Jul 17, 2019 - Technology

The epicenter of Amazon's Virginia housing crunch

Illustration of house jumping off Amazon logo

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Amazon HQ2 in Arlington, Virginia, is just getting started — with a smattering of employees and a new campus construction — but the surrounding housing market is already experiencing a boom in anticipation of the new demand.

Between the lines: As housing prices climb and inventory drops, experts predict lower-income residents will be priced out of their neighborhoods, just as they were in Amazon's Seattle. In Virginia, one of the most vulnerable pockets is the Latinx community in Arlandria — just two miles from HQ2.

Why it matters: There are plans to add affordable housing units in northern Virginia, but those homes will be priced for households earning around 60% of the median income. That would leave out almost all Latinx families in Arlandria, researchers wrote.

In a new report by Tenants and Workers United and George Washington University, provided first to Axios, researchers surveyed a sample of 285 Arlandria families living among the city's 3,000 moderately priced apartments.

  • While homeowners in Arlandria tend to be white, tenants are overwhelmingly Latinx and lower-income — and many have been living in the city for 2 or more decades.
  • Of the households surveyed, 35% earned less than $28,000 per year. That's less that 25% of the Washington metro area's median household income of $117,200.
  • Around 95% of households earned less than 40% of the area median income, researchers found.
  • In total, around 10,000 Latinx residents are at risk of displacement.

What's next: Amazon has said that it is working with local and state officials to address its housing impact. The company has donated $3 million to build affordable housing in the area around HQ2.

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