McLean is a Great Place to Live: Factoring Transportation Costs into Housing Considerations

by Karen Briscoe
April 15, 2013

In 2013, Washington, DC was ranked as the worst metro area in the nation when it comes to traffic congestion.   Thus factoring commute time in the decision on where to live is often a high priority.  Recent census data determined that the average DC metro area resident has a commute of 34.5 minutes.  According to that same data, traveling from the 22101 part of McLean is estimated to be an average 26.8 minute commute.  The average commute time for the 22102 area of McLean is about 27.3 minutes.  Thus one reason McLean is such a great place to live is the average commute time being below the average DC metro area.

For most metropolitan areas, the most expensive residential real estate is that in closest proximity to the city center.  The reason is obvious.  Land values are typically higher and there is usually greater density.  So to get land and greater interior square footage, many home buyers venture to the suburbs.  The country beckons on a Sunday drive and seems so lovely-that is until Monday morning or Friday evening when the dreaded commute looms.

One aspect to transportation costs which is more difficult to quantify is commute time.  In a way it is an opportunity cost, the lost opportunity of doing something other than sitting in and navigating traffic!  It is my experience that somewhere between eight and 12 miles out from the city center, commuting time doubles as well.  It is worth considering that the combined cost of a home that requires a longer commute by car might exceed that of a more expensive home located closer to transit or employment center.

The Center for Neighborhood Technology provides reports based on census data coupled with income and local transportation costs that are good guides to utilize.  The President, Scott Bernstein, was quoted in the March 24, 2010 Washington Post:  “The farther you get out, the cost of transportation can double.  Somewhere between eight and 12 miles out from the center. . . housing costs dropped precipitously, but transportation costs went way up.”  For the Washington DC region, Bernstein’s group at that time calculated that the average household in the area spends $12,000 annually on transportation.

Link to Washington Post article referenced above:–again/2013/02/04/125be724-6ee3-11e2-8b8d-e0b59a1b8e2a_story.html?wpisrc=nl_buzz.


Karen Briscoe and Lizzy Conroy are active and experienced Realtors® in the Northern Virginia, Washington DC market place and would be delighted to assist with home selling and/or buying.  The Huckaby Briscoe Group of Keller Williams Realty was recognized as one of the Wall Street Journal Top Real Estate Teams in the United States.  Please contact via the means most convenient for you:, 703-734-0192,

Karen Briscoe is Principal of the Huckaby Briscoe Conroy Group (HBC) and author of "Real Estate Success in 5 Minutes a Day". She is an Associate Broker in Virginia, a Certified Luxury Home Market Specialist, and a member of the Women’s Council of Realtors. Karen began her real estate career developing residential lots with the Trammel Crow Company in Dallas, and in commercial real estate with The Staubach Company in the Washington, DC Metro area. Karen has a Masters Degree from Southern Methodist University and her BA from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri – her hometown.
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