GDoN Revisited by Hipchickindc – 1505 Emerson St NW


In real life, hipchickindc is licensed as a real estate broker in the District of Columbia, and as a real estate salesperson in Maryland. Unless specifically noted, neither she nor the company that she is affiliated with represented any of the parties or were directly involved in the transaction reported below. Unless otherwise noted, the source of information is Metropolitan Regional Information Systems (MRIS), which is the local multiple listing system. Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Featured Properties: 1505 Emerson St NW

Original List Price: $875,000.

List Price at Contract: $699,500.

List Date: 10/09/2009 and 8/26/2009

Days on Market: 178

Settled Sales Price: $699,500.

Settlement Date: 1/21/2010

Seller Subsidy: $0.

Bank Owned?: No

Type Of Financing: FHA

Original GDoN Post is: here.

Recent Listing is: here.

This detached 16th Street Heights property was featured as a Good Deal or Not (GDoN) in September, when it was listed at $725,000. A reader by the name of crin was the first to rightfully declare that the property would sell in the high $600’s. There was a bit of debate over the condition, but this is an absolutely immense house, with a wraparound porch, and a 10th of an acre lot (more than three times the size of downtown city lots, or twice the size of a big Petworth lot), and it’s not far from Rock Creek Park. Transfer history shows the prior sale in 1998 at $308,500., and at $290,000. in 1992.

16th Street Heights is a tricky neighborhood to price given the range in the size of houses, condition, and, of course, location. For buyers seeking detached houses, it’s a great spot to be looking, especially for brave souls interested in taking on a few home improvement projects. Currently, there are detached homes on the market in this neighborhood ranging from just under $400,000. to over $1,000,000. The highest price paid for a detached single family house in 16th Street Heights in 2009 was $815,000. Somebody got a steal of a deal on a foreclosure on 13th Street NW back in March ’09 for $190,000.

Here are all of the sold listings from 2009 for detached single family houses in 16th Street Heights, as well as current active and pending sales, ordered from lowest to highest list price.

13 Comment

  • I’m a little confused on what constitutes a “good deal”. Is the expectation that the house is going to appreciate in the near term? I know all markets are local and what not, but house prices are still pretty out of whack with average incomes. Also, there is a risk of a double-dip recession. In this environment it seems there is a greater chance of this heading down, not up.
    Those who bought at the peak may never see the price of their homes return to those prices.

  • Correction: I just noticed that the listing dates above were left over from last week. This house was first listed on 30 June 2009.

  • Location, Location, Location. But some people still don’t get it.

  • Commission, Commission, Commission.

  • Wondering – In my opinion “good deal” is a matter of relativity for buyers. For realtors involved in the transaction, all deals that close are good deals because they get their cut.

    As for price changes, those are risks that people (hopefully knowingly) take. What goes up, must come down… tax credit expiration, interest rates influence this in the near term, but demand and inflation are upside factors in the long term.

    • Thanks. I guess I am saying there is a real risk that the market will see a lot more downside before the upside comes (when houses are more like 2-3 times average income). If you are going to live in the house for 30 years, that’s fine, but I suspect a lot of people are being told they will see appreciation on their house over, say, the next ten years and I don’t think that is certain at all.

  • Obviously the discussion is about whether the property is a good deal in the context of the current market. Given other options, are you getting the property for above or below current market value. It would be absurd for any of us to try and figure out whether it’s a good deal relative to housing values in one, five, ten or thirty years!

    • Isn’t the price paid the current market value? The transaction defines the market value. You can have an opinion of whether it was more or less than you might pay, but someone did pay it, thereby establishing the market.

      I’m not sure if you are claiming my comment was absurd, but I was suggesting price is a matter of relativity based on other properties you could pay the same price for, not relative to future value.

    • Well, just my .02, but as house prices fall you may get less crappy deals, but I wouldn’t say you were getting a “good deal” until house prices fall more in line with average incomes and historic prices according to the Cash-Shiller Index. Many ignored historical data during the housing boom and bought into the notion that housing only goes up. And a lot of people got in way over their heads and now we have delinquencies, foreclosures, etc. So, it is not absurd to do some due diligence before you buy.
      Unfortunately, many people get their home buying advice from realtors and housing economists like the NAR’s Lawrence Yun. They are never going to tell you it’s a bad time to buy. In fact, they may start a blog to show you where the Good Deals are.

      • Mean household income is over 90K, top quartile is pretty much 125k+. Yeah, mode income bracket in this city is “under 10k,” and median is like 48, but those households don’t set the market for really good looking houses in NW, with 6 bedrooms, near major road arterys, near the park, low crime, etc.

        In DC there are, and I’m betting will be, plenty of 200k households for houses that fit this description. Two mid-career professional Feds are a 160k – 200k household.

  • I feel good about DC real estate. The city has weathered the recession well, and there will be coveted jobs here for years to come. DC will always attract young people for short-term stays, so if you can earn some rental income from your property, that is another advantage.

    I’ve been here since late 2001, and the improvements have been notable. Borderline neighborhoods back them have become chic and pricey.

    In a lot of cities, prices may fall more, because they haven’t necessarily become more desirable places to live; they lived off the bubble without actually improving quality of life. Since the housing boom began, however, DC has clearly improved in many ways. I, for one, expect to be here for a long time.

  • I always understood the good deal to be from the perspective of the buyer. And I rate it relative to my own experience. I bought my house for $450k, renovated it for $150k, so a total of $600k to get exactly what I want. So if a GDoN is over $600k, it had better be something special to be a good deal. If it’s under $600k and is exactly what I want, it’s a good deal – if it’s way under $600k, but doesn’t have exactly what I want, but enough to compromise on, it’s also a good deal. It has nothing to do with the economy or the market. Don’t know if that’s rational, but that’s how I look at these GDoNs

  • The one thing that wasn’t mentioned here is that the house is next door to what could potentially be a big new Mormon church with a 10-story tower. Parking on Sundays is a huge issue in the 1400 and 1500 blocks of most cross streets in the neighborhood because of the dozens of churches here, so the neighborhood has been involved in a long fight over permitting for building new churches, including this one.

    While the house probably has off-street parking, if the church does get built, they’ll get a giant construction site next to them. I think that’s got to be part of the big discount (and possibly the old owner’s reason for moving).

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