Ask Eli: Arlington 2018 Real Estate Review — Part 3 of 4

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: How did the Arlington real estate market perform in 2018 and what do you expect in 2019?

Answer: Over the last two weeks I reviewed how the detached single-family market and condo market fared in 2018 and this week we’ll take a look at the 2018 performance of Arlington’s townhouse and duplex market. Next week we’ll close out the four-part series with a detailed look into the data following Amazon’s HQ2 announcement.

Limited Price Growth, Strong $/SQ. FT. Growth

With prices surging in the detached single-family market in 2018 and in the condo market during the first half of 2018, one would expect a spike in townhouse prices.

In reality, North Arlington prices increased by a meager .8% over 2017 and dropped by 3.9% in South Arlington for an overall 2.5% increase in the average net sold price of an Arlington townhouse/duplex. If we drill down a bit further into the data, it turns out that all of the growth occurred in the 2nd half of 2018 in North Arlington.

How does .8% growth and a 3.9% loss equal an overall 2.5% increase in pricing?

Fair question… it’s because the volume of more expensive North Arlington homes increased significantly from 2017, and the volume of South Arlington homes dropped significantly from 2017. This caused North Arlington’s .8% to contribute much more heavily in the overall pricing.

Sold price doesn’t tell the entire story though. When I looked at $/sq.ft. (using above-grade square footage, no basements), I saw a different story unfold in 2018 with 5.3% growth across Arlington — 4.9% in South Arlington and 2.2% in North Arlington.

Couple this data point with the fact that South Arlington townhomes sold three weeks faster than North Arlington’s in 2018 and South Arlington buyers negotiated .4% less off the original asking price than North Arlington buyers, I predict that the South Arlington townhouse market is poised for significant growth in 2019.

What’s the difference between what you get in North Arlington and South Arlington? Quite a lot when it comes to the townhouse market. The average North Arlington townhouse has 2,100 sq.ft. above-grade and was built in 1988 while the average South Arlington townhouse has just 1,250 sq. ft. and was built in 1960.

2018 Arlington Townhouse Market Highlights

  • The median net sold price increased by 2.6% to $546k.
  • The average buyer could only negotiate 1.2% off the original asking price, which is less than what condo and detached single-family buyers were able to negotiate last year.
  • The average 2 BR sold for $483k, the average 3 BR sold for $753k and the average 4 BR sold for $906k.
  • The 531 sales in 2018, two-thirds of which were in South Arlington, came in just below the 559 in 2017.
  • If you are looking for a townhouse built since 2000, be prepared to spend over $1M. The average net sold price in 2018 was just over $997k.

Inventory has been slowly trending downward over the last five years, but like everything else in Arlington, has reached an all-time low since the Amazon announcement.

Prior to December, the lowest average monthly inventory over the last five years had been 15 (Jan ’18) and 19 (Feb ’16) and December ’18 averaged just 10 homes available. As of January 21st there are 15 on the market.

Up next week… a similar look at the impact Amazon’s decision had on the Arlington market!

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

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