As one of Virginia’s largest cities, Norfolk is both a great place to visit when on vacation, but also to live there permanently.
Situated on the Atlantic coast of the United States, and just over 200 miles from the nation’s capital, Norfolk has a rich cultural heritage which attracts foreign tourists and US citizens alike.
If you are looking to move to Norfolk, there are various costs which you need to bear in mind and understand before you commit to living in the city. The purpose of this article is to explore the associated costs of living in Norfolk, VA.
How Much Does A House Cost in Norfolk, VA?
It is highly likely that your biggest expense will be finding a place to live, whether you prefer to rent or would like to buy a house. Both options are available, but come with differing costs. Another factor which affects the cost of living in Norfolk is where in the city you would opt to live.
For instance, the average house price in Norfolk is around $270,000. Once again, this can fluctuate depending on whether you want to live in the center of Norfolk or in the suburbs – and different neighborhoods have different house prices. Some can be as low as $190,000 whereas others can be closer to the $400,000 mark.
However, if you are looking to rent, these prices can differ further. Central Norfolk apartments with one-bedroom usually come in at around $1,400 per month for rent, before any utilities are added on (which will be discussed later).
If you are looking to save a bit of money on rent, you can do so by living outside of the city centre. Although you may have to spend slightly more money on commuting into the city cener, you can save around $300 per month, with the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre coming in at around $1,100 per month.
If you have a family or plan to have roomates and are looking for a larger apartment in the city center, a three-bedroom apartment will cost around $2,000 per month on rent, while the same size apartment outside of the city center is around $1,400 per month.
If you plan on having roommates, this can be a good way to save money, as you can split the rent three ways – if you live in the city center, you can save almost $700 per month more than you would if you opted to live in a one-bedroom apartment.
Utilities and Other Bills
On top of your rent, you will also have to pay for utilities, too.
These prices vary, and can range anywhere from $70 to upwards of $230 – all depending on which companies you use as your providers and which utilities you require.
For simplicity, these figures are based on the absolute essentials: electricity, water, gas, heating, cooling and garbage disposal. Internet usually costs around $75 per month, but if you require a particularly high-speed internet connection, you can expect to pay upwards of $100 per month for the luxury.
Transport in Norfolk
Buses, trains and taxis are all readily available in Norfolk, and they are generally not too unreasonably priced.
A single trip on a bus within the city centre costs around $2, but a monthly pass is around $75 – it is worth investing in one if you plan on commuting via bus in and around Norfolk.
Gas prices are generally higher than the national average in Norfolk, coming in at about $3.50 per gallon.
Grocery Shopping Costs in Norfolk
Being able to afford food is another essential factor when it comes to discussing the cost of living in Norfolk, VA.
For the food shop essentials, a gallon of milk is similar to the national average, at around $4.50. A loaf of bread can cost about $3.50, although if you require certain dietary bread such as gluten-free bread, this can be closer to $5 for a loaf.
For those people who eat meat, a pound of beef is around the $8 mark (usually in ground form) while the same amount of chicken filets will be cheaper, usually less than $7.
If you are into healthy eating, you will be pleased to know that fruits and vegetables are cheap in Norfolk, and especially so if you buy the produce locally and when it is in season.
Locally grown vegetables such as potatoes and onions cost around $0.90 per pound, while slightly more exotic fruits which have to be imported into Norfolk are more expensive. A pound of oranges (which usually come from Florida or California in the winter months) cost around $3.
The Cost of Eating Out in Norfolk, VA
If you would like to go out for a meal in Norfolk, there are a range of different restaurants which cater for any tastes. Norfolk has a huge range of American, Italian and Asian restaurants, as well as a few traditional English pubs. There are also a range of takeout places offering Indian, Chinese, Italian and American food, so there’s something for everyone.
A three-course meal in Norfolk for two people is likely to come to around $90 – and that’s before a tip is added on. If you are adding the usual 20% tip on, you can expect to pay around $110 for a meal out, so eating out can be quite expensive in Norfolk.
However, if you want to pick up a quick takeout meal from a fast food joint, you can expect to pay about $8 for a set meal, so this is a much cheaper alternative.
If you would like to go to a bar, the prices can also be quite expensive. Locally brewed draught beer will cost around $6.50 for a pint in the city center, with out of town bars costing slightly less, at around the $4.50 mark.
A bottle of wine can cost you around $25 in a restaurant or bar, but still works out cheaper than buying it by the glass.
If, like many people worldwide, you enjoy picking up a takeout coffee on you way to work in the morning, you can expect to pay around $4.50 for a medium sized hot drink, either at a chain or independent coffee house.
How To Save Money in Norfolk, VA
Despite its relatively higher cost of living than other cities in the US, there are still various ways in which you can save money while living in Norfolk.
While the costs of housing were discussed earlier in the article, it is important to note that you can still save money and find a place to live which is below the figures quoted in either rent or mortgage.
Researching different areas of the city can help you find a place which suits your budget, as well as taking into account the fact you could live in shared housing with roommates.
For instance, if you find a three-bedroom apartment and split the rent and utilities evenly three ways, you can save over $700 a month on the cost of living by yourself in a one-bedroom apartment.
Living outside of the city center can also be another way to save money, and with a range of public transport available in Norfolk, this is what most people tend to do, to avoid the high city center mortgage and rental rates.
With monthly bus passes coming in at about $75, you can use the bus (which runs regularly) to commute to work or school into the city center – a small monthly expense which can save you hundreds of dollars in the long run.
We all love a takeout coffee from our favourite chain or independent coffee shop. But with the average price of a takeout coffee in Norfolk coming in at $4.50, this is an easy way in which you can save money.
One takeout coffee a day, 5 days a week (say you pick one up daily on your way to work) can will cost you $22.50 a week. Although this way not seem outrageously expensive, for a month this figure is around $90, and for the year $1,080! That is a lot of money to spend just on coffee alone – in fact, it is almost a month’s rent for some places in Norfolk.
There are numerous top-quality coffee machines available online and in many stores in Norfolk, and you can get these from as little as $100. For the sake of waking up 5 minutes earlier to make the coffee, you can save yourself nearly $1,000 a year on coffee!
On the other hand, if you aren’t ready to ditch the takeout coffees just yet, even just cutting down to one or two a week can save you hundreds of dollars a year.
While many people actively enjoy using a gym as a way to keep fit, it can be quite expensive to use in Norfolk. The average price of a monthly gym membership in Norfolk is $55 – or $660 a year.
Although gyms do have their advantages, there are plenty of other ways that you can stay in shape in Norfolk without forking out for a gym membership.
There are plenty of community running groups, and many of the public parks have gym equipment in them if you prefer to use weight machines such as chest and leg presses.
These are free to use, and they are there and available 24/7 – so whenever you fancy a workout, you can do so!
Additionally, tennis courts can cost around $25 to hire, so if you go with a friend, you can enjoy a game of tennis for a good workout for less than $13 each.
The cost of living in Norfolk, VA can be quite expensive, and some things are more expensive than the national average, including eating out at a restaurant, city center rent and gym memberships.
However, there are various ways in which you can combat the cost of living in Norfolk, such as by joining a local community exercise group, investing in a good quality coffee machine so that you don’t need to buy a takeout coffee every day, and by considering moving in with housemates to split the bills evenly.
Norfolk is a truly wonderful place to both visit and live, and by considering the factors which contribute to the cost of living in Norfolk you can make an informed decision as to whether it is right for you to move to this city.