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Ask Adam: The Streetcar Effect on Home Prices

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos, Arlington-based real estate broker, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013 & 2014. Please submit your questions via email.

Q. I saw the article about the rising home prices in Arlington. However, prices in South Arlington (22206) seem to be either stagnant or decreasing. Do you know why?

A. The demand for homes was lower throughout the entire region for a good portion of 2014, which created a fairly well balanced market.

My theory is that there wasn’t a great sense of urgency among homebuyers. Interest rates have been low for so long that consumers are numb to the idea that they may go up significantly at some point. In fact, I think a spike in rates would actually spur activity.

Rents went down, which helps to lower the urgency to buy among renters. Home prices weren’t rising quickly enough to scare anyone or lowering enough to excite anyone. All of these factors combined for an unexciting year for local real estate.

I really don’t think there is anything to worry about. From what I’m seeing in your ZIP code, prices are holding steady for the most part. I expect them to show gradual improvement this year.

The only thing that concerns me a little is the loss of the streetcar. Development along the Columbia Pike corridor was basically stagnant from the late 1970s when the Orange Line Metro began service until recently when the potential for a streetcar began to grow.

The streetcar gave the county a tool to attract new retail, restaurants and development. It is something that often came up when talking with homebuyers looking in South Arlington. I really don’t know how much effect (if any) the loss of the streetcar is going to have on home prices. It is more likely to affect the 22204 ZIP code, but it may have some carryover to the 22206 as well.

It’s just something to keep an eye on. Personally, I think home prices in the area will perform well if Arlington can continue to find ways to attract businesses to the Columbia Pike corridor and Shirlington.

Please keep the questions coming to [email protected]!

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of

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