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Last updated: September 16, 2021 • Traveling Around the World

Living in Alexandria, VA

The cities that spread across the Washington metropolitan area are amongst the most desirable places to live. Important political figures and presidents have walked the grounds of this impressive metropolis and its history and culture are unmatched. 

Have you ever wondered how it would be to walk down the streets where George Washington has set foot? Do you want to be close to all the action from downtown Washington but at the same time be part of a small community that has everything you need within walking distance? Do you see yourself living in a historical city that takes you back in the past each time you walk its cobblestone paved streets? The city of Alexandria has it all and many more.

Alexandria, VA is an independent city located along the western bank of the Potomac River. This city is approximately 7 miles away from downtown Washington, D.C. With a population of about 160,000, making Alexandria a small city that is well known for its historic center called Old Town and for its accessibility.

Old Town Alexandria attracts all those who live in the city and tourists as well, because of its concentration of boutiques, restaurants, antique shops and theaters. With all the pros and cons of living in Alexandria, let’s take a short walk through the historical city and see what it’s like to live in Alexandria, VA.

Neighborhoods in Alexandria, VA ranked from best to worst

reflection of waterfront apartments

Each neighborhood is different and we can safely say they are not created equal. If you live in an apartment building in downtown Alexandria or if you live further away in a condo or house you still have a place that you can call home. Small neighborhoods have their advantages, such as, cost of living, it’s safer, life is slow-paced, but every neighborhood is different so you might be wondering which one is better?

Instead of speculating or relying on public opinion we want to get the facts straight and find out which neighborhoods rank the best and which rank the worst. So if you plan on living in Alexandria then we have a list that covers the best and worst neighborhoods to live in Alexandria.

Best neighborhoods in Alexandria 

  1. North ridge-Rosemont – Located in northern Alexandria near its boundary with Arlington County, taking its name from the high ground of West Glebe Road and Russell Road. North Ridge has a population of about 12,000 and it was ranked the no.1 neighborhood in 2019. The median home value is $695,870 and the median income is $152,000.
  2. Old Town – Located along the Potomac River, this neighborhood was originally laid out in 1749, which makes it the oldest historic district in the city. Old Town is known for its antique shops, art galleries, restaurants, and historic townhouses. The population here is approximately 6,768 however don’t let that low number surprise you! The median home value is $823,560 and the median income of it’s residents is $132,000.
  3. Northeast – This neighborhood has a modest population of 1,081 and it was ranked the third-best area in Alexandria. The median home value in this neighborhood is around $620,000 and the median income is $146,000.
  4. Southwest Quadrant – The population of this neighborhood is about 3,148 having a  median home value in the area of about $690,000. Median household income is about $123,686.
  5. Potomac West – From the other neighborhoods mentioned in this list, this is the most populated one with about 24,000 people. The median home value in this area is about $574,000 and the median income is $114,000.

Worst ranked neighborhoods in Alexandria

In Alexandria, neighborhoods conjure up plenty of stereotypes. Here you’ve got preppy places, hipster areas, neighborhoods that attract college kids, and of course, suburbs. Although the city ranks as one of the best places to live in the country thanks to its strong economy and plenty of activities to keep you busy, there are some downsides as well. LIke many cities, some neighborhoods don’t rank so well and here is a list of them.

  1. Fairlington-Bradlee
  2. King St Metro
  3. Seminary Hill
  4. Landmark-Van Dom
  5. Alexandria Wrest

Cost of living in Alexandria, VA

cost of living home loan image

Relocating to a city such as Alexandria raises a couple of questions for anyone who is looking for a new place to move. One of the most important is the cost of living, and Alexandria is not the cheapest place to live in. The cost of living in Alexandria is quite high and there are a couple of reasons for that which we will briefly touch base on.

In Alexandria, a family of two adults and two children need to make about $105,200 per year in order to comfortably live. The cost of living in Alexandria is about 44% higher than the national average, although the prices can vary quite a bit based on the area you live in, the real estate market and your career path that provides a sustainable income.

Housing expenses are 133% higher than the national average, groceries are 17% higher, transportation is 10% higher than the national average and utilities are 3% higher.

Homeownership in Alexandria is probably your best bet but it is not easy to own a piece of property in Alexandria since the most expensive part about Alexandria is the housing market. It is also competitive, so if you plan to buy a property in Alexandria make sure to reach out to our top real estate agents in Alexandria VA that can help provide the best experience possible during your home search.

Since there are plenty of Apartment buildings in Alexandria, finding apartments to rent is now easier than ever. Look around for some of the best apartments in the areas that have shopping and entertainment within walking distance and allow for an easy commute.

Salary Needed to live in Alexandria, VA

salary written on wooden block

In the previous section we briefly touched this subject and it is important to know what your salary should be in order to live in Alexandria. As we mentioned, the costs of living are high mainly because of housing, which is the most expensive aspect of Alexandria. Followed by  groceries, transportation, and utilities in this exact order. 

With that being said, how much does a family need to make per year in order to live comfortably in Alexandria, VA? A family of four would need to make a whopping $105,239 per year or $8,770 per month to live a modest life in Alexandria. You would require a good salary in order to live in Alexandria since the costs of living here are compared with the average costs of the DC metropolitan area. 

Also, take into account that the costs might vary depending on the neighborhood that you live in. Choosing a good neighborhood comes at higher costs but better quality of life overall and on the other hand cheaper neighborhoods might not be as safe or have as many opportunities as the top-rated neighborhoods. So you might be tempted to go for a better-rated neighborhood even if the cost of living is higher. There are jobs with better salaries and a lot more things to do in and around Alexandria, and it’s usually better in terms of safety.

Real Estate market in Alexandria, VA

real estate housing market

The real estate market is a seller’s market and there are fewer homes for sale now than last year during the same month. Homes sell very quickly and the average listing time for a home is 31 days. The average selling price has increased by about 5% compared to last year so the real estate market in the area continues to favor sellers.

Neighborhoods in Alexandria that have seen a significant real estate appreciation since the year 2000 are, Warwick Village, Lynnhaven/SaintElmo, Huntington Ave/ Farrington Ave, Arlandria and North Patrick St./Oronoco St. Currently there are about 68,663 homes and apartments in Alexandria and the housing demand is increasing.

The real estate market in Alexandria indicates that there are about 42.7% owners, 57.3% renters and 9% vacant properties. In terms of rentals, the statistics show that the average market for rent is about $2,191/ per month. For more details about the average cost of rent in Alexandria, VA, check out our advice page.

Overall looking at the city of Alexandria, we can see that living here is not cheap in terms of living costs but the advantages far outweigh any disadvantages. This city’s family-friendly environment provides facilities and amenities that are within walking distance, which creates convenience in terms of commuting and accessibility. Don’t take our words for granted and experience the culture and history of Alexandria by yourself.


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