The Amazon Effect: Prices Up, Listings Down Near Its New HQ2 in Virginia

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The housing market may be slowing nationally—but not in Arlington, VA, where Amazon plans to open a new headquarters and sellers are anticipating big profits.

Since the tech behemoth announced in November 2018 that it would open a location just outside Washington, DC, home sales in Arlington have jumped 50% compared with the previous year, according to a recent® report. Meanwhile, the number of properties on the market plummeted by about 40% between then and now—possibly because homeowners are waiting to list until Amazon workers start flooding into the market, pushing up prices.

It’s already happening: Real estate list prices rose a median $110,000 for the Arlington market during the same period, representing a 17.3% surge. To put that into perspective, nationally, price appreciation was $17,000, or just 5.5%.

(Originally, Long Island City, a neighborhood in Queens, NY, was selected for another headquarters. But after pushback from local leaders, Amazon pulled out of the location in February.)

Prior to Amazon’s announcement, the housing market in Arlington and the greater DC area was “fairly stagnant,” says Danielle’s chief economist.

“We’ve seen rapid price growth in asking prices,” Hale says. But that doesn’t mean that buyers are willing to pay whatever sellers are asking. “Sales prices have yet to catch up in the same way.”

The median home price in Arlington in November 2018 was $640,000, compared with $750,000 in April 2019, according to the report. But sellers aren’t yet rushing to list their homes.

“Even though it is an excellent time to sell your home, people don’t seem to be doing that,” she says.

That means there’s plenty of competition for those shopping for a home in the DC area.

“It’s 100% a seller’s market” in both Arlington and the nearby city of Alexandria, VA, says Holly Tennant Billy, a McLean, VA-based Realtor at TTR Sotheby’s International Realty. Buyers have to play hardball, because even homes in the $1.7 million range are receiving multiple offers, she says.

In the Crystal City neighborhood, where Amazon plans to open its new headquarters, the median home price is $609,900, according to  There were just 17 properties listed in the Crystal City ZIP code of 22202 on as of May 23. Amazon is attempting to rebrand the area, which is made up primarily of office buildings with some condos and single-family homes mixed in, as “National Landing.”

The lack of available affordable housing is causing buyers to look elsewhere—or think out of the box.

Arlington County recently changed its restrictions on accessory dwelling units. That means residents can build an additional housing unit, such as a garage apartment or other small home, on their property.

Those wanting a single-family home might have to look farther outside the DC metropolitan area. One of those cities booming with new construction is Manassas, VA, about half an hour outside the nation’s capital.

“It’s a long commute, and public transportation doesn’t get you from point A to point B,” Billy says. But the median price there is just $339,450. “I see the growth in the surrounding areas continuing,” she adds.

Efforts to manage that growth are continuing as well.

“People are concerned about housing prices and displacement,” says David Cristeal, the housing director of Arlington County. “We’re in a balancing act and doing the best we can to accommodate people, but also preserve community and affordability. We’ve got our work cut out for us.”

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Source: Housing Trends Feed