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Gainesville, VA, Real Estate
Gainesville is a small suburb in Prince William County, Northern Virginia, and sits just outside Washington D.C. It is home to a mix of young professionals, all-ages households, and 55+ communities. The school system is considered to be very good with a well-rounded curriculum. Residents of Gainesville homes have access to many amenities that are within a 5-minute walk from most of the neighborhoods.
Gainesville has a long history that dates back to the 1800s. Before it was known as Gainesville, the area had two other names. During the colonial era, it was called the Middle Grounds because it sat between Bull Run and Broad Run. Stagecoaches used it as a major changing point on the Fauquier and Alexandria Turnpike to switch out horses before they continued on their journey. As new businesses grew in the area, it became known as “New Stable.”
A post office opened in 1846 in a hotel run by Richard Graham. He also ran a general store and a large stable. In 1850, the railroad running to Strasburg was brought to the area by Thomas Brawner Gaines, who sold a right-of-way to the Manassas Gap Railroad to run the tracks through his land. The Gainesville train depot was soon built and the area became a small community in 1856. Gainesville became a major shipping point for cattle, timber and grain.
Gainesville played a role in the American Civil War, when it was occupied by both the Union and Confederate armies. The Thoroughfare Gap that ran through the mountains of Bull Run was used as a path by the soldiers to get to the first and second battles of Bull Run. In 1994, the first Gainesville townhome community, known as Crossroads, was built and marked an era of mass development for the Gainesville real estate market.
Living In Gainesville
Only 35 miles from Washington D.C., Gainesville real estate offers a small-town feeling and a wide variety of town events, cafes, shopping and restaurants. The balance between small-town charm and access to a large metro area is what draws many people to houses for sale in Gainesville, VA.
Gainesville is ranked 32 of 164 as a Virginia suburb with the best public schools, 34 out of 280 of Virginia's best public schools, and 41 out of 164 of the best suburbs in Virginia to buy a home.
Homes for sale in Gainesville, VA, include a wide variety of townhomes, condos, single-family homes with 3 to 5 bedrooms, and gated communities. You can find a variety of activities for all ages and interests throughout the neighborhoods of the Gainesville real estate market, along with many cafes, restaurants, fine dining establishments, and local breweries within a radius of 5 miles of most Gainesville homes. Golf enthusiasts will find a number of golf clubs in the area around the Gainesville real estate market, and there are also a number of entertainment options for all ages, including a theater in town that shows all of the latest movies.
Homebuyers looking for a good community consider houses for sale in Gainesville, VA, because of the area’s high-quality schools, low rate of crime, and availability of single-family homes. For commuters who don't want to live in a metro area but also don't want to spend hours commuting, Gainesville homes are a good option because of the widely used public transit. Those who choose a Gainesville home won't have the stress of driving during peak traffic.
Another draw of the community is that 55 percent of the adults who live in Gainesville homes have a graduate or four-year degree. Many residents support the local education system as a result of their own positive experiences. Gainesville is also an ethnically diverse town.
Residents of Gainesville real estate love the wide array of dining choices being so close to home, and residents love the many entertainment options for people of all ages, including establishments with bouncy castles, golf clubs, and the movie theater.
Getting Around Gainesville
Gainesville is only 35 miles away from D.C. via I-66, and there are many areas to park and ride so that you don't have to drive. The Prince William area is serviced by OmniRide, which offers a number of options for transit, such as local and commuter bus services, ridesharing, carpools, and vanpools. There is also easy access from Gainesville real estate to Lee Highway and Prince William Parkway.
The Gainesville real estate market is home to many desirable communities, some of which are gated. It also has some of the best independent living communities for 55+, making it a great area to retire.
One such community is Heritage Hunt. The gated community has beautifully designed Gainesville homes and a stunning landscape. It has been voted one of Northern Virginia's best retirement communities two times in a row. It blends the rich history of Gainesville with the luxury of country club life. With its own golf club, health club, and many activities, it offers a great option for retirement.
Another wonderful gated community with homes for sale in Gainesville, VA, is the Lake Manassas Country Club, which sits on its own golf course. It offers security with surveillance and 24-hour guard, and the homes here have all been custom built. It also gives residents a bit more privacy. The landscaping is very clean and beautifully done, and you will notice that the homes are well-spaced with each home being different.
One of the largest gated communities in the area is Piedmont, which is shared between Haymarket and Gainesville. There are several entry points to the community due to its size, and all are staffed 24/7.
Gainesville Housing Market
Around 90 percent of the homes in Gainesville are owned and the rest are rented. The main type of housing in Gainesville real estate is row homes and single-family detached homes. The area has experienced a lot of growth since 2000, and many of the homes for sale in Gainesville offer four bedrooms or more.
Gainesville offers high-ranking schools from preschool to high school and college. Patriot High School ranks 7 out of 10 and offers a great academic curriculum, and Battlefield High School is known for its sports programs. Other schools serving the area are:
- Gainesville Middle School
- Bull Run Middle School
- Buckland Mills Elementary School
- George C. Tyler Elementary School
- Glenkirk Elementary School
- Little Lambs Village Preschool
- Pennington School
- George Mason University – Prince William Campus
- Strayer University
- Northern Virginia Community College
Things To Do In Gainesville
Whether you live in a Gainesville home or are visiting, there are so many activities for all ages and interests. Whether you are a shopping aficionado, a history buff, a golf player or a nature enthusiast, there is something for everyone.
Virginia Gateway is a shopping center near many Gainesville homes with more than 120 restaurants and retail stores that cover 1.3 million square feet. Here you will find Super Target, Lowe's, Giant Food, and more. Restaurants include Out of the Blue Crabs & Seafood, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Tin Cannon Brewing Company, Rockwood, and Firebirds Woodfired Grill. It is also home to adult and pediatric care, orthodontics, and fitness centers.
Conway Robinson State Forest
This state forest is a hidden gem in an urban/suburban area. Its 444 acres of trees and undeveloped land offers numerous bike trails, walking and hiking trails, and horse riding, and it is an educational and research tool for animal lovers and students alike. It is listed as a wildlife and wildflower sanctuary and offers many tours and activities, like geocaching
The Winery at Sunshine Ridge Farm
Wine enthusiasts will love this winery situated on Lake Manassas. In fact, it's the only local winery to have such a beautiful view from all of the rooms in Sunshine Ridge Farm. The winery is spread across 20 acres and is locally owned and operated. The wine tasting room has a warm rustic feel to it, and the brewery has that old pub charm with large fireplaces where you can get cozy. The award-winning Brew Master and Wine Maker take great joy in crafting and creating new blends for you to try.
If you love art and food, Muse Paintbar is definitely for you. This blend of restaurant, bar and painting lessons is open to all age groups. You don't need to have any painting experience to let your creative side out here. Painting sessions are run by local artists who will take you through the painting process step by step so that you can decorate your Gainesville home with your own masterpieces. The bar and kitchen on site allow you to enjoy food, beer and wine during your class.
Nearby Haymarket has a town museum, which chronicles the town's history back to 1799. It's well known for the Red House Tavern and Jockey Club with its own track and sponsored horse races. The town was nearly completely destroyed during the Civil War by a Union patrol who set fire to a majority of the homes. After the fire, Haymarket came together to rebuild, with many of the buildings from the time of reconstruction surviving.
Prince William County History
Gainesville is part of Prince William County, which has its own rich history. Once home to the Doeg Native American tribe, a group of English explorers led by John Smith ventured into the area in 1608. They came across a village that was inhabited by the Doeg and referred to it as Pemacocack. In 1700, the Doeg decided to abandon the village because of the diseases that were brought by the settlers.
In 1731, the area saw a rise in its population, and the area was named Prince William County, after Prince William, the Duke of Cumberland, and third son to King George II of England. The county originally included what today is known as:
And what are now the independent cities of:
- Falls Church
- Manassas Park
The population of Prince William County was composed of a mix of enslaved African Americans and white settlers by 1790. Tobacco plantations began to spring up for a while before they became crop-growing land as a result of changes in the market and soil exhaustion. For decades, the county was rural and agricultural.
During the early 20th century, the main population of Prince William County congregated in two main areas. The first was around Manassas' crossroad junction and the other gathered along the Potomac River, near Occoquan and Woodbridge. In the later part of the 1930s, the areas saw a jump in the development of suburban residential areas. As Washington D.C. began to grow and become more suburban, so did Prince William County and its culturally diverse neighborhoods and communities, including the Gainesville real estate market.
Real Estate Taxes
Northern Virginia's property taxes may vary depending on the city and county. In some instances, homeowners may be required to pay both a city and a county tax. The average national property tax amount is 1.08 percent.
The county-wide tax rates are set on an annual basis in Prince William County and are used to fund volunteer fire and rescue services, management of stormwater and waste, and a number of other public services. Taxes are also levied on newly constructed improvements that were completed after the start of the year.
The real estate taxes are paid in two annual installments, with most homeowners paying their taxes as part of their mortgage repayments.
Are You Ready to Move to Gainesville?
There is so much more to discover in Gainesville and this article only scratches the surface of the benefits of living in a Gainesville home. Gainesville real estate is a great choice for households of all ages, professionals who commute to D.C., and retirees looking for a place that helps them keep up an active lifestyle. There are also surrounding towns and cities to visit for even more restaurants, shopping, entertainment and dining. Houses for sale in Gainesville, VA, offer a balanced blend of living in the quiet of the suburbs while still having easy access to the city.
The best way to find the right Gainesville home for your needs is to give our real estate advisors a call. We have a lot of experience with the Gainesville real estate market and Prince William County, and we can help you find your perfect forever home.