Key Considerations When Moving to Arlington
With an unbeatable location, competitive job market and high standard of living, it’s no surprise that Arlington attracts many of the country’s brightest young minds.
Constantly featured atop lists for the healthiest, wealthiest, and most educated cities in America, there is a special allure to living in Arlington. From all over the country people are drawn to Arlington. Young professionals tend to move here for the unbeatable job market and high standard of living, but ever more frequently they are sticking around.
There is something special about living in Arlington – something you can’t replicate in real city life, which also cannot be matched by suburbia. But what are some key choices one can make to extract the most out of living in Arlington?
Finding the right neighborhood
North Arlington’s Orange Line Corridor stretching from Ballston to Rosslyn, as well as its neighboring Lyon Park, Lyon Village and Cherrydale neighborhoods, is naturally the most sought after sector in Arlington. Clarendon is the biggest draw currently, with a bustling nightlife and shopping center that attracts people from all over the DC area. Ballston too is about to boom, with construction of the new Ballston Quarter almost complete. Being relatively recent in construction, this entire corridor represents a modern, new living space: walkable, high-density and close to everything, but without the rigid compactness that you might find in DC and other older cities, it is an ideal iteration of the hybrid cities of the future – not quite urban, yet without the dullness of suburbia.
But the price point alone is steep enough to warrant looking at other options. And Arlington indeed has several highly attractive, less expensive options! The Orange Line Corridor is simply further along in development than other areas and so is already reaching its zenith. But neighborhoods along Columbia Pike like Penrose and Arlington Heights, and then further south in Pentagon City and Crystal City, are rapidly catching up to compete.
And then there are several other, subtler mainstays throughout Arlington that cannot be discounted. The Shirlington/Fairlington area for instance, right on the border of Alexandria, has a distinct character of its own: quiet, quaint and cozy, these are older neighborhoods with lots of brick homes and single family dwellings. The Shirlington Village is also a great alternative to Clarendon, with lots of high quality restaurants, a cinema, and shopping. It’s a sort of in-between the old-timey feel of Old Town and the crisp modern vibe of Clarendon. Other neighborhoods like Arlington Ridge and Barcroft are just a short stop away from here too.
We all want to be in a vibrant space, but when a place becomes too popular, people naturally look elsewhere. It takes time for a new area to become exciting and truly organic, but it’s happening here – and fast.
Condo, Townhome or House?
Of course it will depend on what you’re working with financially, your transportation needs and how much space you require, but there are several factors to keep in mind when considering what sort of living arrangement you desire.
Being an old neighborhood driven town now mixed with an admixture of new, the variety of living spaces in Arlington is endless. Despite this, with inventory currently at a 5+ year low, you can’t be too picky unfortunately.
In terms of condos and townhomes, Arlington has a diverse blend of new and old, tall and small, luxury and budget. For instance, the Orange Line Corridor and Crystal City/Pentagon City areas boast plenty of modern, urban high rises. But at the same time, throughout these areas there are also older, shorter complexes.
More and more frequently, developers have been combining the slick, modern style into the shorter, more welcoming old style. This has resulted in stunning residences such as Gaslight Square and Rhodes Hill Square.
These new condo complexes are reminiscent of “garden apartments”, which begun sprouting up in Arlington in the early-mid 20th century. Such includes Colonial Village, West Village and the Shirlington & Fairlington Villages.
Then in terms of standalone homes, the options are also excellent. If you’re on a budget you can find a rambler – either a turnkey or a renovation-in-waiting. Next, there also remains plenty of colonial homes and bungalows from last century – many of which have been dutifully maintained. There are also lots of new construction homes, which come at a premium. To any prospective buyer or developer, a drive-through Lyon Park will inspire awe at the housing selection.
In essence the key to finding the right place in Arlington, given the low inventory and high demand, is to be patient. Not everybody can wait, and there are options and bargains to be found if you get creative.
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