Average house prices in Arlington County have recovered to or exceeded what they were before the 2008 financial crisis, except in eight neighborhoods, according to new findings.
Randy Smith, a senior fellow at the D.C. Policy Center and a GIS specialist at Hood College in Frederick, Md., found that on average, houses in the following neighborhoods have gone down in value since 2007:
- Arlington Forest (-1.83 percent)
- Bellevue Forest (-8.2 percent)
- Dominion Hills (-16.19 percent)
- Foxcroft Heights (-20.9 percent)
- Gulf Branch (-22.85 percent)
- Old Glebe (-5.11 percent)
- Rock Spring (-2.42 percent)
- Riverwood (-33.1 percent)
All other neighborhoods have seen average home values either reach or exceed their pre-crisis levels, with the likes of Buckingham, Madison Manor, Glebewood and High View Park seeing increases of more than 50 percent on average.
On average across the county, property values have steadily ticked upwards. Earlier this year, the county said values rose 2.6 percent over their 2016 levels.
In an interview, Smith said the slight downward trend for some home values could be due to a lack of sales in those neighborhoods, or a lack of amenities that make them an attractive and convenient place to live in.
“Just because there’s not much to do and not much local resources: you have to drive further for grocery shopping, for any retail that you would have to go and buy normally,” he said. “Overall, I would think that the time spent having to drive to do anything would contribute to that part.”
Smith also found that foreclosures on county homes peaked during the financial crisis, but since then have stabilized with the local economy.
“It was fairly stable through that time period to begin with, as it wasn’t as affected as the rest of the country,” Smith said. “I’m guessing that’s why it wasn’t any crazy numbers per month for foreclosures, but I’m guessing people are more encouraged to start buying again in the area.”
Smith said he does not expect a slowdown in increasing property values in Arlington, due to the relative strength of the local economy and various other factors that make it attractive.
“There’s a fairly good job market, there’s a lot of people that want to move there, it’s close to D.C., good transportation,” Smith said. “Maybe that’s what’s influencing it…But I don’t see any reason that sales prices aren’t going to stop increasing in the near future.”
Smith’s interactive map of home value changes in Arlington, sorted by neighborhood, is below (after the jump).
Fairlington Named ‘Top Value Neighborhood’ — Fairlington and Shirlington are together the No. 3 “top value neighborhood” in the D.C. area, according to real estate website Trulia. No. 1 is University Park in Maryland and No. 2. is Kingman Park in D.C. [Curbed]
Market-Rate Affordable Housing Disappearing — In 2000 there were 19,740 homes in Arlington affordable to those making 60 percent of Area Median Income. That dropped by 86 percent, to 2,780 units, by the end of 2016. [Washington Business Journal]
Police Focused on Opioid Abuse — Yesterday the Arlington County Police Department “participated in a discussion on regional law enforcement efforts aimed at reducing the growing heroin/opiate epidemic.” There are at least three addiction treatment facilities in Arlington and ACPD “strongly encourages substances users and their family members to seek assistance.” [Arlington County]
Native Plants Return Thanks to Management of Invasives — “Native plants are on the comeback trail in Arlington – particularly along the W&OD Trail in Bluemont and Glencarlyn parks. Last month Dominion Energy mowed green space beneath powerlines along the trail, helping the County manage invasive plants like Japanese honeysuckle and multiflora rose.” [Arlington County]
You’ve heard the term NIMBY — Not In My Backyard — used as a pejorative to describe those who oppose new development near them, even though they might not be opposed to the same project elsewhere. In San Francisco, Seattle, New York and elsewhere, however, YIMBYs are starting to organize.
The Yes In My Backyard movement supports efforts to build more housing, with the goal of building enough housing that supply and demand find an equilibrium and people stop getting priced out of the housing market.
YIMBYs reject typical NIMBY arguments — proposed buildings are too tall, would create too much traffic, would destroy the “character” of a neighborhood — as reactionary impediments to achieving better housing affordability. Instead of worrying about “greedy developers,” YIMBYs say “build, baby, build.”
One thing going for the NIMBYs, who can more charitably be called neighborhood preservationists, is that they are often well organized and mobilize like-minded residents to speak passionately at local government hearings on development. That is one reason why places like San Francisco have struggled to keep up with housing demand: developers face constant roadblocks from community groups who are effective at delaying projects or getting them blocked altogether at the local government level.
The price of housing in Arlington has been rising — not as dramatically as in San Francisco, mind you, but NIMBY vs. YIMBY fights have nonetheless occasionally played out locally.
As the county’s population continues to grow — it’s expected to reach 283,000 by 2040 — more housing will be necessary to keep up with demand. The Arlington community’s reaction to continued development will be a key factor that shapes local neighborhoods and affects local housing affordability.
Generally speaking, where do you stand on the YIMBY vs. Neighborhood Preservationist spectrum?
Wellington Buyer Wants to Build — Washington REIT, which just purchased The Wellington apartments on Columbia Pike, has plans to build a new, 360-unit building on the property, perhaps atop the 711-unit complex’s large surface parking lot. [Bisnow]
GMU: Housing Crunch Coming — The D.C. area is not building housing fast enough to accommodate new residents and jobs, according to a report by the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis. By 2023, there will be 226,380 fewer housing units in Greater Washington than needed to house those moving to area, thus forcing people to move farther away from the city. [Washington Business Journal]
Nauck Community Portraits Exhibit — A new exhibition space in the Arlington County Cultural Affairs offices at 3700 Four Mile Run Drive is hosting “three-dimensional biographies” of Nauck community leaders created by Drew Elementary students. The “Nauck Community Portraits” exhibit was inspired by a new book about the historic African-American community. [InsideNova]
AWLA Placement Rate on the Rise — The Animal Welfare League of Arlington says it’s successfully placing shelter animals with new homes at a rate of 95 percent, exceeding national standards. It’s up from 76 percent in 2010, when Neil Trent took over as director of the organization. [Patch]
The median price of a home is up 18.4 percent over last year, according to MRIS, signally Arlington’s strong housing market is only getting stronger.
“All the numbers suggest that the already-strong interest in Arlington has grown substantially, even in just the past year or two,” MRIS says on its blog. “Which means this spring should have even more momentum for buyers moving into the area.”
November’s record high price came from 182 sales. There are 2.4 months of housing supply on the market — more signs that it’s better to be a seller than a buyer in the county — and, as of earlier this month, 536 homes for sale.
Image via MRIS