Hidden and almost completely unnoticed within the vast acreage of the United States is the state of West Virginia. Perhaps the reason for its anonymity is because at one time, it was a part of Virginia until 1863 when it was granted statehood. Located in the Appalachian Mountain Range, it’s nicknamed “the Mountain State” because of its mountainous terrain. There are more than a million acres of land consisting of 37 state parks and recreation areas, nine state forests and two national forests. Its residents enjoy access to diverse outdoor activities such as white water rafting, fishing, skiing, hiking, mountain biking and hunting. There is an abundance of rolling hills and meadows and it displays a scenic picture rich in exquisitely colored foliage. West Virginia’s historical presence is unprecedented and a valuable contribution for those interested in experiencing the profound days of old, all delivered with a personal small-town touch.
Make no mistake: West Virginia is not a state for diehard city lovers. It’s the essence of tranquility and a perfect locale for all who wish to commune with nature. The cities and towns offer comfort and relaxation, and the moderate cost of living is sure to be a meaningful attraction to many people in these harsh economical times. The small town settings, coupled with the many activities of leisure, make West Virginia a place that many people can easily call home.
Real Estate Values
The average listing prices for homes in West Virginia range from $70,000 to $295,000. There are homes available that are less than $70,000 and homes for more than $295,000 so it could be said there is something for everybody in this remarkable state.
Popular and Fastest Growing Cities
United Van Lines reported in 2007 that while they moved 44.3% of the population out of West Virginia, they also moved 55.7 percent of people into West Virginia. Choosing the most popular cities in West Virginia largely depends on what people want and need. The cities of West Virginia boast a variety of interests and necessities which makes it worth the time and effort to check out as a possible residence.
Below are six honorable mentions that rate attention.
Charleston is the capital of West Virginia and it’s the main gateway into West Virginia. Its population is approximately 51,000. It’s a modest city with a low cost of living having a median home value of approximately $130,000, in comparison to the national median of $200,000. The homes are historic in nature and continuing education is a top priority, having access to eight colleges and universities. Charleston’s metropolitan area is made up of separate districts, and its downtown village is alive with commercial activity. There’s evidence of sophistication but with small town charm.
Charleston has grown significantly in the area of recruiting businesses, which of course produces job opportunities. The government is strenuously working to build a vibrant community for creative leaders. It’s no doubt that job opportunities, along with the low cost of living, are incentives that attract people seeking different locations for a new start in life.
The population in Huntington is approx 49,000. The median listing price of the homes is $115,000. Huntington has survived the Great Depression of 1937 to emerge to its current status of being an alluring and accommodating place to live, work and enjoy life. Available to its citizens are parks that include Camden Park with its 106 year-old amusement park, numerous museums, theatres, fine restaurants, festivals, shopping malls and small specialty stores. Unlike so many cities whose past has been devoured by modernization, Huntington’s downtown district retains its historical significance through the restoration of the grand architecture which has existed since the turn of the 19th century. However, a portion of these structures have been transformed into luxury condominiums, additional lofts and flats. This combination is working wonders for attracting both young professionals and retirees.
Wheeling was the first capital of West Virginia before Charleston was proclaimed the capital in 1885. As of 2009, its population was estimated at slightly fewer than 30,000. The average selling price of homes in Wheeling varies depending on the specific area but the approximate range is from $100,000 to $125,000. Besides a splendid historical presence, the combination of year-round recreational activities consisting of golfing, water sports, tennis, skateboarding, biking and hiking, and year-round entertainment that includes concert series, pro-sporting events and festivals, makes this friendly city an exceptional place to raise families.
The population of Morgantown registers slightly more than 28,000. This is a small town with the feel of a big city. According to an NBC News reports, Morgantown has been described as one of the best small cities in the country. This city’s unemployment rate of 2.7% is one of the lowest in the country. While the economy wanes all over the United States, Morgantown continues to thrive because the people of this city describe themselves as possessing a “can-do mountaineer” spirit that goes well with the city’s goal of diversifying the local economy enabling the growing presence of a variety of professions. Businesses continue to flourish yielding an ongoing stream of jobs. Add to this the beautiful landscapes presented by the many forests and water-laden areas, and the bustling small townships offering all kinds of festive delights and activities, and it becomes understandable why Morgantown is an excellent choice for those looking for a peaceful change while maintaining access to the more exciting aspects of city life. The median home value in Morgantown is $188,000 and in addition to its many amenities, it’s also a certified retirement community.
Born in 1947, Weirton is a fairly young city. It’s the only city in the United States that is located in one state but shares borders with two other states, Ohio and Pennsylvania. As of 2009, the population of Weirton was approximately 18,500. The average value of homes depends on which real estate agency is doing the reporting but it rounds out to approximately $125,000. Warm and neighborly with a cost of living that is below the national average, Weirton is thought to be one of the safest places in the country to live making it a prime haven for families. Also, having two other states in such close proximity could be a magnet for families with differing tastes to have choices of living in several types of surroundings while remaining in close contact with each other.
Martinsburg is rapidly growing due to the steady stream of people who are relocating from Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD. As of 2007, its population was reported as approximately 17,000 and the average home is valued at approximately $180,000. Perhaps one of the reasons for the spurt of growth can be attributed to Martinsburg’s attention to supplying comfortable provisions for senior citizens and disabled individuals. Their accommodations for the elderly consists of retirement communities, assisted living facilities, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Respite, short-term and continuing care facilities, and general nursing homes. Many of these facilities are staffed 24 hours a day with trained healthcare professionals and dedicated care-giving teams. Disabled citizens are given access to public businesses, places and transportation, medical and educational facilities and homes through the construction of usable structures made according to ADA standards for accessible design.
About the Housing Market
The following are the particulars regarding West Virginia’s housing market.
Recourse or Non-Recourse State
West Virginia is a recourse state. In a recourse state, if a home is sold in an auction or short sale for less money than is owed to the lender, the lender can come after the homeowner to collect the deficiency payment. The deficiency payment is defined as the difference between the balance due on the home and the final selling price of the home. In a non-recourse state, the lender loses all deficiencies because they cannot go after the homeowner. However, homeowners should know that while they may be free of paying the remaining balance in a non-recourse state, they may be subject to paying taxes on that deficiency amount.
Deed of Trust or Mortgage
West Virginia is mainly a “Deed of Trust” state. When a home is purchased using a Deed of Trust, there are three parties involved: the beneficiary, or the lender, collects the interest paid on the home; the trustor, or the homeowner, makes the mortgage payments on the home; and the trustee who holds the title on the home and initiates foreclosure proceedings for a trustee sale at the beneficiary’s request. Under a Deed of Trust, if foreclosure becomes necessary, the trustee will conduct the process according to what has been agreed upon in the contract. No court is involved which makes this a non-judicial foreclosure. However, the interesting thing about a Deed of Trust purchase is the only way a lender can come after a deficiency payment is if they take the matter to court. So even if the homeowner lives in a recourse state, purchasing their home through a Deed of Trust could be an advantage.
Right of Redemption vs. Right of Reinstatement
Under the right of redemption, the homeowner has the right to buy back their home from the buyer who purchased it. To redeem the home, the homeowner must pay the redemption price which is the entire balance due of the current loan on the property. The redemption period is either three or twelve months, depending on whether or not sufficient proceeds are collected to cover the note following the sale. Under the right to reinstate, homeowners must pay all expenses, fees and late charges due on their home bringing their note current. If they successfully pay all monies due, the loan is reinstated and homeowners can continue living in their home making regular monthly payments as though no problems had occurred. However, if a notice of default has been served three or more times, the homeowner has no right to reinstate.
In West Virginia, there is no right of redemption after a trustee sale under a Deed of Trust but homeowners are given up to 10 days prior to the trustee sale to exercise their right to reinstate.
The mortgage rates in West Virginia are about the same as the national rates for fixed and adjustable rate mortgages, which range from approximately 4.5% to 6 percent.
Are there Specific regulations regarding refinancing, second mortgages and home equity loans?
- Regulations in West Virginia regarding refinancing, second mortgages and home equity loans are about the same as they are in the general real estate market. For refinancing, the rates in West Virginia continue to remain low. Refinancing can be a better option than taking out a second mortgage because there is less risk to the lender. There are still closing cost fees that are usually calculated at 2.5 to 3% of the amount borrowed.
- As far as second mortgages or home equity loans, the standard rule applies: in order to obtain a second mortgage of home equity loan, the homeowner must have sufficient equity in their home and adequate income.