In yesterday’s Sunday edition of the Washington Post, the Business section featured an article on Loudoun County’s lack of a real estate recovery. The Post did a great job of sensationalizing the subject with a not so subtle picture of an empty swing set with brick colonials in the background. As someone who analyzes the Loudoun real estate market every day, even I was a little startled with the direction of the article. The Post writes, “In one decade, the fortunes of Loudoun and its homeowners have shifted as more people in the DC region have gravitated toward city life. As property values have exploded elsewhere, Lansdowne has been left behind.”
The fact is that this disparity in the real estate recovery was clearly evident seven years ago. This isn’t anything new. I saw it every day while appraising homes in Fairfax and Loudoun Counties back in 2009. The recovery for homes inside the beltway started sooner and was significantly stronger than the market for homes outside the beltway. And the differences were more pronounced the further you travelled from DC This is exactly what one would expect of the recovery and is consistent with past recoveries as well. It is no surprise that Loudoun County home values have not bounced back to the highs of 2007.
So for those of us that live and raise our families here in Loudoun, should we be alarmed by the statistics that show DC real estate booming and Loudoun County slowly appreciating? Absolutely not! Since the beginning of the year, there have been 577 single family homes sold in the County with an average sales price of $562,000. Does that sound like a depressed market? Hardly! In my opinion, the Loudoun real estate market is healthy. The Post talks about a 91% increase in some DC neighborhoods. That kind of appreciation sounds scary to me. Sure we would all like to see our homes increase in value, but I saw first hand the devastation that was the result of the housing market collapse.
Last week I drove by a single family home that I recently sold. The new owners have 2 young kids with a third on the way. They moved to Loudoun from a 2 bedroom condo in Arlington. The two young boys were out playing in the yard and seemed really happy. They will grow up with great schools and in a safe neighborhood that is filled with kids riding bikes and running through backyards. It’s far from perfect, but for me, given the choice between raising my family in Loudoun or inner city DC? I’ll take Loudoun every day of the week!!
JC Silvey is a real estate professional in Loudoun County. Since 2001 he has completed over 3000 valuations in Northern Virginia. He currently spends a majority of his time as a Realtor helping his clients with their real estate transactions.
Learn more about the Loudoun real estate market here.