The Fairfax County community of West Springfield has long been a favorite landing spot for incoming military families and now is at the center of an improving real estate market spurred, in part, by an increase in assignments to nearby Fort Belvoir.

Action by the 2005 Base Realigment and Closure Commission or BRAC means Fort Belvoir is expected to have a substantial increase in personnel, including the addition of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency or NGA, which is to move 300 employees per week there starting in January.

New families have a mix of houses to look at in West Springfield, which is dominated by Colonials but also offers ramblers, bi-levels, split levels and townhouses, said Monique Craft, a Weichert estate agent who lives there. "West Springfield is a very desirable market because of the BRCC program," she said.

Prices for starter townhomes range from the low- to mid-$300,000s. Single family homes begin in the $400,000s and go up from there depending on size and age.

At a glance
November 2010
Average sold price in the 22152 ZIP code: $328,881
Average list price in the 22152 ZIP code: $340,071
Average days on market for homes sold: 36
November 2009
Average sold price in the 22152 ZIP code: $330,562
Average list price in the 22152 ZIP code: $340,396
Average days on market for homes sold: 28

The NGA alone has 8,500 employees who will be moved to Fort Belvoir over nine months. West Springfield is a central location for those working at the base.

Debbie and Jurgen Heitmann moved to West Springfield over two years ago. Jurgen is serving in the Navy and when he got transferred to the metro area he went to the Internet to "scope out" neighborhoods, paying particular attention to schools, Debbie Heitmann said.

The schools of West Springfield, including Sangster Elementary, Irving Middle School and West Springfield High School, which are part of the West Springfield Pyramid of Fairfax County Public Schools, were highly rated.

While the family was deciding on an area, they "found this great house that happened to be near the elementary school," Debbie said.

"This is a family oriented area and -- with the boon at Fort Belvoir, the National Geospacial Agency and the development of the new hospital at Fort Belvoir -- this is going to be a booming family area in the near future for real estate," Jurgen Heitmann said.

There are multiple bus routes that serve West Springfield, making a commute to the Pentagon and the District about 30 to 45 minutes. It's about a 20-minute trip to Fort Belvoir. There also is a slug line at the Rolling Valley Mall along Old Keene Mill Road, a major thoroughfare through the area.

In addition, West Springfield is close to the Virginia Railroad depot in Burke and about a 10- to 15-minute drive from the Franconia-Springfield metro station.

The area has several strip mall shopping centers but is close to the Fairfax County Parkway, which takes shoppers to Springfield Mall or in the other direction to Fair Oaks Mall and on to Tysons Corner in about 15 minutes.

Maria Pacheco has lived in the Cardinal Forest area for three years and loves it because it is safe.

"I can come home from work very late and not be worried about any crime problems in the neighborhood," she said. "I like the neighborhood here. It's quiet for me. The main thing for me is because it's safe."

Top reasons to live in West Springfield


West Springfield is about 12 miles south of Washington, D.C. It is close to the Capital Beltway and I-95. The Metro's Blue Line provides subway service at the Franconia-Springfield Station and bus route 18G provides direct service to the community.

Growing community

The population has grown from 14,143 in 1970 to 28,378 in 2000. Residents have online communities and show up at restaurants when prompted to via e-mail.


Rolling Road and Old Keene Mill Road offer many options for shopping, including Cardinal Forest Plaza, Old Keene Mill Center and the West Springfield Plaza. Hidden Pond Park has boats, a nature center, walking trails and a playground.

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