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Ask Eli: Northern VA Market Trends — Arlington vs. Fairfax and Loudoun Counties

This regularly scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Arlington resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Video summaries of some articles can be found on YouTube on the Ask Eli, Live With Jean playlist. Enjoy!

Question: How does Arlington’s housing market compare to what you’re seeing in Fairfax and Loudoun counties?

Answer: The Arlington single-family home (SFH) market has been competitive, and prices have increased, but the shift hasn’t been nearly as dramatic as what we’ve seen farther west in Fairfax County and Loudoun County.

The Arlington condo market has improved from the end of 2020/early 2021, and prices seem to be coming back, but inventory levels are still much higher than they were in the years preceding the Amazon HQ2 announcement.

Listing Activity up in Arlington, Normal in Fairfax and Loudoun

The number of SFH listings in Arlington this spring is up noticeably compared to prior years, but the biggest story continues to be the amount of condos being listed for sale. I previously wrote about the historical volume of condo listings we had last fall, and that trend has continued through this spring with the total number of condos listed for sale from March to May significantly higher than any other spring market in the last 10+ years.

The number of SFH listings in Fairfax County and Loudoun County have been consistent with past spring markets, down slightly compared to 2018 and 2019.

Demand Meets or Exceeds New Supply, Except Condos

Despite higher-than-average listing activity in Arlington, the SFH inventory levels remain very low because there is enough demand to absorb the extra supply. SFH inventory has remained at about one month of supply throughout 2021.

Condo demand has not met the higher-than-average listing activity, and condo inventory has steadily increased through the spring after dropping (and flattening) from five-year highs this winter. The Arlington condo market has settled at around 2.5 months of supply for the last six months, which represents a market that is more favorable to sellers than buyers but still a significant shift from the post-Amazon HQ2 market with two to three weeks of supply for about 18 months.

Demand in Fairfax County and Loudoun County has been exceptionally high, and inventory levels remain dangerously low with just two to three weeks of supply for nearly the last eight months.

Prices Are up (Of Course)

Prices for SFHs in Arlington are up, with the median price of a SFH in Arlington exceeding $1.2 million for the first time ever in May. While the prices in Arlington are up noticeably, it’s nothing compared to the massive appreciation seen in Fairfax County and Loudoun County over the last four months where we’ve seen up to 15-20% year-over-year increases in prices throughout both markets.

Condo prices have increased from late 2020/early 2021 and seem to be settling in a bit below pre-pandemic numbers. I didn’t include a chart for condo prices because there’s too much variability, and it doesn’t provide much value.

Escalations Over Ask Are The Norm, Likely to Change Soon

This spring, the average SFH in all three markets has closed for 3-4.5% over the original asking price. I expect this number to come down over the next few months as asking prices catch up with what the market is willing to pay and the attention/priorities of buyers starts to shift to other things like travel, events, and seeing family and friends.

If you’d like to discuss buying, selling, investing or renting, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected].

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

Video summaries of some articles can be found on YouTube on the Ask Eli, Live With Jean playlist.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with RLAH Real Estate, 4040 N Fairfax Dr #10C Arlington VA 22203. 703)-390-9460.

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