Base Realignment Adds 19,000 To Ft. Belvoir

phoyoThe just-completed Defense Department base realignment is sending 19,000 additional personnel to Ft. Belvoir, in southeast Fairfax County, providing a number of new prospects for local Realtors.

“We’ve just completed construction of seven new buildings which will provide places for many of these new personnel to work,” said Col. Mark Moffatt, Dep. Garrison Commander for Transportation and BRAC, who addressed the Northern Virginia Association of Realtor’s 15th Annual Economic Summit.

Among the buildings is a new hospital, the Army’s Legal Services Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, whose senior personnel are the kinds of potential homebuyers Realtors dream about; large salaries with a stable employer.

Moffatt told the Realtors attending the event at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale that Ft. Belvoir will soon employ over 50,000 personnel, with only 7,500 living on base.

“The rest live in the National Capital Area, with most choosing to live in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Moffatt said. “Currently, Ft. Belvoir personnel who choose to live in Fairfax County choose the location because they like the short commute and value the quality school system.”

Moffatt noted that most base personnel choose to live south of Ft. Belvoir, in Prince William and Stafford counties, because home prices tend to be lower.

Mark Center Property

Ft. Belvoir recently purchased the Mark Center, on Seminary Road, and briefed the Realtors on the Army’s plans for the property. He said there are currently 2200 personnel assigned to the facility with plans to place a total of 6,600 there by the end of 2012.

While many already live in the area, Moffett said there will be some transferred from outside the area. Over time, normal turnover will also bring many new people to the facility, he said,

In a question and answer period, one Realtor wanted to know how she and her colleagues could get their properties in front of the new arrivals. Moffatt said the best option is to contact the base’s Public Affairs Office to visit the base and meeting with housing coordinators.

Though Northern Virginia’s economy relies less on government activities than Maryland and the District of Columbia, 33 percent of Fairfax County’s economy is federal based, according to Dr. Stephen Fuller, of George Mason University’s School of Public Public Policy, another speaker at the summit. Though he noted that economic activity has fallen in recent months, he said the local real estate market is holding up well.

“Currently, there are about five listings on the market for every sale,” Fuller said. “That’s the sign of a stable market.”