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By Joel Henderson - Real Estate Specialist -

Moving to Hampton Roads

Great economy, great amenities!

If you are considering moving to Virginia Beach, you’ll be surprised by the number of people who do the same every year! And why not? This coastal city is not only among the fastest-growing places in the country but also has a lot on offer, no matter what you are interested in.

Known for its pleasant climate, diverse economy, and numerous educational and employment opportunities, this city is among the best choices if you are looking to make a move. What can be better than living in a location that can easily compare to some of the most popular vacation spots in the country, right?

For anyone interested in relocating to Virginia Beach, finding the right property that matches your requirements is challenging. The growing population of the city, as well as the high demand for property, add to the difficulty. But with the right real estate professionals, the process of house-hunting is much easier.

But before you start your search for an experienced local real estate professional, it’s a good idea to know why people are attracted to settling down in this beautiful coastal city. So let’s take a look.

  • Amazing climate: Virginia Beach has a moderate climate, meaning you can enjoy favorable weather throughout the year. Being a coastal city, you won’t have to tolerate extreme climates, irrespective of the season. This is one of the most important reasons behind the popularity of the city as a place for relocation. The coastal region is especially delightful during spring and autumn.
  • Attractive job market: If you are considering relocating to gain access to better job opportunities, Virginia Beach won’t disappoint you. The job market in the city is witnessing steady growth in recent times, making it one of the best places to find a job within the US. As per a report, you have a better chance of finding a job in Virginia Beach compared to other cities like Boston, Vancouver, or Manchester. Moreover, the unemployment rate of the city is 3.1, which is lower than the national average.
  • Amazing history. Within the Hampton Roads region is the historic triangle: Jamestown- the first permanent European colony in North America. Williamsburg- a preserved colonial city that was once capitol of Virginia. Yorktown- site where the British surrendered in the last battle of the American Revolution leading to the creation of our nation.
  • Beautiful beaches: If you love beaches, you will be absolutely delighted to make a move to Virginia Beach. The city has multiple beaches, each of which is stunningly beautiful.

With an abundance of cities and neighborhoods spanning across diverse landscapes, from coastal areas to inland communities, choosing the perfect location may feel overwhelming. Factor in varying property prices, fluctuating market trends, and the intricacies of the homebuying process, and it's no wonder that many feel hesitant. However, fear not! By partnering with seasoned local real estate experts, you'll gain invaluable insights, personalized guidance, and confidence to make informed decisions. Check out our library for buyers. We might have the answers you're looking for!

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What's Special About Hampton Roads?

History and modernity come together.

The Hampton Roads area is home to 1.7 million people and includes several cities from Williamsburg in the West to Virginia Beach in the East.

Virginia Beach is the largest city in the state of Virginia, with a current population of over 460,000 (in 2022), and growing due to the advantages the city offers. Virginia Beach boasts a 35-mile-long public beach- one of the largest in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records. The beaches can be found on the placid Chesapeake Bay as well as fronting the rolling waves of the Atlantic Ocean.

But, if you thought this was just another coastal city, you are totally wrong! This beautiful city has a long military history - it emerged as one of the important US military bases after World War I. Hampton Roads is home to the world's largest naval base (in Norfolk), a Naval Aviation air station, and major installations for all branches of the service plus the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and NASA installation.

Hampton Roads is made up of the cities of Williamsburg, Newport News and Yorktown, Hampton, Portsmouth, Norfolk, Suffolk, Chesapeake, and Virginia Beach. Each city has its own unique history and charm and all are tied to the rivers emptying into the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean.

If you aren’t already fascinated by what this region has to offer, here are some other things that make this area special.

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Things to Do

Beaches, parks, history, and more!

It’s difficult to get bored in the Virginia Beach area, thanks to the numerous experiences the region has to offer. Therefore, you won’t run out of things to do in the city. From enjoying fishing, surfing, or sunbathing in one of the many beautiful beaches to visiting the parks, museums, and other institutions - Virginia Beach is sure to delight you in multiple ways.

  • The Norfolk waterfront. In this historic city on the Elizabeth River are parks and restaurants as well as world-class theaters, an arena, museums, and hospitals.
  • Virginia Beach has its famous ocean boardwalk, great fishing, one of the nation's largest aquariums, and extraordinary parks for hiking.
  • Portsmouth's rivers house immense shipyards where Navy and commercial fleets have been built since colonial times.
  • Hampton and its environs are home to the air and space industry and holds a special place in America's African American history. Ft. Monroe featured prominently in the Civil War and was the first place where the federal government actively freed slaves.
  • Williamsburg, Newport News, Yorktown and Jamestown form the historic triangle. State and National parks here tell the story of the birth of the United States.
  • The region has amazing opportunities for outdoor fun. Busch Gardens amusement park is one of the country's largest and prettiest. There are remote beaches in Back Bay Wildlife Refuge, adventure parks, and opportunities for fresh water and saltwater boating and fishing,

Virginia Beach and Norfolk are home to Naval and aviation history. The region produced one the first iron-clad warships- a Civil War Confederate monster called The Virginia (or more popularly called the Merrimack from the ship's hull the ironclad was built on). The first battle using ironclads happened in Hampton Roads and the first contest between ironclads. The Merrimack laid waste to wooden ships in a brief fight while hardly suffered a scratch. The Northern Monitor then arrived on the scene and fought the Merrimack to a draw.

The turret of the Monitor was recovered after sinking and is being preserved for display at the Maritime Museum in Newport News. 

The area is also home to the first flight off of a ship and the first demonstration of the ability of aircraft to destroy naval ships.

Aviation enthusiasts can enjoy the Military Aviation Museum in southern Virginia Beach, where restored World War II planes are displayed and even flown. The Oceana Naval Air Station hosts an annual weekend-long free air show with demonstrations of modern military aircraft.

Boaters have access to calm freshwater lakes, the Chesapeake Bay, the Atlantic Ocean, and the brackish Back Bay. Fishermen can catch everything from Tuna to freshwater carp. 

Beach lovers have several options. To the southeast, in Virginia Beach, is the Back Bay Wildlife Refuge- a 4,600-acre preserve for waterfowl and turtles. The refuge is seasonally partially closed to visitors, but hiking and biking trails lead to an amazing remote Virginia state park. False Cape State Park is only accessible by foot or bike over a 3.5 mile trail or by kayak/canoe. Between False Cape and Back Bay, adventurers can see beaches as they were hundreds of years ago.

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Diverse economy with high concentrations of colleges and manufacturing

With a strong and diverse economy, Virginia Beach and Hampton Roads offer ample employment opportunities for people with varied skills and expertise. It is a well-known business hub within the state, helping it rank consistently among the top states for business within the US.

The city is renowned for its highly diverse industries, with manufacturing, defense, IT, retail, and bio being some of the key sectors. In fact, around half of the largest employers in the state of Virginia are located within this coastal city. The major employers in the city include the following:

  • Newport News Shipbuilding
  • The Port of Virginia
  • Norfolk Naval Base, Oceana Naval Air Station, Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek/Ft. Story
  • Major medical facilities including the Sentara group of hospitals, Childrens Hospital of the Kings Daughters, Eastern Virginia Medical School, and Veterans' Administration hospitals.
  • The tourism industry employs just under 100,000 people in Hampton Roads, ranging from part-time summer season to year-round thriving businesses.
  • Manufacturing is significant. Virginia Beach hosts a Stihl factory for yard equipment. Around the region are major corporations building everything from small boats to aircraft carriers.

The average annual income of residents of Virginia Beach is around $32,477. This is much higher than the national average, which is around $28,555 annually. This, combined with the fair tax rates within the city, is a major reason why people prefer to move to Virginia Beach.

Brilliant Educational Opportunities

The educational system in Virginia Beach is very well-developed - it boasts of being home to one of the best public school systems in the country. So, once you make a move to Virginia Beach, you need not worry about your child’s education at all.

The largest school division in the region, Virginia Beach City Public Schools, consists of a total of 55 elementary schools, 15 middle schools, and 12 high schools, in addition to several secondary/post-secondary specialty centers.

The city doesn’t disappoint in terms of higher education too. Several universities of eminence, including Virginia Wesleyan University, The College of William & Mary, Hampton University, Norfolk State University, and Regent University, are present in the region, offering different undergraduate, postgraduate, and professional programs and courses.

The Virginia Beach MSA has the highest concentration of college students within the state, with over 15,000 students graduating yearly. The well-developed education system ensures a sizeable pool of qualified individuals in the area, making recruitment easier for companies.

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Where to Live in Hampton Roads

Urban, suburban, and rural housing at all prices

If you are considering moving to the area, one of the most important questions is which city, followed by which neighborhood you should choose to settle down in. One important thing to consider is that the region sits at the confluence of two rivers and the Chesapeake Bay where they all empty into the Atlantic Ocean. 

That means bridges and tunnels. Hampton, Williamsburg and the historic triangle are to the north of the James River, traffic from there to Norfolk and Virginia Beach must go through one of two tunnels. Portsmouth and Suffolk are on the other side of the Elizabeth River from Norfolk and Virginia Beach and are accessed by additional tunnels.

One basic rule of thumb for living in the region is to try your best to avoid having a tunnel between you and your job or favorite activity. The tunnels can get backed up with traffic at peak times and during peak tourist seasons. You can, and many do, commute through tunnels but, it's your days will be calmer if you do not. Some take a different approach- they choose to live closer to their favorite activity and simply deal with the tunnel traffic. 

The other interesting aspect of the region is that it is geographically huge. Highway drive time from Colonial Williamsbug to the Virginia Beach waterfront is over an hour. Virginia Beach itself is 25 miles long and 14 miles wide and includes very rural farming districts as well as high-density urban landscapes. Like many areas that are also popular tourist destinations, the citiies have housing in a staggeringly wide price range. You can find inexpensive condos or even WWII housing boom single-family homes all the way to multi-million-dollar beachfront mansions. 

Whether you want your house to be just in front of the beach or prefer an area close to schools, hospitals, and shopping centers, Hampton Roads has it all. Here are some of the top suburbs and neighborhoods where you can purchase or rent a house:

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Virginia Beach

The City of Virginia Beach is massive and includes dense urban spaces as well as massive farms. The most common housing developments are single family detached, duplex or townhomes, and condos. 

Like many resort areas with fantastic beaches, the price of homes varies widely depending on location. The city has multi-million beachfront mansions and affordable townhouses in the interior. 

The city is bisected by Interstate 264 that runs East and West and carries traffic directly to the boardwalk. To the North of the highway lie single family neighborhoods ranging from the neighborhoods around Virginia Weslyan University in the east, beach living along the Chesapeake Bay to the north, and tony large lot subdivisions on Broad Bay and Linkhorn Bay. 

At the easternmost end of this area of the city lies "North End," know as such because it's the northern part of the long beach fronting the Atlantic Ocean. A beach that runs 35 miles long to North Carolina in the South.

The area north of I-264 has one of the region's most beloved parks - First Landing State Park. This sprawling state park has beaches, camping, boating and miles of hiking trails that draw crowds year-round.

Right inbetween Norfolk and the boardwalk on I-264 is the Virginia Beach Towncenter, a planned urban community with high-rise office and apartment buildings, abundant restaurants and a world-class theater where you can catch touring Broadway shoes, the symphony, or ballet.

South of I-264 is a much larger and more ecclectic areas. In the east, you will find beachfront neighborhoods of Croatan and Sandbridge. Centrally lie large planned single family neighborhoods in the Kempsville and Redmill areas. One of the unique features of Virginia Beach is that much of it surrounds Oceana Naval Air Station- home to training grounds for fighter jet squadrons assigned to Navy aircraft carriers. A frequent bumper sticker says "I Love Jet Noise" which is a nice reminder to choose your neighborhood carefully if you do not!

Far to the south lies Pungo, home to large agricultural operations. In Pungo, you can pick your own strawberries (for which the area is famous) or visit the Military Aviation Museum and see WWII airplanes. Some may even be flying during your visit!

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Norfolk and Portsmouth

Norfolk lies in the heart of Hampton Roads and boasts it's largest urban core. The city has a variety of neighborhoods that offer a range of amenities, housing options, and community vibes. Here are a few of the neighborhoods in Norfolk, Virginia:

  • Ghent: Ghent is a historic neighborhood located in the heart of Norfolk. The neighborhood features beautiful homes that date back to the early 20th century, as well as newer construction. Ghent has a vibrant arts and culture scene, with several galleries and performance spaces, as well as a range of restaurants, cafes, and shops.
  • East Beach: East Beach is a newer neighborhood that features a mix of single-family homes, townhouses, and condos. The neighborhood is located near the Chesapeake Bay and features a community beach, as well as several parks and recreational facilities.
  • Larchmont-Edgewater: Larchmont-Edgewater is a diverse neighborhood located in the western part of Norfolk. The neighborhood features a mix of single-family homes, townhouses, and apartments, and is known for its strong sense of community. Larchmont-Edgewater has several parks and recreational facilities, and is located near Old Dominion University.
  • West Ghent: West Ghent is a residential neighborhood located west of the main Ghent area. The neighborhood features beautiful homes that date back to the early 20th century, as well as newer construction. West Ghent has several parks and recreational facilities, and is located near several local schools.
  • Ocean View: Ocean View is a neighborhood located along the Chesapeake Bay. The neighborhood features a mix of single-family homes, townhouses, and apartments, and offers beautiful views of the water. Ocean View has several parks and recreational facilities, as well as several local restaurants and shops.
  • Downtown: The downtown business district has seen rapid growth in apartment, condo and townhome construction. New construction joins stately older developments to offer waterfront living or housing right in the middle of the entertainment district.

These are just a few of the best neighborhoods in Norfolk, Virginia, and there are many others to explore. It's always a good idea to work with a local real estate agent who can help you find the right neighborhood and home for your lifestyle.

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Hampton and Newport News

Hampton, Virginia is a diverse city with many neighborhoods that offer a range of amenities, housing options, and community vibes. Here are a few of the best neighborhoods in Hampton, Virginia:

  1. Fox Hill: Fox Hill is a quiet, residential neighborhood located in the eastern part of Hampton. The neighborhood offers a mix of single-family homes, townhouses, and condos, and is known for its strong sense of community. Fox Hill has several parks and recreational facilities, and is located near Buckroe Beach, a popular local attraction.
  2. Old Wythe: Old Wythe is a historic neighborhood located near the waterfront in Hampton. The neighborhood features beautiful homes that date back to the early 20th century, as well as newer construction. Old Wythe has a strong community association that organizes regular events and activities for residents.
  3. Farmington: Farmington is a newer neighborhood that features spacious homes on large lots. The neighborhood is located near the Hampton Golf Course and offers easy access to the city's amenities.
  4. Michaels Woods: Michaels Woods is a diverse neighborhood that features a mix of single-family homes, townhouses, and apartments. The neighborhood has several parks and recreational facilities, including a community pool and tennis courts.
  5. Phoebus: Phoebus is a historic neighborhood located in the heart of Hampton. The neighborhood features beautiful homes that date back to the early 20th century, as well as newer construction. Phoebus has a vibrant arts and culture scene, with several galleries and performance spaces.

These are just a few of the best neighborhoods in Hampton, Virginia, and there are many others to explore. As always, it's a good idea to work with a local real estate agent who can help you find the right neighborhood and home for your lifestyle.

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Chesapeake is a fast-growing city lying to the south of Norfolk. The city features lots of new construction in the past 20 years that nestles up to older, established neighborhoods.

Chesapeake is an easy (no tunnel) commute to Norfolk and is actually almost as close to the fantastic beaches of the North Carolina Outer Banks as it is to Virginia Beach. One other highlight of Chesapeake is the easy access to excellent road networks. Thanks to a series of (ongoing) improvements, Chesapeake is bisected by a major north/south highway that feeds into downtown Norfolk and an East/West highway that gives residents fast access to either of the two bridge-tunnels that carry freeway traffic west and north toward Richmond and Washington DC. The city also sits along an interstate that runs southwest to give access to Interstate 95 and all points south to Florida.

Like many of the cities in the region, Chesapeake encompasses a large land area featuring higher density semi-urban housing in South Norfolk all the way to very rural develoment in Deep Creek. In between are suburban developments and commercial districts that include:

  • Great Bridge
  • Greenbrier
  • Western Branch
  • Butts Station

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Williamsburg is a historic city in southeastern Virginia, known for its colonial-era architecture, cultural attractions, and recreational opportunities. The city's real estate market is generally considered to be stable, with a mix of both residential and commercial properties.

According to recent reports, the median home value in Williamsburg is around $330,000, which is slightly higher than the median home value for Virginia as a whole. However, this value can vary depending on factors such as the size of the home, the location within the city, and the age and condition of the property.

Williamsburg, Virginia has several neighborhoods that offer a mix of amenities, housing options, and community vibes. Here are a few of the best neighborhoods in Williamsburg, Virginia:

  • Kingsmill: Kingsmill is a gated community that features a mix of single-family homes, townhouses, and condos. The community is known for its amenities, which include a marina, golf courses, and a sports club. Kingsmill is located along the James River and offers beautiful views of the water and surrounding nature.
  • Ford's Colony: Ford's Colony is a large master-planned community with over 3,000 homes. The community features three golf courses, several clubhouses, and a range of recreational facilities. The homes in Ford's Colony come in a variety of styles, including single-family homes, townhouses, and condos.
  • Colonial Williamsburg: Colonial Williamsburg is the historic district of the city and offers a unique living experience for those who want to be close to the city's colonial-era attractions. Homes in this area range from historic properties to newer construction, and the neighborhood offers a mix of single-family homes, townhouses, and condos.
  • Port Anne: Port Anne is a small neighborhood located in the heart of Williamsburg. The community features custom-built homes and is known for its quiet streets and close-knit community.
  • The Vineyards: The Vineyards is a newer neighborhood that features large single-family homes on spacious lots. The community is located near the Williamsburg Winery and offers a quiet, peaceful setting with easy access to the city's amenities.

Of course, there are many other great neighborhoods in Williamsburg, Virginia, and the best one for you will depend on your personal preferences and needs. It's always a good idea to work with a local real estate agent who can help you find the right neighborhood and home for your lifestyle.

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Ready To Make A Move To Virginia Beach?

We can help!

If you have been thinking of making a move to Hampton Roads, the first thing is deciding on the right area, depending on your requirements. While more than one of the neighborhoods mentioned above may seem appealing to you at first glance, the key here is to narrow it down after going through the advantages of each area. Keep those tunnels in mind.

Homes and properties in each area are in high demand, which makes it very challenging to find a suitable home in your chosen neighborhood. And that’s where we come in. At PrimeStreet, we have a team of some of the best local real estate agents in the region who can help connect you with the right house based on your requirements and budget.

Need help to make the process of finding a property and moving to Virginia Beach smoother? You can reach out to our highly-experienced agents through the button below. Get in touch with the best real estate agent today!

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