loading...

Where to Buy: Virginia Neighborhoods with the Best Investment Potential


by Mark Wellborn

Where to Buy: Virginia Neighborhoods with the Best Investment Potential
Oktoberfest in Shirlington by cliff1066

It is a new era for prospective home buyers in Virginia, who are now looking beyond places like Clarendon and Old Town, Alexandria to more suburban, lesser-known neighborhoods. With new developments and expanded modes of public transportation, these buyers are introducing themselves to areas in Virginia that used to be perceived as farther away from DC proper than some fly-over states.  So, what are the Clarendons and Old Towns of the future? We hope to provide the answers in this piece.

Shirlington

Shirlington is not exactly an up-and-coming neighborhood, but rather one that has been gradually heading upward for the last decade. The southern Arlington zip code nestled around I-395, Route 7 and Walter Reed Drive (see map here) owes much of its renaissance to The Village at Shirlington. “There used to be one store at The Village, and now you have movie theaters, restaurants, coffee shops and tons of stores that have all popped up in the last ten years,” area broker Leslie Wilder told UrbanTurf. “A lot of the area’s popularity is due to that.”

In Shirlington, you can get a 750 square-foot, one-bedroom, one-bath condo for around $280,000 and if you can swing something in the mid $400,000s, you can buy a 1,600 square-foot three-level townhouse. There is no Metro stop in the immediate vicinity but buses run frequently from Shirlington to the Pentagon. (The trip takes just nine minutes.) Arlington County also recently built a bus station at The Village at Shirlington that connects with Old Town’s King Street Metro on the blue and yellow lines. With a new Busboys and Poets, Harris Teeter and leash-free dog park, this area may be more dynamic and pedestrian-friendly than the U Street Corridor in five years.

Median Home List Price$364,000
Median List Price/Square Foot$296
Percentage of Homes Where the Listing Price Has Been Reduced38.7
Colonial Village
Colonial Village
Colonial Village

In an era of high gas prices and increasingly reliable modes of public transportation, living in a place like Colonial Village seems to make more sense by the day. Just over Key Bridge from Georgetown, the North Arlington neighborhood (see map here) is a place where you can live a suburban lifestyle, but never be much more than a fifteen-minute walk from one of two Metro stops (Rosslyn and Courthouse, both on the blue and orange lines). The area is filled with affordable brick homes built in the 1940s that are a pleasant departure from many of the high-rise developments now springing up along the Virginia side of the Potomac.

“There are fairly old buildings in Colonial Village with a lot of potential for ‘sweat equity,’” Laura Rubinchuk of Keller Williams said. “But it is pretty hard to find a short sale or bank-owned property in Colonial Village and this helps keep the property prices stable because properties are not selling for less than they are worth.”

Although the area feels suburban (street parking is plentiful), it is only a short walk to grocery stores, pharmacies and other shops. Rubinchuk noted that the area is becoming quite popular with couples in their 20s and 30s that don’t mind the short commute to DC.

Median Home List Price$292,000
Median List Price/Square Foot$457
Percentage of Homes Where the Listing Price Has Been Reduced50
Huntington/Hoffman

The Huntington Metro station in Alexandria has been around for 25 years, but only in the last few years have the areas surrounding it started to see signs of development. The same goes for Hoffman, the neighborhood just adjacent to Huntington, that was primarily known for two non-descript office buildings, but now boasts a big multiplex, restaurants and various condo developments.

Huntington is just outside the Beltway in Fairfax County bordered by Route 1 and Telegraph Road and Hoffman is the area just inside the Beltway bordered by Telegraph Road (see map here), so perhaps their distance from downtown DC is the obvious reason for the slow pace of development. However, with a slew of new high-rise and mid-rise mixed use developments, and the renovation of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge getting rid of some older commercial properties, the area is finally realizing its potential.

Huntington and Hoffman are also the closest northern Virginia areas to the new National Harbor, which sits just across the Potomac in Maryland and is a straight shot across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

“It probably sounds a bit nuts to say that it is finally time to look at investment opportunities in an area that by all rights should have taken off years ago,” David Howell of McEnearney Associates told UrbanTurf. “But that’s the way it looks to me.”

Median Home List Price$280,000
Median List Price/Square Foot$280
Percentage of Homes Where the Listing Price Has Been Reduced45.5
Tysons Corner
Tysons Corner
Tysons Corner

Most people are not aware of the Metro’s silver line, but it is poised to make Tysons Corner more than just an office and shopping mecca. The planned extension of the Metro will consist of 29 new stations from Route 772 in Loudoun County to the Stadium-Armory in DC, and four of the stations will be in Tysons Corner.

“The fact that the Metro is eventually coming to ‘downtown Northern Virginia’ will be transformative,” David Howell said, using one of Tysons Corner’s aliases. “There is substantial, ongoing commercial and residential development in Tysons, and as traffic in the region only gets worse, the ability to either walk to work or hop onto a nearby Metro stop and ride a couple of stations will be huge.”

While delivery is as far off as 2013, there are a number of projects in the works including three new 15-story residential towers on Towers Crescent Drive and a huge multi-use development on Chain Bridge Road and International Drive that will include four high-rise residential towers.

In a rather apt description of its standing in the DC area, the blog BeyondDC described Tysons Corner as “the most important activity center in the Washington region after downtown DC itself. It is the thousand-pound gorilla in our midst, and cannot be ignored just because it’s in Fairfax County.”

Median Home List Price$480,000
Median List Price/Square Foot$292
Percentage of Homes on Market Where Price Has Been Reduced48.1

3 Comments

  1. Christine Rich said at 3:53 pm on Friday October 24, 2008:

    While I agree that Shirlington and Colonial Village are great Arlington locations, I would also like to nominate Fairlington as a great place to consider.  This historic neighborhood is close to all the Arlington/Alexandria/DC conveniences.  Many of the homes have been totally upgraded/updated and have a perfect sized patio for outdoor entertaining.  Community amenities include tennis courts and pools.  Even in the toughest economic times, Fairlington homes have proven to be a good investment.

  1. E said at 1:36 pm on Monday November 17, 2008:

    To be consistent with the title of the article, I would think that the N. Virginia locations/neighborhoods with the “best investment potential” ought to include some discussion regarding their respective public school districts.  Real estate is, generally, a relatively longer-term investment (as opposed to the more traditional shorter-term investments such as securities, etc.), and from my experience, it seems that the fair market values of homes in this metropolitan area hold up better where schools are ranked the highest.  I think that the education aspect of potential real estate investments is absent in the above article.

  1. Michael said at 8:48 pm on Monday November 17, 2008:

    29 new stations is a pipe dream, and progress will be v ery slow in any case.  Plus, transforming Tysons is questionable with the decision to make Metro above ground in that area.

Join the discussion

UrbanTurf now requires registration in order to post comments. Register here, or login below if you are already registered.

Click here if you forgot your password.



Auto-login on future visits

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Ballston
Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Clarendon
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Rosslyn
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
Shirlington
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
Huntington
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
Parkfairfax
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »

Maryland

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Annapolis
Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bethesda
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
Potomac
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
Wheaton
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Hyattsville
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Bloomingdale
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
Brightwood
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
Burleith
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
Crestwood
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
Georgetown
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
Kalorama
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
Palisades
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Petworth
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
Shaw
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Takoma
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Tenleytown
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

Brookland
New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
Deanwood
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Eckington
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
Langdon
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
NoMa
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Rosedale
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
Trinidad
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Woodridge
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Hillcrest
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »

Upcoming Seminars ▾