The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has had a continued positive influence on the economy and real estate market in Alexandria, Virginia, since 2006. That is when the agency relocated from its previous headquarters in Crystal City, Arlington. Since arriving in Alexandria, the agency has added over 1,000 new jobs.
One of the government’s oldest agencies, the Patent and Trademark office also receives high marks from federal workers. In fact, in a 2013 survey of 700,000 civil servants from 371 federal agencies and subcomponents, the USPTO was rated the No. 1 Best Place to Work in the Federal Government. And, while a number of federal agencies have been downsizing, the USPTO continues to expand, with over 10,000 workers in all.
For obvious reasons, the Washington Metropolitan area has long benefitted from the number of government jobs, and the steady expansion of government over the years. The large, independent city of Alexandria is located just six miles from downtown DC, an easy commute for those working directly in the nation’s capital. The immediate location of federally-related jobs in Alexandria itself, of course, adds to its appeal. The US Defense department is a significant local employer, as is the Department of Commerce. The Patent and Trademark Office is the largest branch of the Commerce Department, in Alexandria.
So what does this have to do with the real estate market? It’s all about supply and demand. The demand for housing in Alexandria is outpacing supply, both as a result of job creation and the desirability of the city in general. Alexandria has one of the nation’s top 10 per capita incomes, and that has translated into an increased desire for upscale properties.
Fortunately, new housing stats are on the rise, thanks to new townhouse construction in Old Town, the Oronoco Waterfront condos, new residences at Potomac Yard, and the Landmark Mall and Landmark Gateway developments. One of the government’s oldest branches is now a key part of one of the nation’s oldest cities, and yet, both are clearly looking toward the future. As the expansion of Alexandria continues, so does its real estate market.