Phase one of the Silver Line, the largest transportation expansion project in the Washington, D.C. area since the inception of the metro, opened this summer to the welcome relief of local commuters. But the effect of the new line, which extends into densely populated areas of Fairfax County, Virginia and spans from McLean to Reston goes far beyond rescuing drivers from gridlock.
The Silver Line will bring about massive changes to the vehicle-dominated suburban center, encouraging increased pedestrian activity, population growth, mixed-use real estate developments, and an overall transformation from congested suburban fortress to accessible, compact urban community. Most importantly, it presents tremendous opportunities for Northern Virginia property owners who lease their properties or are considering leasing their properties. Here are three ways to capitalize on the Silver Line:
- Mix up your marketing – A 2013 study by the Urban Land Institute asserted that 57 percent of Generation Y—the largest generation in America right now—views proximity to public transportation as a high priority.
Translation: The opening of the Silver Line expands your potential pool of tenants. Young professionals who ordinarily reserve their rent checks for an apartment in D.C. or a townhouse in a first-ring suburb will start to consider areas around the Silver Line as viable living options.
Make sure your listing notes the distance of your property from the closest metro station, and the accessibility of premier shopping malls, restaurants, and night life. Use terms like “emerging”, “young”, and “vibrant.” Focus on describing your area’s current offerings, but don’t neglect to mention future developments and all that is just a short metro ride away.
- Raise your rent – A report by real estate consulting firm Cushman & Wakefield used data from the completion of the Orange Line Metro in Arlington to predict similar price increases in rent around the Silver Line. When the Orange Line opened, property owners .05 miles away from a station were able to increase their rent prices by 23 percent. Owners with comparable properties over a quarter of a mile away from the metro were still able to raise rates by 18 percent.
Translation: Assess your property’s distance and accessibility to the metro. Take into account any bus routes that make public transportation convenient if your property is not within walking distance of a Silver Line stop. When finalizing a new price point, examine surrounding properties using online sources like Craigslist, Zillow, and Apartments.com.
- Anticipate Opportunity – Phase one of the Silver Line will indelibly change the landscape and demographics of Fairfax County and Northern Virginia. Phase two, expected to be completed in 2018, will add to the transformation, extending from Reston Town Center into Loudoun County and providing rapid transit service to Dulles International Airport.
Translation: Similar to the first stage, the second will bring about similar improvements to surrounding areas—more jobs, young professionals, and options for housing and entertainment. Recent census data revealed that two-thirds of the population growth in Northern Virginia in the last 10 years occurred in the western suburbs of Prince William and Loudoun Counties. If you are considering investing in new property, take those compelling population trends into account. The next wave of housing with major appreciation potential might not be in DuPont Circle, but in the Dulles Corridor.
The Silver Line opened to much fanfare from weary commuters, eager Tysons shoppers, and throngs of Fairfax residents after many construction setbacks and delayed deadlines. Property owners who capitalize on the opportunities it will bring to Northern Virginia will truly realize a silver lining.