Cities

The epicenter of Amazon's Virginia housing crunch

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.

The other housing crisis: Abandoned homes

Abandoned houses in Detroit, Michigan.
Abandoned houses in Detroit. Photo: Patrick Gorski/NurPhoto via Getty Images


The outcry over affordable housing shortages in America's fastest-growing cities masks an equally devastating problem: persistently high rates of vacant and blighted housing in cities of all sizes.

Why it matters: Vacant housing spiked across the country after the foreclosure crisis of the late 2000s. While things have improved, vacancy rates are still far higher than they were before 2005, according to a 2018 report from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.