Continuing to examine and hold a lively discussion of the Northern Virginia Real Estate market.
Please post your local house search updates, MLS finds, on-topic ideas, and links here.
Just what I needed with my mom in town.Murder a few miles away in the WaPo this morning.In fact it's like half a mile from a friend of hers from high school that she'll be meeting for lunch today, so I think there's about zero chance that she won't hear about it...Sigh.
cara,no baby yet?:)
Cara,This murder is pretty typical of the ones that occur in Fairfax Co. The victim and assailant knew each other. The shooter lived around the corner from the victim. Even fancy neighborhoods like Fairfax Station have had this kind of shooting.
MM,Nope, still pregnant.Hayfieldgrad,Thanks for the link. The WaPo article I linked to didn't say they had apprehended any suspect, so I was less "comfortable" about their assertion that the suspect and victim knew each other.Indeed, these are the types of murders that can happen anywhere, but try telling that to my mom....
Cara-I agree its bad timing, but as Hayfield pointed out that sort of thing can happen no matter where you live. If you look at any area there is bound to be an occasional murder.
Springfield VA,The only thing good about springfield is its proximity to 95. Other than that it's best summed up as an overpriced area tainted by a mall that should be bulldozed.Part of the crime problem is Springfield Mall and who it attracts.Another brightspot is Fairfax Parkway which brings some relief to a highly congested area. The tons of single family homes still overpriced in the area are shocking to the mind. Its unfortunate foreclosre cannot overtake the overborrowed there faster...Cara as far as crime -- you should have bought a house further out. Bristow and Gainesville are Nova's secrets where a 300k house is actually worth 300k.Waking up an hour earlier is not impossible for your Hubby, when there is a real estate savvy wife and mommy at home to take care of all the details!!
Gus,Hopefully that was a joke. If not:1) You obviously don't know what you're talking about, if you were actually familiar with the area, you'd know there's Springfield, and then there's Springfield. And the bulk of it (including where the murder was) is really pretty, filled with large parks, lakes, low crime in general AND amongst the best school pyramids in the district...I call the "bad" parts the Springfield mini-ghetto, because you know what? It's kinda tiny and pretty harmless.2) You obviously don't know me, or my husband. I'm not going to be a SAHM, it's just not who I am. And if I were, there's no way I could stand him being gone longer for a longer commute, I'd go insane. Plus, crimes like these happen in the outer suburbs too...
Gus:Bristow and Gainesville are Nova's secretsYeah, they're secrets because most people don't think they're part of Nova. Some people enjoy sitting in 3 hours of traffic per day so they can come home to a 4000 sq ft house. Not for me, and not for a lot of people I know.As for crime, I would hardly consider a move to Prince William County making one any safer than in Springfield.
frankly the crime is moving further out as the suburbs age.manassas is getting plenty of crime and hillbillies have always been robbers and mother stabbers. its why the gun culture is part of rural life.the county sheriff is a long way away and you may be it
Woah,First of all, no offense intended Cara -- I just thought people appreciated the frank discourse here. Cara I incorrectly assumed you are a stay at home Mom since you are on the computer every day and the above post about baby. I apologize and appreciate your comments and analysis.I think you have talked yourself into Springfield -- no offense and I wish you good luck there. But comparatively speaking I would rate Springfield as bad as the overpriced "Dale City" in Woodbridge for what you get for the money. As an investor I could write a thesis on this. But the area near Sydenstricker and the parkway is just abysmal prices for the quality of houses.Cara as far as school for the kids, Check out Cedar Point in Bristow. Comparatively, this bests or meets any Fairfax elementary.Kevin, I commute from Bristow all the way to belvoir. I have options with the VRE or with my commuter car and enjoy a 2800 square foot house with hard woods less than 10 years old. Comparatively in Springfield I would get a 20-30 year old house with less room and probably in need of repairs.I wake up at 515AM and get to work by 6AM. My window is an hour to get home normally--and 45 minutes to get to work. You are telling me you are too lazy, Kevin to wake up earlier so you can have a house that is worth 320k? I wouldnt get that feeling in Springfield or the northern reaches of Fairfax County. I have done the searches and 320k houses in Springfield are crapola. If you can be satisfied with a poorly maintained ranch, than Kudos to you.Pat, you are right: Manassas is crap!! Awful Sudley road congestion -- and Real estate agent inflated prices for a lengthy commute. You dont get what you pay for! Somewhere someone can make an arguement for Victory Lakes--but that is closer to Bristow.Pat, strong neighborhood watches and community support like in Braemar are what keeps communities like mine strong. I do not deny your redneck metaphors in Manassas however-spot on! I will testify that Gainesville and bristow stand out like Diamonds from those hovels.
Gus What do you think of Arlington? (oooohhhh, this is going to be fun!!!)
Gus,I jumped down your throat a bit there. Sorry. It was a "how many buttons can you push in one post??? post though."I didn't talk myself into Springfield. I looked at all the areas within a 25 minute commute of my work and with public transit options for my husband, and found that the best bang for our buck in terms of what we wanted were the West Springfield, Lake Braddock and Robinson pyramids. Plus, I fell in love with Lake Accotink. This neighborhood feels like the neighborhood I grew up in, and like one of the favorite neighborhoods my husband grew up in. Everyone has a point with commuting about, this far and no farther. My husband's commute is 20 minutes via the VRE, mine is 25 on the beltway. That extra time and flexibility everyday is absolutely golden. Some people can commute further. I did it for 2 years in MA, and 2 years down here. For short timeframes that I knew were going to end, I could do it. For buying a house? No way. Not ever. My husband and I are married to each other because we enjoy the time we spend together.However, the houses here DO cost more than they should. It's a great family neighborhood area, and "should" be priced accordingly. There "should" be somewhere in FFX Cnty where lt. cols. and single-income families can buy a SFH. And this "should" be it, because well, until 2002 it was it. One way or another, I believe it will become that again. Whether that's by falling in nominal terms in the next year or so, or by an extended period of no appreciation, or a little of both, I don't know. I'm guessing that this spring's gains will be erased by spring 2011, but then it will be flat thereafter if mortgage interest rates stay under 6%. But since you don't live here or want to live here, I don't see why you care. And I certainly don't see why you'd wish foreclosure on a group of buyers who chose Springfield over futher away and are paying the money for it. How do you know whether they in particular overleveraged themselves? In my neighborhood there weren't actually that many transactions at peak prices, and a heck of a lot of those have already been resold. But I'd be very surprised if we don't have at least another year's worth of REO's and short sales to come, probably more like another 3 years.
Cara, Kevin, Pat-Ditto on all of your comments. Historically the safest suburbs have been the suburbs that are a medium distance from the city. The super close ones like Arlington get some of the cities crime and the super far out like Gainesville have a lot of poverty/foreclosues... that come with crime.I also agree its totally not worth spending your life in a car and destroying the environment to live in a huge house. If you don't work in DC than these are probably good locations to live, but a daily commute from them sounds really brutal.
Housebuyer,What are you talking about povertyand crime in Gainesville? Have you checked the blotters?Cmon as a long time member of this site I thought you would be more well-reasoned.The Gainesville foreclosures are swallowed up my investors who get them at half price because condo fees have jumped to cover expenses. This does not translate to poverty and crime. And I would argue as one investor to another the further out you go the more you are extricated from the crime that public transit brings.People need to see past their own stratospheres, and keeep in mind Bristow and Gainesville are as close to these Manassas "overgeneralizations" as Arlington is to Anacostia. Cara, points taken Im sure you will do well no matter what the case -- with simply your analytical skills and research
Ohh yeah I should also bring up commuting costs. If you are living in the super far out suburbs your commutes are also probably an additional ~50 miles a day round trip. Once you count depreciation, gas, oil, repairs... this will cost an extra 3-6k per driver. So it is important to at least consider this cost when discussing how far out to live.
Gus: You are telling me you are too lazy, Kevin to wake up earlier so you can have a house that is worth 320k?I get up plenty early enough. That isn't the issue. I don't want to be driving 50 miles in each direction every day. Yeah, I'm sure you enjoy your $2800 sq ft house, but what good is it when you're stranded in a 30 sq ft automobile every morning and night?And no, I'm not going to buy a house for $320k that's not worth that amount. In other words, your methods and analysis for determining what a house is actually worth might be sufficient, perhaps even sophisticated, but don't assume that you're the only one that has them.Your overall generalizations about "closer in" areas are just that - generalizations. Like I said, you live in PWC and shouldn't be lecturing anybody about moving to areas with less crime.
Gusit's a matter of taste and preference.if your kid got hurt at school at 9:00would you want to drive 2 hours to get to the clinic or what if your job moves?people pay more money to live in georgetown row houses.its what you want.we are city people so we like araL/AX/DC. i know people who live on the ocean and drive to the pentagon.i also know people who vanpool from culpeper and staunton.seems like madness to me.but you would have a breakdown in our 2BR Apt.and i know TN would break out in hives at the hoods we like in DC
Gus-I should not have stated an areas names, I was referring to how suburbs work in most cities. Generally across the country the closest and furthest suburbs have more crime than the middle suburbs. Although Gainesville has personal crime rates that are 2x Fairfax crime rates and property crime rates that are 3x Fairfax levels. Gainesville crime rates Springfield Crime rates If you go down to crime rates you can see that Springfield is better. The reason that the blotters have nothing on them is because no one lives there. What matters is crime rates per person. (aka the chance something happens to you). From the first site I saw that had crime rates they did not look good... If you have better data let me know. Otherwise maybe it is you not me that needs to get out of my own stratosphere.
some might still remember this N Arl house that was picked apart on here - it finally went UC last month with DOM @ 574.one less buyer to compete with... j/k.
Gus, I'm also going to disagree with your "too lazy to get up earlier" comment. In addition to the commute time you lose with your family, you have also been forced to adjust your sleep schedule so you go to bed early enough to get up at 5:15am and be productive at work. Basically you'd be going to bed at the same time as the kids. My friends with kids say the time from 9-12pm is their time to be with their wives or enjoy their own hobbies after the kids have gone to sleep. I enjoy being able to watch Sunday and Monday night football, being able to play Xbox Live games with friends and coworkers, or having that time to read and relax. I will gladly be paying more for a better commute AND to not have to change my lifestyle just for a newer house farther out.
Housebuyer, those automated web sites are poor arbiters for crime comparisons. Its like going on zillow and taking all of their automated graphs and assessing it as Constitutional law.Try checking out spotcrime.com which incorporates actual county blotter offenses with geolocations. Tell me if you still hold the same pro-Springfield tendencies. In analyzing the Gainesville crimes, they are more prevalent around the condos -- not near single family developments.We can argue this all day but my central point is I have lived in Springfield, Alexandria and Woodbridge, Bristow and Gainesville.I have enjoyed the former two the most for the quality of life -- and dont feel Springfield's proximity to DC, Chantilly, the Pentagon or Arlington justifies the price.Im listening though, and am astounded that a difference in 25 minutes means so much to Fairfax County Homeowners! It is enlightening to say the least
Once again, the difference is not 25 minutes. It is 25 minutes when you get up at 5:15am versus someone living closer getting up at 7:15am. They save an hour a day in commute AND have a more normal sleep schedule.
gus25 minutes each way is an hour per day and way more if you get stuckin rush hour due to extra work.an hour a day is 200 hours a yearor 5 weeks of work.thats as much time as you get for vacation, sick leave and personal leave.Thats why it's a big deal.
I also don't understand how people think that leaving work at 3pm is acceptable. I don't care when I get here, there are meetings that I am required to be at and they aren't always in the morning. Every week I have meetings ending at 4, and a few each month that end at 5. Leaving at 3pm every day I'd be seen as just as much of a slacker as if I came in at 11am and worked to 7. It just doesn't work.
gusalso many people are tired in the morning, a long commute while tired stinks and a real long commute when tired.my parents had a real hard on for the exurbs and when i was in college close to home they would insist i stay at home because they didn't want to pay dorm fees. i remember dozing off while driving and it could have been lethal.they wondered why i couldn't stand the burbs.
Gus-I agree there is a lot more crime in Springfield, Fairfax... but this is because there are far more people. Fairfax county has almost 100 times more people than Gainesville. So based on this of course you will see more of every type of crime on the blotter. My guess is that you did not live in the nice areas of Springfield (such as the near Burke Lake). I fully agree the area near Springfield mall is not a nice area, but not all Springfield is like this area.For your job you can chose your schedule so your commute is 25 minutes longer. Many people do not have this option. I have to be at the office until 6PM (based on when different financial markets are open). If I left as 6PM it would take 2+ hours. So I would leave home at 6AM and get home at 8PM. This would give me very little time with my wife. To us saving 2 hours a day is easily worth $30K+ a year so I am willing to pay dramatically more for a house with a good commute.
Gus-Although it sounds like most of us are teaming up against you I think it just shows that each person has different opinions on where the best place to live is. You are fine with waking up early and driving more. Since this is the case living far out gives you a lot more house for the money, which is good.Most of us on the other hand value our time and sleep schedule significantly more than you. Based on this it doesn't make sense to live further out. In a lot of ways it is good we all want to live in different areas, because it lets us all live where we will be the happiest.
Pat and Jeremy hey - good points.I am prior military so the early morning thing is an advantage and is normal. I love the hour by hour analysis.I am telling you Americans waste even more time on television or useless pursuits and you are holding me to my longer car ride! At least Im learning Spanish in the Car :)As far as leaving at 3, You guys touched on a HUGE government issue of accountability. You are G-DAM right why are government workers allowed such freedom? Because raises are free and no one cares about your hours -- as it doesnt effect an individual's bottom lines!Jeremy, you may have hated Rumsfeld but at least he tried to do incentive for pay....its all being converted back to GG Steps. A colossal waste of taxpayer money as government workers have Hardly any hourly accountability. I feel for you and suggest you have "Core hours" terminology put into contracts and policy if you are at least a 14 and have power. Good luck. I agree.Until the taxpayers hold us accountable us 14-15s will work what schedule that suits us.As I say this I feel I have been corrupted -- but ethically feel if I change what is my incentive? The government evaluation system is worse than the military.Here is hoping you change things Jeremy -- and I feel your pain
It is impossible to insulate one's family from crime. One murder a year in a neighborhood may not be a big deal to some folks, unless of course you're either the perpetrator or the victim.What does make a difference is the neighborhood and your neighbors. About a month ago there was a loud discharge at 9PM at night, it sounded like a gunshot. Almost all my neighbors came out of their homes and looked around. It ended up being a transformer that decided to bar-b-q a squirrel.Compare that with even a "nice" section of D.C. where a gunshot elicits closed blinds and folks reacting by checking to see if the six door locks are all engaged.Big difference.I'll take neighbors who care over neighbors who are indifferent any day.FWIW.
"HB said - Most of us on the other hand value our time and sleep schedule significantly more than you. Based on this it doesn't make sense to live further out. In a lot of ways it is good we all want to live in different areas, because it lets us all live where we will be the happiest."Agreed - and alot of this goes into what a home in a particular location is "worth". A few years back, we discussed how for some people, certain locations have little or even negative values.If I had to commute from gainesville to my current job, I it probably wouldnt be worth it for me to pay more than 50K for any house, regardless of size. However, there are other people who are much more tolerant about those things than I am and they would gladly pay 200-300K for the same place, effectively pricing me out of that market. Likewise, the things I value (job proximity, architecture, walkability to restaurants, shops, etc.) are things that some people find nearly worthless, especially when they come with negatives like crime. Thus these people cannot understand why "anyone" would pay 700K to live in postage stamped sized houses. In a ways, its kinda like antiques roadshow. To a person that cares little about indian artifacts, buying a Lakotah/Sioux baby cradle doesnt make sense, especially when you can buy a modern one at target for $30. Sure they think it is interesting conversation piece, and maybe they would pay $300 for it, but they cant understand why "anyone" would pay $60,000 for something that has no utilitarian value anymore. Nevertheless, its the value judgments that certain people ascribe to certain characterisitcs that makes a market a market, be it places to live, indian artifacts, or otherwise.
300K houseSalary required @house 3xsalary=100k=~$50/hr1hr/d x 5d/wk x 4wk= ~$1000/moPrincipal and interest payment of ~$1000/mo @4.5% would give a principal of ~200KSo- even leaving out consumable commuting costs, and any other intangibles, which are likely a wash due to the whole country mouse/city mouse thing- the same house should rationally cost ~200k more if it is 30min closer to the jobs.
Gus -It is obvious that you have a different perspective than some others on this blog. More power to you and your viewpoints. We welcome thoughtful critique. As you are probably aware, homeowners pay for the extras they care about. I am a proud resident of Springfield and I, like Cara and Hayfield and others, chose to pay for the factors that matter to us such as a shorter commute, easy access to public transport, walkability to many public facilities, etc. You pay for what matters to you. I once had other priorities and lived way out in the exurbs. The commute was killing me. I moved.This is a real estate blog and there are differing political points of view that may or may not agree with yours. As a federal worker, (I gather you are too) I take exception to your remarks. I work with many contractors, some of whom are paid significantly more than me, and I put in more hours, (effectively, I like to think and so my chain of command tells me) though I am paid for the same 40 hour work week. It's called Work Ethic. Many of us, both feds and contractors, take pride in due diligence, responsibility, and accountability.For the record, I am former military myself and used to get up at 04:30 for ten mile runs. Now I don't have to do that anymore and can sleep in until 05:30. One of the perks of age.
I don't mean to stick my nose in where it doesn't belong but just a few observations:1) What is so superior about getting up at 5:15 AM versus working until 10 PM or later, or any other schedule, depending on what best suits the individual and employer?2) When considering how early one has to get up for a long commute, people with family care, pet care, charitable responsibilities, etc., or who exercise before going to work, or who need to meet minimal societal standards for grooming (e.g., I would say the vast majority of women may need more time than men do, to do hair, makeup) can't roll out of bed at 5:15 and get to work at 6 if they live 20 minutes away. This is particularly true if the spouse, rather than oneself, takes responsibility for making sure that one's clothes are clean, pressed, and selected before work (as is the case with many, if not most, of my male colleagues).3) Why would anyone who finds the work ethic of the people around him objectionable continue to work there, versus go to work for an organization where the people meet his or her personal standards?4) There are many reasons to choose and to remain in a neighborhood besides commute, crime, and size of house. As others have said, everyone has his or her own set of tradeoffs and all should be respected if they can afford the choices they make.5) People in crime ridden areas in the District vs. safer suburbs have reasons other than "neighborliness" or "friendliness" to consider what to do when they hear what sounds like a gunshot. Self-preservation comes to mind.
I should have said "this is particularly true if one, rather than one's spouse..."
Hello, I've been reading your blog and the comments and think the discussion is great. I like everyone's frank views and would ask for some on my current situation... My wife and I are considering buying home that will cost between $800k to $1m. We have been looking for the past 2 years. Over that time, I've been hesitant because I have thought prices would decline. However, in the areas we are looking, Arlington, Alexandria, Great Falls, etc., the prices have not fallen that much...at least as much as I expected. However, the price decline seems to be enough to justify waiting. But now, we really do want to buy, but I really think prices are going to go down because I think the Federal government budget will be cut when the GOP takes over the Congress. If they cut the budget, it will most immediately hit DC because those discretionary dollars are an easy target.If my theory is correct, then in 6 months we could start to see real price declines in the higher-end homes. On the other hand, my theory might be off, or there might be other factors pushing prices in the other direction I'm not considering.So, I'm very interested in all of your thoughts on the near- and long-term prices of homes in the $1m range. Thanks!
Patrick Every decision is personal. You may (possibly) or may not (probably) succeed in timing the market. Buy if it makes sense for your personal circumstances. If you are hesitant, rent. Consensus is that local prices will drop, then flatline. But then, you knew this already.
Patrick,"...when the GOP takes over"? According to polls, people are as dissatisfied with GOP incumbents as with Dem incumbents. So while the Dems stand to lose more seats (since they have more incumbents) I don't think your premise is at all certain.Even if it is, there are other links in the chain that may be questionable, e.g., that GOP will reduce spending that will affect DC (they didn't under Bush), and that that will be the primary factor affecting the DC housing market. And, there are many people in your target neighborhoods who are not dependent on the federal govt., in any case. So my opinion, FWIW, is that predicating your decision on expected election results will probably not be your best bet. I agree with C.Having been looking in a similar market (but not necessarily for the same type of house, since I don't know exactly what you prefer) I think our major challenge continues to be the lack of desirable inventory in the price range.
cnbc blog: Sunday Open House (in DC-area)http://www.cnbc.com/id/39155913
http://www.redfin.com/VA/Arlington/2001-6th-St-S-22204/home/11262782this was a shell, someone fixed it up and got a sucker to buy it.it abuts Rt 27 and trust me that is no joy.
a few last irrelevant things.TN,Hehe, there's one family that bought too many fireworks this year and has been setting off a few here and there on weekends. Each time, all the teenagers (and my husband) come out of their houses to go investigate...And my husband does get up at 4:45 AM, but that's so that he can go run 4 miles around the neighborhood (at a time of day when I'm sleeping).I'm a patient enough person that the 40 min to 1 hr commutes I used to do didn't bother me that much. (except when it took 2 hrs on occasion) But if my husband's commute takes longer than 30 minutes it takes him 1 hr and 2 beers to fully relax from work and the commute. (as opposed to 15 minutes and 1 beer) So it's not just the commute time, it's the stress level that induces in a particular person. So you see, we'd have to add to our alcohol budget as well. :)But as housebuyer said, it's a darn good thing not everyone has the same wants/needs. The last thing Springfield needs is to be any more expensive than it already is. In fact, I'd say that's the last thing anywhere in the greater DC metro area needs right now.
pat,Agree that living on Rt 27 is not a great idea and that is a permanent fault that will make it harder to sell the house in the future. But OTOH, the buyers are getting what appears to be a simply, nicely redone house, close to DC, not a bad neighborhood, for much less than $500K. In Clarendon (not much closer) they'd pay maybe 70% more.Although there is a downside risk, there's also a potential upside if people begin to realize that that area is relatively cheap in land costs yet you have most of the advantages of other parts of Arlington.
Pat,Wow, look at the "before" photo.http://franklymls.com/AR7110857The flipper did a LOT of expensive work (assuming the quality of the work is good). This is a case like those VA_I points out that benefit the neighborhood as well as the parties involved (not sure if the flipper made money on it).
Gus,I'm glad you like Gainesville-I guess other people must like it there too since it is so congested (why did they build the houses so close together out there when land is sooooo cheap???) but I don't know anyone who would choose to live there if they could afford something closer in. I am a SAHM and there's no way I want my husband to have a commute that long (nor is it practical for most people to work such bizarre hours--people are expected to be available during normal work hours). Nor do I want to spend so much time in the car running errands-I like to live where things are conveniently located. I don't live in Springfield but it has a lot of convenient shopping and easy access to major highways and metro.Maybe I would wish that commute on him if I was not happily married. I am dying for him to walk through the door after work. Just wanted to mention--on the schools issue. We have been researching schools a TON and I am a PWC native. I would not live out there for free b/c I would not want to send my kids to any PWC school. Fairfax schools are far superior for *our* purposes b/c of the extensive gifted program. (There might be something people prefer about PWC schools but if there is I haven't heard of it.) Also there is serious overcrowding at the schools out there and there is no guarantee your kids won't be moved from one school to another to alleviate the crowding. I also want my kids to attend a school with some diversity. I looked up the school you mentioned and it has over a thousand students! That is ridiculous for an elementary school. Finally, I would never buy out there b/c I think the prices have a lot more room to fall since it is so undesirable to so many people for the reasons already posted.
Meshell,I respectfully disagree with your comments and have to pipe up on behalf of PWC schools. You may not be aware of this, but our school system (Manassas Park City Schools) is in fact one of the very best in the nation and our town bursts with pride over it. In PWC we also have the new Governors School (for students who excel in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) which opened this year in Manassas. Our school system, scores very well on national tests, for instance, on Schoolmatters.com, Robinson H.S. (in Springfield) earns a 94% in Reading, while Manassas Park earned a 98%). Our town is small and so are our schools, but we are a very diverse community. We have only one elementary school, one middle school and one high school. By the time our kids graduate, everyone knows everyone. I think there is a lot to be said for this kind of small-town atmosphere in a very transient society. For us, the small town atmosphere and the excellent schools were the reasons that drew us further west. My husband's commute is probably pretty moderate for the D.C. area (50 minutes). We live one mile from the VRE!I personally believe almost any school in NVA is going to be excellent... and that mostly school is what you make of it. Thanks for letting me share a PWC perspective.
Hi Kris,A 50 minute commute from your front door to your office chair is pretty good around here, I agree. Where does he commute to? I don't know how anyone can stand the traffic on Centreville Road/Route 28 in that area-it would drive me insane trying to get anywhere.I would distinguish between the PW County school system, the MP City School system, and the City of Manassas school system--since they are all separate. I was talking specifically about the PWC system, but I wouldn't send my kids to City of Manassas either. I don't know much about MP city schools except they used to be so terrible that Manassas looked down on them. When you say MP City schools are among the "very best in the nation"--what statistics or research is that based on? I have never heard that and we have done a lot of school research.Just looking at the MP City schools website, for instance, the SAT scores from 2008-2009 are touted as the highest ever in 30 years at 1507 total. The most recent scores are not on their website.Here's a list of SAT scores for Fairfax County last year. You can see that MP City high would be way down at the bottom of this list. And the high schools at the bottom of this list have very high ESOL and low income populations, but I don't know how that compares with the MP City school demographics.1.TJ 22002.Langley 18123.McLean 17784.Woodson 17385.Madison 17346.Oakton 17297.Marshall 16908.Robinson 16659.Chantilly 1663 (+1)10.West Springfield 1644 (+3)11.Herndon 1642 (+1)12.Lake Braddock 1639 (-1)13.Fairfax 1635 (+1)14.Westfield 1625 (-5)15.Centreville 1596 (-1)16.South Lakes 1578 (+1)17.South County 1572 (-1)18.West Potomac 156119.Stuart 1532 (+1)20.Annandale 1518 (+1)21.Edison 1512 (-2)22.Falls Church 1505 (+2)23.Lee 1504 (-1)24.Hayfield 1475 (-1)25.Mount Vernon 1458
APS 2010 SAT ResultsAverage Scores for SeniorsReading Writing MathWAKEFIELD492 486 506 WASHINGTON-LEE 566 540 564YORKTOWN581 565 595
Meshell,Hubby works at the Pentagon. In 2 years he can retire and I'm hoping we may even improve on his awful work hours (that's just the Army way) and commute time.That was very interesting to get your findings on the MPHS SAT scores. While it looks like there is still work to be done, and we should never be content to rest on our laurels, the scores are commensurate with most other NOVA high schools, and as you see have vastly improved during our Superintendent, Dr. Thomas DeBolt's tenure (he retires in December... he wrote the book, "The Little School System that Could." Our school facilities are beautiful places for our children to come to, all new and have won international awards for architectural and environmental excellence. See http://www2.insidenova.com/news/2010/may/17/manassas_park_elementary_designers_winning_awards-ar-429992/Sorry, don't know how to hyperlink here. On another note, half of our student population qualifies for free or reduced lunches, and many come from non-English speaking homes. MP has earned a reputation of doing an outstanding job of bringing these at-risk youth quickly to the level where they can compete with their better-advantaged peers and reach the same potential to enter college.I just hope that this helps shed light on the great success story of a school system in PWC, which has come a long way perhaps from the PWC that you remember as a child. I know MP students hold their heads up high now.
I'm pretty amazed he can get from your house in Manassas Park to his desk at the Pentagon in 50 minutes. I worked at the Pentagon when I lived in Clarendon and my commute was around that long, and I just walked to the metro. In fact, it was a solid 10 minutes at least just to get from the top of the Pentagon metro escalator to my office and that was all in the building and pre-9/11 security. Do you all have a private helicopter? Jet pack? I just looked at the VRE timetables and he must get to work some other way, because the schedule is 45 minutes from MP city station to the crystal city station. So if he VREs, he would then have to transfer to metro at crystal city (or walk?). Then you have to add in the time to get to the VRE station from your house, and the time in the building to get to his office from the pentagon metro station...the math is not working for me, here.
Meshell,You are right and I stand corrected. I finally got with hubby (he's been traveling) and he said from doorstep to office chair it takes him 1hr and 15 min. If he drove he would be there under 50 minutes but getting home would be a nightmare.
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