Real Estate

Metro train transforming this DC suburb

Snapshot of Washington, D.C. real estate

Anyone who lives in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area has probably made the trip out to Tyson's Corner in northern Virginia, home to one of the nation's largest shopping malls.

And anyone who has done that has also probably taken a moment of Zen before battling the traffic to get there. Now, that is changing, thanks to a new Metro line, which is also spurring residential development in the area.

"As it sits right now, there are 100,000 people working in Tysons. Only 20,000 actually live in Tysons, so with the opening of the Silver Line, Fairfax is doing bull's-eye-like developments. They have plans to turn it into a street grid type of live/work/mixed-use neighborhood," said Edward Berenbaum, co-founder of Century 21 Redwood Realty.

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A view along the Metro's Silver Line looking west toward Reston from near the Dulles toll road in Vienna, VA.
Jahi Chikwendiu | The Washington Post | Getty Images

Home sales in northern Virginia rose 4 percent in April, and the median price of a home, $485,000, was 1.68 percent higher, according to the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors. Unlike so many other housing markets, northern Virginia is seeing a lot of new supply, with active listings up 33 percent from a year ago.

"We can conclude that there is a pent-up demand for housing in northern Virginia," said Mary Bayat, the association's chairwoman. "It is being satisfied. Between the millennials who are ready to be on their own, and the other buyers who are deciding to act, we are seeing sustained closing numbers for this time of year. This is what our new normal is."

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Real estate agents in the area, however, warn that today's homebuyers are as savvy as they are sensitive. With so much housing data readily available, they are unlikely to move on a property that they feel is the least bit overpriced. The median price of a northern Virginia home is about twice that of the national median, but as the area's population grows, so does housing demand.

As for Tysons, creating a new residential "urban core" is likely to attract younger millennials. Some agents say they are already seeing increased foot traffic of potential buyers, and some potential sellers are choosing to wait and rent their properties, expecting that new demand will push prices higher.

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