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Liz, Home Buyer in Garden City, NY

relocating to northern virginia

Asked by Liz, Garden City, NY Wed Jun 6, 2007

We are relocating to northern virginia. I am nervous about buying a home because there is a tremendous amount of development in the ashburn area. I am afraid that if I need to sell I will have a very hard time and might not get what I paid. Is there any areas of northern virginia that are more stable?

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Prices and sales in Northern Virginia are very much influenced by the location. The closer to DC, the higher the costs - such as Fairfax County, Arlington.
Once one gets to Loudoun County, the investment becomes more subject to the market than location because there is a tremendous amount of employment and GROWTH in employment in Loudoun County. Not so dependent on commuting to DC. Further, growth in Loudoun County has held steady at 5-8% for the past 8 years. Relocating home buyers are finding good opportunities in Loudoun County these days, especially with new homes.
As a real estate broker, I invested in Loudoun County in 1995 and haven't regretted it for one minute. There are less congested areas than Ashburn. There are VERY good opportunities in Purcellville, Lovettsville, Round Hill.
For pricing, there are some very good opportunities for pre-construction in Prince William County. But, the prices are so close, I believe the investment potential is better in Loudoun County.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 9, 2007
To start off, I think Northern Virginia is a great place to live. There is a lot culture and history here with a pretty stable economy. With that said, property values located in Fairfax and loudoun county seem to have had held up and have had rebounded well. I wouldn't be afraid to by at today's at all. Personally I think its a great time to buy. I hope you find this helpful in making you're transition to Northern VA and we welcome you.
Web Reference: http://renownauctions.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
I think that you'll find the properties that hold the most value are found in Arlington and Alexandria, as well as some parts of Fairfax County. The fact is, Northern VA is a commuter's nightmare---and this will only get worse. Even if we could build highways 20 lanes wide, the human brain wouldn't be able to drive a car on that type of road. So I don't see any improvement in the commutes unless and until there is a real paradigm shift. If you're going to be in the hinterlands for less than 3 years, you might be better off renting.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 28, 2008
There is no market in Northern Virginia that is more stable than the next. Right now prices are continuing to decline. If you feel you are only going to be here a short period of time than I would reccomend that you rent. If you plan on staying 5-7 years than buy.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 10, 2007
Liz,

Actually, development in Ashburn has slowed tremendously and has been fairly quiet since 2006. There are still lots which are left over from unfinished projects, but almost all of them are being wrapped up as we speak.

Some builders have stopped building completely and/or are even pulling projects. For example, Beazer Homes was supposed to start Phase 2 in Brambleton (community within Ashburn) this year, but they pulled it and are sitting on it for at least 2 years. Other builders and projects such as the Del Webb 55+ community in Ashburn Village are wrapping up their first phase and then they're postponing Phase 2 or 3 for at least a few years.

In reality, Ashburn is very stable at the moment - 554 resale properties for sale as of today (7/10/07) with 100-120 properties that go under contract per month every month regardless of market conditions. That equals about a 5 month supply - a very balanced, steady and reasonable market for both buyers and sellers.

For further Loudoun County real estate stats, data, information and resources, check out http://www.LoudounStats.com. It may come in handy...
Web Reference: http://www.loudounstats.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 10, 2007
Liz: A point of view from a cynical person. Ashburn, just like many other areas in NoVa has experience tremendous growth. Now as the market cools, many in Ashburn, South Riding etc.. in the outer burbs are realizing they have vastly overpaid for incredibly difficult commutes, mediocre schools, and non-descript strip malls. While there are nice places in Ashburn, you are also competing with newer houses and yet more developent further out. Would you rather buy a house just 10 minutes further out (at today's commute -- even if it's 30 minutes further out in 5 years). Moreover real estate agents and localities tend to want churn over rather than enhancing your value. All of this is to say be incredibly careful listening to advice on here. While I appreciate everyone's honesty, and doubtlessly will be attacked, a contrarian view is useful if only to confront the possibilities. As disclosure, I live close in Arlington, and while homes have increased two and three fold since my first purchase in the early 90s, I have also seen the rise of group homes (where one person own, and tends to own a "flop house" with 5-10 workers inhabiting) and commercial vehicles. Arlington isn't interested in fixing the problem, again largely, in my opinion, because much of the local politicians get money from the real estate agencies (who profit from turnover -- not price appreciation). In short, houses in Ashburn are not a commodity (unless you can get something special -- e.g. lake, golf course, etc....) and there are always new sub-divisions going up.

All of that said, if you are buying into a high market -- you are also selling your house into a high (unless you are moving overseas or far away). So dont' sweat "price stability" too much... you have to live somewhere. But if you must have price stability, you have to go closer in where land is at a premium (typically indicated by people rebuilding houses rather than building new developments), and this tends to be Arlington, Falls Church and other "inside" the Beltway areas.

My $.05 only and worth as much.

Finally Ashburn is NOT a fabulous area for price accumulation. Since 1900 residential real estate has returned about 1% year... until the last 10 years when we've had "free" credit. While I too hope for continued price accumulation, you are seeing signs that the market is cooling and returning to rationality.

Good luck,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 18, 2007
Liz, Ashburn is a fabulous area to live and provide you with an excellent opportunity for return on your investment. Like most of Northern Virginia, prices have dropped, however, it is a great time to take advantage of prices, seller concessions and excellent financing options. There are many other areas in Loudoun which you also may find of interest. Commuting is an important factor to consider. I currently live in Herndon, VA and when my daughter graduates from high school in a year, we are planning to move to Ashburn. Let me know if you have any other questions. As the Past Chairman of the Dulles Area of Realtors, I have good handle on Loudoun County and the opportunities in provides.

Barry Allbright
800-484-6456 ext 2195
barrya@erols.com
RealEstateVoice.com
Licensed in Virginia
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 18, 2007
Culpeper, VA 22701
April Brown, Remax
540-270-5188
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 17, 2007
Here are a couple articles I've written on the topic, Liz. If you are going to buy in Ashburn, probably Lenn Harley below would know that market best to serve you.

There is a wide variety of market conditions in Northern VA. In North Springfield inventory is up 40%. In Arlington we're getting 16% more transactions per month compared to 2006 and prices are much more stable. Here are a couple articles I've written on the matter:
http://www.justnewlistings.com/arlington-virginia-blog/jay-s…
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 13, 2007
Dear Liz, based on your interest in the Ashburn area and your desire for "price stability" you may want to look at the South Riding area and possibly Reston as two areas with better price stability.
Web Reference: http://www.CallGio.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 7, 2007
Ashburn is one of the nicest areas, it is early in its development and has been over built based on a lot of investor speculation. Prices are under downward pressure. There are some good values there. The real question is where are you going to be working and what is your budget and housing requirements. Contact me directly and I can help you
Web Reference: http://www.glwvahomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 6, 2007
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