News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, January 12, 2018

Reston Real Estate: Despite the Silver Line, Property Values Flatline

It seems like only yesterday that we were breathlessly awaiting the arrival of the Silver Line as our E-ticket ride to riches. All's we'd have to do is watch our property values sextuple and ward off the shadowy developer types with their Snidely Whiplash mustaches knocking on our doors with wheelbarrows full of cash to entice us to turn our aging 1970s neighborhoods into hip, vowel-free mauvescrapers!

Well, that didn't exactly happen. And a fresh set of median property values over the past 15 years shows that, on average, we're roughly where we were a decade ago. Check out our mad Excel skillz this chart below:

A few things stand out: First, we've divided up this graph to show B.S. (Before the Silver Line) and A.S. (after it). It looks like after a slight uptick following the Silver Line opening back in ought-fourteen, property values have stubbornly failed to skyrocket. Is it because of the glut of new high-rise housing coming online? Is it because people inexplicably prefer the newer, particleboardier housing stock (and NSFW amenities) in Loudoun and are willing to put up with a longer commute to get it? Are people realizing that the region's strapping-bomb-to-dolphin days of wine and (appropriately colored) roses may be numbered? All's we know is that we should have invested in Bitcoin instead of Mauvecoin.

You could argue that that big rebound in prices following the Silver Line's approval in 2009 reflected the giddy, childlike enthusiasm for a mass transit system that had yet to devolve into a dysfunctional, smoke-filled hellride that might take you downtown or just drop you in Ballston to rub shoulders with the (shudder) Orange Line hoi polloi following a garbled announcement over the loudspeakers. It's very likely those price increases were baked in well before the first Silver Line train left the station; just think back to all the real estate listings ("ONLY 45 MINUTE WALK TO FUTURE METRO STATION/SHAG CARPETING IN CONVERSATION PIT CONVEYS")

But the upshot is unless you bought in 2002, like Old Economy Steve, you haven't gotten those big ole' gainz, Metro or no.

And that big crash in median property values in 2007? Some may point to that year's global financial crisis and the havoc it wreaked across every sector, but something else happened that year. A certain filthy "web log" was launched, bringing to the world the real truth about our plastic fantastic planned community, its homicidal nudist forefathers, and, above all, our love of arbitrary DRB regulations.

Our bad.


  1. Definitely the housing glut. Which follows the overbuilding of office space which, in turn, is prompting the county to consider the repurposing of those buildings... which will just add to the housing glut.

    FMH (F My Hoa)

  2. At some point, rising prices hit the ceiling of what people can afford to pay for a townhouse or small SFH. It's not like salaries have doubled in the past 10 years.


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