Fairfax County was one of the hottest Washington Metro real estate sectors during 2012 and through the first two quarters of 2013. Nothing has changed. Trends for the third quarter which will stretch through the summer months promise a continued appetite for buyers and sellers alike. Looking at the last 12 months as an indicator, Fairfax County showed an 8.4% gain in sales prices, slightly above the metropolitan area's eight major sectors as an aggregate. Only DC itself and Prince George's County posted higher gains.
Covering 40 square-miles and home to nearly 1.2 million residents, Fairfax County is the most populous jurisdiction in the Washington metropolitan area and in fact, in the entire Commonwealth of Virginia. With a strong intelligence community presence including the CIA headquarters, Fairfax County also boasts a noted tech corridor plus ten Fortune 500 companies. Real estate trends have fallen right in line with the strong and growing economy, and stand to continue on an upward trajectory. A shrinking days on market ratio combined with a low inventory of available properties has contributed to a building pressure on buyers throughout this year's first two quarters. Has the region entered a classic seller's market yet?
At this point, the answer is yes. According to RBI, Fairfax County's average days on market reached a five year low of 27 days in the month of May. The number of new contracts was up 10% compared to May of 2012 and the total number of active listings was down 17% from the previous year. Those numbers along with the previously mentioned gain in sales prices poses a classic seller's market. If there's good news for buyers in all of this, it's a surprising spike in new listings as sellers look to take advantage of favorable conditions. In fact, a 21% jump in listings new listings from April to May outpaced the shrinkage of existing properties for sale.
One of the real estate trends that Fairfax County buyers should be looking at is new home construction. There were strong indicators of increased new housing starts during the first two quarters of 2013 and that seems to be holding. In fact, new home construction doesn't seem to be isolated to specific pockets. Homes for sale that completed construction during 2012 and the first half of 2013 have been showing up all across the county with especially high clusters bordering I-66 and in communities to its north such as Merrifield, Vienna, Dunn Loring, Tyson's Corner and McLean.
Does a seller's market and luxury home boom mean there are no real estate opportunities for first-time buyers in Fairfax County? Not at all. Among neighborhoods offering competitive average list prices are Huntington at $299,000, Centreville at $369,700, Franconia at $385,000 and Reston at $420,000. It's also worth noting that communities such as Annandale, Belle Haven, Herndon and Mount Vernon offer lower than average prices on condos and townhouses. For buyers who are not as concerned with price, the affluent town of McLean is currently experiencing a strong uptick in luxury new home construction. Other high end communities in Fairfax County that should be mentioned include Great Falls, Vienna and Oakton.
Andre Perez | District One Properties LLC | Realtor/Agent/Owner
1305 Leslie Ave, Alkexandria, VA 22301