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Old 03-07-2009, 11:51 AM
 
17 posts, read 59,965 times
Reputation: 12

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Greetings! I wanted to get some advice on where to buy. My husband and I are first time buyers and currently live in the 22153 neighborhood of Springfield.

We are looking to buy this summer, but we have two choice: the first choice would be to buy a nice end until townhouse in Springfield/ Burke location. Our other choice, would be to buy a single family house in the Lake Ridge area of Woodbridge, or near Belmont Bay.

We are unsure what is the best choice. We would love to have a large house, but we would rather make a good investment. Both our jobs are stable and we are looking to spend between 300,000 and 350,000.

I just wanted to get people's thoughts on where the market is headed and if it would be a better investment to buy in Fairfax or Prince William.

Thanks so much!
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Old 03-07-2009, 12:43 PM
 
10,606 posts, read 12,146,850 times
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The closer in that you are to DC and a good school system, the better the investment. To me, it is obvious that buying in Fairfax County is a better investment than in any of the farther out counties. Having said that, I live in Prince William County and I do not feel that I've made a bad investment whatsoever.

My mother lives in the Lake Ridge area (townhouse) and her house has really held its value, even through the housing market crisis and the foreclosure business.

It is important to keep in mind that in whatever county you choose, you should pick a neighborhood that is well-maintained, has a good community spirit and cohesiveness, and feeds into decently rated public schools.

I think Lake Ridge communities are going to give this to you. Belmont Bay has always held decent values because of their proximity to the VRE station AND their very close location to I-95 exits. When you get on I-95 from Belmont Bay, you are almost in front of most of the Woodbridge traffic mess. You still have to deal with the Newington to Springfield stuff though.

And, overall, Fairfax is always a good investment.
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Old 03-07-2009, 01:23 PM
 
482 posts, read 1,221,999 times
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I would like to see what those town homes on Huntsman Lake are selling for. Less crime, better schools, fewer illegals, shorter commutes.........
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Old 03-07-2009, 03:22 PM
 
3,504 posts, read 7,949,420 times
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It is a tough choice - Fairfax County has been holding its value better - but - in my humble opinion - a SFH is better than a TH - I would not want to packed in like sardines so close to others without having a nice large yard to enjoy.
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Old 03-08-2009, 05:52 AM
 
80 posts, read 292,257 times
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I'd look at PWC. I think the bottom is here for that county. Basically, if you look for property, virtually everything on sale is a short sale or a foreclosure. I've been in the market for a home and have been shopping around and let me tell you, those "deals" you're seeing are not good homes (think toxic mold that looks like black carpeting on the basement walls). A lot can go wrong when a house is vacant for too long and many of the homes that have been on the foreclosure list for long periods of time have major issues (I've been in many of them). That leaves you with only short sales. These transactions are a pain in the rear to get through but can get you a good house in good condition (since they haven't been left vacant for months). A lot of the better short sales are actually being sold (amazingly) and those that fall into foreclosure are having multiple offers made to them (trust me, I've been outbid).

So yes, in PWC the bottom has been reached. The prices are at levels that a single income federal employee can finanace a home. I would call this the bottom in anyone's book. If you look at Montgomery County or Fairfax County, you will see prices at unreasonable levels still. You would expect those areas to be more expensive as they are considered more desirable but compared to PWC, they still have further to go. Most people will chose PWC right now since it's pricing is more reasonable and this will cause the inner suburbs to fall as well (since demand will wane as people look at the great deals further out) and that's what will happen later this year and into the first part of 2010 if you're willing to wait it out. If you can live with the commute, you can get in a house in PWC at it's bottom now and not have as much competition. While there are multiple offers being made on the "good foreclosures" (houses that aren't trashed and are in good school districts), you can assume that the same thing will occur when Fairfax finally bottoms EXCEPT more people will be fighting over more desirable homes so prices will not fall as far.

Examples:
PW6927771
MN6944039
PW6865391
PW6997413
PW6865391

How much would THOSE go for in Fairfax?


In Arlington bank owned stuff in the same price range...you get this kind of property:
AR6997681
AR6904321
AR6928076

If you want to spend twice as much in Fairfax as PWC, you can get similar houses:
AR6969473
AR6961893
FX6928217
FX6952384
FX6930614

Basically, buy in FF County if you don't mind buying into the deflating bubble. You will have to stay in the house longer because you will be upside down in your loan for a while. In PW County, the bottom has hit and most likely there has actually been an over-correction. Prices will likely increase a little by the end of 2010 before leveling off for the foreseeable future. If you must live in Fairfax, keep watching the listings but wait longer.

Last edited by typical guy; 03-08-2009 at 06:20 AM..
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Old 03-08-2009, 07:05 AM
 
Location: Censorshipville...
2,721 posts, read 6,269,534 times
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Your money will definitely go further in PWC than in FFX. My sister's mother-in-law just bought a SFH foreclosure 5bd/4bth/2car garage on 1/2 acre for less than $350k. It's a large home, 2 levels and a full size basement. I don't know the exact price, but I know that was the range they were looking at. The neighborhood is probably less than 10yrs old. They are putting some money fixing it up, but there wasn't too much damage from the previous owners.

I currently live in Lake Ridge in a SFH. The traffic on Old Bridge can get pretty hairy in the commute hours. Apparently the schools are pretty good from what I gather on here, but I don't have any kids so I can't really comment. I've lived here for 5yrs and I can't really complain. My neighbors are friendly and the crime is pretty low.

cvkevents - you didn't mention where your jobs are? That can make a huge difference when deciding where to live. If you work in DC, then the further north you can afford to live would be best if you didn't want to commute much. Living in Springfield, Metro is right there but if you live in Lake Ridge you'd have to hit 95 to catch the metro. There is also the VRE near belmont, or the various commuter lots but it's just easier to live further north if you work in DC.

In agreement with typical guy. Who knows if we've hit the bottom, but houses are definitely selling in PWC. January home sales set record in Prince William | InsideNova.com (http://www.insidenova.com/isn/news/local/article/january_home_sales_set_record_in_prince_william/30718/ - broken link)
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Old 03-08-2009, 11:36 AM
 
17 posts, read 59,965 times
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Default Good advice

Thanks for the advice. It's a difficult decision to make. Part of me is worried about resale and thinks that resale will be better in Fairfax compared to Prince Wiliiam, but I see what people are saying about the prices are still very high in Fairfax.

My husband works at Belvoir and I am a teacher, so I can change schools. Although I would like to work in Fairfax due to the better school district. I have heard good things about the Lake Ridge schools and I drove through the neighborhood looking at some properties today. I noticed that you have to drive through townhouses to get to the single family homes.

Thanks so much!
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Old 03-08-2009, 05:58 PM
 
80 posts, read 292,257 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cvkevents View Post
Thanks for the advice. It's a difficult decision to make. Part of me is worried about resale and thinks that resale will be better in Fairfax compared to Prince Wiliiam, but I see what people are saying about the prices are still very high in Fairfax.

My husband works at Belvoir and I am a teacher, so I can change schools. Although I would like to work in Fairfax due to the better school district. I have heard good things about the Lake Ridge schools and I drove through the neighborhood looking at some properties today. I noticed that you have to drive through townhouses to get to the single family homes.

Thanks so much!
I don't think you have to worry too much about resale value in PWC. It's never going to be as high of prices as the inner counties but it's not like you're buying in Martinsburg WV. Out there in WV you can pretty much expect to only get your principle payments out of the house (although you can buy what is an 800k house in Arlington for 180-220k).
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Old 03-10-2009, 12:17 PM
 
Location: NoVA
230 posts, read 1,050,863 times
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At one point around 2006, parts of Lake Ridge/Occoquan seemed to be within 10% of Fairfax County prices. But now, PW County has fallen so much more than Fairfax, one could argue that once it starts to recoop, it will rebound at a higher rate as well. If you buy now in PW county, I would guess at least 5 years before you see an increase in your home's value though. Or if it's like the 90's, it might be closer to 10 years before you start seeing appreciation in values.
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Old 03-10-2009, 01:55 PM
 
10,606 posts, read 12,146,850 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cvkevents View Post
I have heard good things about the Lake Ridge schools and I drove through the neighborhood looking at some properties today. I noticed that you have to drive through townhouses to get to the single family homes.

Thanks so much!
Lake Ridge is a planned community and they have sort of structured most of their developments this way. In many of them, you will turn into a specific neighborhood (say Springwoods) and start out with apartments/condos, then make your way to townhomes, and then houses. Then there will be a burst of new development that is townhomes. I don't know what Lake Ridge's actual "plans" are but I'm betting they have some type of formula for the way each neighborhood was built along with percentages of condos to townhomes to SFH's.

Another planned community is Montclair, a bit further south, that doesn't have that same sort of design and I personally like the look of it better.

As for the schools, my kids have attended both public and private in PWC and one attends private school in Fairfax (and they have quite a few friends that attend Fairfax Public Schools). Quite honestly, I don't see a lot of difference in the two school systems as far as curriculum and what is offered. I *do* see an difference in the economic makeup in the student body in the two different counties that could very well explain the differences in why one school system outperforms its neighbor. I"m think that from a teacher's POV, you might not see a difference it what/how you are teaching between the two counties. You will see a difference in the types of students that attend the schools.
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