Last week, I used Altos to get an overview of the situation in Ashburn and was somewhat pleasantly surprised with what I found. I had a sneaking suspicion Leesburg’s numbers would tell a different story, and I was (unfortunately) right. Let’s take a look.
In April, the median price for a single family home was $620,609; in May, it fell to $605,910. That’s a decrease of $14,699. Ashburn only dropped $3122 to a median price of $623,528.
The Market Action Index (MAI) for May was 12.87; in April, it was 13.21. It could be that the decrease in sales activity is due to the fact that so many foreclosures found new owners in April (which removed a substantial number of buyers from the market), but that’s just a guess. Ashburn’s activity increased to 15.59.
Price per Square Foot
The median price per square foot in April was $174; in May, it dropped slightly to $171. Here, Leesburg actually performed slightly better than Ashburn, which lost an average of $5 per square foot and had an average price per square foot of $168.
Days on Market
The one bright spot in my Altos research was that the average number of days a property spent on the market in Leesburg was 108. That’s down from 134 in April, a decrease of 26 days. Ashburn properties averaged 78 days on the market.
It’s interesting for me to see the difference between Ashburn and Leesburg, and I’ve been wondering why Ashburn is performing better. I think it comes down to a simple rule of real estate: When prices drop, people want to move closer in to the city. Even though parts of Leesburg are literally right across the street from Ashburn (Lansdowne and Potomac Station, for instance), the majority of Leesburg is 10 to 20 minutes past Ashburn. Since Altos’ stats for Leesburg include both zips (20176 and 20175, which is further out than 20176) and there is no way to separate them out, it’s difficult to tell what kind of impact the outlying areas are having on the numbers for the closer-in areas of Leesburg.
What should buyers looking in 20176 do with this information? Keep in mind that what you’ll pay for a house in Lansdowne will be more than what you’ll pay for a similar house in Northlake, Lakes at Red Rock, or Edwards Landing, because Lansdowne is as “close in” as Belmont Country Club (which is in Ashburn). You can check out this search I ran to get an idea of what different price points will get you in a variety of Leesburg communities. Keep an open mind about how much further out you’re willing to move, because it might surprise you what an extra 5 minutes past Ashburn will net you in terms of bang for your buck. And there are actually some benefits to being a bit further down the beaten path, such as cleaner air and quieter streets. Things like that are harder to put a price tag on.