The first quarter of 2019 yielded a much more competitive housing market than local economists and Realtors originally anticipated for the areas around Amazon’s future HQ2.
According to a report released Wednesday by the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors and the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis, the median home price in Arlington County is on track to spike 17.2 percent by the end of 2019. The two organizations had initially predicted an increase of just 5.1 percent by year-end. The median price of houses sold in Arlington County in May was $615,000 — up nearly 10 percent compared to the same time last year.
“This is a market response to the Amazon HQ2 announcement with investors competing with residents for a shrinking number of homes for sale,” said Terry Clower, director of the George Mason center, in a statement.
Prices in Fairfax County are also significantly outperforming initial expectations. The Realtor association and Clower’s organization had predicted a gain there of 3.1 percent by the end of 2019. Now they project a jump of about 7 percent.
Last month, buyers in Northern Virginia closed on 2,381 houses—the highest number of sales for the month of May since 2005. Meanwhile, inventory is on the down-swing, as homeowners around HQ2 who might otherwise sell instead await Amazon’s arrival to see how much more their home-values will rise. Still others may decide to rent their houses to HQ2 employees in the near term, rather than sell them.
Based on the revised projections, the number of available homes for sale in Fairfax County is forecasted to be down 10.2 percent at the end of 2019. The decline was previously projected to be just 2.4 percent. In Arlington, inventory is expected to plummet by 18.8 percent, compared to the originally anticipated drop of 7 percent. “Arlington inventory has fallen off a cliff,” said Clower.