Reston Real Estate – Looking Back on 2012

Home values in Reston have been on rise while inventory has been on the decline.

The real estate market in Reston made strong gains in 2012 with average home prices at a five-year high of $455,000. Low interest rates and improved consumer confidence (also at a five-year high), spurred a burst of buying that was somewhat inhibited by low inventory in Reston.

The really good news is that the average home price of $455,000 represents a 12-percent increase over last year. This means that if you bought your home at the peak in 2007 you’ve recovered just over half of the value that you lost in 2008 when Reston property values dropped about 20 percent. That may not sound like great news but compare that to some of our neighbors to the South and West where home values declined this year and the average days on market is hovering around 150 versus Reston’s average of 28; it’s certainly a move in the right direction.

Investors continue to be active in the Reston real estate market with 15 percent of all transactions being cash. Investor interest can also be measured by developer interest which is also very high, JBG, Lerner and others seem to be very keen on Reston.

What to expect for 2013? Well, assuming that we are able to either avoid or quickly deal with the Fiscal Cliff, everything is poised for continued growth in Reston’s real estate market. I would not expect to see another year of 12 percent price increases but it does look like home values will continue to rise, probably more along the lines of four to six percent. Hopefully, we will have some inventory to sell. When I did the new Reston listings for this blog earlier this week we were down to a mere 65 properties!

The table below shows the volume of real estate transactions sold over the past 10 years along with the average price and percent of change over that time period. Definitely moving in the right direction.




Ave Price

Dif +/-
























































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Laura Ramon December 30, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Wow! A 12% increase in values over last year is huge and great. I'm surprised you don't think this will happen again after Metro opens in 2013. What is your estimate of 4 - 6% appreciation based on?
Eve Thompson December 30, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Historically property has appreciated at around 4% a year, this is an average compiled over years and years- if you average the numbers in the table above you'll find they come to about 4%. Regarding the impact of the new Metro: In other areas where Metro stops have opened, especially the further out areas, property values went up 4 - 6% in the first 12 to 18 months of the opening. Those values tended to increase at a slightly higher rate in subsequent years after additional services and retail came in following the opening of the Metro. I would expect to see values climb pretty steadily over the next couple of years. The promise of low interest rates, new development and the popularity of Reston as a place to live make that a reasonable expectation. Of course if they drive us over the Cliff and things take a dive all bets are off!
Java Master December 31, 2012 at 03:17 AM
I have never met a realtor or builder who didn't revel in optimistic projections about home values. Most of them just repeat the conventional wisdom they pass amongst themselves. "The promise of low interest rates" is a classic example. Of course, there is no such promise (made by who exactly? The Fed?) and we should expect rates to eventually rise, even later this year. Then again, most buyers don't qualify for the best rates anyway. It doesn't take specialized knowledge to know that Reston values are slowly recovering from the financial debacle prepetrated by the housing finance industry and Wall Street, it also seems apparent that we are about to go over that fiscal cliff anyway....and that no one can accurately predict what the eventual result will be on home values and sales. Yes, Metro may be a great asset which sustains area home values, but boom times are not returning, and Reston may well face a glut of new apartment and condo units which will be sold largely to "investors". No one knows for certain. You pays yer money and you takes yer chances!
Kate Peterson December 31, 2012 at 03:53 AM
I thought this was a fairly straight forward recap of the numbers along with a little historical data. Why so snippy?!
Eve Thompson December 31, 2012 at 04:10 AM
Hi Javamaster - the comment about the promise of low interest rates is related to the Fed's announcement about tying interest rates to unemployment numbers. I should have been more specific. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-12-27/interest-rates-and-jobs-the-fed-watches-unemployment Most analyst expect it will take about 3 years to reach 6.5% unemployment. I'm not claiming specialized knowledge, but I do focus my real estate practice in Reston and watch our market numbers closely. I think that history is a great predictor of the future. I'm not suggesting that "boom" times are returning, Metro's impact on property values is observable, I don't think 4 - 6% appreciation isn't an overly optimistic.
Laura Ramon December 31, 2012 at 04:17 AM
Only in Reston can someone be criticized for providing good news. It's true, this community will complain about EVERYTHING!
Richard Holmquist December 31, 2012 at 05:11 AM
You're complaining about the complaining. Oh, the irony.
Laura Ramon December 31, 2012 at 11:55 AM
It's true Richard- but I'm smiling, does that count? I do get annoyed with the complaints, I don't mind critical discussion but criticizing the person/writer seems like an uncalled for attack, while using a posting "handle" rather than a name. Seems a tad cowardly.
Java Master January 01, 2013 at 03:21 AM
Cowardly? Hah, I resemble that remark! ( Apologies to Curly) See, I'm smiling too, and I was NOT "attacking", just reminding one and all that "past performance is no indication of future returns", a needed perspective if one follows the Nova real estate markets. I have been witness to too many real estate and business cycles since the 1980's to have anything but a slightly jaundiced view of market prognosticators might say. But no, I shall not surrender my secret identity to you, Laura. You don't like my use of my long-time moniker to make my comments or observations? What can I say, other than too bad. I will say that I have almost 30 years experience in commercial and residential real estate finance and development, which more than qualifies me to offer my casual oberservations about the Reston market. Anyone is free to disagree with me, even realtors.


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