With the first of 25,000 new Amazon employees starting in June, buyers and sellers have been rapidly securing properties to take advantage of the upcoming demand.
According to Redfin, home prices in Arlington are up 18.8% from this time last year, supply is down almost 42%, and the typical home is selling in six days. At the same time, some homeowners are holding onto their properties with the hopes of selling them for even higher prices once HQ2 expands.
These numbers give credence to local concerns that Amazon will drive long-time residents out of the area and fuel inequality and gentrification, as it did in Seattle, where home prices have doubled in the last six years.
Earlier this month, Amazon tried to reassure Arlington residents that the company’s arrival would not cause the type of housing issues it did in Seattle. Jay Carney, a senior vice president with the company, told the Washington Post that the company is able to plan for growth in Arlington in a way that it couldn’t in Seattle.
In a statement to Axios, another Amazon spokesperson said that one reason Amazon chose Arlington was “the plans the County and the Commonwealth have in place to address this issue.” The spokesperson also said the company intends to grow slowly and plans to hire people who already live in the area, which should reduce the impact on the local housing market.
But buyers and sellers aren’t convinced, and the result is a veritable gold rush for real estate agents. Sellers are asking for higher prices and buyers are racing to lock in purchases before Amazon’s arrival sends prices skyrocketing.
On the flip side, some experts, including Jeannette Chapman, who researches development in the greater Washington area at George Mason University, are urging caution when it comes to pointing fingers. Chapman told Axios that the D.C. area already had high housing prices and low inventory and that it’s unclear how much of the shift in the market can be attributed to Amazon alone.
Still, given the year-to-year shift in numbers, there’s little question that buyers, sellers and realtors are behaving as if Amazon will affect the market.