The Cheapest Places to Live in Virginia

Historically, Virginia has been home to some pretty influential individuals, from our nation's first president, George Washington, to Star-Lord himself, Chris Pratt.

Wanna fall in line with this wide range of greatness? Check out some of the most affordable cities in Old Dominion.

Virginia state average rent prices

Virginia isn't exactly the most affordable place to live in the Union.

Still, it's better than most of California — so that's something. The average rent price for a one-bedroom apartment in Virginia is $1,791. This is a slight decrease of 0.2 percent. Hey, every little bit helps, right?

The cheapest cities in Virginia for renters

Virginia's a surprisingly large state, so there's a ton of variation all around, from landscape to seasons and rent prices. With a population of just over 8.5 million, however, it sometimes feels like there are not enough living quarters to go around.

As a result — ye olde supply and demand comes into play and you see this in rent prices. Still, there are some affordable spots if you know where to look. Here are the 10 cheapest places to live in Virginia:

10. Richmond

Richmond, VA.

  • Average 1-BR rent price: $1,277
  • Average rent change in the past year: 10.22 percent

The capital city kicks off our list of the top 10 cheapest places to live in Virginia, despite an uptick of 10.22 percent in the last year. Located in the east-central portion of the state, Richmond is ideal for people looking to pursue higher education because it's home to four well-regarded colleges and universities.

Richmond's reputation for opportunity and diversity draw Millennials in droves, as it's the second-ranked city that Millennials are flocking to. It's also a favorite spot for outdoor enthusiasts, as it's a top 10 location for runners.

Situated on both sides of the James River, Richmond residents enjoy proximity to this treasure, not to mention a less than two-hour drive to the East coast beaches. Plus, there's a ton of historic significance to the area, so there's plenty to see and learn and do.

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9. North Chesterfield

North Chesterfield, VA.

Photo source: Chesterfield County VA Government / Facebook
  • Average 1-BR rent price: $1,193
  • Average rent change in the past year: 2.51 percent

Just south of Richmond, the suburban city of North Chesterfield hasn't seen as much of a price increase over the last year. Still, a one-bedroom apartment runs an average of $1,193 per month — 2.51 percent higher than last year.

North Chesterfield has a lot going for its 350,000-plus residents. Chesterfield County boasts the lowest crime rate in the Greater Richmond Area and is known as the 17th Best Place to Live in America.

One of the most popular outings in North Chesterfield is Pocahontas State Park, a nearly 8,000-acre park, which includes three lakes, an aquatic center and an event amphitheater (among other features).

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8. Daleville

Daleville, VA.

Photo source: Daleville Town Center / Facebook
  • Average 1-BR rent price: $1,163
  • Average rent change in the past year: -7.48 percent

In the mountainous region of western Virginia lies the quiet community of Daleville. With just under 3,000 residents, Daleville is obviously one of the smallest cities on our list of the cheapest places to live in Virginia.

Inventory is pretty low in such a small town, so that's why it's not exactly super cheap to live here. Still, rent is down 7.48 percent from last year, for an average of $1,163 for a one-bedroom!

Daleville is north of the larger city of Roanoke, in the Blue Ridge Mountains. A relatively new addition to the city is Daleville Town Center, a live/work/play community that's pedestrian-friendly.

Daleville's proximity to all things nature makes it extremely compelling to potential new residents. Indeed, it's a stone's throw from some of the state's best outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, cycling and water sports.

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7. Portsmouth

Portsmouth, VA.

  • Average 1-BR rent price: $1,134
  • Average rent change in the past year: 14.3 percent

Portsmouth has everything a person could expect in a coastal community, and then some. Located right on the banks of the Elizabeth River and a short jaunt from the ocean, it's only appropriate that the historic Norfolk Naval Shipyard is found in Portsmouth. It's also a five-minute ferry ride away from Norfolk and all the fun it entails.

Although the average one-bedroom apartment has increased 14.3 percent over the last year, a Portsmouth unit runs about $1,134 — considerably less than many others in Virginia. This is something of a steal, considering everything Portsmouth offers.

Locals love to stroll the Olde Town Historic District to see and understand how far the city has come together. Rich in American history, Portsmouth is nonetheless very modern. Along the waterway is High Street, a fabulous and gorgeous place to enjoy food, drinks and shopping.

Of course, this creative community comes with public art installations and galleries to inspire people of all persuasions.

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6. Newport News

Newport News, VA.

  • Average 1-BR rent price: $946
  • Average rent change in the past year: 2.26 percent

Great (Newport) news! This city is the first on our list that checks in at under a grand per month for a one-bedroom. Rent is up 2.26 percent from one year ago — bringing the monthly total to an average of $946. So, maybe get in while the getting's good?!

Founded after the colonial settlement of Jamestown, the coastal city is close to Williamsburg and Virginia Beach. Newport News is right on the banks of Hampton Roads Harbor in southeast Virginia and is fully steeped in history — come see all of the monuments and tours for yourself.

Although much of Virginia is pet-friendly, Newport News is especially so. The city has seven pet-friendly parks, as well as a bunch of pet-friendly restaurants and hotels. You can even take them on the grounds of some local attractions, such as Endview Plantation!

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5. Chesapeake

Chesapeake, VA.

  • Average 1-BR rent price: $861
  • Average rent change in the past year: -37.31 percent

Rent in Chesapeake, Virginia has experienced the biggest dip of any city on our list by far — dropping more than 37 percent since last year. Currently, the average one-bedroom rent rate is $861 per month.

Yet another coastal Virginia gem, Chesapeake has been a happy home to Americans since the very beginning. Every year, residents and visitors flock to see actors recreate the epic Battle of Great Bridge, a major turning point in the Revolutionary War.

The Chesapeake African American Heritage Trail and the Virginia Civil War Trails offer even more in-depth looks at the area's cultural and historic significance.

There's also a ton of waterway fun to explore. People love to “Paddle the Peake," and recreational boaters particularly enjoy the beauty of the Intracoastal Waterway. Don't forget to keep an eye out for the more than 200 species of birds that call the area home!

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4. Lynchburg

Lynchburg, VA.

  • Average 1-BR rent price: $848
  • Average rent change in the past year: 4.17 percent

Just east of the Blue Ridge Mountains is Lynchburg, a picturesque city/town with units that fall well under the thousand-dollar-per-month threshold. At $848 per month for a one-bedroom rental, Lynchburg is nonetheless creeping up slightly in price (an increase of 4.17 percent over the last year).

About 50 square miles, Lynchburg is found smack in Virginia's geographic center. Locals love all of the outdoorsy opportunities this location affords, including hikes on the Appalachian Trail and in the Blue Ridge Mountains, skiing at Wintergreen Resort and water fun on Smith Mountain Lake. Plus, it's only 180 miles from Washington, D.C., so it's easy to access one of the country's major metropolitan areas for the weekend.

If socializing is key, there's no limit to Lynchburg's offerings. From regular Art in the Park events to Movies on the Lawn, the city puts out an event schedule other towns try to rival. Don't forget to stop by any of the area farmers markets for fresh produce!

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3. Petersburg

Petersburg, VA.

  • Average 1-BR rent price: $827
  • Average rent change in the past year: -4.81 percent

Edging closer to the top of our list of the cheapest cities in Virginia is Petersburg. Just about 20 miles south of the capital city of Richmond, Petersburg is close enough to everything convenient, without being too busy. Rent fell 4.81 percent here over the last year — bringing the average one-bedroom rental to only $827 per month!

Like many parts of Virginia, Petersburg figured prominently in the Civil War. A visit to the 2,700 acre Petersburg National Battlefield is a great way to see where the country has been and where we never want to go again.

Seriousness aside, there's plenty of tongue-in-cheek fun in Petersburg. Take a ghost walk through the city's historic downtown or head over to Sycamore Street in Uptown for authentic Mexican food, shopping and music.

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2. Vinton

Vinton, VA.

Photo source: Town of Vinton / Facebook
  • Average 1-BR rent price: $788
  • Average rent change in the past year: 0.00 percent

Everything's staying even-steven in Vinton, which holds the same rent price of $788 per one-bedroom unit as one year ago. Just east of Roanoke in southern central Virginia, Vinton is one of the smaller cities on our list, with just over 8,000 residents.

The town is a quaint community with plenty of access to city amenities. Outdoorsy types particularly love Vinton's access to parts of the Roanoke Valley Greenway Network, not to mention the Roanoke River Blueway.

The adorable downtown area makes even the newest residents feel at home right away. Local restaurants, shops and entertainment are easy to support, since everyone feels like friends! The super-low crime rate is another major perk of life in Vinton.

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1. Roanoke

Roanoke, VA.

  • Average 1-BR rent price: $593
  • Average rent change in the past year: -29.16 percent

Great news for future Roanoke residents — not only is it the cheapest city in Virginia, but rent is also dropping! Down more than 29 percent from this time last year, it costs under $600 for a one-bedroom in the Star City of the South.

Roanoke might be cheaper than some surrounding areas because there's more inventory. Home to almost 100,000 residents, Roanoke is a pleasantly sized metropolis situated between Atlanta and New York City, just next to the picturesque Blue Ridge Parkway.

This mountain town is decidedly outdoorsy but is also a hub of all things arts and culture-related.

Roanoke citizens also love their food and drink, with any number of eateries and breweries to choose from on a night out on the town. Life is easy (and cheap!) in this picturesque Virginia city.

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The 25 cheapest places to live in Virginia

Ever wanted to live in Williamsburg or Manassas? These are just two of the cities in Virginia that round out the 25 cheapest places to live list. Check out the full 25 here.

RankCity1-BR Average RentYoY Average Rent Change
1Roanoke$593-29.16%
2Vinton$7880.00%
3Petersburg$827-4.81%
4Lynchburg$8484.17%
5Chesapeake$861-37.31%
6Newport News$9462.26%
7Portsmouth $1,134 14.30%
8Daleville $1,163 -7.48%
9North Chesterfield $1,193 2.51%
10Richmond $1,277 10.22%
11Hampton $1,313 5.10%
12Norfolk $1,324 4.18%
13Midlothian $1,384 6.31%
14Henrico $1,576 33.88%
15Virginia Beach $1,603 31.96%
16Falls Church $1,625 -14.93%
17Williamsburg $1,640 21.62%
18Centreville $1,705 -7.35%
19Manassas $1,705 7.68%
20Vienna $1,765 -7.93%
21Leesburg $1,822 11.32%
22Fort Belvoir $1,826 -7.22%
23Fairfax $1,873 -12.19%
24Lorton $1,896 -8.68%
25McLean $1,913 -12.17%

Methodology

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.'s multifamily rental property inventory as of May 2021. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.

We excluded cities with insufficient inventory from this report.

The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

Alia HoytA freelance writer based out of the Atlanta area, Alia has penned articles during her decade+ career for such sites as HowStuffWorks, TLC, Animal Planet, Zillow and many more. Her favorite things to write about include fitness, nutrition, travel, healthcare and general lifestyle topics. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Alia’s an avid Dawg, but she also loves reading, sewing, eating all things chocolate and playing sports with her husband, three boys and beloved border collie, Flash.

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