March 2020

West Virginia Housing Market Vitality



West Virginia metro area house prices are forecasted to underperform the national market. Current local conditions support an estimated 0.8% increase in the next twelve months. West Virginia’s housing market vitality, based on the eleven metro housing markets which comprise it, is weaker than that of the overall U.S. and currently ranks the state as fiftieth in the nation. Recent changes in local conditions suggest the possibility of moderation in short-term performance.

Housing Market Vitality

Housing Market Vitality summarizes the impact of economic conditions on future house prices. A value of 100 corresponds to conditions supporting current prices; values less than 100 correspond to a dampening effect; and values greater than 100 indicate a positive effect on house prices.  A housing market vitality value can be interpreted as a forecasted growth rate. Hence, a reading of 105.8 can be interpreted as a forecasted 5.8% annualized increase in house prices.

West Virginia Metro Housing Markets

West Virginia is comprised of eleven metro housing markets that account for nearly 61% of the state’s population. The markets are unique in their demographics and local economies and exhibit trends that are distinct from the national or state narrative. Each metro market presents its own unique opportunity.

Charleston, WV Underperform 297
Cumberland, MD-WV Track 329
Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV Track 305
Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH Underperform 368
Morgantown, WV Outperform 17
Parkersburg-Vienna, WV Underperform 277
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Outperform 57
Weirton-Steubenville, WV-OH Outperform 34
Wheeling, WV-OH Underperform 254
Winchester, VA-WV Outperform 100
Beckley, WV Underperform 279

Industry Specialization

West Virginia’s state economy is specialized in Mining, Edu Health svcs, and Leisure Hosp. Fncl activities, Information, and Manufacturing industry sectors are less important to the state economy compared to the national economy.

Industry specialization helps explain the differing impact of industry trends on local economies in contrast to industry composition which describes the structure of the economy. A Specialization Index value greater than 100 corresponds to the sector having a greater share of the state economy than it does of the national economy. Sectors with a Specialization Index greater than 120 characterize the local economy.


Compared to the U.S., there is a higher incidence of poverty amongst Mountain State residents and they have less purchasing power. There are more high school graduates and a smaller proportion of the population is college educated. West Virginia’s population is comparatively less diverse than the overall U.S. population.

A Demographics Index value greater than 100 corresponds to the factor being more intense in the state versus the national average. Characteristics of the local population is a longer-term factor that influences the housing market.