Housing & Transportation Calculator-What's the Cost of Where You Want to Live?

Thinking of buying a home in the Northern Virginia area? Wonder what the cost of owning that home and commuting in the area might cost you per year? Transportation and housing affordability are a big part of the buying process. The Urban Land Institute has developed a calculator to help show how these costs vary among different locations.

One of the first decisions that Northern Virginia buyers look at is whether they should buy a home “inside or outside” the beltway. Commuting is a big part of that decision. The calculator gives you a chance to play with the numbers and compare costs at a number of locations.

“The Housing + Transportation Calculator was developed to help individuals, households, planners, and municipalities understand the true costs of housing and transportation, as well as how these costs can vary from place to place.”

In order to see how the calculator worked I decided to enter neighborhood zip codes that included Alexandria, Burke, Falls Church, Woodbridge & Bristow. The following chart shows the costs associated with each of the areas.

City

Housing Costs

Transportation Costs

Total Costs

Alexandria

$16,632

$ 8,757

$25,389

Falls Church

$24,516

$12,275

$36,791

Burke

$28,128

$17,086

$43,214

Woodbridge

$20,184

$13,669

$33,853

Bristow

$27,084

$18,229

$45,313

Of course as with any of the standard calculators you find on-line some of the data associated with the calculations are open to interpretation. The Urban Land Institute has determined transit connectivity to mean connections to public transportation within a 10 minute walking distance. Woodbridge transportation connectivity gets a rating of “none”. Yet if you live in Woodbridge you do have a variety of transportation options and depending on where you live those options could be within 10 minutes of your home, maybe not walking distance in all cases but certainly driving.

This tool does provide you the options to make individual changes to some of the calculations and can be a bit of an eye opener when you look at some of the transportation costs for the further west you go in Northern Virginia. The calculator is not restricted to Northern Virginia so anyone in the country can use it to see how their communities compare.

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