Last month, the average sales price of a home in Northern Virginia was $470,882. For our purposes, let's round that up to an even $500K or half a million bucks.
So, let's say you've got good credit, a decent downpayment, and the wherewithal to handle a mortgage of this size. It's time to go shopping for a house. Where? Oh where in Northern Virginia should you go to purchase the $500,000 home that your friendly mortgage professional approved you to buy?
The answer (as all good answers involving real estate and law should be) is: Depends!
It depends on what you want.
- Do you want a single family home in a tree-lined neighborhood on a third of an acre?
- Are you willing to purchase an older home that's closer to downtown D.C.?
- What about a shiny new condo right near the Metro?
- What do you expect for your money?
Let's explore what $500,000 will buy in some of the different areas of Northern Virginia. To determine this, we'll look at the $450,000 to $550,000 price range in each area and discuss the average home you could get for that money.
The average listing price of home in Alexandria is about $550,900. Of the homes on the market, 59% are priced below $500,000. There are 71 Alexandria homes in the $450,000-$550,000 price range.
In Alexandria, your $500,000 can buy you:
- a single-family home built in 1949 on a .20 acre lot with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths; or
- a townhouse built in 1971 with 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms; or
- a condominium builit in 1986 with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms
More than likely you'll be buying a townhouse in Alexandria: more than half the available choices in this price range in Alexandria are townhomes.
The average listing price of homes in Arlington is $636,055. 51% of the homes in Arlington are on the market for under $500,000. There are about 87 homes in the $450,000-$550,000 price range.
In Arlington, your $500,000 can buy you:
- a single-family home built in 1948 on a .18 acre lot with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms; or
- a townhouse built in 1985 with 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms; or
- a condominium built in 1993 with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms
Available choices in Arlington are almost evenly split between the older single-family homes and the newer condos. Townhouses only make up 20% of your choices. Thus, you'll need to decide whether you'll take the older home or the newer Arlington condo.
Fairfax County is the largest geographic area of the Northern Virginia region and thus has the most available inventory of homes.
The average listing price of a home in Fairfax County is $687,358, but over 55% of homes in Fairfax County are priced under $500,000. There are about 450 homes on the market in the $450,000 to $550,000 price range.
In Fairfax County, with $500,000 you can afford:
- a single-family home built in 1971 on a .35 acre lot with 4 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms; or
- a townhouse built in 1995 with 3 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms; or
- a condo built in 1994 with 2 bedroom and 2 bathrooms
In Fairfax County, the overwhelming majority, nearly 75% of homes in this price range are single-family homes, with very few condos (a mere 14). So, of all areas, you're most likely to spend your $500,000 on a single-family home in Fairfax County.
Falls Church City:
Falls Church City is tiny and thus has an extremely limited inventory of homes. In fact, currently only 4 homes are in the $450K-$550K price range.
In Falls Church City your $500K will buy you:
- a single-family home built in 1942 on .30 acre with 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom; or
- a townhouse built in 1978 with 2 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms; or
- a condo built in 2007 with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms
McLean Virginia is the highest priced area in Northern Virginia. The average listing price in McLean is $1,648,276. Less than 12% of the available homes in McLean are priced below $500,000 and they're almost all condos. There's only 7 properties in the $450,000 to $550,000 price range.
In McLean for $500,000 you can get:
- a single-family home built in 1952 on .19 acre with 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom; or
- a condo built in 1988 with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.
So, now you know the facts and the inventory of homes.
Where will you go to purchase your $500,000 home?
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