Housing in Berkeley County: Escalates from Newcomers


Yimel Hernandez-Gonzalez, Author

In West Virginia, Berkeley County has increased the rate of marketing houses, schools, and population in just a couple of years.

West Virginia is along the Eastern Seaboard that the English colonized, before it separated from Virginia. The rich history this state has, been passed down for many generations even before the independence of the United States. Therefore, every school and neighborhood in West Virginia has a significant story to tell.

Spring Mills, Martinsburg, and Falling Waters are all cities and neighborhoods that make up Berkeley County. The cities themselves have been around longer than the school systems. So, when it comes to these neighborhoods that one may even dare to call a small town there is not a lot growth, only consistency, but no actual change other than the ordinary and expected.

“We moved here in August of this year. We were living in upstate NY and renting. We wanted to buy, and the various houses in towns we looked at were outside our price. In addition to this, my husband works in IT and needed to be closer to Philly, DC, and other major cities.” Heather Daly, age 40 mother of two and has lived in five states and two providence’s in Canada.

Ever since 2010, there has been a sudden change in these “small towns.” Berkeley County has transformed from an urban area into a suburb in just a decade. Around 2010, people started to notice that houses were low priced compared to Maryland and Virginia, but so were jobs. The fact that so many people commuted and decided to work in some of these states but live in West Virginia, caused the housing market to grow.

“I’d say 60% of my sales are people within the Eastern Panhandle looking to downsize or move into a larger home. Another portion of clients come from surrounding states like Maryland or Virginia, usually of retirement age. This is most likely due to the fact that WV property taxes are lower and gun laws are less strict than in those two states. Lastly, there is a small portion of my clientele that are relocating due to military transfers,” said Monika Foster. Foster is a parent and has been a real estate agent for five years.

The population in Berkeley County rose to the point where companies started building houses in places where wild animals such as cows, horses, pigs, wolves, bears, and snakes lived. Their homes have been replaced with the incoming new peoples. Forests have been turned into local neighborhoods and a couple of brand-new schools were even built to empty out the overcrowded ones. Some students from Martinsburg and Hedgesville high school transferred into a new high school built in 2013 called Spring Mills High School if they lived to close to the other school’s territory, they were transferred.

“I have special needs children and I fight with the district to even maintain the IEP that we came with from NYC. Even after fighting, my eldest son lost his 1 to 1 aide,” said Daly.

Although the Berkeley County school system is not necessarily new, most of the schools and people are. Therefore, this affects the way people see the county, especially when everyone in this “small town” is new.

The housing market continues to skyrocket, even during a pandemic in Berkeley County. Foster has sold more homes than any other year in her career.

“I’ve sold over 50 homes as a single agent just in 2020.”