The Northern Neck of Virginia is an area comprised of four rural coastal counties between the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers, Highway 301 and the Chesapeake Bay: Lancaster, Northumberland, Richmond, and Westmoreland.
Population growth overall is and has been essentially ﬂat for some time, growing by 5,200 people from 1990-2000 (11.2%), and slowing from 2000-2008.
Nevertheless, the Northern Neck is an area in signiﬁcant transition. The four counties are all in the process of moving from an extraction-based and agricultural economy (forestry, ﬁshing, and farming) to one that is more service-oriented. In response to tourism, an inﬂux of retirees, over-ﬁshing, and growth in demand for waterfront property by seasonal (second home) home buyers from equity-rich Northern Virginia and other external markets, land in many cases has become increasingly valuable for itʼs residential development potential. As this has led to speculation, rising land values, and increasing housing costs, the nature of these shifts and their repercussions have important housing and policy implications, namely that housing costs have risen and continue to rise faster than local wages, leaving the local workforce challenged to secure housing in the open market it can afford.
Giving to THE VIRGINIA CENTER FOR HOUSING RESEARCH