Veterans & Virginia's Booming Real Estate MarketVirginia is home to roughly 115,000 military active-duty personnel. Every year, many are preparing to discharge from service and others may be nearing retirement. And with that, trying to figure out where to start the next chapter of their life is no easy task. Many are joining the approximate 725,000 veterans residing in our Commonwealth, and here are a few reasons why:

#1. Low Mortgage Rates. VA Loans are surging right now with over 865,000 loans provided so far this year; that is over 100,000 more than the annual record of 740,386 loans in 2017. Veterans United Home Loans believe that the VA Loan Program could back over one million loans by September 30th of this year. Major contributors to these record-breaking numbers are Millennials and Generation Z buyers. Nationwide, there are 35 regions that have shown over 100% growth in VA Loans and Virginia is home to three of them—the Richmond Metro Region with 100.2% growth, the Hampton Roads Region with 121.89% growth, and the Northern Virginia Region with 169.42% growth.

#2. Military/DOD Presence & Strong Veteran Programs. Military personnel transitioning out of the military are required to attend the U.S. Department of Labor’s Transition Assistance Program. This program provides employment workshops to prepare for life in the civilian world. They also provide access to job fairs and employers seeking to hire veterans. And with 27 military bases spread throughout Virginia, and a large government and DOD presence, opportunities are plentiful. Virginia also provides great job placement services such as the Virginia Values Veterans (V3) Program that can assist after veterans already separated or after they have received training or a degree.

#3. Location, Location, Location. Virginia is centrally located on the east coast and has easy access to international airports and train systems. Virginia provides many rural and remote settings along with small, medium, and large cities not too far away. Not to mention the beaches and mountains in the vicinity. This gives a veteran many options when choosing where to live with nearby options for affordable quick getaways or week-long vacations.

#4. Willingness to Pay. REALTOR® Magazine recently released an article showing that 64% of 1,000 home buyers surveyed are willing to spend a great deal of money on their dream home. A greater percentage of millennials said they would be willing to pay more than they budgeted for the perfect house. Home prices throughout the Commonwealth are high and inventory is low. In Richmond, it’s not uncommon to see a home listed for $330,000 sell for $375,000 according to a recent article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Low mortgage rates may lead home buyers to believe they can afford more than they initially budgeted and they may feel that spending more is the only way to secure the home that meets all their needs.

Consider encouraging your agents become Military Relocation Professionals (MRP). The program educates REALTORS® about working with U.S. service members and their families and veterans to find the housing solutions that best suit their needs and to take full advantage of their benefits. To learn more about obtaining this certification, click on the link in this paragraph or visit the Military Relocation Professional Website.