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Ask Eli: 2022 Arlington single-family housing review

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 Eli Residential channelEnjoy!

Question: How did the Arlington single-family housing market perform in 2022?

TL;DR (3:32)

Answer: The 2022 housing market came in like a lion and left like a lamb. The way things were reported in the news, one may be led to believe the 2nd half of the year was a disaster, with home values crashing because of higher interest rates, falling stock portfolios, the Ukrainian war, and buyer fatigue.

The truth, at least locally, is that the aggregate of the first half/second half, yin and yang housing market was still marked by strong price growth across all single-family sub-markets (I’ll analyze the condo market next week).

Strong, Stable Growth Continues for Arlington Single-Family Homes (SFH)

Like a blue-chip stock, the Arlington housing market is reliably strong and stable. We didn’t experience the double-digit annual appreciation of other national housing markets from ’20-’22 but we also benefitted by excellent growth prior to the pandemic buying craze (Amazon HQ2 and overall strong local market conditions).

You can also count on the likelihood of stable growth to continue even if other markets struggle as they transition out of their reliance on pandemic-buying and ultra-low interest rates.

  • The average and median price of a SFH in Arlington was $1,280,000 and $1,150,000, respectively, an increase of 4.4% and 7%.
  • Over the last five years, the average and median price of a SFH in Arlington increased by 25.3% and 29.1%, respectively.
  • The average buyer paid 1.9% over asking to purchase a home in 2022.
  • Homes that sold within ten days of being listed sold for an average 5% over asking and 57% of homes sold in 2022 were sold within ten days.
  • Low supply was a big driver in keeping prices elevated despite difficult second half market conditions. There were 30% fewer SFHs sold in 2022 than in 2021.

22205, 22201 Zip Codes Lead Growth

If we drill down into performance by zip code (note: 22206 and 22209 don’t have enough SFH sales to be included), we find some really good insights:

  • 22204 is the only remaining zip code with an average price below $1M. It was only 2017 that the entire County’s average price was below $1M.
  • 22201 extended its lead as the most expensive zip code to purchase a SFH, costing an average of over $100k more than the next most expensive zip code, 22213, and finishing the year with an average price of nearly $1.6M.
  • 22201 and 22205 experienced the most appreciation, with YoY increases of 9.3% and 8.2%, respectively. The next highest zip code, 22203, grew by 4.9%.
  • 22205 was the most competitive/frustrating for buyers, with the average home selling for 4% over ask.
  • Over the last five years, the 22202 zip code (area surrounding HQ2) has, unsurprisingly, benefited from the highest appreciation at 33.8% growth since 2018 due to the Amazon HQ2 boost followed by the pandemic buying craze.

New Construction: Bigger Homes, Bigger Prices

New builds have outpaced the appreciation of the rest of Arlington over the past two years, gaining 21% since 2020. New homes are also bigger than they’ve ever been with the average home claiming over 5,100 SqFt of finished living space, nearly six bedrooms, and more than five full bathrooms. Buyers are now paying almost $400,000 per bedrooms to own a new home.

You may notice the sharp drop-off in the number of new homes sold in 2022. This drop does not align with County data for new construction starts/completions and I think is more representative of the number of homeowners building outside of what’s being offered on the market — demolishing a home they already live in, acquiring their own lot and hiring a builder, or securing a lot/build with a preferred builder prior to it being marketed for sale.

Price and Bedroom/Bathroom Distribution (for my Missing Middle friends!)

The biggest change in price distribution in Arlington has been at the ends of the spectrum, with the percentage of homes seller for under $800k dropping from 35% in 2018 to 11% in 2022. On the other end of the spectrum, the percentage of homes selling for $2M+ has increased from 3% in 2018 to 11% in 2022.

Most sales in Arlington fell between $800k and $1.2M. The median household income in Arlington is about $128,000 which at current interest rates, limited personal debt, and a 20% down payment qualifies for a roughly $900k purchase. If rates drop to 5%, the median income qualifies for roughly $1M.

Nearly 2/3 of SFHs sold in 2022 had three or four bedrooms, most of which had at least two full bathrooms, and the price of those homes averaged $940,500 and $1,155,000, respectively.

If we add townhomes and duplexes to this data, we’ll see an even higher concentration in the 3-4 BR range and lower average prices, so we see here that the term “Missing Middle” is a bit of a misnomer… it’s not missing and the average costs generally align with median household income, but the supply simply of “middle” housing isn’t as high as County leadership and MM proponents would like it to be.

I also expect that most Missing Middle housing built would be more expensive than the current average prices for 3-4BR homes, certainly when comparing existing “middle” housing and new Missing Middle housing in the same location.

*Note: this table displays the most common BR/BA combinations, but does not show all sales

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 Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Video summaries of some articles can be found on YouTube on the Eli Residential channel.

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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