Buying a Home in Alexandria VA
Are you thinking of buying a home in Alexandria, VA? If so, you might be wondering what to expect. Alexandria is a centrally located and diverse modern-living community, perfect for active families and professionals. With access to great public transportation systems, the city offers an upscale small-town environment, just outside of D.C. At V Star Real Estate, we help our clients find amazing homes in Alexandria and throughout the Northern Virginia area.
Careers in and Around Alexandria
This unique suburb of approximately 160,000 residents has seen a lot of economic growth over the past several years. Alexandria is home to many high-tech corporations, trade organizations, government contractors, and big-name companies. In fact, the new Amazon Headquarters is currently under construction and expected to be completed in 2023. Due to the growing job market, many people are able to both live and work within the Alexandria city limits.
With the ease of travel between Alexandria and the other cities in the D.C. metropolitan area, many professionals live in Alexandria and commute to work. Countless government workers call Alexandria home, and many neighborhoods in the city are home to service members. There are seven military bases in or near Alexandria.
The city of Alexandria is just across the Potomac River from D.C. It is located seven miles south of D.C., making it an attractive commuter suburb. While Alexandria is an especially walkable community, if anyone in your household will be commuting by auto, you will need to be prepared for heavy traffic during rush hours. Otherwise, it’s only a 15 minute drive to Capitol Hill, for example. Richmond Hwy, I395, the Capital Beltway, and George Washington Pkwy are the main routes into D.C.
When moving to Alexandria, it is important to familiarize yourself with the public transportation systems. The Metrorail is a helpful alternative to driving into D.C. There are five train stations (Metro and Virginia Railway Express) and one Amtrak train depot in Alexandria. The Metrobus and the Metrobus Express are also useful alternatives and offer a system that is easy to navigate. Alexandria’s own public bus system, called DASH, connects with the Metrobus as well as all of Alexandria’s Metrorail Stations.
The following commute tool will help you get a general idea of how far various destinations in D.C. are from several different neighborhoods in Alexandria. https://workinnorthernvirginia.com/live/commute-tool/. For more information on Metrobus and Metrorail Stations, visit: https://www.wmata.com/schedules/index.cfm.Alexandria’s proximity to D.C. is one of the main reasons house-hunters flock to the area, and the public transportation systems can save you a lot of time, worry, and money.
Cost of Living
With a cost of living index around 150, Alexandria is one of the more expensive places to live in Virginia. When living in Alexandria, VA you can expect to spend more on things like housing, utilities, food, transportation, and additional essentials than you would in other suburbs or small towns throughout the United States. While the cost of living in Alexandria is comparable to the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, it is less than nearby Arlington and in comparison to other competitive tech hubs like New York, Boston, and San Francisco.
The median home cost in Alexandria is $542,000, making homes here double the national average. Home prices in the area have also increased by more than 14% in the last few years. Many residents find that the cost is worth the lifestyle in Alexandria. Due to high prices and limited inventory, Alexandria is a competitive market where the most desirable homes move very quickly.
You’ll find almost all styles of living in Alexandria (all built within a variety of time periods). The housing market offers several choices beyond the standard single family home. This includes modern apartments, waterfront condos, and charming row houses.
If a single family home is what you’re looking for, you’ll be introduced to a home style known as colonial. These homes are the dominant style throughout the D.C. Metro area. Colonial homes are made up of a simple, symmetrical two story box shape framework with a centered door surrounded by windows. While colonial homes are popular, there are also many beautiful new- construction communities to choose from. Also, numerous condominium and townhome communities exist, with the townhomes of Delray being particularly sought-after. West End, Rosemont, and North Ridge are popular neighborhoods that are made up of colonial homes, contemporary single family homes, condominiums, and townhomes.
If you’re considering building a new home in Alexandria, be cautious of the current high material, labor, and construction costs. At this time, the price of land is also high. A fixer-upper can be a great option to consider in this type of market, but it is important that you still consider these very same costs.
Public transportation is an important part of life in Alexandria, and the demand for housing near Metro stops powers the growth for alternatives to single family homes. Westover, Eisenhower, Huntington, and Old Town are the neighborhoods closest to Metro stations. Likewise, the waterfront condos on the Potomac River in Old Town and the beautifully-restored historic row houses of Old Town are reasons many make the move to Alexandria every year.
Old Town - Alexandria
Tracing back to 1669, Alexandria is the site of one of the oldest European settlements in North America. That long history is apparent in the well-preserved, original buildings of Old Town. Old Town Alexandria is one of the most sought-after neighborhoods for homebuyers. If you choose to live in Old Town, you’ll be within walking distance of some of the city’s best attractions. Distinguished by cobblestone streets and brick sidewalks, this historic district is filled with shops, over 200 restaurants, and bars, especially along lively King Street. The King Street Trolley is a great way to access the area. Old Towns’ Farmer’s Market in front of Alexandria’s historic City Hall adds to the neighborhood’s charm.
Parts of Old Town are situated along the Potomac river, and the outdoor waterfront dining is a local favorite. You can take in live music at the riverside promenade, or board the tall ship Providence in Old Town’s bustling marina. An Alexandria landmark for nearly 50 years, the Torpedo Factory Art Center is the highlight of the Potomac riverfront in Old Town. It is home to the nation’s largest collection of working-artists’ open studios under one roof. It is one of the most popular attractions with six galleries, an archaeology museum, eighty artist studios, and the Art League School.
Things to Do
When you aren’t spending time in Old Town, there are plenty of other amazing things to do right in Alexandria. Outdoor enthusiasts will be overjoyed, as there are several nearby state and national parks with trails for hiking and biking. With over 50 miles of on-street bike lanes, Alexandria’s charming neighborhoods cater to bicyclists. Nearby access to the Potomac River also makes it a popular area for boating, fishing, and sightseeing cruises.
Alexandria offers an array of historical and cultural sites and attractions, as well as museums to include The Alexandria Archaeology Museum, The Alexandria Black History Museum, and the Fort Ward Museum, among others. The Washington metropolitan area is full of historic sites. For example, George Washington’s Mt. Vernon Estate is only a 15 minute drive away.
With malls like the Potomac Yard Center and Alexandria Commons, there is plenty of great shopping in Alexandria. There is also no shortage of restaurants, breweries, and farmer’s markets, as well as live music and nightlife, and a unique art scene. Some of the best food, wine, and art festivals take place in Alexandria.
Alexandria is home to excellent and diverse public schools as well as reputable private schools. If anyone in your household will be a college student, there are many high-quality institutions in the area. You'll be within 10 miles of the American University, Georgetown University, and George Washington University. Northern Virginia Community College also has a campus in Alexandria West.
Alexandria is a historically preserved, yet modern suburb of Washington, D.C. Buying a home in Alexandria, VA provides the sense of community homeowners appreciate. Going into this housing market can be a challenge, and we’re here to help. Contact V Star Real Estate, and we can help you find the right home for your needs. Be sure to check out our website to search for all of the latest listings in the area!