Alexandria is a stunning independent city in Virginia and is situated on the Potomac River. Just 7.8 miles from Washington D.C., Alexandria is a popular city for commuters who want to live close to DC without actually residing in the city. Known for its upscale housing, amazing education opportunities, and endless job options, moving to Alexandria is becoming more and more popular among people of all ages.
If you are thinking about moving to the area, then you need to be aware of the cost of living in Alexandria, VA. The city boasts a higher-than-average cost of living, so it is important to be prepared before settling down in the area. Here’s a look at the Alexandria, Virginia cost of living, daily expenses, real estate prices, and more.
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Alexandria VA Cost of Living Index
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Is Alexandria, VA expensive? One of the best ways to answer this question is to take a look at the Alexandria Cost of Living Index. The Cost of Living Index is a number that compares the cost of goods and services in a city to the national average. The national average Cost of Living Index is set at 100. Many factors go into the Cost of Living Index, including groceries, healthcare, housing, and utilities.
The Alexandria Cost of Living Index is 139.5, which means that the cost of living in Alexandria is 39.5% higher than the national average. Groceries, housing, and healthcare are above the national average, while utilities and transportation are below the national average.
Consumer Price Index (CPI)
The Consumer Price Index, or CPI, is what the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses to measure the average changes in the prices of everyday expenses. The Consumer Price Index in Alexandria is down 0.1% over the past two months but up 1.8% over the past year. This is the smallest rise that the area has seen in 2 years. The main contributors to the increase are food and electricity costs, which rose 2.1% and 4.4%, respectively.
Over the past year, energy prices in Alexandria have fallen 12.6%, largely due to lower gasoline prices. Recreation costs have also decreased by 2.1%.
Consumer Expenditure Survey
Another great way to measure the average cost of living in Alexandria, VA, is to take a look at the Consumer Expenditure Survey. This survey is conducted by the BLS and provides data on expenditures of consumers in a given area. According to the latest Consumer Expenditure Survey, households in Alexandria spent an average of $88,767 during the 2020-21 calendar year. This is much higher than the national average of $64,187.
Here’s a breakdown of how this income is spent.
- Housing: 37.4% of annual budget (compared to national average of 34.3%)
- Personal insurance and pensions: 14.3% of annual budget (compared to national average of 11.8%)
- Food: 12.0% of annual budget (compared to national average of 12.2%)
- Transportation: 10.5% of annual budget (compared to national average of 16.2%)
- Healthcare: 7.3% of annual budget (compared to national average of 8.3%)
- Cash contributions: 5.1% of annual budget (compared to national average of 3.7%)
- Entertainment: 4.4% of annual budget (compared to national average of 5.1%)
- Education: 2.8% of annual budget (compared to national average of 1.9%)
As you can see, the cost of living in Alexandria, VA is higher than the national average in most categories. Food, transportation, healthcare, and entertainment, however, are below the national average.
Family Budget in Alexandria
Is Alexandria affordable for me and my family? According to the Economic Policy Institute’s Family Budget Calculator, a family of four would need to earn $108,654 per year to afford to live in Alexandria. Here’s how this breaks down monthly.
- Housing: $1,834
- Child care: $1,738
- Taxes: $1,319
- Health care: $1,294
- Food: $944
- Transportation: $919
- Other necessities: $1,007
Cost of Household Items, Utilities, Gas & Groceries in Alexandria
Is Alexandria, Virginia expensive when it comes to everyday expenses? Before moving to the area, you will want to consider Alexandria living expenses, Alexandria grocery costs, and Alexandria transportation costs.
This is the average cost of groceries in Alexandria (as well as a few other everyday expenses).
- Steak (1lb): $11.83
- Milk (1 gal.): $3.25
- Eggs (1 dozen): $4.10
- Potatoes (5 lbs): $11.65
- Bread (1 loaf): $2.58
- Beer (1 bottle): $1.81
- Movie ticket: $15.00
- McDonald’s meal: $12.25
- Average cell phone bill (monthly): $43.00
When living in the area, you will also need to pay utilities every month. The average cost of utilities in Alexandria, VA is $167.74. You can also expect to pay a monthly car insurance rate of about $51.
Transportation costs are lower in Alexandria due to the amazing public transportation systems. While you can absolutely drive your own car, you can also take advantage of the DASH system, which is a bus service that connects with Metrobus, Metrorail, VRE, and other local bus systems. It is $2 per ride or $45 for an unlimited monthly pass. The Metrobus system consists of 335 routes and 15,000 bus stops all over Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland. The Metrorail consists of 106 miles of rail lines that run directly through the city of Alexandria.
Alexandria Real Estate Market
The Alexandria, VA real estate market is very competitive. Most of the current Alexandria homes for sale are listed at a price that is well above the national average. According to Redfin, the average home price in Alexandria, VA is $570,000, which is higher than the national average of $421,714. Alexandria, Virginia real estate prices are up 2.6% since last year, and homes sell after around 23 days on the market.
Some of the most popular neighborhoods in Alexandria include:
- Old Town: Located in eastern and southeastern Alexandria just along the Potomac River. This is a historic district and is known for its townhouses, art galleries, antique shops, and cobblestone streets. The average home price in this area is $927,450.
- Eisenhower Valley: A largely commercial area with an average home price of $607,500.
- Rosemont: Rosemont is just west of Old Town and is the city’s oldest planned residential expansion. The homes in this neighborhood are large with spacious yards and sell for an average of $1 million.
- North Ridge: This residential area contains beautiful single-family, two-story homes close to top-rated schools. The average home price in North Ridge is $815,000.
Alexandria Rental Market – Average Rent in Alexandria VA
Are you searching for apartments in Alexandria, VA? According to RentCafe, the average rent in Alexandria, VA is $2,069 for an 860-square-foot apartment. This is higher than the national average of $1,702.
Here’s how Alexandria, VA rent stacks up to other nearby cities:
- Washington: $2,401 per month
- Richmond: $1,476 per month
- Baltimore City: $1,557 per month
- Rockville: $2,225 per month
- Fairfax: $2,302 per month
The most affordable neighborhoods in Alexandria are Landmark – Van Dorn ($1,919 per month), Arlandria ($1,922 per month), and Auburn Village ($1,922 per month). The most expensive neighborhoods in Alexandria are Olde Town North, Potomac Greens, and Southwest Quadrant, where the average monthly rent comes out to $2,589.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s Out of Reach Report states that a worker in Arlington would need to earn $35.35 per hour ($1,838 per month) to afford a two-bedroom apartment in the city without spending over 30% of their income on housing. This averages out to $73,520 per year and is higher than the Virginia average of $55,821.
If you are stuck deciding between renting and buying in Alexandria, then you can use the price-to-rent ratio to help with your decision. The higher the price-to-rent ratio, the better the area is for renters. The lower it is, the better the city is for buyers. The price-to-rent calculation is:
Median Home Price / Median Annual Rent = Price-to-Rent Ratio
Here’s the equation with Arlington’s information plugged in.
$570,000 / $24,828 = 22.95
Based on the higher price-to-rent ratio, it is cheaper to rent than to buy in Arlington.
Average Salary & Household Income in Alexandria
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Although the Alexandria, Virginia cost of living is high, the average income and salary can help to offset the high expenses. The average income in Alexandria, VA for the typical household is $101,162. This is 25% higher than the Virginia average of $80,963. It is only slightly lower than the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metro Area, which has a median household income of $110,355.
According to PayScale, the average salary in Alexandria, VA is $83,000, which is higher than the Virginia average of $75,000.
The top employers in Alexandria, VA include:
- United States Department of Defense – Mark Center: 8,000 employees
- United States Department of Commerce: 5,000 employees
- City of Alexandria: 2,500 employees
- Alexandria City Public Schools: 2,500 employees
- Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority: 1,200 employees
- USDA Food and Nutrition Service: 800 employees
- Commonwealth of Virginia: 600 employees
When living in Arlington, you will also have access to jobs in Washington DC, which contains one of the nation’s largest metropolitan economies.
Income, Sales & Property Taxes in Alexandria
This is what you need to know about taxes before moving to the area.
Virginia Income Tax Rate
Your Virginia income tax rate depends on your taxable income and residency status.
Sales Tax in Alexandria VA
The Alexandria, VA sales tax rate is made up of the state and city sales tax rates. Here is a breakdown of the Alexandria, Virginia sales tax rate.
- Virginia State: 4.300%
- Alexandria City: 1.000%
- Alexandria: 0.700%
- Total: 6.000%
Alexandria Property Tax
Alexandria property taxes are calculated by multiplying the property’s assessed value by the property tax rate. The current Alexandria, VA property tax rate is currently $1.11 per $100 of taxable property. For example, If you have a home worth $200,000, you will pay $2,220 in Alexandria property tax.
Alexandria vs. Arlington Cost of Living
If you are considering different cities on the Virginia side of the Potomac, then you may also be thinking about Arlington. But how does the Arlington cost of living compare to the Alexandria cost of living? The two cities are only 9.3 miles away from each other, but Arlington has a higher cost of living. The Cost of Living Index in Arlington is 146, making it 6.5% more expensive than Alexandria and 46% more expensive than the national average.
Here’s a comparison of the cost of living in both cities:
- Average rent: $2,069 in Alexandria vs. $1,360 in Arlington
- Average home price: $570,000 in Alexandria vs. $739,900 in Arlington
- Average salary: $83,000 in Alexandria vs. $87,000 in Arlington
- Average household income: $101,162 in Alexandria vs. $125,651 in Arlington
- Average monthly expenses: $9,055 in Alexandria vs. $9,885 in Arlington
As you can see, it is cheaper to live in Alexandria than in Arlington. However, it is important to note that the average household income and salary are higher in Arlington, making it easier to pay these higher expenses. Renters may also find better luck in Arlington, as the average rent is over $700 cheaper.
Although the Alexandria, Virginia cost of living is above the national average, the incredible location, family-friendly attractions, and close proximity to DC make it a great place to live. Also, the cost of living in Alexandria, VA is much lower compared to other major cities. When you are ready to make the move to this gorgeous city, then let the best Alexandria movers assist you! Give Suburban Solutions a call today at 610-314-6868.