Guide to Living in Fairfax, Virginia
Fairfax, Virginia is a city located in Northern Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C. It is a popular place to live for people who work in the D.C. metropolitan area, as it is well-connected to the city by public transportation and major highways. Fairfax is known for its good schools, diverse population, and rich history. It’s also a vibrant and welcoming city with a variety of things to see and do.
What Are the Best Things to Do in Fairfax, Virginia?
Here are some of the best things to do in Fairfax:
1. Visit the National Firearms Museum
This museum is home to one of the largest collections of firearms in the world. It features a wide range of weapons, from antique guns to modern firearms, and tells the story of their role in history.
2. Explore the George Mason University Campus
George Mason University is a large public research university located in Fairfax. The campus is home to a number of interesting buildings, including the Fenwick Library, which is known for its distinctive pyramid shape. There are also several outdoor sculptures and art installations on campus.
3. Go hiking in the Fairfax County Park Authority
Fairfax County is home to a number of beautiful parks and outdoor recreation areas, including the Fairfax County Park Authority. There are over 400 miles of trails in the Park Authority, offering opportunities for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.
4. Learn about local history at the Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center
This museum tells the story of Fairfax County’s history, from its founding in the 18th century to the present day. Exhibits include artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays.
5. Enjoy the arts at the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra
The Fairfax Symphony Orchestra is one of the region’s premier classical music organizations. It offers a range of concerts and performances throughout the year, including classical, pops, and family-friendly shows.
These are just a few of the many things to do in Fairfax. With its rich history, beautiful parks, and vibrant arts scene, there is something for everyone in this city.
What is the Cost of Living in Fairfax, Virginia?
Fairfax has a reputation for being an expensive place to live. According to data from the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER), the cost of living in Fairfax is significantly higher than the national average. The city has a cost of living index of 134.4, which means that it is 34.4% more expensive to live in Fairfax than the average U.S. city. This is primarily due to the high cost of housing in the city, which has an index of 237.8, more than twice the national average.
One factor that contributes to the high cost of housing in Fairfax is the city’s location in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. This region is known for its high demand for housing and its limited supply, which drives up prices. Other cities in the D.C. metropolitan area, such as Arlington, Alexandria, and Bethesda, have similarly high housing costs.
The cost of living in Fairfax is also influenced by the city’s high median household income, which is $121,250 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This is significantly higher than the national median of $68,703, and it means that residents of Fairfax tend to have more disposable income to spend on housing, food, and other necessities.
Other expenses in Fairfax, such as healthcare, transportation, and utilities, are also higher than the national average. However, the city does have some lower-cost areas, such as groceries and miscellaneous goods and services, which helps to balance out the overall cost of living.
When compared to other cities around the country, Fairfax has a similar cost of living to other high-priced cities, such as Boston, New York, and San Francisco.
Transportation Options for Living in Fairfax, Virginia
Transportation is an important consideration for anyone living in Fairfax, Virginia. The city is easily accessible by car, with several major highways running through the area. These highways include I-66, which runs east-west through the city, and the Capital Beltway (I-495), which surrounds the city and connects it to other areas in the region. In addition, several other major roads, such as Route 50, Route 29, and Route 123, provide access to Fairfax and the surrounding areas.
For those who prefer public transportation, Fairfax is served by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). WMATA operates a bus and subway system that connects the city to other areas in the region, including Washington, D.C., Arlington, Alexandria, and Bethesda. The city is served by several bus routes, as well as the Orange Line of the WMATA subway system, which has a station in Fairfax. The subway system is a convenient way to travel to other parts of the region, and it is especially useful for commuting to work in D.C. or surrounding areas.
Overall, transportation in Fairfax is relatively convenient and easy to navigate, whether by car or public transportation. The city’s many major roads and its connection to the WMATA system make it easy for residents to get around and access other parts of the region.
What’s the Climate Like in Fairfax?
Fairfax has a humid subtropical climate, which is characterized by hot, humid summers and cold winters. The city is located in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States, and it experiences a range of weather conditions throughout the year.
In the summer months, temperatures in Fairfax can reach the mid to high 80s Fahrenheit, with high humidity levels. The city experiences frequent thunderstorms during the summer, which can bring heavy rainfall and occasional severe weather.
In the winter months, temperatures in Fairfax can drop to the 30s and 40s Fahrenheit, and the city can experience occasional snowfall. The area typically sees about 15 inches of snow per year, which can lead to slippery road conditions and other weather-related disruptions.
Overall, the climate in Fairfax is generally mild, but it can experience extreme temperatures and weather conditions at times. It is important for residents to be prepared for a range of weather conditions and to take precautions to stay safe during extreme events.
Pros and Cons of Living in Fairfax
Pros of living in Fairfax, Virginia:
- Good location: Fairfax is located in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, which provides easy access to the city and other areas in the region.
- High-quality schools: Fairfax is known for its good schools, with a number of highly rated public and private options.
- Diverse population: The city has a diverse population, with a mix of different races, cultures, and ages.
- Plenty of amenities: Fairfax has a range of amenities, including shopping centers, restaurants, and cultural attractions.
- Close to outdoor recreation: The city is located near a number of parks and outdoor recreation areas, including the Fairfax County Park Authority.
Cons of living in Fairfax, Virginia:
- High cost of living: Fairfax has a higher-than-average cost of living, particularly when it comes to housing costs.
- Traffic: The city can experience heavy traffic, especially during peak commute times.
- Limited public transportation options: While Fairfax is served by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), some residents may find the public transportation options to be limited.
- Limited housing options: The high demand for housing in the city can make it difficult to find a suitable home at an affordable price.
- Occasional extreme weather: Fairfax can experience extreme weather conditions, including heavy snowfall in the winter and severe thunderstorms in the summer.
Summary: Life in Fairfax
Fairfax, Virginia has good schools, a diverse population, and a range of amenities. However, it also has a higher-than-average cost of living, particularly when it comes to housing costs, and it can experience traffic congestion and extreme weather conditions. Potential residents should carefully consider all of the pros and cons before deciding to move to Fairfax.
How Much Does It Cost to Live in Northern Virginia?
Situated next to Washington D.C., Northern Virginia is made up of equestrian farms, rambling homesteads, and a touch of colonial times. The beautiful blend of chic shops and significant historical gems give Northern Virginia its character. Some of the most notable landmarks of this region include the Pentagon (the headquarters of the US department of defense), and the CIA. Popularly known as “NOVA”, Northern Virginia is an ideal choice for someone who is intrigued by diversity and also cherishes natural beauty.
Apart from popular spots such as the Great Falls Park, which is a popular natural destination visited by tourists from across the globe and Shenandoah National Park, home to panoramic views and wilderness, there are several compelling local experiences to be had. In addition, since the local economy shows signs of strength, the job and business opportunities remain strong throughout the Northern Virginia suburbs of D.C. This makes it easier for families looking for houses to move here.
So, whether it is the diversity, opportunity, or accessibility to Washington D.C., you can find it all in Northern Virginia. Having said all of that however, what is the cost of living in Northern Virginia?
What is the Cost of Living Index?
To understand the cost of living in Virginia, we must try to first understand what the cost of living index is. When it comes to real estate, inflation plays a vital role sometimes. The cost of living estimate (or “COL”) generally includes the costs for housing, food, medical care, energy consumption, travel expenses, taxes and other necessities.
In other words, the cost of living index is the estimation of the costs of all the basic necessities required by an individual to live comfortably. People who tend to move from one city, state, or country to another, take note of the costs of living in that particular location, and the cost of living index provides general guidelines that you can use in planning. So, if you plan to move within or relocate to Northern Virginia, thinking about the cost of living index may help you determine whether or not moving is in your best interest.
What’s the Average Cost of Living for a Family in Northern Virginia?
You have to consider several aspects when it comes to relocating to a new city, state or country, and cost of living is a crucial one. And since there are several cities and counties within Northern Virginia, the cost of living tends to vary.
In general, the cost of living in Northern Virginia is relatively high. Having said that however, it may be safe to say that the price tags in some urban areas of NOVA are comparatively lower than other cities along the Eastern Seaboard, such as New York.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if you’re living in rural areas, some prices and expenses may be lower than locations that are squarely within the major metro areas. There are several reasons why the cost of living in Northern Virginia is sometimes considered quite high.
1. A Thriving Real Estate Market
NOVA is home to high-rise buildings, condominiums and townhouses. Fairfax County in particular is the second largest suburban office market in the US. And, there is a wide spectrum of housing options and opportunities.
2. Excellent Education Facilities
Northern Virginia boasts first-rate educational institutions, including some of the most sought-after public schools and higher education institutes.
3. Outstanding Healthcare
Remarkable healthcare facilities are often a sign of a growing economy, which almost always correlates with strong market demand. With over 5,000 physicians practicing in Northern Virginia, the healthcare services are considered top-notch. The areas are served by some of the best and most highly-ranked hospitals.
4. Fantastic Transportation Facilities and Infrastructure
Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport are the two major airports in NOVA. Northern Virginia is also connected by Metrorail and the commuter rail system. There are also two highway systems in the region.
Approximate Cost of Living
Let’s take a look at what the cost of living in Fairfax, one of the key cities in the region would be like. According to bestplaces.net, the estimated cost of living index in Fairfax is 148.2, which is 48.2% higher than the national average. This makes it one of the most expensive cities in the US. It is also important to note, however, that the median household income of Fairfax is $116,979, which is 57% higher than the state median. For an individual living in Fairfax, the median income is 40% more than the state median, which stands at $55,126.
Therefore, when you’re moving to or within Northern Virginia, especially to one of the bigger areas, you should consider:
- Daily expenses
- Medical expenses
- Housing costs
Does Virginia Have Affordable Housing?
As per the cost of living index stated by bestplaces.net, the state of Virginia scores 104.2, which is based on the US average of 100. What this tells us is that the cost of living in Northern Virginia is higher than the average. Having said that, these costs may differ from one region to another and Virginia might be less costly than other East coast cities.
When relocating to Northern Virginia, you can expect the housing costs to be your biggest expense, with a median house costing $258,400. As compared to the national median home cost, which is $231,200, this is a fair amount higher. And the median home cost throughout the state is $258,400, with a 4% increase in home appreciation.
What Factors Are Included in Estimating the Cost of Living
1. Utility Costs
Although the cost of living is higher in Northern Virginia, you might be able to save on your utility costs. Average electricity and natural gas costs are $125 and $72 per month respectively, and $60 for the internet.
2. Transportation and Food Costs
A 7-day regional bus pass costs $17.50 while the food expenses are likely to cost an average of $300 per month.
3. Medical Costs and Taxes
The national average cost of health insurance for a 40-year-old is expected to be around $495 a month, and anyone earning a taxable income of more than $17,000, can expect an income tax rate of 5.75% in Virginia.
Ready to Move?
Considering all the expenses that determine the cost of living in Northern Virginia, it is always advisable to seek help from a professional realtor in the home-buying process. Working with someone experienced, who can help you navigate through Northern Virginia’s housing market, will help you find the best property for you, and negotiate the absolute best possible deal. Contact Jessica Bush to get started today!