How Amazon's new HQ affects Virginia housing market

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Alexandria and Arlington, Virginia, are now the two most competitive housing markets in the United States, thanks to Amazon’s coming headquarters, HQ2, in Crystal City, Virginia.

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That’s according to new data from real estate website Redfin, which crunched the numbers to find out how hard it is for buyers to get a home in those areas, how fast properties are going under contract and how much certain homes are selling above the listing price.

“Both Arlington and Alexandria are still competitive well beyond what would be considered the typical busy season,” Redfin agent Mara Gemond said, according to the company. “Buyers are adapting to our new norm of a hot market by extending their leases, going month to month or looking well in advance of lease expiration to ease the pressure of their home search.”

November 2, 2018 Sunnyvale / CA / USA - Amazon headquarters located in Silicon Valley, San Francisco bay area

The most competitive American real estate markets are the two that are closest to Crystal City, Virginia, the home of Amazon’s HQ2,  Alexandria and Arlington. Properties in those two areas are selling faster than the national average of 38 days and faster than homes in the Washington, D.C., metro area of 27 days. In July, homes sold in a median of 14 days in Alexandria and just 11 days in Arlington, about a week less than the same time last year.

Overall, more than half, or 57 percent, of homes in Alexandria and Arlington, went off the market in two weeks or less. That’s compared to 29 percent of homes nationwide, which sold in that time frame and 40 percent of homes in the D.C. metro. And, per the research, the number of homes for sale in both places fell by about 50 percent year over year. Meaning, “without enough supply to meet demand, more homes are selling above list price.”

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Almost half, or 36 percent, of homes in Alexandria sold above the listing price in July, compared with 24 percent last year. In Arlington, 36 percent of homes sold above the listing price, versus 24 percent a year ago. In D.C. and nationally, the numbers were 32 percent and 24, respectively.

“The Amazon HQ2 effect has become a permanent factor in the Arlington and Alexandria housing markets,” Redfin listing agent Marcia Burgos-Stone said. “Some sellers are still opting to hold on to their homes and wait until it becomes a more concrete reality in the hopes that they’ll get more money. This has led to a shortage of homes for sale, which puts pressure on buyers who are concerned that they’ll be left behind if they can’t find a home before things get too heated up.”

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In Alexandria, the median home value is $595,000, and in Arlington, it's nearly $691,800. That’s already much higher than the national average of $229,000, according to Zillow.

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