Reality check about HQ2 and Washington home prices

WASHINGTON — Seattle has seen an almost 73 percent increase in home values in the past five years, compared to a 15.5 percent increase in that same time period in Arlington County.

Should Washington expect a dramatic acceleration in home price appreciation once Amazon starts marching its army of HQ2 employees into Northern Virginia?

Any immediate impact on the local housing market is expected to be muted.

“I think it is more misunderstood than anything else,” Larry “Boomer” Foster at Long & Foster Inc. told WTOP.

“I think people hear ‘adding 25,000 jobs,’ and they think that is more immediate than it is. It is going to be spread out over a 10 to 12 year period,” he said.

Long & Foster predicts the Amazon effect will add an additional 3 percent to appreciation the Washington area would otherwise experience.

Amazon is expected to create about 1,000 jobs at its new HQ2 operations in Crystal City in 2019 and 2020.

Amazon has said the jobs will pay an average of $150,000 a year.

Long & Foster does not expect those moving here to step off a plane and go straight to a realtor’s office either.

“I think a larger percentage will rent for a little while when they come in. And they are high-paying jobs, but you have to consider that the price of living around Washington, D.C. is pretty elevated anyway,” Foster said.

Long & Foster also says Amazon’s decision to call Arlington County home may spark other companies’ interest in the D.C. region, as well as ancillary businesses that will follow in support of Amazon’s operations.

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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