Local Commentary

Editorial: Our ‘Real Estate Report’

For the first time in our 17 and a half years of publication, the Falls Church News-Press has produced a special 16-page “Real Estate Report” that is included in this edition and will also be available on News-Press newsstands for the entire month of August.

Unlike the “Home” or “Real Estate” sections of many newspapers that are designed simply as carriers for advertising, the News-Press section contains substantial stories and data on the housing market in the region, and, on that subject, comes at a very important time.

Over the next six months, the housing climate is going to change significantly in this area, and for the better. Not only are sheer economic factors at play, but political ones, too.

On the economic front, homes located nearer to where people work, shop and send their children to school will be more and more important as the nation settles in to $4-a-gallon gas, and even higher. With home values tanking precipitously in outlying areas, there is already a perceptible migration of populations from rural to urban areas, and that includes anything inside the Washington, D.C. beltway.

Prospective home buyers, who will be incentivized by the federal housing assistance bill passed last weekend that offers generous tax breaks for first-time buyers, will not be looking to the boonies for rustic and expansive living. They will be looking to where they can walk to public transit, to a grocery store, school, library and retail shops. They’ll want to be a hop-skip-and-jump to their job. Falls Church is an ideal location for all of this, including the fact that its abundance of new condominiums will be attractive to those first-time buyers.

In fact, Falls Church’s so-called “walkability index,” as rated on the web site, www.walkscore.com, shows it is already a highly-walkable place, and will only become more so as new retail stores and restaurants fill the ground floors of the new mixed use projects.

On the political front, there is bound to be a major turnover in personnel in the region’s biggest industry, the federal government, in the coming months. There is going to be a new face in the White House and many new ones in the Congress. They bring with them massive entourages of administrative staff, consultants and advisers. This will mark the biggest turnover of population since 2000, and those areas of the D.C. region that can prove the most welcoming, with the best schools, amenities, walkability and access to swift public transit or even auto to the District will enjoy a genuine real estate bounce.

With the News-Press’ on-line edition, we surmise that many around the country are already eyeballing Falls Church real estate options, as they anticipate their party winning in the November election.

So, our “Real Estate Report” comes at just the right time, stepping up our role in helping, as we always have, this region to prosper.

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