Looking to buy a home? You’ve got some time.
“Generally speaking, the effects will be gradual as the arrival of Amazon employees will take place over several years. It’s unlikely that we’ll see this frantic, widespread hefty price increase,” says Jill Burke, a realtor with the Long & Foster Arlington office. Burke says the early estimates are that home prices may go up anywhere from 5-10 percent over time.
But competition is starting to heat up.
The Amazon announcement has made some potential buyers act faster, says Burke. “We are seeing that there are properties that have (been on the market) maybe 80, 90 days with no activity, and then after the Amazon announcement suddenly we have four offers on one property, all of them over list price.”
Amazon isn’t the only factor.
“Remember, you’re also fighting the rising interest rates, which are almost a foregone conclusion,” says Robert Chamberlain, an associate broker with Long & Foster. Chamberlain says if you’re in a position to buy now, don’t let Amazon influence that decision. “Markets are always in flux. I always tell buyers that the second you’ve made the decision you want to buy, you should keep moving forward.”
Don’t limit your search to Arlington and Alexandria.
“Anyone that is Metro accessible, anyone along the lines (that service HQ2) will see an impact,” says Burke. “Quite frankly, a lot of folks aren’t going to be able to afford to buy in those areas of Alexandria and Arlington, so they’ll be commuting in from more remote areas.”
Rentals may see the biggest impact at first.
“We’re saying ‘Rents, rents, rents!’” says Chamberlain. Many of the people who move here to work for Amazon will be millennials, he explains, and they’re more likely to rent and scope out the area before they buy. “Renting is the first thing you do, so it could take two to three years to affect the housing supply. I would be looking for rents to increase along that Route 1 corridor from 5 to 8 percent.”