2010 West Virginia Housing Market

Blennerhassett Island Park, Parkersburg

From the shambles of being one of the two worst economies in the nation, West Virginia is pulling out of its slump. The state’s economy grew at three and a half times the national rate in 2008 and housing markets are bracing for a long sought after recovery.

Home prices didn’t hit double-digit rates of inflation in West Virginia, and that has turned out to be the state’s biggest saving grace. West Virginia also has the second lowest number of foreclosures for any state in the country, providing an enduring inner-strength for its housing markets. Few lenders offered creative new mortgages that could get anybody that wanted to into a house.

However, housing prices are declining as a result of the financial crisis and more restrictive mortgage lending standards. In Charleston, home sales were prodded up by the federal government’s first time home buyers’ tax credit, and should see another boost in sales from the expansion of the program. New businesses have been attracted to Charleston, drawing new residents to a growing job market.

The drop in housing values is projected to last just part of the year in Charleston as more newcomers relocate to the area, seeking new jobs and a better quality of life, which should put pressure on home values. As a result, Charleston is projected to see housing prices appreciate a moderate 3.1% in 2010.

Morgantown, where West Virginia University makes its home has seen a growing demand for housing. As the community turns up its business friendly appeal more companies are locating to the area and bringing newcomers, despite the national financial crisis. Morgantown is projected to grow as a result even as most of the rest of the country faces economic uncertainty with average housing inflation of 2.6% in 2010.

It took longer to sell a home in Huntington during the downturn, but as employers hire more the market is mending, which affects home sales. Huntington will see a better number of sales through most of the year on forecast appreciation of 3.0% for 2010.

On the Ohio River, Wheeling saw its housing market cool after the national boom, but like most of West Virginia was protected from run away housing inflation. The market has improved in terms of home sales and is projected to see more sales in 2010 on 2.0% average inflation.

While other areas of the country experienced high flying home sales and rocketing prices, Fairmont remained a more stable market with little jeopardy in pricing. For nearly 50 years home prices have risen about at the rate of inflation in Fairmont, one of the most stable markets in the country. Despite the national economic downturn, Fairmont should see appreciation of about 1.2% for the year.