With the New Year in full swing, home owners and potential buyers may be wondering what’s going on in the real estate market. Our local Bright MLS does a regular analysis of market trends. Overall, it reveals that the D.C. metro market remains strong, but the number of homes and eventual sales remain low, particularly when compared to the very hot market of the early 2000s.
We can speculate about what that means. Some people say it’s indicative of looming housing bubble or other major problem. But there are also other less alarming reasons, such as the fact that many baby boomers apparently have decided to remain in their homes rather than moving south to warmer climates. In addition, land-use regulations can limit new home building, impacting inventory as well.
In any case, we don’t find current trends alarming, but instead see many reasons to be optimistic. As for predicting the future, it’s always difficult, but a steady increase in home values is a welcome sign for homeowners. Strong employment numbers are a good sign of the local economy’s health as well. The latest employment numbers from the Virginia Employment Commission puts the state unemployment rate at 2.8 percent.
Route 1 Corridor Facelift
One of the biggest steps forward for South Alexandria is the approval in 2018 of Embark Richmond Highway (ERH), a revised county land-use plan that that includes improvements for biking, walking and bus transit from just south of the Beltway to Fort Belvoir.
“[T]he update to the 7.5-mile corridor’s land use plan is the first step needed to build a future bus rapid transit, or BRT, system,” according to Fairfax County. “The future bus rapid transit system will run primarily in the median from the Huntington Metro Station to Fort Belvoir.”
Initially the corridor will include nine stations along the route, but the county added that BRT will eventually extend to Fairfax’s Occoquan River southern border. In addition, ERH supports two additional Metro stations that would stretch the end of the Yellow Line to Hybla Valley.
“Overall, the plan calls for concentrating more mixed-use development, especially residential, within a half mile around the nine BRT stations,” the county says. “It also imagines new ways to get around, providing continuous walking and bike paths along the corridor in addition to the bus system.”
The plan also calls for “interconnected park spaces … strategically located at each of the BRT stations and distributed throughout the station areas.”
Business center development is a big part of the county’s plans for the area.
“The plan concentrates most of the future growth into four of these centers: Penn Daw, Beacon/Groveton, Hybla Valley/Gum Springs and Woodlawn,” the county says. “The densest development will be focused in Beacon/Groveton and Hybla Valley, the locations for the two future Metro stations.”
Some of the highlights will include an “urban town center” in the Beacon/Groveton area for mixed-use business and residential space. The plan calls says it should include “1.3 million square feet in nonresidential development, 4,200 housing units, and 3,560 jobs.”
For Hybla Valley/Gum Springs, the numbers include “2.4 million square feet of nonresidential development, 3,400 dwelling units and 6,460 jobs.”
Be sure to check out the latest updates from the Fairfax County.
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