Off-Base Housing on Bay Norfolk: Your Guide to Living Off-Base in Norfolk

by | Aug 2, 2023 | Real Estate

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Norfolk, Virginia is home to the largest naval base in the world. With a large military presence comes a massive demand for off-base housing on Bay Norfolk. Living off-base offers service members and their families more flexibility and options. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about off-base housing on Bay Norfolk.

The Benefits of Living Off-Base

Living off-base comes with many advantages over on-base housing. Here are some of the top benefits:

More living space. Homes off-base tend to be larger with more bedrooms and bathrooms. This allows for growing families.

Privacy. You’ll have more privacy and won’t have to adhere to strict on-base rules.

Flexibility. You can choose from different home styles and neighborhoods versus limited on-base options.

Investment opportunity. Your BAH can go towards owning a home and building equity versus renting on-base.

Finding the Right Neighborhood

With so many options off-base, how do you select the best area for your needs? Here are some top neighborhoods for off-base housing:

Ghent. An eclectic area near downtown with historic homes full of character. Close to shops and restaurants.

West Ghent. Slightly more affordable than Ghent with more modern homes. Still near downtown amenities.

Little Creek/Fort Story. Offers easy base access and a more suburban feel. Many military families live here.

Northside. Historic district with larger homes and lots near the zoo and park. Farther from the base but very family-friendly.

Buying vs. Renting Your Home

One major decision is whether to buy or rent your off-base housing. Here are some factors to weigh:


◦ Build equity instead of paying rent

◦ Make the property your own with renovations

◦ Potentially sell for a profit when moving


◦ More flexibility to move year-to-year

◦ Avoid maintenance and repair costs

◦ Easier process than buying and selling

Your career stage, financial goals, and plans for staying in Norfolk long-term can help determine if buying or renting makes more sense.

Tips for Your Home Search

Once you decide where to live and whether to buy or rent, you can start your home search. Keep these tips in mind:

• Hire a real estate agent familiar with military relocations and the area.

• Consider your commute time to the base and convenience to amenities.

• Thoroughly research neighborhoods and school districts if you have children.

• Inspect any homes carefully before buying and have a professional do a more comprehensive inspection.

With proper planning and research, off-base housing on Bay Norfolk can be a great option, providing service members and their families the flexibility, affordability, and amenities they deserve.