News & Politics  |  Real Estate

Five Ways Amazon Will Impact Crystal City Real Estate

We're getting half of HQ2. Here's what it means for housing.

Crystal City, winner of half of HQ2. Photo courtesy of the Crystal City BID.

We asked real-estate agents who do business in and around Crystal City what to expect now that half of Amazon’s HQ2 is destined for NoVa. Here are five takeaways.

1. “What they have basically told us is you get a lot of millennials coming in, but initially they rent and test the waters to make sure they like the market,” says TTR Sotheby’s Phyllis Patterson, of the intel she’s been given from her Sotheby’s cohorts in Seattle. That means luxury apartment buildings in and around Crystal City—and all along the Blue and Yellow lines—are likely to feel the impact of HQ2 first. Buildings such as Pentagon City’s Bartlett (which opened in 2016 with a Whole Foods on the ground floor) and Crystal City’s Altaire (which opened this year and replaced a vacant office complex) are likely to be in high demand.

2. Even if new HQ2 employees don’t buy right away, locals who’ve been considering buying will do so en masse to head off the pending onslaught of additional competition. In fact, that’s already been happening. In September, McEnearney’s Jen Walker told us: “We have people now who are buying—they want to get a jump on it because inventory’s low now and if the announcement of Amazon does happen, there’s gonna be even less inventory and a spike in price.”

3. Speculators will start snapping up property and sitting on it because they anticipate Amazon’s arrival will boost their investments. And homeowners who don’t need to sell immediately will also hold off listing their places to see how much more money they’ll be able to command once HQ2 settles in. Currently, the median home price in Crystal City is $555,000—which is already up more than 6 percent from last year.

4. Within 12 to 24 months, the mid-range housing market will feel the most pressure of all. Young Amazon employees who are single, with salaries of about $100,000 will typically have about $400,000 to $500,000 in buying power, explains TTR Sotheby’s Brittany Patterson. After renting for a year or two, they’ll be ready to make an investment. And that means the already limited, competitive $400,000 to $700,000 price range will be inundated with even more house-hunters.

5. Though the most immediate effects on real estate will be felt in Crystal City and the areas immediately around it, HQ2—and the other companies that will surely spring up here because of it—will lift housing prices throughout the entire DC metro.

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Senior Editor

Marisa M. Kashino joined Washingtonian in 2009 as a staff writer, and became a senior editor in 2014. She oversees the magazine’s real estate and home design coverage, and also writes long-form feature stories. She was a 2020 Livingston Award finalist for her two-part investigation into a possible wrongful conviction stemming from a murder in rural Virginia. Kashino lives in Northeast DC.

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