Real Estate Prices Close the Door for Some, Others Get Creative

Real Estate Prices Close the Door for Some, Others Get Creative

Homeowners adding on or taking advantage of county programs to stay put.

On the eastern side of Telegraph Road in the Newington area, crews recently broke 
Houses going up in Lorton, Fairfax County from the $900,000s, as the sign says. 18 Single Family Homes from 3000-5000 square feet with 4-6 bedrooms.

 ground on the community of Hollybrook Farm, a small community of homes in southern Fairfax County that are nearly $1 million each. 

On the other side of Telegraph Road, a homeowner is putting on a very large addition that is itself bigger than many houses. These are some examples of  the housing dilemma that’s facing residents in county.

According to the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors, Fairfax County is still a hot market. The average price of a house that sold in September was $695,154 which is up 2.4 percent in the last year, and the median price for houses in September was $598,950, up 1.7 percent.

At nearly $1 million, Hollybrook Farm is only affordable to the high earners, many times that means a two-income family making about $200,000 a year. On a $900,000 home, with 10% down, meaning $90,000 in cash, the monthly payment is somewhere around $8,000 a month.

To be able to afford a given home, lenders require the homeowner to have enough income to pay the housing expenses and still have enough money left over to provide for basic needs like food, clothing and medical care. Ideally housing expenses should not exceed 30% of your income. If $8,000 was about 1/3 of the monthly income, that would be an annual salary of $288,000. This is out of reach for a majority of county residents, where only 26.8% of households are bringing in over $200,000, according to “Demographic Reports 2020,” put out by Fairfax County.


Home Additions

One way homeowners are adapting to the increase in housing needs is to build additions onto their current homes. Across Telegraph Road from the Hollybrook Farm construction, a homeowner off Newington Road is in adding on a lot of square footage.

To make additions like this in Fairfax County, the builder is required to obtain a residential addition building permit, mechanical permit (for new heating and air conditioning system), electrical permit and plumbing permit (if new plumbing fixtures 

A large addition under construction just off Newington Road.


are installed), the county said. These are all found on the county website, but they recommend hiring a professional builder who can take care of all the permits required. With additions like this, a fire alarm must be installed also and linked to a monitoring company.


North Hill and the Arden

Last year there was progress on affordable homes in the Richmond Highway corridor. Two locations, named North Hill and the Arden Building, are in the Huntington and Hybla Valley area. Officials broke ground at The Arden in 2020, and the project consists of 126 affordable units, including 10 efficiencies, 26 one bedrooms, 76 two bedrooms, 14 three bedrooms, and 11 fully accessible units in the transit-oriented neighborhood.

Wesley Housing is building the seven-story building at the intersection of Huntington Avenue and Biscayne Drive. They will begin accepting rental applications in spring 2022 from the public and referrals from individuals coming from the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority.

On July 31, 2020, officials broke ground on the Residences at North Hill project in the Hybla Valley section of Fairfax County. Mount Vernon Supervisor Dan Storck and the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority were behind this $174 million development that includes 216 affordable rental apartments, 63 affordable senior independent living apartments, 175 market rate townhomes and a 12-acre public park. This project is still under construction.

According to McLaughlin at NVAR, they are trying to find ways to enable voluntary or market-rate affordability by allowing more units to be built or preserved at a lower cost, which includes incentives for builders and redevelopers to add affordable units. 

"There is always a balance here in preserving private property rights and providing incentives for builders and those redeveloping to offer some less expensive housing,” he said.