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Archive for November, 2008

Ft. Belvoir Set to Become Northern Virginia’s Next “Small City” – Part 2

Ft. Belvoir in Fairfax County is experiencing a growth spurt that will take it from being a large town to Northern Virginia’s next small city as part of the Defense Department’s 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Process (BRAC).

As I noted in Part 1, traffic congestion is a major concern and to reduce traffic, officials have divided the new development into three sites:

The main post will take in 3,400 new workers, 8,500 will go to the Proving Ground and another 6,400 will to the new office complex.  Thousands of additional visitors will flock to the post’s new hospital which will serve active and retired service members.  The $800 million hospital at Ft. Belvoir is designed to replace Walter Reed Medical Center which will be closed after Belvoir is completed.

The new hospital will have 120 beds and five buildings.  Soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan will recuperate in a nearby Warrior in Transition Unit.

Another major draw is the widely anticipated Army Museum  which is scheduled to open in 2013.  The museum is not part of BRAC and its $160 million cost comes primarily from private donations.

By law the BRAC development  must be completed by September 2011 and is “going to take place regardless of what’s happening in the economy,” noted Gerald L. Gordon, president and chief executive of the Fairfax County Economic Development Corporation.

Whether for your primary use or as an investment property, this area of Fairfax is one to watch.  Call me at 703.927.4554 to find out more.

Michael

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Sales in Alexandria Zip Code 22314 UP in October

Home sales in Alexandria’s 22314 zip code were up 8 percent in October 2008 as compared to sales in October 2007.  At the same time, the average list price and the average sales price were down 21 percent, highlighting the fact that buyers still have the upper hand in today’s market.

The 22314 zip code takes in all of Old Town Alexandria, extending north along the GW Parkway to include Potomac  Green and west on King St to include the Carlyle complex.

Homes highlighted in blue were on the market 30 days or less.

For more information on these or other properties in the 22314 area, call me at 703.927.4554.

Thanks for stopping by,

Michael

Sales are taken from the Metropolitan Regional Information System (MRIS) and do not include For Sale by Owner transactions or (for the purposes of this report) condominium sales.

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October 2008 Sales are Up Year to Date for Northern Virginia Real Estate

As we move towards a new year and what is often considered a ‘slow time’ for realtors, there are several positive indicators for the Northern Virginia real estate market.  Most significantly, October 2008 sales were up over October 2007 sales.  At the same time, October 2008 listings were down from October 2007 listings.

Why is this important? One of the strongest indicators of whether the real estate market is going up or coming down is comparing the number of homes coming on the market versus the number of homes going under contract.

If homes are selling faster than homes are coming on the market, then prices have to go up.  If more homes are coming on the market than homes going under contract, then prices have to go down.

For more information about Washington, DC and the close in Virginia counties of Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax, click on any of the links for a chart  showing the number of homes under contract versus the number of homes just listed and inventory activity.

It’s still a great market for buyers, especially with the $7500 credit for first time home owners still available.  Don’t wait, call me at 703.927.4554 and let’s make the market work for you.

Thanks for stopping  by,

Michael

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A Day in the Virginia Countryside – Part Three

The third part of our day in the Virginia countryside – Orange, VA to be exact –  was a tour of Montpelier, the recently renovated home of our fourth president, James Madison.

After a late morning arrival at the Fiber Festival, an easy lunch from local vendors, and a few good hours watching the sheepdog trials, we headed across the road and onto the 2,650 acres that make up today’s Montpelier. Deeded to Madison’s grandfather in 1723, Montpelier was the lifelong home of James Madison and remained in the family until 1844 when Dolly Madison sold the property.

At the time of the sale the property had decreased dramatically from the original acreage of 4,675 – thanks in no small part to the gambling debts of Dolly’s ne’er do well son.

Eight other families have owned Montpelier over the years but none had the impact of its owner of 82 years, the du Pont family.  Indeed, the will of the late Marion Scott du Pont specified that it would be appropriate to restore Montpelier “in such a manner as to conform as nearly as possible with the architectural pattern which existed when said property was owned and occupied by President Madison.”

Five years and $24 million dollars later, the terms of the du Pont will are close to completion.

The furniture and furnishings are not yet in place but knowledgeable and deeply committed docents make the rooms come alive.   A well appointed visitors center, ongoing archaeological exhibits, Confederate encampments, a slave cemetery, walking trails, and glorious gardens add to overall experience.

Garden Entrance with a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance

In addition, the estate maintains a full calendar of events including the Montpelier Wine Festival and the Montpelier Hunt.

My 90 yr. old mother-in-law in the Montpelier gardens >

And then it was time to leave.  Lunch was long behind us so we detoured through Fredericksburg, VA and stopped at the Colonial Tavern, Home to the Irish Brigade.  We happened on this boisterous Irish pub completely by accident and were the luckier for it.

Perfect fall weather called for outdoor seating which in turn gave us a chance to enjoy the easy camaraderie of this very friendly place.  Potato and leek soup, shepherd’s pie, onion rings to write home about and, of course, Irish spirits, made this the perfect finale to our day in the Virginia countryside.  It’s a trip we highly recommend!

Thanks for stopping by,

Michael

P.S. The program for the Fall Fiber Festival has a discounted coupon for Montpelier – a fact we didn’t notice until it was too late.

A Day in the Virginia Countryside – Part Two

A Day in the Virginia Countryside – Part One

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Ft. Belvoir Set to Become Northern Virginia’s Next “Small City” – Part 1

Ft. Belvoir in southern Fairfax County is already a very busy place.  But with more than $4 billion in construction set to provide office space that will rival the Pentagon, a 120 bed hospital, a wounded warriors transition center and the headquarters for several military and intelligence agencies, it will truly become Northern Virginia’s next small city.

The main post, off I-95 near Mt. Vernon, is also the proposed site for the long planned National Museum of the Army which is expected to draw a million visitors a year.

While some fear the massive growth will further clog the area’s highway system – always a legitimate fear – other optimistic voices see it as a ray of light in the current economic downturn.  Defense contractors are expected to cluster around the post, providing interest in an area largely overlooked by developers.

A result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Process (BRAC), more jobs are being moved to Ft. Belvoir than to any other military installation in the country.  When the realignment is completed, Ft. Belvoir will have the fifth largest military population , excluding families, of any installation in the country. 

Unlike other posts however, Belvoir will be populated almost entirely with federal employees and civilian contractors whose mission is not to fight but to provide support, logistics, and intelligence for those who do.

Want to know more about this rapidly developing area of Fairfax County?  Call me at 703.927.4554 and let’s talk.

Michael

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October Home Sales in Alexandria’s 22301 Zip Code

There were 15 home sales in October in zip code 22301 which encompasses the Alexandria neighborhoods of Rosemont and Del Ray.  Median sales price was $499,000; median list price was $509,000 for a 1.20 differential.  Median days on the market – 58.

This is an increase from the number of home sales (9) in September 2008 for the same zip code but a slight decrease in the median numbers.  In September the median sales price was $558,000; the median list price was $575,000 for a 1.92% differential.  Median days on the market – 14.

If you are interested in more information about any of these sales or about other properties in the neighborhood, call me at 703.927.4554.

Michael

Sales are taken from the Metropolitan Regional Information System (MRIS) and do not include For Sale by Owner transactions.

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VOTE TODAY – TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2008

 

 

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2008

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