Falls Church Apartments Few and Far BetweenBY PATRICIA LESLIE
Anyone who’s looking to make a move soon in Falls Church knows that it’s not only homes which are in short supply here, but the inventory of apartments is low, too.
An online search for apartments found few available. Prices for some exceed large mortgage payments.
Apartments range from $1,515 to $2,953 for a one bedroom, and $1,750 to $6,704 for a two bedroom.
Modera Founder’s Row on West Broad has the highest price for a one bedroom, while the West Broad at the Harris Teeter building claims top prize for the priciest two bedrooms.
The less expensive units are found at Glen Apartments near West Street and Route 29 for the one bedroom, and at Roosevelt Towers on North Roosevelt for two bedrooms.
None of the high end apartments include utilities like what’s found at some lower-priced units, but pricier places offer amenities like a dog run, a pet spa, pet wash station, a pet park, complimentary moving assistance, a library lounge, fire pits in outdoor areas with TVs, and an upper deck for watching parades and fireworks.
Robert A. Young is the president of the Young Group which has 150,000 to 200,000 square feet of residential and commercial properties in Falls Church which are all leased up.
“We have no vacancy of any kind,” he said in a phone interview.
“It’s never happened in my 20 plus
years I’ve owned property.” Typically, an occupancy of 92 to 93 percent for commercial properties is considered “excellent by industry standards,” he said.
From a landlord’s perspective, apartments in Falls Church are in “very, very good shape.” His rent increases for them have been below inflation, at only two to three percent, but “we’ve just done an assessment and found we’re pretty far behind the market,” so his tenants may find a five percent adjustment coming this year.
With a different perspective, Edward P. Novak, Jr., an area real estate developer and president and founder of Nova Ventures, says the market has settled down from its covid highs.
There’s been “a fairly significant slowdown” since the peak of last summer. “It’s not dramatic, but rents were raised by a significant amount” to cover labor and construction costs, and soaring inflation and interest rates.
Now, some commercial developers are having a hard time finding money to build.
“Demand has dropped a bit to a more normal level.”
The National Apartment Association says renters are pausing on making moves and have begun to combine households to save money. Vacancy rates nationally are projected to increase through 2024 and records show rental prices dropped September through November, 2022, although Zillow, a national real estate marketer, says rents were 8.4 percent higher than a year ago.
New Study Reveals VA Home Sales Return to Pre-Pandemic LevelsBY KYLEE TOLAND FALLS CHURCH NEWS-PRESS
Two years after the Covid-19 pandemic affected the nation, local home buyers are now seeing more available options as the housing market slows down.
According to a December 2022 Virginia Home Sales Report by Virginia REALTORS — the largest trade association in Virginia, — Virginia’s housing market has slowed “considerably” in 2022 after two “very busy” years, almost returning to pre-pandemic levels.
The report stated that there were about 123,000 houses sold in Virginia in 2022, which is 20 percent fewer than the annual total in 2021. In December 2022, 7,492 houses were sold statewide, a “sharp” drop of nearly 38 percent from the same time last year. A “significant” role in this slowdown could be the rapid rise of interest rates over much of 2022.
Other factors for this decrease in the market is far fewer contracts occurring each month, houses stayed on the market longer and sellers were not getting their asking price, on average, as the year came to a close.
Ryan Price, the chief economist at Virginia REALTORS, said the company produces home sales reports monthly on the Virginia housing market conditions and economic conditions of the state. He stated the City of Falls Church’s housing market has slowed down “considerably,” along with 90 percent of other Virginia counties and cities.
“Smaller markets like Falls Church tend to be more volatile in terms of changes,” Price said. “Because there’s fewer home sales overall, just a few extra or few less can really tip the scales on whether or not it’s shrinking or growing.”
Overall, 87 percent of counties and cities
in Virginia had fewer home sales in 2022 compared to 2021, which from an annual perspective, statewide sales activity is back to pre-pandemic totals, near market levels seen in 2018. These shifts, paired with increases in inventory that remains “tight”, could come as “welcome news” to potential buyers active in the market as houses are taking longer to sell and supply is increasing.
The report also added that the December median sales price in Virginia was $359,000, up 2.6 percent from last year, an $9,100 increase. There was approximately $3.3 billion of sold volume in Virginia in December, which is $1.9 billion less volume than a year ago, a 36.9 percent drop.
Price further stated that the City of Falls Church has been slowing down “dramatically” in the housing market since the summer of 2022, which can be a negative thing for an economy such as the city’s because there’s “residual economic activity” generated from a home sale. However, a buyer in Falls Church can benefit from this as the market slowing can allow one to purchase a house in an easier fashion.
“Our outlook is continued moderation in the market,” Price said. “We expect that will continue in Falls Church.”
In Virginia, there were 16,115 active listings on the market at the end of December. This is a “supply jump” of nearly 20 percent over the same time last year.
The outlook of this report signals that sales activity will “likely be slower” than in 2022, net job growth will likely “flatten out” as economic conditions weaken and prices will remain “relatively stable,” though in some markets they will continue to climb, and prices declines are possible in some pockets of the state.
Nation Facing Record Breaking Housing ShortageBY BRIAN REACH FALLS CHURCH NEWS-PRESS
Across the Nation, a nearly four-million estimated housing unit shortage is keeping home prices steady despite interest rate hikes, while rent increases continue to outpace even current levels of inflation. Locally, the housing market is as competitive as ever — between December 2021 and December 2022, the median home sale price in 22046 more than doubled (from $682,000 to over $1,500,000). This is partly due to low inventory — last month only four new homes were listed for sale in the city. Rental inventory is extremely low as well; only six homes and two condos are currently listed for rent within City limits, and less than forty rentals are available across the City’s six apartment complexes — and only two of those go for less than $2,000 per month.
But what does 2023 have in store for
us? While inflation, mortgage rates, supply chain concerns, and worries of a pending recession have many predicting a housing decline in other areas of the country, there are some things to look forward to in our region. “Gone are the days of dozens of offers 10 — 20 percent over list price with no contract contingencies.” said Pam Micciche, realtor at HBC Group in McLean. She further described a more responsible market outlook for the coming year, “In 2023 we will experience more normal price appreciation along with contract contingencies that allow for important due diligence.”
Micciche said pent up demand and persistently low inventory make it an excellent time for a seller to take advantage and get top-dollar for their home. At the same time, those looking to purchase will experience less cut-throat competition, with homes staying on the market longer, allowing more time to find the right fit.
What’s In & What’s Out For Home Improvement in 2023BY KYLEE TOLAND FALLS CHURCH NEWS-PRESS
As people are still adjusting to the new year, some may be thinking about ways to improve their homes to keep up with the various housing developments, whether they be general and/or technological upgrades.
Luckily, both national and local organizations have their predictions of what will be “in” and will be “out” in regards to housing improvements and rebuilding/remodeling. They also have ideas about certain items that may make a “comeback” in the year 2023.
Craig Toalson, the chief executive officer of the Home Builders Association of Virginia, said the number of homes entering the “prime” remodeling years — 20 to 39 years old — will grow by 2.9 million by 2027. Kitchen and bath upgrades continue to “lead the way” as the “best return” on investment.
FRED is a home repair company that helps residents in the Washington D.C. metro areas, as well as parts of Maryland and Northern Virginia. Claiming they “do it all,” on their website, FRED specializes in upgrading bathrooms, kitchens and living spaces.
Chuck Khiel, the senior vice president of the FRED Division of Case Design, said the company has seen an increase in requests in wallpaper, something he said is becoming “huge” again. He also said people seem to be trading in their hollow core — fiberboard or laminated — doors for solid interior doors, as well as “luxury” vinyl flooring and LED lighting continuing to be popular additions to one’s home.
One “trend” he and his company have seen be requested by homeowners is “accent walls,” which is a wall whose design differs from the design of the other walls in a room or household. Khiel further stated both a different color paint or a different type of medium — such as tape paint pattern or even a stone laminate — have recently been sought after by homeowners in their dining or living rooms.
As for what he has seen become less popular over the years, Khiel stated carpet “seems to be a thing of the past,” since the company “tears out endless acres of carpet” to place a different kind of floor covering.
Outdoor spaces, such as hardscape patios or screened-in porches, will continue to be popular, according to Khiel. Since its “huge rise” during the pandemic, Khiel said as long as some people continue to work from home, the expansion and design of outdoor spaces will remain a large request among homeowners.
Rose Quint, the assistant vice presi-
improvement opportunities this year, remodeling one’s kitchen and bath seems to remain popular.
(P����: A��� A����)
dent of survey research at the National Association of Home Builders, said 2023 could see remodeling activity “slowing down” compared to 2022, but will still “outperform” new construction activity. Top remodeling jobs the organization has seen is kitchen and bathroom remodeling, followed by new room additions, basement finishes, window replacements and decks.
Home offices, whether they be renovated or newly constructed, are “increasing in popularity,” according to Quint, due to certain businesses continuing to implement working-fromhome policies. As for exterior improvements, Quint said homeowners and buyers “are looking to be able to spend time outdoors in the comfort and safety of their own home/community,” so patios and walking trails are increasingly being requested.
Claw bathtubs and the color gray are have seen a noticeable decline in popularity for home improvement and repairs, according to Andy Apter, the National Association of The Remodeling Industry’s (NARI) president-elect. He further stated kitchen and bathroom installations, repairs and improvements will continue to be wanted by homeowners, as well as fire pits and outdoor seating areas.
His advice for people who are thinking about improving their house in 2023 is to do research on the internet, especially on a website such as Houzz — a “Pinterest-like” online platform that allows one to search for the types of arrangements they want to have done. He also suggested people should consult with a remodeling professional before jumping into a home improvement situation.
Kathy Pippin, Realtor
Need compassionate, intelligent people to work with?
That’s our team.
Smart, with a passion for real estate and a focus on what’s best for our clients.
If you’re buying or selling your home, give us a call. We're here to help!
Meet Your Home Experts
Julie Andre, Senior Mortgage Loan Officer
Julie Andre is an area native and highly experienced Senior Mortgage Officer with UNFCU, lending in all 50 States. She provides valuable solutions and education for all home loan types and sizes. Julie provides individualized attention to borrowers from pre-approval through closing. First-time buyers, move-up buyers, downsizers, self-employed, investors, second homes, cash buyers seeking delayed financing, foreign nationals and more. In addition to weekdays, Julie is available evenings and weekends. Feel free to reach out by phone/text (703) 237-0333 or email email@example.com. 703.237.0333 • JAndre@unfcu.com
Albert Bitici, Realtor, The Bitici Group
Is it a good time to sell my home?… Increasing interest rates are impacting affordability and as a result, buyer demand is falling. The majority of observers expect the U.S. to enter into a recession sometime in mid-to late-2023, but there is little agreement on the depth or duration of an economic downturn. Continuing tight availability of homes and a resilient labor market have provided a perfect window of opportunity to sell your home. If you want to extract the maximum value from the sale of your property, time is of the essence… Contact our award winning real estate team, The Bitici Group at Keller Williams Metro Center 571.775.0468 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Donnelly, N-Hance of Fairfax
electricians, plumbers, and more). If you’re looking to find a new home, build your dream home, get market statistics for your home or neighborhood, sell your existing home, make improvements to your current home, buy or sell an investment property or need answers to any real estate questions, make Bethany Ellis your real estate resource.
703.307.7003 • buyandsellwithBethany.com
FOXCRAFT Design Group
FOXCRAFT Design Group is in their 34th year as an award-winning design/ build firm and general contractor. What is the secret to longevity in such a competitive marketplace? “We understand adapting homes for growing families and the importance that a neighborhood plays in family life,” explains FOXCRAFT president and owner Chandler Fox. FOXCRAFT is among the most creative, experienced design/build firms in the region, specializing in meeting clients’ budget expectations and overcoming ever changing national and county codes, regulations and guidelines. “We’ve done it all,” Fox says. “Clients come back to us many times for additional projects. We are problem solvers and trusted advisors.”
703.536.1888 • www.FOXCRAFT.com
Marshall Roofing, Siding & Windows
Mark Donnelly, owner of N-Hance of Fairfax, NW, a local franchisee of the #1 Cabinet Refinishing Company in the US.We offer our clients affordable options to update their homes. Whether you are looking to renew aging cabinets, want to brighten your kitchen with a lighter color, or follow the latest color trends, we can help bring a whole new look to your kitchen. Furthermore, if your cabinet boxes are solid, but your doors are dated, we can also do a re-dooring to a more modern style (like Shaker), without the mess, expense or duration of a traditional remodel.My team and I look forward to hearing from you and seeing how we can help to create the kitchen of your dreams.
703.345.3100 • NHance.com/FairfaxNW
Bethany Ellis, Long and Foster
Bethany Ellis owns and operates a highly successful real estate business in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. She is an experienced Realtor® whose goal is to exceed your expectations. Her knowledge of the local market, attention to every detail, excellent negotiating ability, and effective communication ensures that your real estate transaction will go smoothly from start to finish. Bethany has direct access to lenders, home inspectors, new home developers, settlement groups, and local service providers (painters, plumbers, carpet suppliers, handymen,
Marshall Roofing, Siding & Windows has been servicing the Northern Virginia area for over 43 years. We specialize in Roofing, Siding, Windows, Entry Doors, Repairs, Skylights and Attic Ventilation. We pride ourselves on the highest level of customer satisfaction which has been the pinnacle principle of our company. We are a family-owned business that is centered on customer service, quality, and workmanship at an affordable value for all.
703.550.0055 • www.MarshallRoofing.com
The Mather, opening in 2024, is a forward-thinking Life Plan Community for those 62+. It’s smack dab in the middle of it all in Tysons, VA, bordering a three-acre urban park and within walking distance of rail service, retail, and restaurants. The Mather’s apartment homes feature expansive views, luxury finishes, and smart-home technology. The community will feature 38,000+ square feet of amenities, including restaurants, spa, fitness center, indoor pool, rooftop clubroom, art studio, and more! Life Plan Communities are lifestyle communities in which people can pursue new passions and priorities, with a plan in place that supports aging well.
703.348.8522 • themathertysons.com
A Falls Church News-Press Advertorial
Meet Your Home Experts
Tori McKinney - ROCK STAR Realty Group, KW Metro Center
We all need some calm, confidence, and joy with one of life’s biggest decisions. That’s where my ROCK STAR Realty Group and I come in — to help our buyers find the homes they love and provide our sellers with a seamless sale. With interest rates stabilizing from the 2022 spike and strikingly low inventory, having a trusted real estate team is vital to succeed. Our expert team, with 60+ years of combined experience, have conquered markets similar to what we are experiencing today and are here to coach you to the finish line. How can I help with your next move? Give me a ring at (703) 867-8674 to talk about your plans!
703.867.8674 • RockStarRealtyGroup.com
Pam Micciche, Keller Williams
Pam Micciche is a valued member of the HBC Group at KW. Put her background in brokering business partnerships, managing and negotiating multiyear, multi-million-dollar agreements for companies including AOL and National Geographic to work for you! She is a pro in establishing trusted relationships, negotiating toward a meeting of the minds, and always keeping clients’ best interests and budget front and center.
A resident of Falls Church City for almost 20 years, Pam is a native Washingtonian who grew up in McLean and has especially strong ties to Great Falls and Arlington. Through her involvement with PTAs, youth sports, and school fundraisers Pam has made volunteerism a hallmark of living in and giving back to her community.
703.371.9343 • HBCGroupKW.com
Peake Management & Realty
A passion for real estate, this Northern Virginia native leads a team of exceptional colleagues in helping clients navigate through buying and selling property. While specializing in identifying good investment property, Lindsey works with all types of properties and is proud to have the company named the top property management company in Falls Church four years in a row. It speaks to the level of competence of the entire staff. An avid investor herself, Lindsey can share first-hand experience and guidance to make the transaction experience as easy as possible.
703.408.2153 • www.peakeinc.com
Kathy Pippin, Samson Properties
“We got in touch with Kathy and explained to her that we plan to buy a new house and sell our current house at the same time. Kathy was very patient and listened to our plan and needs. She started offering her knowledge and expertise well before we signed the actual contract. We talked to a couple of other real estate agents and some work for big names. But we decided to work with Kathy because we felt
that for the amount of details and attention we needed, Kathy was the one, and we made the right choice.” said the Li family.
703.408.0838 • KathyPippinProperties.com
Reico Kitchen & Bath
Your dream, our ideas and expertise. Reico Kitchen & Bath takes your dated, tired kitchens and bathrooms and transforms them into spaces you love and want to spend time in.
Established in 1952, Reico Kitchen & Bath is your onestop for kitchen and bathroom design and remodeling. We offer cabinets, countertops, appliances, sinks, fixtures and everything you need to create your new kitchen or bathroom. It is our goal to have every customer recommend us at our Falls Church, VA showroom or at any of our 23 showrooms throughout the Mid and South Atlantic.
703.748.0700 • reico.com
Kelly Milspaugh Thompson, Stylish Patina
Kelly Millspaugh Thompson is a Falls Church City native and small business owner. Kelly opened Stylish Patina, Home + Gift Boutique in Falls Church in 2013. A few years ago she expanded her service offering to include Real Estate. She now melds her love of Real Estate and Interior Design into a one of a kind full service offering for her clients. This has proven to be a unique and highly sought after combination of skills. Her extensive experience in home decor, interior design and home renovation provides a broad area of expertise that she can bring to her clients both on the buying and selling side of the equation. If you are looking for a Realtor with a designer’s eye contact Kelly for your no obligation consult!
Zimmermann Homes, est. 2007
My family and I live in Falls Church, where we take pride in building leading-edge custom homes that increase energy efficiency, require minimal service, and are very durable. All Zimmermann Homes come standard with upgraded products and building techniques designed to add value and make the home more comfortable to live in. We are passionate about working together with our clients to build these innovative homes that combine a level of performance and beauty that is tough to find elsewhere.
SALES@ZIMMERMANNHOMES.COM • WWW.ZIMMERMANNHOMES.COM Visit
On Monday the Wall Street Journal quoted national rental increases of 17.6 percent for 2021 and 3.8 percent last year.
The city’s website has a public document which lists 2021 apartment rents. Comparing those figures with 2023 for nine buildings with prices found online, average rental increases of 23.5 percent for one bedroom and 19 percent for two bedrooms are found for the two years. In all cases, the lowest prices were used for comparisons.
Mia Barnes is the property manager at Merrill House Apartments on East Fairfax Street who says everything there is leased up. Rental pricing usually increases about three to five percent a year, she said. Figures from the city’s 2021 list show Merrill House was leasing a one bedroom starting at $1,409 and $1,749 for two bedrooms.
Falls Green Apartments on Roosevelt Boulevard has a current vacancy rate of about six percent, Nicole Herrera at the management office said. The owners “and the market” determine rent increas-
es which she did not know for 2023. A two-bedroom now starts at $2,352 at Falls Green when it was going for $2,045 in 2021, an increase of 15 percent.
Two of Young’s favorite buildings are mixes of residential and commercial uses, the “flower building,” as he calls 800 West Broad and the Read Building, the red brick at 402 West Broad where there’s a branch of PNC Bank.
For the Read, the Falls Church City Council has just approved the extension of restrictive covenants, making some apartments more affordable for teachers and support staff.
These apartments will be reserved at lower rates for those earning between 60 to 80 percent of the area median income through the end of 2032. (The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines the area median income as up to $63,000 for one person.)
Many tenants are sitting tight, waiting for the growing number of layoffs to end, inflation to slow, and units to open up as the market turns more in their favor. Their days seem to be coming.