Good Deal or Not? “ceramic bath” edition

This coop is located at 1415 Girard St, NW:

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The listing says:

“Imagine life in the center of it all…Metro,restaurants, shops 14th & U St., Adams Morgan, Rock Creek Park & more Classic building with a glorious history. 1BR/1BA large & sunny, stainless&granite kitchen, ceramic bath…Adorable & “designated” affordable. Receive a 23% no interest recoverable grant. For additional info visit City First Homes web site.”

You can see more photos here.

This 1 bed/1 bath is going for $160,000 ($390/monthly fee.)

19 Comment

  • well, of course it is a good deal. the price is artificially set…over $100k below market, and only people with low incomes are allowed to purchase.

  • I would assume there are significant resale restrictions though. So cheap to buy but might be never allowed to gain in appreciation when resold.

    • Even still, they are letting you get in with no or little money down. Even with PMI, you are paying $800/month + 390 in condo fees for a total of $1190. For a 1-BR. In Columbia Heights. That is a steal. Even with little or no price appreciation, you would still have 20k in equity in 5 years.

      Heres hoping the city gives you NO price appreciation. They just buy it back from you for $160,000, and you get the benefit of a super cheap place to live, and the chance to build some equity.

      • Exactly. You’re better off building equity than paying rent. In the meantime, you can continue to save money until you have enough to make the jump into a bigger, market priced apartment or townhouse.

        This place is basically a stepping stone before moving on to your “big”, permanent purchase.

        Why pay $1500 for a studio in Columbia Heights when you can bank equity in this place?

  • It appears to be a “good” deal if your goal is to minimize your monthly housing expenditures.

    Not such a good deal as a long run investment…With the city first homes program you do get to keep 25% of the appreciation and 100% of the principal you pay into the home – which would be very little in the first few years. There isn’t any mention of who pays for the costs of selling (realtor commissions, taxes, etc). It seems like you would have to plan on living there for a long time to avoid having significant expenses when you would go to sell.

    • I think the demand for places like these are going to be huge in the long run. Think of all these young people with huge amounts of student loans who are also having 40%+ of their paychecks swallowed by rent.

      Programs like CityFirst are going to do very well in these economic times when many young people are cash poor and debt rich. Their only other option is to be renters forever until their parents die & they inherit estates.

      • Agree that City First COULD do well; however, a quick look at their website shows 5 properties, only two of which are actually available (the other three have sold). They will need more inventory if they hope to succeed.

    • Well, you could always invest your savings and build your nest egg that way. It would take a lot more discipline to invest it that it does to pay a mortgage, but it is possible to grow your wealth without flipping your home later on.

  • I had a coop in NW DC form 1997-2004. I bought it for 23,000 and sold it for 90,000. Even so. I could care less if it does not appreciate much. I would be happy to have a coop again. Regular home ownership is a nightmare.

  • It looks like it’s been for sale for a while, which makes me wonder just how good of a deal it is. In October it was listed for $264,900, then knocked down to $204,000. It’s been for sale since Apr 2012. I don’t know if the prices were knocked down because of the City First trust stipulations and the owner and realtor just didn’t realize that, yes, they did have to follow that, or if it’s something with the building/co-op. There are a lot of cops that hang around those apartment buildings for various disturbances at night around the co-op still.

  • These are a great deal if you plan to stay in the unit, it’s less than rent., HOWEVER, you must come with 5% down on “value”, not the sales price, and there is only one bank offering loans and it’s a 5year ARM. In the future more banks might lend in that building, but as of last month there is only one financing option, which can scare folks off.

  • When you weigh the benefits of owning a home against the very high cost faced by renting, City First Homes’ permanently affordable housing program can be a financially smart solution for many homebuyers. In particular, the homes at 1415 Girard Street are an exceptional value. For around $1,100/month, including co-op fee you can own your own instead of renting and build equity. You can also save hundreds of dollars a month since you wont’ have to pay monthly private mortgage insurance.

    In addition to the share of appreciation homeowners retain, they will keep 100% of any increase in value due to improvements they’ve made to the home, such as renovated bathrooms, etc. When they sell they will receive the full value of the equity they’ve built from paying down the principal balance of their mortgage loans. Also they’ll be able to write off the amount of their interest payments for the mortgage on their annual tax returns; renters can’t do that! We think it’s a pretty good return on your investment. Lastly, most users of programs like ours are able to use their initial purchase as a stepping stone to traditional homeownership when they purchase their next home.

    The “price reductions” that are listed online aren’t fully accurate. City First Homes provides a 23% recoverable grant to the buyer to purchase the homes. So we advertise the home at the effective price the buyer pays after receiving the recoverable grant. The list price of $264,900 before the grant equates to $204,000 after the grant. It’s the same effective price to the homebuyer but reflected as a “price reduction” on the listing.

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