Friday Question of the Day – What Neighborhood Do You Think Offers The Best Return on Investment?

Photo by PoPville flickr user ekelly80

A reader wonders in the forum where his friend should invest buying a home in DC. Yesterday, a different reader wondered the same thing at a lower price point. But for today’s discussion – let’s take the first reader and say if you had between $600,000 and $800,000 to invest in buying a home – which neighborhood would you suggest if the person is most interested in their return on investment?

177 Comment

  • It’s a good question, but it’s not the most important question I would ask were I buying property to live in. You should enjoy where you live….not count the days until you can cash out. I figure most people will come to the defense of their neighborhoods, so I’ll let them do that. I really dig Petworth, but there are plenty of other fine neighborhoods in this city, and lots of them hold promise over the long term.

    • I second this. Buy where you want to live and can afford to buy.

      If you must view it in terms of ROI, remeber that real estate is an illiquid asset that returns roughly the rate of inflation over the long haul. Transitional neighborhoods are higher risk and higher return which has worked out well in most DC hoods recently but if things go south you may find yourself on the wrong side of that volatility.

    • Good advice from jth. Except that I question whether any neighborhood in DC offers long-term investment potential. Property has been bid up horribly over the last 5-10 years and Federal cutbacks over the next decade are going to hurt (regardless of the sequester). And then there’s the endless crime…. and the schools…

    • I’d suggest spending half your money on a house in Truxton Circle (still reasonably priced, close to the red and yellow/green lines, close to grocery stores, walkable to the downtown, and surrounded by rapidly developing areas), and then investing the rest in something else – diversify folks!

    • Guy who did the forum post here…

      The comparison was for Capitol Hill vs. Columbia Hts./Petworth and where the overall equity/rental price value would do best… Please contribute to the forum post to help us determine where to invest! 🙂

  • For 600k I’d buy a big single family in Brookland. I think that area is going to blow up (more so than it already has).

    • If you pay 600K for a house in Brookland, you’ve paid way too much.

      • We recently paid around 600K for a lovely home in Brookland, I haven’t seen anything like it for less and we were searching several neighborhoods in DC. So, what you get for that price is a steal compared to some areas. We have a huge lot, great neighbors and house that is perfect for us. I couldn’t be happier. And let’s not forget all the people who paid well over 600K to live in Chancellors Row. You can get a house in Bookland for less most certain, but depending on where it is and the condition of the home will most certainly play into the pricing.

    • I hope so.. my husband and i bought a single family home in Brookland… prices are going up, but for $600k you can still get a really nice huge house here.

      • brookland_rez

        I think Brookland is good investment. I’ve done very well with my house in the 3 years I’ve owned it. Brookland has a lot of what people like about NW neighborhoods like Cleveland Park. It just doesn’t have the retail or the schools. Both of these can be easily improved which they are. But attributes like big lots, tree lined streets, nice housing stock, cannot easily be changed, and this is what Brookland offers.

        • I am not so sure that experience bears out your assertion that schools can be easily improved….

        • Retail and schools can be easily improved? PG County, anywhere west of the River, and numerous other parts of the city would disagree. I admire your optomism, but it borders on naivete.

      • Yep – that’s what I meant. A really big Victorian/craftsman/colonial that could appreciate as the neighborhood becomes more and more a ‘safe bet’ for young families as they look for more space close to the city.

    • We love living in eastern Brookland. Our neighbors are lovely friendly people who are diverse in age, race, and work experience. I’m much more focused on quality of life than investment, although that’s surely on the list. Good access to bus lines and the metro. I think the housing prices are still very reasonable here.

  • For investment purposes – a four-unit building in Far NE – (Carver, Kingman Island) or, the next area that will make a quick return will be west of South Cap – between the Fort and the Ballpark – affordable, developing, good for prospecting …

    • Second Rosedale/Kingman Park. There are not as many deals to be had here as there were 1-2 years ago, but they are still around. Carver Langston has some great deals if you are on a 5-10 year plan and believe in the streetcar (I do).

    • jim_ed

      That area of SW is a huge gamble. IF they decide to redevelop all the public housing down there with a HOPE VI grant or something similar, then yeah, anyone who has bought down there is in for a mega payday. If they don’t however… well, then you live wedged between Syphax Gardens and James Creek and their accompanying open air drug markets, which tend to stifle appreciation.

      • My street was an open air drug market.

        People who are foolish enough not to invest in them don’t deserve the ROI.

  • FloRidad has them all beat in the brunch-to-stabbiness ratio.

  • anacostia or trinidad

  • 14/u. some of those hoses on 14oo block of T go in th 500s and 600s and that location is perfect

  • Trinidad, Rosedale and Carver

  • I don’t agree with the naysayers about the benefits of buying real estate, particularly land (as opposed to a condo) in DC, as an investment. Yes, you have to like where you live, but you also have to sacrifice some of the joys of the here and now for a return later. Dupont, Logan, U street and many other neighborhoods are testaments to that. Those places were scary rough, but I’ll bet most homeowners would say the investment was worth it.

    For a good investment without extreme fear — anything around the Rhode Island Avenue metro.

    • brookland_rez

      With the development happening in Brookland and what’s going on in the NY Ave area, the Rhode Island Ave area will eventually turn around. I wouldn’t live there, but I would pick up a 4-unit apartment building back behind the Home Depot and rent it out and wait for the area to turn.

  • southwest watefront as close to where the warf is going to be as possible.
    there are some nice townhouse/condos there with 300$ condo fee. if i had that kind of money i would buy there.

    petworth is too far to be convenient.

    2nd place i would look is park view or pleasant plains. you can still find good deals there and its proximity to columbia heights makes it more convenient then northern col hi.

    3rd kingman park/rosedale as someone here has mentioned.

    wildcards are ivey city and anacostia. but living there now may be uncomfortable for some.

    • Curious: what do you mean by Petworth is too far to be convenient? Convenient to what? Being on the Green/Yellow line, is wonderful, as it is pretty convenient to DC, Maryland, and even the yellow line parts of VA. I live in Col Heights, but Petworth isn’t much different.

      • well take a look at the boundary of petworth. petworth is not only the area around the metro but much higher into upper NW and towards north capitol street. i own in petworth and i think its a misconception that petworth is convenient. only about .5miles from metro it is. the rest of it does not have many amenities.

      • SouthwestDC

        I live and work southeast of the Hill and I feel it takes forever to get to Petworth from here. Of course, neighborhoods west of Petworth are even worse. My partner and I felt we might as well live in the suburbs if we were going to be that far north. But not everyone works where we do and the location is convenient for some.

        • Good point. We live in Petworth and work in Petworth and Cleveland Park, so it’s incredibly convenient for us. On the other hand, we’re almost never on the Hill. It’s all about proximity, isn’t it.

          • Good point. And the Petworth-to-downtown commute is also incredibly convenient thanks to Metro and the current/coming busses.

          • I agree that the “too far” comment was strange, especially when you mentioned Park View as a good alternative. Those two neighborhoods tough each other!

            As far as proximity, we live in Petworth, and work in Van Ness and Bethesda, so very convenient for wife and I.

          • Kyle-w, Yes Petworth and Park View border each other BUT Petworth is large and if you are not speaking ‘Petworth’ .5 mi from the Metro (i.e. Sherman Circle or farther) it can be a bit out of the way compared to Park View that is a couple blocks from 11th Street, 10 mins from 2 Metros, and walkable to the center of Columbia Heights. That said, Petworth is nice for several other reasons.

  • There is limited upside potential when paying 600 or 800 thousand.

    With 800k, I’d spend no more than 300 on a house in Woodridge, which is on the verge of being huge. Put no more than 100k into fixing it up. Use the remaining 400k to slowly invest in numerous other things.

    That would offer far better ROI than spending 800k on any house.

    • Not true. In fact, more expensive homes, like in the $800,000 range, often have a rental unit in the basement, which means someone else is paying 1/3 of your mortgage. I’m in that situation — as a landlord — and it’s the best decision I ever made.

      • Huh? Nearly every place in DC has a rentable basement.

        There is lower upside potential in an 800k house because 800k is well above the average cost of a house. Appreciation has a very good chance to not beat the rate of inflation at all.

        As for income production, as a percent of costs, I bet my imaginary 400k house in Woodridge could make over half of its mortgage in a basement rental. Plus lower insurance and lower property taxes.

        However, for the purposes of this exercise, I thought we meant ROI as long-term appreciation.

        Any house can make money from renting. But, of course, then 2 houses next door to each other can make radically different amounts by simply the number of units. Too many variables.

        I maintain that any place that has already seen 400-500% growth over the past 10-15 years (Petworth, Bloomingdale, Eckington, LeDroit, etc) will probably not be able to keep up with neighborhoods like Woodridge which could very well grow in the same manner over the next 10 years. Woodridge has beautiful houses and a good location. Carver/Langston, Rosedale, Kingman Park, all have the location, but not the same quality of houses.

        I drive through Woodridge on a semi-regular basis and I’m blown away by some of the properties. Some are in shambles, some are overpriced, but there are many that are priced low and wouldnt take a fortune to make them really shine. Plus, you get a real yard. Rustik is looking to open there, Taylors is going to put something in. And, the area is just getting generally more attention.

        • Woodridge, which no one has ever heard of, is about 4 blocks from MD. It’s barely in the city and more like a close in suburb. To see the future prices of Shaw, Bloomingdale and Ledroit, you have to look at the prices of Logan and U Street, not the percentage rise in their values over some period of time.

        • PDleftMtP

          I’d be careful about the unlimited upside thinking. Once you get up to the 800k+ range, there’s a much smaller market – especially once you factor in that the schools east of the park have a pretty bad reputation, which is going to discourage families. Sure, lots of neighborhoods are getting better, but look at Crestwood. It’s pretty much there, good location close in, beautiful houses, much cheaper than west of the park – and it’s tough to sell a house there. We’re thinking about moving to a bigger house, and I really like Crestwood as a neighborhood, but the schools/resale combination is scaring me off. I think Mt. Pleasant (where I am now) is more or less hitting a ceiling as well. I would not plan my retirement around buying a house in Columbia Heights for 600 or 700 and selling it for a zillion down the road; even Petworth doesn’t have that much room to go up.

          • From what I’m seeing, homes in the $800,000 range are moving pretty quickly. There may be a smaller market, but that marke isn’t small. And charter schools are altering the school equation.

          • So charter schools have altered the equation to the extent that DC is only the second-worst school system in America? Awesome. Thank God for Mississippi!

          • What is amazing in DC is how much growth has occurred in the absence of even a mediocre school system.

            It sort of betrays the inaccuracy of the school of thought that this is all a house of cards that will come tumbling down as soon as everyone finds out the schools suck.

          • PDleftMtP

            The cap may be a bit north of 800k, but it’s no more than about a million east of the park. The point is that if the guy who sold you your house for 700k bought it for 300, that doesn’t mean you’re going to double your money too. Look at the more mature and nicer neighborhoods like Crestwood and Shepherd Park, see how much the nice houses are going for there, and ask yourself why your house in Petworth is going to be worth more.

          • PDleftMtP

            (And when I say cap, I don’t mean no houses go for more than that. I know they do. I’m saying that’s where you start seeing houses sitting on the market, and you can’t count on beating it.)

        • brookland_rez

          Woodridge will blow up like the rest of NE, but one big thing it’s lacking is a metro.

    • Finally, someone who actually “answered” the real question.

    • Sorry, I thought you meant woodbridge VA…I didn’t know there was a woodbridge DC. I just might be a good investment.

    • This comment assumes you are buying the house with cash. I’m not sure there are many banks that loan you that $400k for “other investments.”

      Also, don’t forget that rent for many is currently higher than the mortgage for the same property. Therefore, if you purchase as an investment and are renting at higher than your mortgage, it doesn’t take a lot of appreciation to make a return (just have to cover the transaction costs and opportunity cost of investing your down payment elsewhere).

  • A lot of others have mentioned these, but I’ll say this:
    – near public transportation
    – a neighborhood that used to be nice (look at the housing stock, the bones, wide streets, trees) but fell into disrepair and will eventually blow up and get all fancy again – see Logan Circle in the 90s. I see Georgia Ave/Petworth and RI Ave falling to this category.
    – try to get a place that you can rent out while you live there. Either a duplex or a basement with conversion potential. Or maybe it’s big enough for roommates.
    – look for local retail and restaurants, avoid big box stores in the neighborhood. Look for galleries, art studios, etc. Follow the creatives and makers.
    – I wouldn’t invest your total 600-800k (unless that’s your down payment for a major commercial property). With interest rates so low at 3.4%, you should only need to invest 10-20% max of the purchase price and use the rest of your 600-800k towards other investments.

    • Totally agree about Petworth. (Don’t know RI Ave.) Petworth close to the Metro and in the direction of Columbia Heights has seen great improvements in the last several years. For the last few years it’s been happening further out (up Georgia and toward the Soldiers Home). The Marvin restaurant people now have a restaurant right near the metro, and across from it a great new Safeway is just beginning, one that will mirror the amazing new Social/Georgetown Safeway. The Yes natural food store in Petworth is one of the best in the city, if not the best. There’s great room for improvement in this neighborhood, so there’s still PLENTY of time to get in early and get a good return on investment if that’s the way you look at it. If not, you get a good increase in equity and pad your nest egg, which is another way to look at it.

      • You lost some credibility by saying you don’t know Rhode Island Ave. (How is that possible for someone who’s lived here several years?)

        But that corridor, just across North Cap and up a few blocks, say to the Metro overpass, has some great houses right out on the avenue and tucked away just south of it (Eckington).

        • -1 for the dumb comment about losing credibility for not knowing the RI Ave metro. There are very few people in this city that know every mile of it. In fact, I live in Ledroit and have met dozens of people who live in Logan and points west who have no idea where Ledroit is. Does that mean they don’t know anything about Logan? Puh-leez.

        • We’re not here to win, so let’s keep this a conversation about the neighborhoods, not about degrees of credibility. That’s why I wrote about Petworth. You seem to know about RI Ave, so thanks for contributing info about that neighborhood. All of the good things you wrote contribute to increasingly positive perceptions about quality of life in the city.

  • Does anybody think Columbia Heights still has potential?

    • YES, CH still has huge potential but now the prices are kind of high in central Columbia Heights. The best upside will be the outer areas of CH: pleasant plains, parkview, petworth: east past Georgia and north

      • I think Georgia Avenue from Silver Spring to Downtown (7th st.) is the gold rush capital for the next 5-6 years… As retailers move in, this will be a vibrant hub that goes from Maryland to Virginia, hopefully they can stop zombies from crossing on green lights though, it gets dangerous just above Howard University.

    • Everytime I mention Columbia Heights to people they cringe. Even if I am suggesting a place for dinner. Lost cause if you ask me.

      • +1 The revitalization over that way seems to have sputtered out a bit. And then there’s the high crime rates, limited nightlife (some but not nearly as much as Dupont, U Street etc), etc. I wouldn’t look for a place up there, IMHO.

        • Limted compared to Dupont? Hmmm… The only time I’m in Dupont is the ocassional HH or going to dinner at one of a few restaurants there. But yes, I suppose there are more restaurants and bars around Dupont than CH. Quantity over quality I suppose.

      • Columbia Heights is a great place to rent and live, maybe not the coolest place to hang out, but it sounds like you have some snobby friends.

        • I’m surprised – everytime I go to Columbia Heights I am amazed at how great it has become. It’s one of my favorite DC neighborhood. Feels more like Chicago there.

      • Well, that explains why it’s always so empty.

    • yes col heights still has great potential. but deals are harder to come by. you are competing with developers and investors with cash.

    • For me, the interesting thing about CH is how urban and somewhat gritty it is. It feels to me a bit more like a teeny tiny version of Manhattan with the diversity of the crowd. However, not everyone likes the grittiness, and I think CH is more likely to retain it, in part because of the number of apartment buildings and big box stores. Places like Shaw are becoming more like Logan which became more like Dupont. Gallery Place also has a very urban vibe.

  • For $600k-$800k id be looking at the H st corridor. There are still properties to be had over there in the lower 600s so there is still upside on the property as time goes on. I wouldnt look at Petworth b/c I think even w/ the new additions these houses will cap out at about $600k-$650k.

    • Have to disagree with this. Petworth already has metro and a streetcar is slated to go up and down Georgia Avenue. H street has no public transportation now, but they will get the streetcar soon. Still, no metro.

      • H street has buses. I guess you meant no rail-based permanent public transportation.

      • Metro does not equal guaranteed property value increase. If thats the case then why arent avg home values in Takoma $650k+? More diverse housing stock, essentially the same amenities, a metro station and access to this streetcar thats coming “soon”. As much as Id like Petworth home values to reach $700k+ for personal reasons, I dont think thats likely to happen.

      • I disagree with your disagreement. You are forgetting the street cars, which will come online in 2013 and link up with the Union Station (red line) metro. H Street/Noma is going to explode over the next 5 years – watch.

        • Why do you think the streetcar will be up and running in 2013? Because the DC government said so? Didn’t they also say that it would be up and running by 2011? You forget that people that work for this city are incompetent and lazy. Adding to that, the streetcar was a priority for Fenty, it isn’t one for Gray and will never be.

        • What exactly are you disagreeing on then? I said Id invest in H st for $600-$800k, and you just confirmed that was a good move.

        • Did you know half the streetcar orders have been cancelled recently?..hmm, looks like that government is thinking differently

    • +1 on H Street and NoMa. Property values will continue to increase as that area is built up over the next 5 years. And these are set plans for development – not “maybe” plans.

    • For 6 to 8 hundred, you should consider Bloomingdale, even with its flooding issues. Of course, Shaw and Ledroit are also fantastic investments that fall into that price range for something good.

  • Upper NW.

    Hear me out on this one.

    The DC real estate boom is mainly fueled by successful 20-somethings not wanting to live in the suburbs. Once those successful 20-somethings start having kids, condo/rowhouse living won’t be as amazing as it once was. These people, not wanting to leave DC, will look for homes with good schools with familiar suburban living but still close enough to the city that they can walk to the metro and/or brunch. So, the place to go in DC is upper NW, which only means property values will increase.

    If you’re 26 and have 800k to buy a house, then logan circle seems attractive. If you’re 33 and have 2 kids, cleveland park or friendship heights would just work better.

    That said, I don’t think it’ll be a huge payday in these neighborhoods. But, it will be a safe investment with a good return. Not to mention, many of the homes in these areas haven’t been updated since the 80s or 90s, and the updated homes sell for much more.

    • I agree with this advice. When we were house-hunting in Capitol Hill we came across a few sellers who were moving to upper NW because their kids were approaching school age.

    • How many 26-year-olds can afford an $800K house??

      Even for *two* 26-year-olds, that sounds unlikely to me.

      • SouthwestDC

        Yeah, we bought our $800k house when I was 28, but my partner is eight years older than I am and we both have really good jobs. On top of that we had an unusually good deal on rent that allowed us to save for most of the downpayment, and she had some family money that covered the rest. There are a lot of 26-year-old couples that make enough to afford the mortgage on an $800k house, especially with interest rates being so low, but unless they have family help or an unusual circumstance like mine I don’t know where they’d get the downpayment from.

      • Starting salaries at most big law firms in DC are around 150K before bonus. Two lawyers get married and then you have well over 300K in family income by your mid-to-late twenties. Sure, not everyone does this, but there are a significant number of people in DC with this exact scenario.

        Even with student loans, 300K+ yearly income allows an 800k+ home without much (or any) sacrifice.

        • 1) The number of these folks is dwidling rapidly due to serious downsizing in the legal profession, particularly at big firms.
          2) Most lawyers at big firms are smart enough not to marry another lawyer at a big firm.
          3) $300k of yearly salaried income is not $300k of yearly income; it’s actually about $170k of yearly income after something called “taxes.”
          4) An $800,000 house requires a $160,000 down payment – not a small chunk of change to save in just a couple of years out of law school.

          • While legal market has shrunk, there are still a lot of young lawyers in this city. And yes, many do marry each other, having met each other in law school. Also, a lawyer with the $150k+ salary could have a spouse/partner at an association or other similar job with an $80k+ salary. Your point about taxes isn’t quite accurate – the amount you will be loaned is based on your gross income minus monthly debt. In general, you won’t be permitted by a bank to have debt more than one third your gross (pre-tax) income. Doing some quick math would show that many of DC’s coupled young professionals would qualify for a loan for an 800K home based on their income.

            As you indicated correctly, the problem for many young people is down payment. Some work around that through family. In other cases, banks offer loans for the down payment at a higher interest rate (which of course lowers what the home value can be, since more money is being borrowed).

            Whether its a good idea for those young people to assume their salaries will always be able to maintain such a high mortgage is a separate question.

      • “How many 26-year-olds can afford an $800K house??”

        I think part of that phenomenon you’re referring to is known as: “Mom and Dad.”

        (Not that I’m judging…if my family had ever had the resources to offer me a chunk of change toward buying a house, I’m pretty sure I’d have taken them up on it!)

    • i just made this switch myself. Very low inventory out there but it will change as boomers turn over so you have to factor that in.

    • This is the best advice. If you’re looking to spend anywhere from 600-800K, then upper NW, Glover Park and even parts of the Palisades will score you a nice house that will not lose value. You might not score the big payola when you sell it, but you definitely won’t be underwater down the road. During the worst of the crisis, these areas barely went down in value, if at all…

      • Nice houses – SFH – in Glover park, Upper NW and Palisaides for $600k? I’d think that $800k would be the starting point, but I’ll be thrilled if I an wrong.

        • You would be surprised. There are definitely “affordable” houses in Upper NW. Not every house is over $1 million.

          You aren’t going to find much in the $600K range. But, there are regularly $700-800k properties hitting the market.

        • You are not wrong. You might find a small-ish rowhouse in Glover Park for that range but you are going to be closer to 8 even then. Anything detached in glover park is going to touch a million unless it is tiny tiny tiny. I don’t know the pallisades as well but I doubt 600k would fetch you much and 800k is pushing it. We looked extensively all over AU Park, Chevy Chase DC, Glover Park, Mass Ave Heights, Cleveland Park etc. and could not find a decent sized 4 bedroom house in that price range. Not many 3 bedrooms either.

  • I’m a fan of Park View (shocker!). That section of Georgia has been neglected for a very long time, but it’s actually a very convenient location. There’s a lot of things that could be improved, but IMO, that’s what makes it a good investment.

    Did I mention you can get *2* move-in-condition rowhouses in Park View on that budget.

  • If you’re really looking long-term ROI, east of the river is probably where you’ll find the cheapest properties with the highest upside (although don’t expect a big return for at least 10-15 years, and that’s assuming current trends hold).

    For the 600k – 800k range, I think the Georgia Ave corridor has a lot of potential. Georgia Ave between the Shaw and Petworth metros is super sketchy now but the current/planned development is off the charts. Assuming that one day you can walk to the 11th street stretch of Col Heights or the development up near the Petworth metro without too much fear of being stabbed/shot or having to run a gauntlet of drunks hanging outside of single-serving liquor stores, houses in the area are going to be highly sought after. Plus I know it’s probably a pipe dream but Georgia Ave is part of the District’s planned streetcar routes (connecting the Shaw metro to Petworth and eventually to Silver Spring). Seeing what’s happened over by H Street leads me to believe that if tracks ever do get laid and firm plans enacted it will be a gold rush for housing in the area. The natural advantages of the corridor south of the Petworth metro are awesome–super close to downtown, Col Heights, shaw, etc.

    • I could have sworn that section of Georgia Ave between Shaw and Petworth had a name… =D

      • Yeah, I agree but what? Park View, Pleasant Plains, Columbia Heights? Someone even swore to me that it was Petworth.

        • North to south on GA Ave is Petworth, Park View, Pleasant Plains, Shaw.

          CH is to the west. To be fair, I think technically CH includes the west side of GA Ave at some points, but I think a lot of people would say it stops at Sherman.

          • If you check the legal tax records of properties, Columbia Heights has a border of Florida and Park Place. So this includes Pleasant Plains and most of Parkview. Sherman is not the border of CH.

            But this has been debated on this forum over and over. Apparently there is a lot of hatred of Pleasant Plains residents by DCUSA residents. Are we too dirty and undeveloped to be CH residents?

  • Hey guys, good conversation, but don’t we all need to remember one of the first rules of real estate investments: the home you live in isn’t an investment. It’s a home. If you decide to go against principles of home ownership and real estate investing — calling your sole real estate property both a home and an investment — always keep in mind that you’ll need to find a “greater fool” whenever you want to move your so-called investment.

  • MOST interested in return on investment? I’d tell them to not move to DC.

    • You say that but look at the real estate market in DC proper and how it performed when every place else was getting hammered. It maintained its value and even posted gains (except maybe condos). I was never underwater even though I bought pretty close to the peak in late ’04. Now prices have gone past that peak point. I think we will see increased inventory when the baby boomers start to turn their places over in the NW burbs but for the most part they aint making more of these places close in and the investment dollars are still flowing into the City.

      • i agree with all you said. but i guess i’m not answering the question properly. i’m echoing the sentiments that roi shouldn’t be the “most important” thing.

  • I actually echo folks on the Park View and Pleasant Plains, although I’d lean toward Park View given it is closer to the Metro and happening stretch of 11th Street. Still reasonable prices by DC standards with high potential upside.Although GA is still sketch, big changes for the better are happening as we speak.

    Also, Brookland is a nice spot albeit quieter but established and family friendly. More ‘neighborhoody’ than Rhode Island and also Metro accessible. Still affordable and close to a university which is traditionally a stabilizer.

  • Cap Hill East for sure!!!! The area near Stadium Armory/Potomac Ave. is making leaps and bounds of changes. I bought 4 yrs ago at $200K and recently my home was appraised for over $300K. It is still west of the river giving you easy access to downtown….walkable grocery stores, 2 nearby metro stations. endless bus route. endless bike share. walk to H Street. Walk to Eastern Mkt. And walk to the Capitol. Good stuff!!!

  • Color me crazy, but I have good feelings about Anacostia. Whatever you pay now will never be less later on. Right now the core of Anacostia is terrible, granted, but you’re right there on top of a Metro station and there will be big benefits when DHS moves in in full force up MLK Blvd. It’s encouraging to see various restaurants try to make their mark. I think if Busboys & Poets gets a foothold, it will stick.

    For us at Coast Guard Headquarters, we’re already marking our IT stuff and planning in earnest for the move next year.

    • SouthwestDC

      Me too. Annacostia has some lovely streetscapes that I can imagine being really nice once they’re redeveloped. And of course proximity to the water is always desirable. Now that the other side of the river is being redeveloped I think it’s only a matter of time before it happens in Annaocstia. And with property values still being inexpensive over there it would be a great place to invest.

  • I would still place that bet on Columbia Heights. I paid a premium in 2004 and it still looks like it will pay off. Other considerations besides resale value is the rental value in this area. We are at a rare point where interest rates are low enough that rentals out pace mortgage payments. It was not always so.

    I think there is still value there in the just south of spring road just north of spring road area. Mad Momos is opening and I look for further development along that strip of 14th street. If it were available for 800k. I would actually buy a building in that stretch. I have no idea what the prices for commecrial real estate are, however.

    • Too ad to this, the U street awesomeness has already started up the hill with the old neiameiah space finished. Once it connects to DC USA at the top, there is no reason most of 14th street won’t be the place to be.

  • I think (insert my neighborhood name) will grow the most and have the highest ROI.

  • Wow, are we really using the $600,000 to $800,000 figure? I think that right there destroys the question for most people. A more appropriate number in my mind would be $200,000 to 300,000.

    • And are we talking about using that money to “invest” in the house? It sounds to me like folks are using that money to “buy” the house which wasn’t the question.

      Anyway, if I had the money, I would “invest” in where I currently live around 18th and H NE. I wish I had the money to buy that 4 apt building on the corner of the block because whoever bought it is about to make a killing soon enough if they know what they are doing. I would also look into investing in Anacostia and around Benning NE b/t MN and E. Cap.

      • I know the four unit building you are talking about. They are gutting it now. I tried to scrape my own funds together for it but could not quite make it happen. The price it was listed for, even if it did need a complete gut rehab (it did not), was ludicrously low.

        But like they say, gotta have money to make money.

        • Yup, it was crazy, crazy low. I wondered why it sat for as long as it did. When one of the guys was taking the fridge out, I offered to help him lift it on the truck, anyway, I asked if I could look inside because I was curious and it was 4 really small narrow apts, nothing that great. But the potential with everything they can do with it is crazy. Somebody is about to get paid, I see them working on it in some fashion every day.

          Do you live in the neighborhood?

  • What are people’s thoughts on Takoma?

    • Takoma is another area I am high on (no pun intended). It is very established, quirky, and Metro accessible. Development around it is going on in SS and the Walter Reed but part of the draw of Takoma is it will resist which could be a good thing.

      • Agreed. Takoma prices should be helped tremendously by the continued resurgence of Silver Spring in the short term and Walter Reed redevelopment in the longer term. If DC and MD can work together to change the GA Ave streetcar plan to head straight up to Silver Spring then all the better.

  • PoP could have really cut to the chase by just asking: “where did you buy a house?”.

    I think you’d get the same answers.

    Honestly, the best ROI in real estate is probably in Detroit or somewhere similar.

    • Good point. By the way, it used to be that the big victorians on first street up by McMillon reservoir could be had for 600k. I almost bought one in 2004 for 585k. What are those going for now a days?

      • With or without a swimming pool in the basement?

        Those houses, as far as I know, actually havent gotten flooded. And, as far as townhomes go, they’re some of the most beautiful in DC. I know one recently went for a million, but I think it was an outlier.

        • The big (and gorgeous) corner properties that have come on the market in the past 3-4 years are reliably going in the high 800s/900s, with one that went over 1M. There is one up on Bryant that I think was turned into condos (5 BR I think); if that had been kept whole it wold have easily gone for well over a million. When “run of the mill” flips on 3-4 BR interior rowhouses are going for 600+ I don’t think it’s unreasonable that these neighborhood trophy houses would command a premium.

          As far a investments I think the ship has sailed on Bloomingdale for high returns. If you were in in 2009/2010 you are looking at a good return, but the recent increase in comps has slowed considerably. You won’t lose money, but you won’t see a 50% bump in value in 4-5 years (which is what some 2008/9 properties are seeing based on comps, there was a definable albeit brief trough in home values in this area around then right after the general housing crash)

          • And I would say that that stretch maybe does have the best rowhouses in the city. They are tall and many of them are quite deep and are 3000 plus sq/f above grade.

        • The one we almost bought was huge and gorgeous. To be honest, the only reason we passed is that we found out a murder had been committed inside the house. Freaked me out. That was not in the listing.

  • Takoma is great and with the redevelopment of Walter Reed Hospital, it offers a ton of potential. The neighborhood is very stable with most residents having lived there for 20-30+ years. We are starting to see more turnover of housing in that area and that should increase in the next 3-5 years, with more family oriented couples moving into the area. It will never be a hipster hangout but rather, it should continue to harbor its small town neighborhood feel with great access to the city. I think it’s a solid bet but may take a few years to get there (as with most areas, of course)

  • The best places to invest are the ones where no one wants to be at the moment, the dirty, neglected places, that have no where to go but up. Logan was like this about 13 years ago, then U st, then, in more recent memory, CH. Logan and U st have a much more urban feel, crowded, parking- impossible, while CH is more neighboorhood-ie. I guess a lot of resentment with CH come with the fact that its gentrification was the lastest big one and most recent to peoples minds. They perhaps were thinking of moving to CH a decade or so ago and missed out. The next places are H st, Bloomingdale.

  • Let the schoolin begin…

    DC’s current status as housings “it” place is supported by one thing. The economic devastation of the rest of the nation.

    Starting in 1999, there was a national housing boom that DC and every other urban area enjoyed. DC’s was more pronounced because of the vast ocean of additional money uncle sam spent after 9/11.

    DC’s population grew from 2000 to 2010 as a result of this real estate boom and ocean of new federal money in DC. It grew 5% over 10 years, or the District added 2,900 new residents a year (29,000 total).

    From 2010 to 2012, The District added another 17000 people, or 8,500 people per year, a rate 3 times FASTER than during the largest multi trillion dollar national real estate boom the nation has every experienced.

    The demographic who has been moving here, has skewed young and white, college grads or recent college grads who are childless and single, and shockingly have no other job options.

    From 2008 to now, DC has been one of the scarce few places in the nation where jobs were plentiful. I know its popular for the DC hipster set to think all these people are moving here because DC has found some new found national hipness that draws everyone here, but that isn’t it at all. Work folk move somewhere for the same reasons they always have…jobs. And these jobs by a rate of 2 to 1 have been located in the District proper.

    Gentrification of places like Columbia Heights, Petworth, Bloomingdale etc has taken place because these tens of thousands of young, new workers needed a place to live and DC had enormous swaths of land east of the Park that were still derelict from the race riots of the 60’s age. The insane double digit real estate value growth east of the park was unsustainable as we saw with the end of the real estate boom. The only reason it picked back up again 18 months later is because Uncle Sam has deeper pockets and can outspend even the most ridiculous national housing boom.

    Where am I going with this? DC’s gentrification, while certainly welcome, is in for a very sudden and very shocking slowdown. As the rest of the nations economic situation (which is markedly improving as we speak) improves, fewer and fewer people will be “forced” to look at DC for job options. The young 20 post college set will have more options elsewhere, options that won’t involve high cost of living and the requirement to deal with living shoulder to shoulder with shocking crime and income disparities.

    Secondly, regardless of whom is elected President in November, the Federal ocean of money is going to also become markedly smaller. Sure, enormous deficit spending is what you have to do during the largest recession since the great depression, but trillion dollar yearly deficits are a death knell and will end, quickly. Jobs will decrease and the new influx of childless 20 somethings with slow to a trickle. The ones that came in the past few years will child-up and move elsewhere because the schools in the District make it untenable to stay. And yes, I know many of you reading this “poo-poo” that and will stay to raise your kids (or so you think), but for every well meaning six figure earning yuppie I know who has stayed in the past 5 years to raise their kids here, I know 5 who have left.

    DC’s population growth with continue, but slow to a trickle and without ~9000 new residents a year feeding a development boom, it will stop and the neighborhoods that have always offered more overall value and retained their worth time and time again over the housing booms and busts of the past 40 years, will continue to do so. These neighborhoods are West of the Park.

    And here is where the schoolin stops. Enjoy your weekends

    • Hey… Jim Cramer… youre babbling.

      That was “schoolin'”? You spouted a bunch of statements with no factual support but you are pretending that you’re offering some sort of data driven analysis. Its all conjecture.

      • No factual support? I guess the US Census either conjures up their data from magic, or the ability to use the internet to get to the census data eludes you.

        I’ve seen 3 housing booms in this city and they all end the same way. And if you think that trillion dollar deficits are going to continue, or that DC isn’t THE largest beneficiary of said deficit spending, then I am not suprised reading census data confuses you.


        • Oh, you’re right. You made the ground breaking discovery that DC grew over the past 10 years and that the deficit is probably going to shrink.

          Everything ELSE in your tirade was without factual basis. Not only that, it assumes that in the long-term schools wont get better, crime wont go down, incomes wont go up, and people will stop moving to urban centers around the country. None of these things do you have the power to predict.

          Neighborhoods west of the park will almost certainly retain their value, thats not really a stunning revelation. But, an analysis of their long-term appreciation history vis a vis other gets a bit more complicated.

          Youre statements are as foolish as the person in Bloomingdale or Petworth thinking that they bought a house for 700k that will be 1.5mil in 10 years.

          Not only that, you’re appear, despite your hubris of being a know-it-all, to be ignorant of the data that indicates the trends we’re seeing in DC aren’t unique.

          There’s actually a case to be made that all of the recent gentrification will recede in the future. But you didnt make it and your arrogance while not making a point is comical. Its even more entertaining because you dont even allow for the fact that you’re making a ton of assumptions about the future that might even be reasonable, but are assumptions and nothing based on facts.

          • Sooo…you agree with me, make my point for me and fail to use any data to refute mine.

            I am guessing you weren’t very good at Lincoln Douglas debate in school?

            Uncle Sam employs 23% of the DC Metro workforce (2011). This is up from 19% in 2008. (Bureau of Economic Analysis). There has been a “slowdown” of Federal hiring from 2009 and 2009 when there was a hiring binge, but there are more federal jobs and associated federal contractor jobs now than there were before the recessison, and that is amazing considering GWB was the governmental expansion wonder kid.

            I know history is for fools and every new boom is “different” this time, but I’ve seen the cycle of Federal Spending cuts and its effect on the District 3 times now, once in 1982 and again in 95. Each time it results in tens of thousands of lost jobs, tens of billions in lost commercial real estate value and a full stop of “gentrification”.

            You pretend like this is the first wave of gentrification or real estate boom in DC. All you recent arrivals (ooh, I moved here 3 years ago and bought a house 18 months ago, that makes me a full on DC economic expert) ignore the lessons history has taught us many times here in the DC area and the nation at large. The “difference” this time is the recession was the worst since the Great Depression. If you don’t think the corresponding fallout will match, fine. You can choose to believe in what you want. But I will be laughing at all the folks who moved to DC during the housing boom and recession and paid outlandish prices to live in neighborhoods whose best hope is to maintain value, but will most likely lose it.

            The nation is filled with people who did the same thing in every major city. But hey…you are the expert right?

          • So much anger…

          • And yet, after each gentrification pull back, it picks up again and moves a bit further along trending upward though not necessarily in a straight shot. There might be a pull back, but the government will always be present. And as the cycle repeats itself, the city gains in its own right as someplace good to live. And it is not necessary to be so slash and burn with your rhetoric.

          • You make no sense. And, I’ve spent my entire life here.

            What you are doing is finding a few facts here and there to back up what you believe is the truth.

            The fact of the matter is that in the 50s and 60s, cities experienced an economic collapse for many reasons. Since then, there has been a gradual recovery experienced in most cities (outliers like Detroit dont count). This has happened to a varying degree, San Francisco and Manhattan have seen some of the most significant (and thus far sustainable) growth. DC is relatively late to the game, but has picked up steam. These are statements of faith, there are many studies that have discussed these trends. It certainly is possible that the city bust could reverse itself sometime in the future, but a lot of things have to happen between now and then for that to occur.

            As for your casual interaction with the facts on government spending and its effects on the local economy, you are just wrong. IF Sequestration happened (it wont), the DC metro area could experience quite a downturn, but that is far from certain… no one really knows how this will effect housing prices in gentrifying neighborhoods, but we’ll never know because sequestration isnt going to happen. Any other deficit reduction plan would likely rely on a mix of spending reductions and tax hikes. Basically, to make a major impact on employment in our local economy, federal spending would need to be cut to such a degree that it would be reckless for the national economy to do so.

            Declining government employment has shown to not be a drag on the local economy. Over the past few years, we have boomed while the federal employment numbers have decreased. Further, the federal government is becoming less centralized and federal jobs have moved out of DC.

            Further, we can cut a lot of spending in the federal budget with very little impact on local employment.

            Also, I dont recall DC being worse off in any past recession than the rest of the country. In fact, despite your selective memory, I recall the metro area being an economic bright spot (relatively) each time.

            In summation, your version of events and facts are in great contradiction to any accurate depiction of reality.

          • Anon x

            The District lost population from 1950 to the year 2000…50 years of solid population loss resulting in a loss of 25% of its population. I don’t know why you lumped the District into a group of cities that saw recovery from the 1960’s on, because DC wasn’t one of them. Population increases corresponded with 2 major events. A nationwide multitrillion dollar housing boom, and more importantly to the District, a 50% increase in Federal spending under President Bush 2 trillion a year in 2001 to 3.1 trillion in 2009). Sequestration? I’m not even talking about it because that is small time compared to where we are now locally. Locally, total federal spending, including procurement, the amount of money uncle sam spends directly in the DC Metro area on salaries etc went from 75 billion a year in 2000 to 170 billion a year in 2010. It was 135 billion in 2008 for an increase of ~30% in TWO years.

            For comparisons sake, Uncle Sam has spent a total of 31 billion dollars rebuilding the entire City of New Orleans over the past 7 years, where 200K homes were destroyed and 800K people displaced. This 31 billion also includes the 22 billion paid out in federal flood insurance claims. Yet the DC Metro gets ~30 billion dumped into its economy every two months by Uncle Sam.

            Hehehe…Yeah, that’s normal and totally sustainable. Nothing to see here folks. DC’s housing and gentrification numbers are off the chart in the past 4 years during the worst recession in 70 years and have been on fire for the past 12 and it has absolutely nothing to do with the extra hundred billion dollars per year floating among the DC MSA added in the past decade, or the extra 35 billion a year added to the DC MSA from 2008 to 2010. DC’s economy is directly linked to Federal spending. You may foolishly think that isn’t the case, but as history has shown us 3 times now, that is simply not the case. The level of money flowing into the District and surrounding MSA right now is entirely insane and unprecedented by any metric. And yes, I am a Democrat.


            None of the previous boom periods saw gentrification in the big hot spots of dc urban decay corresponding almost entirely with East of the Park. Gentrification is driven by people, the people are driven by jobs and DC is the one place where there are tons of jobs right now. The national economy is recovering, people will have options elsewhere and when the local economy cools off, the problem will worsen.

            In 2000, houses in Woodley and Cleveland Park had a median price in the 400K range.

            As of the 2nd qtr (August 2012), the median list price (Redfin) of homes in Bloomingdale are 470K, which is what the 2nd qtr median list price of homes was in Woodley Park in 2006.

            Now honestly, is Bloomingdale right now as nice, safe, trash free, stab free, metro accessible and retail developed as Woodley Park was 6 years ago? No is your answer.

            I suggest you peruse some of DC’s economic data compiled over the decades by the folks at GMU. Once the ~1.3 trillion dollar a year deficits end, which they will and soon,

    • I shouldn’t ask this, but would you please school us using your census data on why gentrification is happening in cities all across the country, including, for example, Cleveland,

    • I think you are missing 4 things. DC is not just DC it is a greater metropolitan area north of 2 million people. Many of the new residents are not relocating from Oklahoma like the Joads in search of jobs. They are people like me, that used to live in Maryland but moved into the city for lifestyle reasons. DC used to not be an option because so much of it was crime ridden but now you have a lot of folks opting to live in the whose other choices used to be Arlington, Bethesda, etc. That is point 1. Pure is not a good measure.

      Point 2, government hiring has slowed in the past 2 years at the same time the real estate market has expanded. To me this seems to fortify my belief that these are not purely new residents but existing residents to the major metropolitan area making new choices about where to live.

      Point 3 – young job seekers don’t drive the market as they don’t have the cash. The young folks are along for the ride and the investment dollars and home ownership dollars don’t come from them but from established people.

      Point 4 – real estate is not a perfect market. A house is worth what someone will pay for it. Peoples’ choices are so subjective in that regard.

      • Umm, I hate to break it to ya TG but the DC Metro population is north of 5.5 million. If you don’t even know the most basic of demographic data about the place in which you live, I am not sure how qualified you are to weigh in authoratatively on anything related to it.

        • That even proves my point more. This is a huge area not llimited to DC proper. So the influx into the city is closer to a neighborhood shift than a growing area population wise. You got me, I did not look up the actual figure. Just no it is big and supports my argument.

    • Teach, I don’t know where you were for much of the 00’s, but most of the country was doing fine from 2002 until around mid-2007, blowing a hole in your theory that DC was the only place growing for much of the past decade. True, absolutely, that since 2008 most of the increase and in some places all and more of the increase in home values in the 00’s has been wiped out, but to say that DC has had a decade of growth and the rest of the country has not is incorrect. And BTW 2010 to 2012 is three years, not two, so 5670 or so new residents a year.

    • “high cost of living” +
      “the requirement to deal with living shoulder to shoulder with shocking crime and income disparities”
      = pretty much every major city in the US worth living in.

  • Well, I can say with great certainty that Parkview/Pls Plains/whatever has been a good investment–i bought 1 1/2 yrs ago and just got my place reappraised for 25% more than I paid for it. GA is sketchy, for sure, but overall this neighborhood isn’t nearly as bad as the area around 18th and U was when I bought my first condo in 1994. I was afraid to walk down R, S, and T for that matter. The whole area was crawling with crackdealers. What is down Duplex Diner had trees growing in it, and the surrounding buildings were boarded up. So, Park View, Petworth, yes!

    • uh, make that “What is now Duplex Diner”

    • Agree with the Parkview vote. We bought almost exactly a year ago and just had the house appraised again for a refinance. The appraisal came in at 60k higher than last year. We also rent out the basement and cover about 70% of our monthly payments. I’d say that’s a pretty good investment.

      • Free money everybody!

        I am also a homeowner who has seen enormous gains in value (30%) over two years, but I do not trust this at all. I am thrilled of course but I have a sickening feeling that this thread will be held up as an example of extreme hubris and failure to learn from the past in coming years.

  • PDleftMtP

    Whoops – left this as a reply to someone else above when I didn’t mean to. I’d be careful about the unlimited upside thinking. Once you get up to the 800k+ range, there’s a much smaller market – especially once you factor in that the schools east of the park have a pretty bad reputation, which is going to discourage families. Sure, lots of neighborhoods are getting better, but look at Crestwood. It’s pretty much there, good location close in, beautiful houses, much cheaper than west of the park – and it’s tough to sell a house there. We’re thinking about moving to a bigger house, and I really like Crestwood as a neighborhood, but the schools/resale combination is scaring me off. I think Mt. Pleasant (where I am now) is more or less hitting a ceiling as well. I would not plan my retirement around buying a house in Columbia Heights for 600 or 700 and selling it for a zillion down the road; even Petworth doesn’t have that much room to go up.

    • SouthwestDC

      I agree with this. I love my house, but I don’t expect it to sell for over $900k anytime soon. Whenever a house goes for sale for over a million in the neighborhood it sits on the market for a long time, even if it’s twice the size of the houses that are selling like hotcakes for $200k less. I think there just aren’t that many people that can afford to buy in that price range, and those that can would rather live in one of the tonier neighborhoods.

  • I think it depends on whether you want a place to live or a place to invest in. I think if I had $800k, I might spend $500k on a 2-3 bedroom in a place I really loved to live and $300k on an income property in a more transitional neighborhood.

  • 14th street between downtown and u st has received a ton of investment with all the new buildings. I am hoping that once 14th st is built out (which should be done in the next 3-5 years), investors will look towards georgia ave in U st/CH/Petworth. It has lots of vacant lots and building ripe for redevelopment money.

  • I agree re Hill East. Even without the RFK development the area is still affordable, and safe, and Eastern Market and H street are not that far away. If you don’t mind walking the few extra minutes — and there’s lots of public transport – you reap all the benefits with being near those two commercial districts with out the astronomical prices, and suburban yuppiness. If RFK does get properly redeveloped, you can see how the place would blow up.

    • Agreed. I live in this neighborhood right now (renting, not owning) and I think it’s a hidden gem. Prices are still low, low crime, I have outdoor space, I live less than block from the metro, it takes me 15 minutes to get downtown, and Lincoln Park, Eastern Market, and H st. are all walkable. The only downside really is that I wish there were a few more stores close by i.e. there’s not really a convenience store/coffee shop or anything like that super close by to just run in before work. There is a new apartment building going up at 17th and E. Capitol and it would have been a great idea to make the ground floor retail.

  • wish i had 600 to 800 to spend on a house. love Ledroit Park/shaw. a year ago might have been the best time to buy. and now with the potential Harris Teeter/O street market – that area by Howard should be even better. and on the green line – great way to get to China town(where that massive mixed use thing is going up at the old convention center), and the ballpark.

  • Near NorthEast / NOMA…bigtime development currently and next 5 years

  • This thread is colored by people’s warm and fuzzies or cold and, uh, not fuzzies, about particular neighborhoods in Washington, DC. The truth is that there’s an objective answer to this question based on housing statistics. While it’s not possible to predict the future, we can examine what’s happened over the past several years.

    To the chagrin of some people on here, inexplicably, I think they’ll find that Columbia Heights has provided the most return on investment over the last, say, three years, though I can’t be entirely sure without the data. The fact is that if I had $600,000 to spend on something, I’d do a lot of research, possibly hiring someone to digest the data and ignore 95% of what’s written above, which comes mostly from transient renters who feel strongly about one neighborhood vs. another.

    If you want to buy a home for the neighborhood, sure. Take into account what people are saying about restaurants or this or that. If you want to make a pure investment, call a financial consultant and get the data.

    • Where do you live?

    • The trouble with this analysis, as you said, is that it’s backward looking.

      The fact that CH has had a run-up in the last few years is no indication that the trend will continue. In fact, all other factors being equal, it’s an indication of the opposite.

      (Not that it will go down in value, but that it’s growth rate will decrease)

  • After going through the process four years ago, I think the best practice for making $ on a house in DC is to buy cheap and make improvements. FHA loans are not too difficult to obtain, especially in our area where housing prices haven’t dropped like they have in the rest of the country. Bought my home in an up-and-coming neighborhood (Bloomingdale) for $269k, made $40k in improvements, and it is now appraising for almost $500k. Luckily I don’t have a basement 😉

  • In my opinion, value should increase with proximity to downtown DC. Based on this, the most undervalued/underutilized neighborhoods in the city are Shaw/Mt Vernon Square/Truxton Circle.

    With an 800k budget, you would want to buy an unrenovated rowhouse in Shaw/Mt Vernon Square for around $400k, and spend $100k to renovate each of the four stories in the house. Convert the basement into a rental that will generate $1600-$1800 a month, or sell it as a 2 bedroom for $350K-$399K. You’ll wind up with a three story 2,200 square renovated rowhouse for $400k. This is a no-brainer huge ROI but unfortunately not many people want to deal with a project that big AND have adequate capital to finance the project.

  • Maybe like, Georgetown?

  • Not trying to start anything but I am curious to the amount of people on this blog that have actually been East of the River/past MN Ave NE? And I don’t mean the one time you went to check out Ray’s the Steak at East River.

    I know that area is not attactive to many of you but there is currently and are plans for A LOT of development around MN Ave, Benning Rd and E. Cap. Don’t forget the trolley is supposed to go all the way to Benning Rd. NE/SE…

  • My answer to the “where should you invest in a home” question is Park View. But to be honest, that’s mainly because I live in Park View and would like to see the value of my home increase even more than it has in the 8 years that I have lived here. There are objective reasons to buy here – new Safeway, more restaurants and bars opening, CH is too pricey and we are at the next stop on the yellow/green lines. But the main reason I’m picking Park View is to increase the value of my “investment”. So please, buy in Park View.

    But before you decide to “invest” in a home in Park View, or anywhere else for that matter, you should be aware that, apart from the last 10 years or so, housing has been a really terrible investment. And the bubble of the last 10 years is still deflating.

    But please, buy in Park View 🙂

  • All I know is we bought a renovated house in Petworth almost two years ago for well under 500K and now see similar homes around the block selling for over 600K.

    • Besides the “My neighborhood is the best” and “I bought here and now I’m worth this much”, I don’t think many people have a grip on what limitations are. A couple of realistic points that it only seems a few of you see.

      1. Yes, the trend is for young well-to-do folks to move back into urban cores for many reasons such as commute and nightlife. Though once children hit that school-age I’d be a little skeptical on how many stay

      2. There is a finite amount of people with the incomes to gentrify the city, after that these outlying neighborhoods will be the first to go to crap once the trend slows or reverses.

      3.The government will eventually quite growing and probably have major cutbacks given the reckless spending of the past decade. At some point printing more money isn’t going to do it.

      4. Finally, the one I sincerely hopes never happens but has a high likelihood is a terrorist attack or series of attacks. Whether it be minor or major, are most of you going to stay living in DC?

      For the record I live and own a home in DC.

  • DC prices trend upward b/c after each election/change of party about 50% of those that came to work in politics remain, DC is rapidly gentrifying, and government tends to grow over time with population. As for CH, a prime reason for its growth was valuable proximal gov owned vacant land was sold at low prices to developers with approved big visions surrounded by old large brick homes built long ago for a wealthy community.

    As for future growth I advise my clients to buy in areas of high government infrastructure spending pre-gentrificaiton. Anacostia, Trinidad, Cap East, Minnesota Ave. I have yet to earn less than 15% ROI in all my 12 homes and RE investing/mortgages is all I do.

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