The Mantua Report
from your Mantua Neighborhood Realtors
We're real estate specialists in properties
located in the desirable Fairfax community of Mantua. We live in
and have firsthand knowledge about the friendly neighbors, great amenities,
top-rated schools, and the wonderful homes that make Mantua such a popular
place to live.
January 30, 2019
Dear Mantua and Ridgelea Hills Neighbors,
The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors just published their final figures for 2018 and is reporting an average sales price increase of 1.8% over the previous year. Our local economy remained strong and consumer confidence was high. With the recent government shutdown and economic uncertainty, there is a different climate for the 2019 housing market. The Washington DC area is more resilient than other parts of the country, and with higher job creation and the Amazon East Coast Headquarters moving to Northern Virginia, along with other large companies such as Nestle, economists are still predicting a stable real estate market. The lack of inventory has also helped to keep prices up, although educated buyers and their agents are prudent in regards to how much they are prepared to offer and are not willing to overpay for properties.
2018 Mantua Statistics show that 60 homes sold. The average sold price was $796,823.22, compared to $759,970.34 in 2017, close to a 5% increase. Some newly built homes that sold have brought our average price up in recent years. There were also 2 existing homes that sold for over $1M. Please find the list of all homes that sold in 2018 on the inside of this letter. Currently there are 4 listings in active status and 6 under contract. Sixteen homes rented in Mantua through the MLS in 2018 and the average price was $3,046 a month.
4 homes sold in Ridgelea Hills this past year, for an average price of $852,750. The average price last year was $850,000 in 2017. No houses are currently listed for sale. No homes rented through the MLS last year.
In 2018, as in previous years, we saw the homes that were realistically priced and showed well were selling in just a few days. 2018 was typically active in the spring, but the fall market was unusually slow and prices and days on market reflected this. Home inspections are more detailed than in the past and we are finding today’s buyers are asking for more items to be corrected. Spring is the time when there are more active buyers and a homeowner and sellers will have a better chance of a successful sale in our neighborhood. Preparing a house for the market, staging and ensuring it is showcased on the internet with good photographs and looking its best at the time it is first listed, is extremely important.
Interest rates remain relatively low, and it is still possible to obtain a 30 year mortgage at a 4.6% rate, with no points. In addition, the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that the 2019 baseline conforming loan limit is now $484,350, from 453,100 last year. The 2019 ceiling loan limit in most high-cost areas is now $726,525 from 679,650 in 2018. This means sellers will benefit as more purchasers will be able to qualify for conforming loans on higher mortgage amounts.
Thanks again to our neighborhood clients, most of our business continues to be in Mantua and Ridgelea Hills. In appreciation we continue to offer our support, time and financial backing for many community and school related fundraisers and events. We appreciate your referrals and look forward to helping your family and friends. We also hope you will contact us if you have any questions related to real estate, need names of reliable contractors, or are thinking of selling your home. We send our best wishes to you and your family for 2019.
DOWNLOAD END OF YEAR REPORT
Mantua was built on parkland in the 1960’s. The builder did not tear down many trees or change any of the natural landscape, so there are still large oak trees and hills and streams running naturally through the neighborhood. The neighborhood is made up of several legal subdivisions: Mantua, Mantua Hills, Ridgelea Woods, Ridgelea Estates, Langhorne Acres, Sunny Hills, Skybrook, Stockbridge, and Westchester. People are drawn to the the neighborhood’s excellent schools and convenient location just outside the beltway at the Rte 50 AND the Rte 236 exits. There are several commuting options for people traveling downtown during rush hour: I-66, Rte 50, Rte 29, I-395.
Houses currently run from $600,000 - $1,200,000. Occasionally a builder will construct a new house that will sell for $1,200,000 - $1,300,000. Most of the homes are built on half acre lots, but there are also some quarter acre lots and a few larger lots on acreages of between 1/2 and 1. Houses range in style from the traditional colonial and split level homes to split foyers, ramblers, raised ramblers, and bi-levels. There are several contemporaries, that are quite large and all brick. These are called the Phoenix models and they vary in size, from 3 to 5 bedrooms with partial or full basements. Other contemporaries built of wood can be found along Prince William Drive and Coronado that were designed by the well known architect, Ken Freeman. These houses are also flat roof homes and considered to be more of a “California contemporary” style. Another style of contemporary, of a good size, with 3 floors, can be found on Amberley Lane and Mantua Drive. Several homes in the neighborhood have their own swimming pools.
Being part of the Fairfax County Public School system, we have an excellent elementary school within the boundaries of the neighborhood, safely nestled on a private cul de sac. Frost Middle and Woodson High are considered to be excellent schools also and among the top schools State wide. Frost is one of the few middle schools in the area that has a 10 out of 10 rating. Woodson has been listed in Newsweek magazine several years in a row among the top 100-150 high schools nationwide. In 2014 WT Woodson was listed as #128 out of awarded a Gold Medal. (see http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/national-rankings/page+6 to view the entire article). This survey focused on the importance of students being ready for college. The criteria of the study mainly looked at how many advanced placement courses and exams are completed at the school in relation to how many students are enrolled in the entire school. Woodson has just undergone an expansion and renovation that was very successful, giving the school, in addition to its great academic reputation, updated facilities, science labs, a new auditorium, and a renovated gymnasium. Read more about W.T.Woodson in the New York Times.
PARKS AND TRAILS
The neighborhood also has two county and city parks attached. One is a Fairfax City ball field for little leagues, Thaiss Park. The other is a family park, Eakin Park I, with a baseball field, playground and two public tennis courts. There is also a trail going through the neighborhood that is part of the Accotink trail. This trail goes all the way to Accotink Lake and is paved for almost the entire way.
There are many options for grocery shopping in the area. Shopper’s Food Warehouse has recently renovated up at Pickett Shopping Center, providing us with a reasonably priced food store. Trader Joe’s is also very good value and is located in Pickett Road Shopping Center. Here here are many organic and healthy food options and a reasonably priced, good wine selection too. A large Safeway is located on the way to Vienna Metro at Pan Am shopping center. Mantua is also not very far from Wegman’s at Fairfax Corner and Whole Foods in Vienna. The Korean supermarkets at Merrifield and on Rte 50 West provide excellent places to purchase good quality produce, especially vegetables and fish, at reasonable prices.
Fairfax County Recreation Centers are located at Providence Rec Center – just inside the beltway on Rte 50 and also Wakefield Recreation Center, which is on Braddock Road. Both have large indoor pool facilities and gyms and offer many classes and monthly passes. Classes are for pre-school age children through seniors.
George Mason University is nearby, providing a good venue for concerts, sporting events, and other entertainment at the Patriot Center.
There are all types of restaurants in the area—many different ethnic restaurants and some American restaurants too. Some of the local favorites are Artie’s and Sweetwater (Great American Restaurants group), 2941 (more upscale), Jaipur, The Wine House, to name just a few. Mosaic Center at Merrifield was completed in 2013 and it offers many great dining options, a new Target, boutiques and Angelika Movie Theatre. Restaurants include, True Food, Ted’s Bulletin, Matchbox and Gipsy Soul. The Dunn Loring metro is just around the corner and this has also developed a great shopping area with more restaurants and a Harris Teeter in 2014-2015.
Tysons Corner and Fair Oaks Shopping Centers are approximately 15 minutes drive.
AND TENNIS CLUB
Mantua has its own Swim and Tennis Club, with 2 pools, a baby pool and 4 lit tennis courts. There is a gazebo at the tennis courts for outdoor entertaining and the clubhouse at the pool can be rented out for larger indoor parties. The social committee holds a few parties a year at the clubhouse—including a holiday party, newcomer’s dinner, block captain’s luncheon. There is an active swim team, dive team and tennis team for kids. We have a tennis pro who manages the children’s lessons and matches in the area with other tennis teams. There is a very active women's, men's singles and doubles program here too for adults, and a Friday evening social tennis season during the summer months. All this is very affordable (Approx $60 per summer for each child playing tennis, swim team membership is about the same, pool membership is a one time membership fee $1,100 plus $475 per year dues).
|There is an approximately three year waiting list, unlike surrounding neighborhoods, to become a member of Mantua Swim and Tennis Club. It is important to try and buy the membership with the house if you want to use the pool immediately. Although, almost everyone who has wanted to rent a membership while they are waiting to purchase one has been able to over the last few years. Rental memberships run at approximately $550 per season.
There is a strong sense of community, which is one of the attributes this neighborhood is known for, as well as its geographical and physical traits. There are lots of different types of people in our neighborhood from various backgrounds and who have diverse interests. There are many clubs open to all neighbors. We get together for an annual parade/picnic and a few other community events. There are lots of parties in the neighborhood organized by the Swim and Tennis social committee as well as the Mantua Citizen’s Organization. Parties are diverse in theme, ranging from Crab Feasts and Dog Days of Summer parties during the time the pool is open, to Casino night, Band evenings. There is always a winter holiday party at the clubhouse to which all are welcome, and sometimes an Oktoberfest gathering too.
The Mantua Citizens’ Association offers an online monthly newsletter to all homes within the development. There is also a Mantua Directory that is printed every 2 years. Dues are only $20 per year to cover the costs of these publications and a few other expenses, including the picnic and parade and other social events. The MCA organizes a Newcomers’ Dinner in the Spring as well as a Block Captain’s and Neighborhood Watch and other Volunteers’ Luncheon.
People have different reasons for wanting to live in Mantua. In summary, some of the reasons they choose our neighborhood:
- Top Fairfax County Schools
- Great sense of community with elementary school within neighborhood
- Swim and Tennis Club, annual parties and neighborhood parade and events
- Large wooded lots with mature trees, azaleas and other plantings
- Great location just outside the beltway-very easy to get to most areas for commuters
- Abundant parkland, woods and trails; feeling of being close to nature
- Good selection of restaurants, shops, recreation areas and amenities nearby
- Easy commuting and many road options to downtown DC, Alexandria, Dulles Toll road
- Both Vienna and Dunn Loring Metros 10 minutes drive away
- ysons Corner and Fair Oaks Mall both within 15 minutes drive
- 20-25 minutes to both Dulles International and Reagan National Airports, 1 hr to BWI
- Fairfax Hospital just 2 miles
- Housing holds its value in this sought after neighborhood and school district
errors and omissions without notice
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