Fewer homes for sale in suburban DC areas

Options for property buyers are becoming limited as the number of homes for sale in Washington, DC, continues to decline. Real estate expert Lawrence Yun told USA Today that there are "broad shortages of lower-priced homes" in suburban DC, an indication that buyers are taking a greater interest in the metro.

"Given the steadily dwindling supply of inventory and notably higher listing prices…prices are expected to show further improvements," said Yun, one of USA Today's top 10 economic forecasters in 2008.

What was once a buyer's market is rapidly changing, so understanding the metro's suburbs could help you quickly figure out what options are available. 

Arlington County, Virginia, is located roughly five miles from DC, and features a wide selection of amenities. This region includes plenty of outdoor opportunities, and you can enjoy more than 1,100 acres of open space areas. Alcova Heights Park, Arlington Hall West Park and Beaver Pond Park are just a few of the free venues you can visit with friends or family to enjoy a fun afternoon picnicking, walking on trails or simply enjoying the scenic views.

Additionally, Arlington County makes it easy for many people to afford homes in the area. For example, you could receive assistance from the Office of the County Manager, as local officials are developing plans to improve the real estate market. These include extra resources from the Affordable Housing Investment Fund, a financing program to develop low-cost properties in the area.

This plan has helped developers create new properties and job opportunities in the area. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the county's jobless rate fell from 3.9 percent to 3.5 percent between March 2011 and March 2012. As more properties are established, the population could increase, which could raise property values across the county.

About 11 miles outside DC, McLean, Virginia, features a population that has grown nearly 24 percent since 2000, US City Data reports. There are plenty of places to explore in this booming city, including parks and theaters.

For example, an enjoyable day for a younger person living in the city could start with a trip to Turkey Run Park, located seven miles outside DC. You could see plants and wildlife native to the region while taking a walk or run along the Potomac River.

Finish up your day with a cultural experience at the Alden Theatre, a 386-seat venue that features a wide array of shows year round. Whether you're interested in a Shakespearean play or music infused shows, this performance center offers shows for visitors of all ages.