Cost of living in Sterling, VA

Sterling, Virginia, is one of the best places to live in the state. If you’re planning to move to this suburb, there are several things you’ll want to know about it, including the cost of living. So, what’s the cost of living in Sterling?

Sterling is a great place with a 76% livability rating. But the Washington DC suburb is quite expensive with the cost of living here being 31% above the national average. Basic expenses such as housing, food, transportation, goods and services, and childcare cost more in the city than Virginia.

However, healthcare here is fairly cheaper than the national average. The high income of many residents here also cushions the effect of its high cost of living to an extent. Here, we discuss what residents spend the most on when living in Sterling, Virginia.

Living in Sterling

Sterling is a town of slightly over 30,000 people in Virginia. It’s a suburb of Washington DC, making it one of the most expensive places to live in Virginia and one of the best places.

The densely populated suburban area has a large percentage of its population owning their homes, with only 27% of the residents here being renters. The schools here are above average, and it ranks well when it comes to places to live for young professionals in the state.

Sterling is great in almost every respect except affordability and has a livability rating of  76%. The crime rate here is lower than the national and state average, and it also has several amenities.

Despite Sterling being expensive, the city is a great place mostly because of its high quality of life and economy. Most of those who live here work in Washington DC, which means they earn pretty well. Unemployment is 42% below the national average, income per capita is 9% higher, and household income exceeds the national average by 52%.

The employment conditions are pretty great, with the median household income being $97,647. The great employment conditions of this city make it a great destination for many people, and it has also developed at a very fast rate.

How Expensive is Sterling

Sterling isn’t exactly the most affordable city to live in Virginia. The overall cost of living here is 31% above the national average, and it’s also higher than the state average. Living here is expensive due to the cost of the following basic expenses:

1.      Housing

This is the major reason sterling is expensive to live in. accommodation takes the largest part of any income that a person earns in the city. According to Zillow, the typical value of homes in sterling is $578,555, far above the national average of less than $350k.

Given that Zillow estimates are usually conservative, the average sale price of houses in the city might be much higher. Between March 2021 and March 2022, the cost of homes in the city rose by more than 14%. That shows that it’s not one of the fast-growing markets in the country, but the price of homes here is rising nonetheless.

If you’re thinking of renting in Sterling, VA, the average monthly rent is $2,032, which is also above the national average. Since most of those living here are homeowners, it might be difficult to find rental properties here, and the demand is high for the available ones due to the city’s dense population. On every index, the cost of housing here is the highest among the expenses. According to Bestplaces, the cost of housing here is 85.3% above the national average.

2.      Food

The cost of groceries in Virginia is slightly lower than the national average, but that doesn’t apply to Sterling. Groceries here cost 10.3% above the national average in one estimate, while another puts it at 14% higher. Whichever it is, residents here have to contend with spending more of their income on food here than they would have spent in several other parts of the state. The high cost of food here, just like the housing, might be due to its proximity to Washington DC.

3.      Goods and Services

Apart from food, other basic goods and services cost more at 15% above the national average. This isn’t surprising given that such costs depend on demand and supply. Due to its population and location, the demand for Sterling is higher than the supply, and that reflects in the high prices.

4.      Transportation

If you live in Sterling, you’ll find yourself spending more on transportation. This is because the city is car-dependent, with about 89.30% of residents driving to work.

Not only do they have to drive, but 84.6% also have to drive to work outside Sterling. Only 3.5% of the people living here use mass transit to get to work. However, the commute time here is the same as the national average. After considering the cost of gas,  car maintenance, and public transit, the overall cost of transportation here is only about 15 to 18.6% above the national average.

5.      Healthcare

Not everything is expensive in Sterling, and a good example is healthcare. The basic healthcare costs and insurance premiums are generally cheaper than the national average. They even cost less than the average for the state.

Healthcare is 13% below the national average, according to AreaVibes. The average single adult in sterling will spend $3,751 on healthcare annually, below the $3,997 for Virginia and $4,266 national average. So, you can at least make up for some of the high costs of other expenses here.

6.      Childcare

Being a suburb with above-average schools, Sterling is a great place to raise kids. But it’s an expensive place as well. Generally, having kids means having to spend extra thousands. In  Sterling, a family with two kids could spend over $20k more on both children. That’s more than both Virginia and the national average.

In Conclusion

Sterling has a high cost of living which is only fairly affordable because it also has great employment conditions. While the cost of living might be discouraging, it’s a great place to live as long as you can afford the cost.

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