Fascinating look at the history and future for the Washington DC area rental markets- in office, industrial and multifamily, by the Center for Regional Analysis at GMU. Nice bedtime reading for real estate nerds. Here's the link.
The maps published throughout this study are particularly interesting. The movement of development down certain transportation corridors is obvious and predictable, but it's really interesting to see the relative lack of recent development in certain areas. Fairfax County sub-markets are a good example. Strong growth in supply (both in office and in residential multi-family) in the Dulles Toll Road corridor far exceeds investment in the Route 1 corridor to the east.
Metro Silver Line development will likely only increase this trend. I'd like to examine recent appreciation trends in both markets, to see if this is now being reflected in single family purchase prices and demand. Based on recent experiences with clients, which are purely anecdotal, there is a movement towards the western corridor because of the perceived future appreciation potential in this market and prices that are not yet 100% reflective of the value for Silver Line metro access.
Also of interest, I've noticed how research studies are becoming more and more map-driven. This movement will likely accelerate as open source mapping technologies become more mainstream. This study appears to have used Microsoft's Map Point, which is no longer going to be offered as of later this year. Cheaper technologies (like open source GIS tools such as the OpenGeo Suite) will make similar research efforts even more compelling in the future.
It's an exciting time to be in real estate and research.