Overview of Residential Real Estate Market in West Virginia
When most people think of the Mountain State, they think of a sprawling mountain range covered with thick forest. Approximately 75 percent of the state is forest land. According to the U.S. Census, 1,850,326 people live within the state's 24,000 square miles. West Virginia has a mean altitude of 1,500 feet. That is the highest of any state east of the Mississippi. The state-wide median home value is $98,500. The median household income is $41,043. Almost 18 percent of state residents live below the poverty level. The capital city of Charleston is the largest. It has a population of 50,821, a median home value of $138,100, and a median household income of $48,527. About 18.4 percent of the city's residents are below the poverty level and the homeownership rate is just 61.7 percent. Almost 30 percent of residents live in multi-unit structures. Huntington has a population of 49,177, a median home value of $87,900, and a median household income of $29,312. Over 30 percent of Huntington residents live below the poverty level.
Overview of Commercial Real Estate Market in West Virginia
The state of West Virginia has a gross state product (GSP) of $63.34 billion. Currently, 15 percent of the nation's total coal production comes from West Virginia. The net corporate income tax rate is 6.5 percent and other associated business cost in the state are 13 percent lower than the national average. As coal and natural gas firms have moved operations, vacancy rates for Class A office space in Charleston have soared. The vacancy rate was above 16 percent at the end of 2014. That is up from a vacancy rate of 3.4 percent in March of 2013. Many of those firms have moved operations to north-central West Virginia. The city of Charleston continues to grow and there is currently a strong need for downtown housing, according to a recent study.
How to Become a Realtor in West Virginia
Originally formed in 1937 to protect the public from unethical and incompetent real estate agents, the West Virginia Real Estate Commission continues to safeguard the public's trust by establishing the education and licensing requirements for agents and brokerages throughout the state. The Commission's headquarters is in Charleston, West Virginia and requires applicants be at least 18 years old. Potential agents must have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Prior to applying for a real estate license, they must successfully complete the 90 class hours (six credit hours) of approved courses. People who hold a real estate in good standing from another jurisdiction may qualify to take the exam by supplying a Certification of License from their home state. The West Virginia state licensing exams are given six times each year. West Virginia does have reciprocity with 12 states and Puerto Rico. A criminal background check is required to become licensed as a new broker or agent.