family. While you might not have to deal with the high costs that come with teenage drivers, individuals relying on personal vehicles must account for maintenance, insurance, and gas prices, which have seen increases over the past several years. As of this writing, a gallon of gas in Virginia Beach is around $3.20-$3.40.

Public transportation options, though limited in the city, provide some alleviation to transportation expenses. Monthly public transportation passes can reduce costs considerably for regular commuters compared to daily fares. As far as what options are available, in addition to bus service, while not in the city of Virginia Beach, the surrounding cities have train services as well.

As we have in previous sections, I wanted to look at Bestplaces.net again. According to this site, transportation was given an index of 98.0. I feel this has a lot to do with the gas prices being cheaper than the national average, as well as the limited public transportation offerings.

Healthcare in Virginia Beach

I notice healthcare services in Virginia Beach are robust, contributing positively to living standards. Sentara Healthcare is the hospital provider for the 3 hospitals in Virginia Beach. Medical care is accessible, with several hospitals and clinics offering services that are slightly higher than the average costs for healthcare in the United States. The healthcare index is 105.2 according to Bestplaces.net.

Virginia Beach Virginia King Neptune

Childcare Costs in Virginia Beach Virginia

When considering the cost of living in Virginia Beach for my family, childcare expenses have significantly impacted our budget. Fortunately, I no longer have to absorb these costs, but you might still have them. As I researched several sources, I found that the average annual cost for childcare in Virginia Beach is approximately $10,458, which is a large figure worth planning for.

For families with preschool-age children, preschool education is another important aspect. Quality early childhood education programs here are essential investments for your children's future. To manage these expenses effectively, I have researched various programs and facilities to get a good idea of what the cost is.

Here is a breakdown of typical childcare costs in Virginia Beach:

  • Full-time daycare (Infant): $250 to $300 per week
  • Full-time daycare (4-year-old): $200 to $250 per week
  • Part-time preschool: $450 to $800 per month

Given these figures, it is crucial for families to factor in these costs early into their financial planning. It's evident that the expenses for childcare do take up a considerable part of the family's monthly budget, However, this investment in the early development of our children is non-negotiable and reflects the priority we place on education and care.

Virginia Beach Virginia Jet Noise

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Employment and Income in Virginia Beach

In examining the employment landscape of Virginia Beach, I noticed that the types and availability of jobs are diverse, which is reflective of the city's economy. My research indicates that various industries—such as tourism, defense, and agribusiness—are prominent here.

The largest employer in Virginia Beach would be the Department of Defense. This is due in part to the large Military presence in Virginia Beach and overall Hampton Roads. Information on Salary.com suggests that the cost of living may influence salary differentials and work location choices.

Minimum Wage: As of my current knowledge, Virginia's minimum wage is scheduled to increase, which may affect entry-level job salaries in this area. Currently the minimum wage in Virginia is $12 an hour. However, It's crucial to verify the most up-to-date information for precise figures.

Regarding income, the city's salaries often compare with the state average, and there's a mix of positions offering different levels of income. I utilize tools like the Cost of Living Calculator to understand how salaries correspond with living expenses.

Salary Data:

  • Average weekly wages are generally lower than the national average, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • The required annual income post-taxes can vary significantly, depending on household size and living standards.

When considering salary data, it's important to account for location-based changes and salary differentials. These reflect the income needed to maintain a certain lifestyle in Virginia Beach compared to other locations.

In conclusion, employment opportunities in Virginia Beach are influenced by a variety of factors, including cost of living, industry demand, and state policies. Prospective job seekers should evaluate the local market while considering these variables.

If there is anything you think I missed or you have any questions about the city, please comment below or reach out to me here.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article. If you didn’t get a chance to watch the video, then you may have missed out on some of the information that didn't make this article. Check out the video and for more content head over to our YouTube Channel “LIFE IN HAMPTON ROADS”. Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE!


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Get in contact with my team and I on how we can help you with your move to Hampton Roads, Virginia. 


DJ Parker is your local Realtor and guide to Hampton Roads, Virginia. As a native of Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, Virginia for over 30 years, he has the local knowledge you need. He has helped clients with Real Estate throughout Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Suffolk and all of Hampton Roads Virginia.

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