The Story of Loudoun County Real Estate and How Two New Metro Stations Promise to Revitalize It
Loudoun County real estate has had its share of ups and downs. In some way, the area is progressive as a prime location for tech companies. In other ways, it’s like the last frontier with very few options of direct commuting to Washington DC and none of them ideal. All of that is about to change as the Silver Line moves into Loudoun County with two new metro stations slated to open before 2020.
The History of Loudoun County Real Estate
In the mid-2000’s, cities within Loudoun County saw a burst of growth thanks to what was known as the dot-com growth. Technology companies and government contracts brought in new jobs, which led people to move to the area. This area became one of the fastest growing neighborhoods and one of the most expensive in the state.
For many, the appeal of the area lie in the school system and beautiful neighborhoods with wonderful neighbors. At the time, the long commute didn’t detract from interest in Loudoun County. After the housing market collapsed, values of the homes went down and didn’t return to pre-Recession numbers as buyers looked to walkable locations and neighborhoods within the Capital Beltway for easy commutes with transit options.
This alteration has been shocking to many involved in related industries who were betting on Loudoun County real estate. Poverty, crime and other negative factors inside the DC area created neighborhoods in decline. However, this scenario turned around as the Metro transit system moved into the downtown area and created mixed-use areas that led to a boom in the market. Urban areas became much nicer places to live and more convenient.
Why Loudoun County Real Estate Didn’t Recover
As more people saw the benefits of urban living, home values soared in those areas while properties in places like Dulles, Ashburn, Leesburg, Sterling and Aldie didn’t see the same growth. Buyers aren’t looking for sprawling estates with prices in the upper $100,000’s, instead preferring smaller homes in urban areas. While home values have increased since the recession, it hasn’t been at the pace of the national average, which is 13.5 percent. Some areas have seen prices rise more along the lines of 5 percent.
After recovery in the housing market began, buyers weren’t looking at the same types of homes as before. Instead, they were focused on what they needed, and those large 2000 and 3000 square foot properties didn’t appeal. Add in the issue with the terrible commute along Interstate 66, which is hailed as one of the worst in the nation, and buyers just weren’t looking at Loudoun County homes.
Saved by the Silver Line
A study was conducted in 2011 by the Center for Neighborhood Technology, which made some important discoveries.
• Less than 20 percent of Loudoun County commuters get to work by public transport
• These commuters drive 26,000 to 35,000 miles each year just to work
• The cost of monthly transportation ranges between $1280 and $1770
While these figures are frightening, all has not been lost. People are still moving to the area and searching for Loudoun County homes to buy. With the planned addition of two new metro stations bringing public transit to the county, the appeal of the area is expected to continue.
The first station has had the name Ashburn approved for the Route 772 metro station while Loudoun Gateway is the Route 606 metro station. A Market Analysis and Best Practices Study along with a Scenario Planning Study were developed to provide recommendations for use of the area surrounding the metro stations. Recommendations for the areas include a focus on more residential construction and multi-use development.
The goal for all of the towns in Loudoun County is to increase walkability, reduce the cost of road repair and provide convenience for the residents while preserving the history and archaeology of the locations.
What this means for Loudoun County real estate is a new look designed to appeal to today’s home buyers who only want what they need rather than buying all they can afford. Their focus is on improving the quality of their lives by providing convenience and modern amenities. With the two metro stations for the Silver Line slated for opening around 2018, everyone will be watching to see how well the market responds and to find out what they need to do to get in on the action.