Lately, I've been trekking Kingstowne neighboorhood in Alexandria, via Kingstowne Association.
A planned community of 5400 homes in the Franconia-Springfield area of Northern Virginia's Fairfax County, just outside the Capital Beltway circling Washington, DC. The community offers ready access to Interstates 395 and 495, and to the Franconia-Springfield and Van Dorn Street stations on Washington's Metrorail system, providing an easy commute to the Washington area's major employment centers.
I am so amazed to watch how prices in this hood falling so fast. Because I remember, not too long ago, a client bought a 4BR/2.5Ba townhouse in this community - in the low-$400's. And now, some of the same townhouse within the same neighborhood are selling for as much as 25% to 50% off peak!
Okay, for one thing, Kingstowne is 'outside the beltway.' But, that doesn't mean that location is way out there .. in the boonies. This community still in Alexandria (zipcode) part of Fairfax county. I meant, there's still easy access to Metro subway and buses. It has a town center that has a collection of office buildings, grocery stores like Safeway and Shoppers, Starbucks, Panera, TJ Maxx, and more.
In other words, the location is not bad.
The few townhouses on the market for less than $350,000, for the most part either bank-owned (foreclosures) or short-sale. These are the ones 'cheaper' than condos in Arlington. The conditions of the houses I've been to were not that bad. The worst one I saw, was the one with a hole in the ceiling. Think there's a water leak from bathroom above. For some reasons, in this area you got more better choices than some of the other area I've been to. (Oh, and I've been to sooo many of those bank-owned, not necessarily in Kingstowne, but just about any location in DC/N.Va where prices "match" with the demand). Book - Customer (9 Up)1154 KINGSTOWNE
With the exception of The Jefferson (a retirement community out in Ballston area) that has a line up of condos for sale under $210k (7 condos), there is only a few good ones on the market for less than $250,000. And there's that trick to find the balance between price and condo fee. Condo association that bundles up fees with utilities, expect to pay more than $300 a month for the fee.
So, when you factor the condo fee into your mortgage payment, doesn't it make more 'dollars and cents' to get a townhouse? Here is the thing. If you don't mind the commute, a townhouse outside-the-beltway (still within the circle of Northern Virginia) area may offer more 'bang for the buck' - for you.