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Ask Eli: Which property types appreciate faster?

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: What type of property appreciates faster — condo, townhouse, or single-family?

Answer: Since 2012, the data is clear — single-family homes appreciate the fastest, followed by townhouses/duplexes, and then condos. Since 2012, the average single-family home has appreciated 69% compared to 27% for condos.

This pattern was true before the pandemic market sent single-family home prices through the roof (see 2016/2018 numbers below), but was amplified over the last two years as demand intensified for single-family homes.

South Arlington Appreciating Faster Than North Arlington

Based on appreciation since 2012, South Arlington has been a better investment than North Arlington for all three property types. I expect that trend to continue as new construction picks up steam in South Arlington, Columbia Pike development continues to thrive, and Amazon HQ2 expands hiring.

Two-Bedroom Condos Appreciate Faster Than One-Bedroom

Two-bedroom condos consistently offer a higher return than comparable one-bedroom units. South Arlington condos have appreciated so much since 2012 that even a one-bedroom condo in South Arlington has produced a higher percentage return than a two-bedroom condo in North Arlington since 2012.

Of course, return on investment isn’t the only consideration when buying a home and you certainly need a lot more money to afford a single-family home (avg. over $1.3M in 2022) than a condo (avg. $533k in 2022) and a 2 BR condo (avg. $633k in 2022) over a 1 BR (avg. $377k in 2022), but for most buyers, having a good understanding of how historical returns compare by property type and size should influence decision-making.

But please don’t forget that most single-family homes will also require a much higher maintenance, repair, and replacement budget than townhouses and condos (even accounting for condo fees) in order to access those higher long term returns.

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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