The Future of Real Estate in Crystal City

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Amazon has recently signed three Crystal City leases totaling 537,000 square feet.

New development in the DC suburb has got locals wondering how Amazon HQ2 Crystal City will affect the housing market.

While it is a little early to speculate, the past has given us some excellent predictors of what to expect in the future.

Here’s what Northern Virginia will notice now that Amazon is moving in.

1. Why Crystal City?

Amazon is setting up a new headquarters in northern Virginia. It includes parts of Crystal City, Pentagon City, Alexandria, all of which are suburbs of Washington, DC.

Crystal City is an urban neighborhood located just to the north of Alexandria. The area is older, with many homes built in the ’70s and ’80s. Most homes will need to get updated before they are ready to go back on the market.

Crystal City is conveniently located between Interstate 395, Regan National Airport, and The Pentagon. It wraps around Route 1. The Virginia Rail Expressway provides direct access to northern Virginia suburbs.

Underground corridors connect many of the stores, offices, and residences of Crystal City. A large part of it is therefore underground.

Crystal City is in close proximity to the Mt. Vernon Trail. It is a great option for those looking to purchase closer to the Potomac.

Crystal City is home to many great restaurants, hotels, and underground stops. Three of Amazon’s offices are clustered around the Crystal City Metro Station. The company also recently purchased two large pots of land in adjacent Pentagon City. 

The area’s settled infrastructure, educated workforce, and close proximity to a major metro area made Crystal City an easy choice for Amazon. The company is in need of a large number of highly skilled and educated workers. 

Northern Virginia has access to many data processing and related establishments. An influx of new apartments in the area is planned for the near future. Amazon employees who live here would be within walking distance to their offices.

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2. New Housing

Amazon is planning to hire over 25,000 new employees with salaries of over $150,000, but it will take some time for them to get to that level. Many workers will settle in Northern Virginia.

The first big impact on the housing market is expected to be for apartments and condos before anyone makes a decision to buy. The biggest impact on the DC market will be along the Blue and Yellow Metro lines.

Those looking to purchase would be wise to rent first and see if they are ready to commit to spending several years in the area. An experienced real estate agent can help you find a home that will produce a high return on your investment. Look for homes that need only minor repairs, or that can be completely renovated to greatly increase in value.

3. Beware Of The Bubble?

Real estate prices in Northern Virginia are expected to rise by 17.2%. Northern  Virginia is already one of the most expensive places to live in the country because of its close proximity to major global metropolitan areas.

As is the case whenever a big tech company moves into an area, good-paying jobs will mean that residents will be looking to buy eventually. This will decrease inventory and put upward pressure on the price of homes.

The tight inventory is its biggest challenge right now. Some homeowners are taking their homes off the market in the hopes of getting a higher payoff for their investment a few years down the line.

As with similar situations in the past, investors are beginning to target this market before new residents begin to purchase. They are buying homes in bulk, hoping to eventually rent them out to high-earning employees. They may also sell them for a profit in the future, which will increase demand even more.

A “housing bubble” occurs when home prices increase faster than wages. This creates affordability issues for many earners, particularly those with lower incomes.

The tipping point of a bubble occurs when the average earner can no longer afford a home. After housing prices have risen quickly and unsustainably, it will burst and prices will drop. 

It is hard to tell if you are in a housing bubble until it pops. Housing prices in Northern Virginia are expected to rise at a slower rate than those in the past.

Folks looking to purchase in Northern Virginia can expect the highest prices to occur in around three or four years’ time. If you can purchase now, you will be able to avoid paying top-dollar for a home that will likely need some work.

4. Rent Trouble

Rent prices are expected to become a serious problem for lower-income families. Some are currently working two or three jobs just to make ends meet.

Virginia, Alexandria, and Arlington County have all increased their housing budgets for 2020. These provide affordable housing and housing grants for those struggling with the high cost of living.

The Washington Housing Initiative also aims to produce affordable housing. Amazon itself announced that it would donate $3 million to the Arlington Community Association. It will also match employee contributions to several organizations that focus on housing for up to $5 million.

Amazon HQ2 Crystal City

The impact of Amazon HQ2 Crystal City promises to be significant. By investing in a home at the right time, you can expect a high return on your purchase.

Nomadic Real Estate can help you rent, buy, sell, or manage a property in Northern Virginia, and the rest of the Metro D.C. area.

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Enhanced Reporting

Your portal includes a selection of extremely useful reports. Reports are available in the “Reports” section, and are distinct from the financial statements. Unlike financial statements which are static records, Reports are dynamic real-time records that will update with current data every time you view them. 

Scroll down to learn more about Reports:

Navigate to the "Reports" module in your portal:

Owner Portal Reports
  • Keep in mind, these reports are dynamic records. They will refresh to display current information every time you view them. 

Enhanced Rent Roll Report:

Enhanced Rent Roll Report
  • The Enhanced Rent Roll Report will show the rent amount, last payment date, move-in date, lease expiration date, and security deposit amount for each of your tenants. 
  • It will also show a portfolio summary with occupancy percentage, vacancy loss, and more!

Unit Comparison Report:

Unit Comparison Report
  • If you own multiple units (or buildings) with Nomadic, you’ll get access to the Unit Comparison Report. 
  • This report enables you to quickly compare financial performance between your units at a glance without toggling between individual reports. 

Income Statement Month-Over-Month:

Income Statement by Month Report
  • The Income Statement Detail – Monthly Report serves as a month-over-month record of portfolio performance. You’ll see itemized income and expense categories and can track monthly. This report will update with fresh data every time you view it. 

Financial Statements

Financial statements will be published to your portal on a monthly basis. The statements are found in your Documents library, and provide a historical record of all financial performance. The statements serve as a snapshot of financial performance over a given period, and are static documents (unlike Reports, the statements do not update/change in real-time). 

Scroll down for more info about the Financial Statements in your Documents library:

The Documents area contains monthly financial statements:

Owner Portal Documents
  • The statements in the Documents are are static documents. They are posted to the portal once a month to serve as a historical record of financial performance. 

Download a statement to see month and YTD financials:

Owner Portal Property Statement

You'll also find a month-over-month operating statement:

Month over Month Statement

Portal Communication Tool

You can use your owner portal to communicate with our team. Any messages you send through the portal will go straight to your Account Manager. When we reply, you’ll get an email notification and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

Here’s an overview of using the communication platform:

Click "Communications" and navigate to "Conversations":

Commincation Dashboard Screenshot
  • The communications module will contain a record of all messages that you create through the portal. 

Click the "New Message" button and send your message:

Owner Portal New Message Screenshot

Responses will show up in the conversation ticket:

Portal Conversation Response Screenshot
  • You’ll get an email notification whenever you get a response, and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

You can reply in-line using the comment box:

Owner Portal Comment

Each conversation will be logged in its entirety:

Portal Conversation Snapshot

Understanding the Ledger

Your portal includes a ledger with all transactions. The ledger is populated with data in real-time as transactions flow through our accounting software. Much of this information is also available in the Reports area, as well as the Statements in your Documents library, but the ledger is the most comprehensive resource for diving into the details. 

Please scroll through the sections below to get a better understanding of how to interpret the ledger. 

By default, transactions are sorted chronologically:

Owner Ledger Dates
  • The date reflected in the lefthand column is the actual transaction date, not the “bill date”. This is the date the transaction was actually processed. 

If you have multiple properties with Nomadic, you'll see the address for each transaction in the "Location" column:

Ledger Property Column
  • You can filter the ledger to look at just one property, all properties, or specific sets of properties. 
  • If you only have one property with us, you’ll just see the ledger for that property. 

The Description column displays the transaction type:

Owner Ledger Description Column
  • BILL: this is an expense transaction, such as for repair costs or management fees.
  • CHARGE: this is a transaction  billed to the tenant, most typically a rent payment. 
  • NACHA EXPORT: this is a credit we processed to your distribution account. This type of transaction is how you get paid! 

The Amount column shows the dollar value of each transaction:

Owner Ledger Amount Column
  • Positive Amounts: if an amount is positive, it reflects a transaction that is payable to you. Typically, this will be a rent payment that we collected from your tenants. On occasion, a positive number could also signify a journal entry or credit adjustment. 
  • Negative Amounts:  if an amount is negative, this is a transaction that is either payable to Nomadic or is an amount that has already been paid to you. Typically this will be for repair costs or management/leasing fees. Owner draws (net distributions into your checking/savings account) also reflect as negative amounts, since they have already been paid to you. 

The Account Balance column shows a sum of positive/negative transactions at a given point in time:

Owner Ledger Account Balance Column
  • Account Balance should always equal zero after a net distribution has been processed. When the balance is zero, this means that all expenses have been paid and you’ve received the remainder as net operating income, leaving a balance of zero (meaning: no one is due any money, as all funds have been distributed appropriately). 

Navigating the Propertyware Owner Portal

Your portal includes some extremely useful features that help you understand your property’s financial performance at a new level, with real-time transparency into every transaction.

Scroll through the snapshots below for an overview of portal navigation! If you need more help or have specific questions about using the portal, you can reach out to your Account Manager any time for a screen share. 

You can filter all info by date range or property:

PW Portal Filters

View a snapshot of income and expenses on your dashboard:

PW Owner Dashboard View

See every transaction in real-time on your ledger:

Owner Portal Ledger View

Statements and forms will be posted to your documents library:

Owner Portal Document Library

View a suite of real-time financial reports:

Portal Reports View

See a running list of all bills, and drill down for more detail:

Owner Portal Bills View

Under Bill Details, you'll find dates/descriptions/amounts and more:

Portal Bill Details

You can also communicate with your Account Manager through the portal:

Owner Portal Communication Tools

How do net distributions work?

Net distributions keep your accounting clean and simple. Each month we’ll collect rent from the tenants, deduct any repair expenses for the previous month and any management/leasing fees for the current month, and credit the remaining net operating income to your account. 

Net Distribution

You’ll receive a statement via email each time a net distribution is processed, and can view all transaction details in your Propertyware owner portal.