Chris White, an Alexandria-based Long and Foster agent, says business is booming for waterfront property in the Mount Vernon area.
Whether it’s canals, creeks or the open river, “anything you can stick a boat into” is getting a lot of attention, he said. In particular, homes with dramatic river views, sellers of those in the $1-2 million range are getting close to their asking price.
“There’s no denying that waterfront is something that’s always going to have limited supply, that demand always exceeds it,” said David Versel, senior research associate at the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis.
“Especially in Fairfax County,” Versel continued, “where all of the waterfront is built out due to environmental restrictions that didn’t exist” previously.
White also factors in a strong “move up, move in” population of buyer-sellers wanting to take care of low interest rates and upgrade to a bigger house.
“Now, people are almost expecting low interest rates,” White said. “As rates stay low, they should be fine. If there’s a spike in interest rates, it could cause problems.”
Versel thinks there’s also an opportunity for builders to capitalize on some of the older homes being vacated, possibly by the move-up individuals.
“The house itself is no longer an asset,” Versel said, referring to small, 50 to 60-year old homes in areas like off Fort Hunt Road. “They’re no value to many of today’s buyers, but land underneath is very valuable. Renovate, tear down, rebuild — are the only logical steps really.”
And while the opportunity is there to go one deal at time, Versel believes what will move the market along more rapidly is additional townhouse developments like the ones beginning to emerge along U.S. Route 1.
The land in the Richmond Highway corridor is too valuable to do single family homes, he said. It’s better to put 50 to 100 townhomes on it. “If anyone expects to make a living as a homebuilder in Fairfax County, they can’t just buy a piece of dirt and put utilities in, those properties don’t exist anymore.”