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Examining Amazon’s Impact on D.C.’s Housing Market

Amazon announced on November 13, 2018, that it has decided on not one but two locations for its second headquarters: Arlington County, Virginia, at Crystal City; and Queens, New York, at Long Island City. 

Three months, though, Amazon rescinded its intent to open the New York location and focused its efforts on the Crystal City location. 

Now, one year after that decision, CoreLogic released a special report [1] examining how the housing market has been impacted since landing Amazon’s HQ2. 

CoreLogic states that both sectors nearest to the proposed headquarters—Washington-Arlington-Alexandria and Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville—witnessed a minimal change to their respective housing markets. 

Annual home-price growth over the past year for Washington-Arlington-Alexandria and Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville rose slightly to 3.5% and 2.3%, respectively, compared to 3.4% and 2.1%. 

When compared to national trends, though, the two divisions were shown to outperform other markets. Home-price growth fell from 5.3% to 3.5% over the past year. 

“While anecdotal, this does suggest that the HQ2 announcement possibly buoyed the market in what might have otherwise been a period of slowing home price growth for the Washington, D.C. metro area,” CoreLogic states. 

Regional markets also saw a boost, as half of the 10 zip codes with annual price increase were within 5 miles of HQ2’s proposed site: 22302, Alexandria; 22206, Arlington; 22201, Arlington; 22311, Alexandria; and 22204, Arlington. 

CoreLogic states that each of these regional markets went from having negative or flat-price growth to nearly double-digit appreciation in September 2019. 

BuildFax’s September Housing Health Report [2] found that single-family authorizations rose 3.57% month-over-month and that Washington D.C. is experiencing a housing boom in 2019 due to the “Amazon effect.” 

Redfin reported in August [3] that the two markets nearest to HQ2 are among the most competitive in the nation. 

“The Amazon HQ2 effect has become a permanent factor in the Arlington and Alexandria housing markets,” said Redfin listing agent Marcia Burgos-Stone. “Some sellers are still opting to hold on to their homes and wait until it becomes a more concrete reality in the hopes that they’ll get more money. This has led to a shortage of homes for sale, which puts pressure on buyers who are concerned that they’ll be left behind if they can’t find a home before things get too heated up.”

Redfin added that cities adjacent to HQ2 are going under contract faster than the national average, and the D.C. metro. It took just 11 days in July for homes to leave the market in Arlington, and 14 days in Alexandria, which is a week quicker than last July. The national average is 38 days and 27 days in the D.C. area.