Fairfax vs. Prince William: Which County Is Better?

Fairfax and Prince William Comparison

Fairfax County & Prince William County Comparison

 

Being the first county in the United States to reach a six-figure median household income, Fairfax County is a very transient place with thousands of people relocating to the area every year either for a job or to search for better work opportunities. Fairfax County is home to many government agencies and several Fortune 500 companies.

 

Next to Fairfax County, Prince William County is the second-largest county in Northern Virginia that comes with a strong diverse economic base where people choose to live or work and businesses choose to locate. Prince William County is also home to a lot of major employers and government agencies.

 

Considered as two of the wealthiest and best places to live in the country, Fairfax County and Prince William County are both amazing areas to reside in. Now, let’s further talk about the differences between the two counties.

 

Median Income & Median Sales Price

 

When choosing where to live, some of the biggest factors to be taken into consideration are the median income and median sales price of an area, not to mention its property and vehicle taxes. Although the home sales price in Fairfax County is more expensive than in Prince William County, Fairfax County still offers a higher household income.

 

In addition to this, Virginia is one of 27 states in the country that charges an annual tax on personal vehicles, which goes for all motor vehicles with a few exceptions. Most notably, there’s a reduced tax rate for qualified disabled veterans.

 

Fairfax County Median Income & Median Sales Price

 

The median household income in Fairfax County is $124,831, while the median home sales price is $678,757. Fairfax County offers a number of housing options such as condos, townhouses, and single-family homes.

 

As for property taxes, the base tax rate in Fairfax County is 1.15% or $1.15 per $100 of assessed property value. To keep the math simple, if your property has an assessed value of $600,000, you’re looking at a $6,900 annual property tax bill.

 

If you want to know your vehicle’s assessed value, Fairfax County uses the National Automobile Dealers Association’s used car guide to determine your car’s value. Note that your car’s value never reaches zero, so you’ll always have this tax as a privilege to drive a vehicle in Virginia.

 

Prince William County Median Income & Median Sales Price

 

The median household income in Prince William County is $107,132, while the median home sales price is around $450,000. You can expect to find all types of properties like condos, townhouses, and single-family homes in Prince William County.

 

Prince William County’s real estate tax rate is $1.125 per $100 of assessed value, which means that a property with an assessed value of $400,000 comes with an annual property tax bill of $4,500. Additionally, the vehicle personal property tax in the county is at $3.70 per $100 of value.

 

Commute Time

 

The downside of living in Northern Virginia is there’s lots of traffic, and it continues to become worse as the area grows. Let’s take a look at how you can manage traffic when living in Fairfax County and Prince William County.

 

Fairfax County Commute Time

 

With a population of 1.146 million, Fairfax County borders both the City of Alexandria and Arlington County, and it forms part of the suburban ring of Washington D.C.

 

Distance-wise, Fairfax County is 22.5 miles from Fort Belvoir, 17.2 miles from Capitol Hill, 14.2 miles from The Pentagon, and 1.6 miles from Tysons Corner.

 

In Fairfax County, there are various public transportation modes available, including the yellow, blue, orange, and silver lines that all run throughout the area. These metro lines criss-cross and connect Northern Virginia to Washington D.C. and Maryland.

 

There’s also the Fairfax Connector, which is the largest public bus in the Northern Virginia region with stops throughout every part of the county. It runs 91 different routes and transports roughly 30,000 passengers daily.

 

If you’re working at The Pentagon, you’ll be happy to hear that the Department of Defense has shuttle buses that make stops throughout the county and take passengers directly to and from The Pentagon.

 

Additionally, a lot of Fairfax County residents depend on “slugging” wherein strangers hop in other people’s cars to commute to work together for free.

 

Prince William County Commute Time

 

With a population of 482,204 residents, Prince William County is located just about 25 miles southwest of Washington D.C.

 

Distance-wise, Prince William County is 37.9 miles from Fort Belvoir, 39.1 miles from Capitol Hill, 36.4 miles from The Pentagon, and 27.5 miles from Tysons Corner.

 

One of the most surprising things about Prince William County is it’s a residential suburb mostly inhabited by people who commute to nearby cities like D.C., Fairfax, Arlington, or Reston for work.

 

Moreover, Prince William County is not only surrounded by two major airports, namely the Washington Dulles International Airport and Washington Reagan National Airport, but the county also has close proximity to two major interstates, I-66 and I-95.

 

Basically, the best way to look at Prince William County is through three different sections, which are off of I-66, I-95. and everything in between.

 

In addition, Prince William County residents have access to the Amtrak train and the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) that both make travel easier for commuters.

 

Diversity

 

One of the most important factors to know about the area you’re planning to live in is its diversity. In Fairfax County and Prince William County, the least expensive neighborhoods are more diverse, while the more expensive communities have the least diversity.

 

Diversity in Fairfax County

 

With a diversity score of 99 out of 100, Fairfax County is one of the most diverse counties in the U.S. Within Fairfax County, the most diverse areas are located in the east, while the least diverse areas are in the northeast parts of the county.

 

Diversity in Prince William County

 

Having a diversity score of 100 out of 100, Prince William County is much more diverse than other counties in the country. Within Prince William County, the most diverse areas are located in the central parts, while the least diverse areas are in the southwest parts of the county.

 

If you want more information about the diversity in Fairfax County or Prince William County, you can check out City-Data where you can input a specific ZIP code, and it’ll give you a breakdown of the diversity numbers for a certain area.

 

Public Schools

 

Generally, Northern Virginia is known for having an excellent public school system. Both Fairfax County and Prince William County have high attendance rates, test scores, and graduation rates.

 

Fairfax County Public Schools

 

When it comes to public schools that service the Fairfax County residents, Niche.com has given these schools an A overall rating. Some of the top-rated public schools in the area include:

 

 

Address: 4201 Stringfellow Rd, Chantilly, VA 20151, USA
Phone: +1 703-222-8100

 

Chantilly High School has an A-plus overall rating on Niche.com and a 7/10 summary rating on GreatSchools.org. U.S. News rates them as the 6th best public high school in Fairfax County.

 

Chantilly High School offers both Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses that are open to all students who seek academic rigor, and they also have a Secondary Transition to Employment Program (STEP), which brings job opportunities to students.

 

Additionally, this school has an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program to support students’ English language development needs as well as a World Language Program of Studies that includes Spanish, French, and Latin.

 

 

Address: 5035 Sideburn Rd, Fairfax, VA 22032, United States
Phone: +1 703-426-2100

 

Robinson Secondary School has an A overall rating on Niche.com and a 7/10 summary rating on GreatSchools.org. U.S. News ranks them as the 10th best public high school in Fairfax County.

 

Robinson Secondary School offers the Advanced Placement Program (APP), International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program (IB MYP), and International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IB DP).

 

This school also has an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program and a High School World Languages Program that includes Chinese, French, German, Latin, and Spanish.

 

 

Address: 13440 Melville Ln, Chantilly, VA 20151, United States
Phone: +1 703-633-7400

 

Poplar Tree Elementary School has an A overall rating on Niche.com and a 9/10 summary rating on GreatSchools.org. This school offers advanced academic services, an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program, and a Spanish Foreign Language in the Elementary School (FLES).

 

 

Address: 1205 Waynewood Blvd, Alexandria, VA 22308, United States
Phone: +1 703-704-7100

 

Waynewood Elementary School has an A-minus overall rating on Niche.com and an 8/10 summary rating on GreatSchools.org. This school offers advanced academic services, an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program, and before, during, and after-school activities.

 

 

Address: 3300 Lees Corner Rd, Chantilly, VA 20151, United States
Phone: +1 703-904-5100

 

Franklin Middle School has an A overall rating on Niche.com and a 7/10 summary rating on GreatSchools.org. This school offers advanced academic services, an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program, and World Language Courses that include Spanish and French.

 

 

Address: 4400 Stringfellow Rd, Chantilly, VA 20151, United States
Phone: +1 703-802-7700

 

Rocky Run Middle School has an A overall rating on Niche.com and a 7/10 summary rating on GreatSchools.org. This school offers after-school programs, an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program, and World Language Courses that include Spanish and French.

 

 

Address: 5400 Willow Springs School Rd, Fairfax, VA 22030, United States
Phone: +1 703-679-6000

 

Willow Springs Elementary School has an A overall rating on Niche.com and a 7/10 summary rating on GreatSchools.org. This school offers advanced academic services, an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program, and a Spanish Foreign Language in the Elementary School (FLES).

 

Prince William County Public Schools

 

As for public schools that service the Prince William County residents, Niche.com has given these schools an A overall rating. Some of the top-rated public schools in the area include:

 

  • Battlefield High School

 

Address: 15000 Graduation Dr, Haymarket, VA 20169, United States
Phone: +1 571-261-4400

 

Battlefield High School has an A overall rating on Niche.com and an 8/10 summary rating on GreatSchools.org. U.S. News rates them as the number one public high school in Prince William County.

 

Battlefield High School offers both Advanced Placement (AP) courses and Pre-AP program, and they also have an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program as well as a World Language Program of Studies that includes Spanish and French.

 

 

Address: 10504 Kettle Run Rd, Nokesville, VA 20181, United States
Phone: +1 703-594-3020

 

Patriot High School has an A overall rating on Niche.com and an 8/10 summary rating on GreatSchools.org. U.S. News ranks them as the 2nd best public high school in Prince William County.

 

Patriot High School offers the Advanced Placement (AP) Scholars Specialty program and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program.

 

 

Address: 8909 Euclid Ave, Manassas, VA 20111, United States
Phone: +1 703-365-6500

 

Osbourn Park High School has an A overall rating on Niche.com and a 6/10 summary rating on GreatSchools.org. U.S. News ranks them as the 3rd best public high school in Prince William County.

 

Osbourn Park High School offers the Advanced Placement (AP) program with The Biotechnology Center as their major specialty program, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program, and World Language Program of Studies that includes Spanish and French.

 

 

Address: 15311 Forest Grove Dr, Woodbridge, VA 22191, United States
Phone: +1 703-580-6501

 

Mary G. Porter Traditional School has an A overall rating on Niche.com and a 9/10 summary rating on GreatSchools.org. U.S. News rates them as the number one public elementary and middle school in Prince William County.

 

Mary G. Porter Traditional School is a highly rated magnet school that offers the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program and foreign language courses that include Spanish, Arabic, Latin, and French.

 

 

Address: 12980 Queen Chapel Rd, Woodbridge, VA 22193, United States
Phone: +1 703-590-0344

 

Sonnie Penn Elementary School has an A overall rating on Niche.com and an 8/10 summary rating on GreatSchools.org. U.S. News ranks them as the 2nd best public elementary school in Prince William County.

 

Sonnie Penn Elementary School is a Baldrige-in-Education (BinE) school that offers gifted services for gifted students, an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program, after-school tutorial programs, activity clubs, and PTO-supported school activities.

 

 

Address: 3051 Old Bridge Rd, Woodbridge, VA 22192, United States
Phone: +1 703-491-5614

 

Old Bridge Elementary School has an A overall rating on Niche.com and an 8/10 summary rating on GreatSchools.org. U.S. News ranks them as the 3rd best public elementary school in Prince William County.

 

Old Bridge Elementary School offers gifted services for gifted students, an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program, and a number of activities and clubs including running clubs, a math club, a chess club, and robotics.

 

New Construction

 

If you’re interested in new construction and you’re willing to be a part of a neighborhood that’s undergoing transition, there are a few areas in Fairfax County and a bunch of options in Prince William County that might work for you.

 

Fairfax County New Construction

 

Since most of Fairfax County is already developed, there isn’t really a place to buy new construction. Occasionally, there is new construction, but it’s mostly just existing properties being torn down by builders or investors.

 

Some of the areas in Fairfax County that mostly have new construction include Fairfax, Alexandria, Chantilly, and McLean, just to name a few.

 

Prince William County New Construction

 

Unlike Fairfax County, you’re going to see a lot more new construction in Prince William County, particularly single-family homes. Some of the areas in Prince William County that have new construction are usually found in the western parts of the area, which include Gainesville, Haymarket, and Bristow.

 

Parks & Trails

 

If you’re the outdoorsy type, Fairfax County and Prince William County both have plenty of parks and trails you’ll absolutely enjoy.

 

Fairfax County Parks & Trails

 

Having over 23,000 acres of parkland comprised of 420 parks and 325 miles of trails, Fairfax County offers a multitude of outdoor activities for everyone. Some of the parks and trails in the area include:

 

Daniels Run Park. This park has four entrances (Embassy Lane, Estel Road, Heritage Lane, and Tedrich Boulevard), and it features 48 acres of wooded parkland, a bike/hike/jog/walk trail, a picnic pavilion, and a small tot lot.

 

Huntley Meadows Park. This park has three entrances with the main entrance at 3701 Lockheed Blvd, Alexandria. It’s the largest park operated by the Fairfax County Park Authority that includes 1,452 acres of parkland, a beautiful meadow, a pond for birders, and an entire boardwalk.

 

Mount Vernon Trail. This trail is nearly 18 miles long, which stretches from George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate in Alexandria and the Potomac River to the national monuments and memorials in Washington, D.C.

 

Prince William County Parks & Trails

 

With a 4,400-plus park system consisting of 60-plus miles of trails, Prince William County residents are provided unique leisure experiences that meet different recreational interests. Some of the parks and trails in the area include:

 

Prince William Forest Park. This peaceful park is located at 18170 Park Entrance Rd, Triangle, and it features calming woods, serene streams, hiking trails, biking trails, campgrounds, and around 100 cabins that are open to campers, bikers, hikers, and nature lovers.

 

Leesylvania State Park. This beautiful 500-acre park is located at 2001 Daniel K Ludwig Drive, Woodbridge, and it sits along the Potomac River where you can enjoy historical sites and recreation facilities.

 

Deep Cut Loop Trail. This historic park is located at 6511 Sudley Road, Manassas, and it follows the unfinished line of the Manassas Gap Railroad (MGRR) that spans 1.2 miles wherein you can go fishing, horseback riding, do battlefield tours, and more.

 

Recreation Centers

 

If you love participating in recreational, educational, artistic, social, or cultural activities, Fairfax County and Prince William County have recreation centers that you’ll surely appreciate.

 

Fairfax County Recreation Centers

 

There are a total of 9 recreation centers in Fairfax County, which include tennis courts, football fields, soccer, indoor basketball, ice skating rink, full gyms, indoor swimming, and a whole lot more.

 

In all of the 9 rec centers, there are also gyms you can join as a Fairfax County resident, especially if your HOA doesn’t have one and you’re looking for a full gym experience. Some of these rec centers include:

 

Oak Marr RECenter. This rec center is located at 3200 Jermantown Road, Oakton, and it features a new fitness center, 2 racquetball/wallyball courts, a golf course, and an 18-hole mini-golf. There’s also a heated Olympic-sized indoor pool with spa, beach and wading area, a diving complex, a sauna, and showers with fully equipped locker rooms.

 

Providence RECenter. This rec center is located at 7525 Marc Drive, Falls Church, and it includes a heated indoor pool, 2 spas, saunas, shower rooms, and locker rooms. There’s also a fitness center, 3 racquetball/wallyball courts, 20-plus cardiovascular machines, a pilates studio, a dance room, an arts and crafts room, and multipurpose rooms.

 

Mount Vernon RECenter. This rec center is located at 2017 Belle View Boulevard, Alexandria, and it has a heated indoor pool, a poolside spa, a beach area with play features, locker rooms, showers, a sauna, a fitness center, a dance room, multipurpose rooms, and an indoor ice arena.

 

Prince William County Recreation Centers

 

There are various recreation centers in Prince William County, which feature both indoor and outdoor sporting and fitness facilities. Some of these rec centers include:

 

Birchdale Recreation Center. This rec center is located at 14730 Birchdale Avenue, Dale City, and it contains a 25-meter pool with a bathhouse, 2 basketball courts, 2 pavilions, a playground, and a small neighborhood skate park.

 

Ben Lomond Community Center. This rec center is located at 10501 Copeland Drive, Manassas, and it consists of a basketball court, a volleyball court, a tennis court, a play schoolroom, 2 dance studio rooms, 2 meeting rooms, an outdoor playground, 5 pavilions for rent, picnic tables, grill areas, and 2 miles of trails connecting to Mayhew Park.

 

Sharron Baucom Dale City Recreation Center. This rec center is located at 14300 Minnieville Road, Dale City, and it’s equipped with a 25-meter pool, locker rooms, a lounge, 2 gyms, a racquetball court, a cardio or weight training room, a multipurpose room, a dance studio, classrooms, and 2 day-care rooms.

 

Restaurants

 

Both Fairfax County and Prince William County have lots of dining options for you to try. These areas have restaurants that are within walking distance or only require a short drive.

 

Fairfax County Restaurants

 

Whether you’re craving local or international cuisine, restaurants in Fairfax County has got you covered. Some of the top-rated restaurants in the area include:

 

 

Address: 8081-D, Alban Rd, Springfield, VA 22150, United States
Phone: +1 703-337-4722

 

Afghan Bistro offers lunch and dinner with Middle Eastern, Afghani, Halal, vegetarian-friendly, gluten-free, and vegan options.

 

 

Address: 332 Springvale Rd, Great Falls, VA 22066, United States
Phone: +1 703-759-3800

 

L’Auberge Chez Francois provides lunch, dinner, brunch, and late-night meals featuring French and European cuisines, vegetarian-friendly, gluten-free, and vegan options.

 

 

Address: 11880 Grand Commons Ave, Fairfax, VA 22030, United States
Phone: +1 571-321-8000

 

Ozzie’s Good Eats is a great spot for pasta, flatbread pizza, and more. This restaurant offers lunch, dinner, brunch, and late-night meals that come with local cuisine, Italian, American, vegetarian-friendly, gluten-free, and vegan options.

 

Prince William County Restaurants

 

Regardless of what you’re looking for, there’s a lot of diversity in the types of food available in Prince William County. Some of the top-rated restaurants in the area include:

 

 

Address: 12724 Occoquan Rd, Woodbridge, VA 22192, United States
Phone: +1 703-499-9550

 

Bistro L’Hermitage offers lunch, dinner, brunch, and late-night meals featuring French and European cuisines, vegetarian-friendly, gluten-free, and vegan options.

 

 

Address: 9212 Center St, Manassas, VA 20110, United States
Phone: +1 703-361-4976

 

Katerina’s Greek Cuisine provides lunch, dinner, and late-night meals with Mediterranean and Greek cuisines, vegetarian-friendly, gluten-free, and vegan options.

 

 

Address: 4179 Merchant Plaza #5088, Woodbridge, VA 22192, United States
Phone: +1 703-580-0033

 

The All American Steakhouse and Sports Theater serves lunch and dinner meals as well as gluten-free options, signature dry-aged steaks, burgers, sandwiches, desserts, and more.

 

Shopping Centers

 

As far as shopping options go, Fairfax County and Prince William County both have various shopping centers to choose from.

 

Fairfax County Shopping Centers

 

Whether you’re looking to shop or dine, Fairfax County comes with various shopping options. Some of the top-rated shopping centers in the area include:

 

 

Address: 2910 District Ave, Fairfax, VA 22031, United States
Phone: +1 703-992-7832

 

Mosaic District is an urban shopping center that features national retailers, gourmet dining, and a movie theater. In Mosaic District, there are a lot of national and local shops along with boutiques, salons, spas, restaurants, cafés, and bars.

 

 

Address: Kingstowne Center, Kingstowne, VA 22315, United States
Phone: (949) 588-7925

 

Kingstowne Towne Center features all big-box stores like TJ Maxx, HomeGoods, and World Market. This town center also has a lot of small-owned restaurants with different ethnic foods to try.

 

 

Address: 1961 Chain Bridge Rd, Tysons, VA 22102, United States
Phone: +1 703-893-9400

 

Tysons Corner Center is one of the largest shopping centers in Fairfax County that comes with a distinctive collection of shopping, dining, and entertainment destinations. This shopping center has upscale stores, eateries, a cinema, and an elevated outdoor plaza.

 

Prince William County Shopping Centers

 

If you’re looking for an exceptional shopping experience, Prince William County has a lot of great shopping destinations. Some of the top-rated shopping centers in the area include:

 

 

Address: 8010 Crescent Park Dr, Gainesville, VA 20155, United States
Phone: +1 703-237-9777

 

The MarketPlace at Madison Crescent is a multi-tenant retail center with establishments that include Harris Teeter supermarket, Eggspectation, Brooklyn Brothers Pizzeria, Anytime Fitness, Studio Balans, and Twin Dragon Martial Arts.

 

 

Address: 2700 Potomac Mills Cir, Woodbridge, VA 22192, United States
Phone: +1 703-496-9330

 

Potomac Mills is an indoor shopping center that features over 200 stores with upscale brand name outlets such as Coach Factory, Kate Spade New York Outlet, LOFT Outlet, Michael Kors Outlet, Pandora Outlet, and many more.

 

 

Address: 8300 Sudley Rd, Manassas, VA 20109, United States
Phone: +1 703-368-7232

 

Manassas Mall offers an enjoyable shopping experience for all through its 80-plus top retail stores, full-service restaurants, and unique entertainment options.

 

Now that you have learned about the things to do in Fairfax County and Prince William County, the next step would be to come to a decision.

 

All in all, Fairfax County and Prince William County are both ideal places to reside in. However, the choice between these areas still depends on your housing preferences.

 

If you’re interested in working with us, fill out our Perfect Home Questionnaire, and we’ll schedule a time to meet online and answer any questions that you have about moving to the Fairfax County or Prince William County area.

 

Hopefully, when you’re searching for properties online, you’re using our website as well.

 

Conclusion

 

Overall, you have learned about the differences and similarities between Fairfax County and Prince William County.

 

Which county do you prefer better?

 

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us.