Renting in NoVa is cheaper than buying, still. For example, if I could find a roomate to pay $800 a month and if I kept paying my modest $1200 a month, I could rent for $2000 a month a three bedroom house on Quincy Street in Arlington or 5 bedrooms in Dale City in Woodbridge. Fairfax and Alexandria must be 4 BRs for $2000.
With my handy “reality check” spreadsheet, it says $2,000 a month is the same as buying a house for $235,000– taxes and condo fees really take their bite.
Homesdatabase.com and Redfin say that while those 3BR houses exist in that price range, they’re not in walking distance to the metro, at least not in Arlington, while there are tons of 3BR houses renting for $1500 to $2000 in walking distance to the metro. Also, many of these sub $235,000 bargains are in low price hot spots, which often are low price on account of them being magnets for social problems.
Conclusion: Renting, despite the big drop in prices is still cheaper than buying. If you have a roomate that you can tollerate, than buying is flushing money down the toilet.