Having HOT/HOV lanes all the way down to Stafford has been a long time coming and greatly anticipated. Good thing that those who have 3 or more in their car, will be able to use these lanes for free. So, will HOT/HOV lanes make the home market in Stafford bounce back and make it better? My crystal ball says, "Yes, but ...." If people can get to work and back faster, it would make sense that maybe people will then desire to buy a bigger/better house than those found "up north" for the same amount of money and go down to Stafford again to buy.
What Irene says is true, too -- lot's of variables involved. It is also about supply and demand. Right now 22554 (Stafford) has about a 5 month supply of homes for sale (compared to 1.7 months supply in Fairfax County and 2 months in PW County). That means that Stafford is still a buyer's market (big supply/not much demand) and the northern counties are now experiencing a seller's market (in the lower price ranges which is currently Stafford's average price range).
If you'd like more specific statistics relating to your area, I've got 'em and I'm happy to forward a free, no obligation report to you so you can feel secure in the knowledge that you have the most accurate and current information concerning your marketplace and neighborhood.
Happy to serve.