Top 13 Revitalizing Neighborhoods in DC I would look to Buy a House or Invest in if I had Extra Cash

list_top_11_neighborhoods_to_invest
Photo by PoPville flickr user ep_jhu

Places where there could still be bargains, but it won’t turn into Logan Circle/Shaw/H Street over night. Half my head turned gray trying to complete this list:

13. Benning (Minnesota Ave Metro)
12. Michigan Park (in case it’s too late to find anything reasonable in Brookland)
11. Anacostia
10. Trinidad
9. Pleasant Plains/Park View
8. Edgewood/Stronghold (possibly Eckington if you could find anything reasonable)
7. Brentwood and Ivy City (Rhode Island Ave Metro)
6. Kingman Park/Carver Langston
5. Truxton Circle/Noma (near Union Market)
4. North Petworth/Brightwood
3. Hill East/Barney Circle
2. Takoma
1. SW Waterfront

132 Comment

  • Anything east of the river within 2-3 blocks of a Metro Station. Good list though.

  • 1 and 2 are spot on in my opinion

  • Yeah I think SW Waterfront takes the cake if you’re talking about stuff West of the River. And with the word of the Wharf starting this March, I reckon the area is going to get expensive pretty quickly. Buy now while you still can.

    • It does have so much potential! Some established neighborhoods and people who’ve been living there for decades. I lived there for a summer before they started opening up 3rd Street (I think that’s the one) and then a few months later once construction had begun. It was decidedly more sketch after, and it kind of sucked that even just to get a coffee I had to trek to the mall, but it’s on the water, has a good community, conveniently located to downtown and transit, and lots of future development planned. It’s also decidedly less sketchy now that the new Safeway is open and there isn’t a giant abandoned government building smack in the middle.

      • Also, I’m surprised at how inexpensive it is compared to other neighborhoods that are on the rise or have risen but where I feel just as or more unsafe (H St, Columbia Heights…)

        • A lot of the housing inventory is condos with ridiculous HOA fees ($500 – 800). The $275K units listed on Redfin are interesting until you ad the HOA fees to your mortgage. Anyone know if those are tax deductible? I suspect not.

          • We noticed that too. SW was top on our list last year until we saw the inventory. If you do not want a condo, it was a rough market to get in to as there are not that many rowhomes and (according to our realtors) the ones that are there are very pricey and have residents who do not move regularly so they rarely open op. I do agree it has tons of potential though, it is a really great neighborhood! We also noticed a lot of the condos in big apartment buildings that looked rather decrepit from the outside were amazingly re-done inside, so there is a lot of good options there for people interested in condos.

          • Yeah, we’re living in a rented condo in SW and would love to buy in this neighborhood, but for two problems: 1) ridiculous condo fees (due to maintenance issues with the old buildings) and 2) why is it so freaking hard to find a 3BR property in the district? Much less one where the third bedroom is *not* a mother-in-law suite. Most of the condos in SW are only 2BR.

          • Nope they’re not, I checked! I think the condo fees in my building are reasonable, $315 which includes all utilities, maintenance, etc. It’s higher in co-ops because I believe they include your property taxes.

            I think the condo fees are reasonable, they’re probably the same as if you would pay electric, water, etc on a house.

          • i looked at condos last year when i was buying and my budget was exactly $275k. i LOVED SW for many reasons but the condo fees in the buildings where i saw 1brs were RIDICULOUS. like $600 a month. that would be on top of my $1600/month mortgage. no way

  • Corey

    I really feel like one day….maybe 10 years from now Annacostia will be the best place to live in the city. We will see if that prediction is true. But i feel like there is no dentisty over there, there is great metro access and the street car. I would consider it if a few friends lived South of the capitol.

    • It took me a moment to realize that you meant “density” rather than “dentistry.” ;)

    • I totally agree- Anacostia will be amazing someday. We considered it strongly, there are some lovely rowhomes and renovations there already, but we decided for us, it just is not safe enough yet (and we are okay being in a “transitioning” area). I think it will be more then ten years out, but when it happens, it will be a pretty amazing new addition to the city and i am sure investments made early will pay off hugely.

  • I think Woodridge deserves a place on the list. With Rhode Island Ave getting the Great Streets designation, the large homes with big yards, walking distances a big commercial strip that has huge potential and the RIA metro (kind of) make it a great place to be the next revitalized neighborhood.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Yes I like Woodridge a lot too. Maybe I could’ve swapped it with Michigan Park. Rhode Island Ave is why I picked Brentwood.

    • +1. Woodridge has so much potential.

    • I’m not very familiar with Brentwood/RI Ave, but from the Metro I marvel every day that land across the street from the RI Ave Metro station is occupied with a tire lot and a junk yard (and then some abandoned warehouses). What is going on with those properties?

      • Yeah…. Not sure what might develop back there. The DC Tourist Trolley’s are stored in that area. It really is more of an industrial zone. There are junky used car dealers and tire shops all the way up RI Ave from the metro on and most of the attention is on those, as they are more visible and along the entry into the city. Many in the neighborhood wouldn’t be sad to see them go. RI Ave is part of the Great Streets Program and the neighborhood is strongly pushing for small business development.

    • + 1. I’m obviously incentivized to say this, but I recently bought an inexpensive, big, unique, well-maintained place in Woodridge. I really do suggest that anyone still searching for a home give that area a shot. It certainly surprised the hell out of me after months of looking for homes in a number of the neighborhoods listed above.

  • We bought toward the northwestern edge of Brightwood in the summer of 2011 and could not be happier with where we ended up. The neighborhood is very “neighborhoody.” Everyone is lovely and it’s fairly drama-free. But we’re not so far up that we feel out of touch. The buses to downtown or metro are great, or just a short walk to Takoma and we’re eating and drinking our faces off!

    However, prices are going up. If we were looking to buy now, there is no way we’d be able to afford our 4 bdr house with a (small) yard, a garage and a driveway. But we’d still be happy in a 2 bdr 2 bath in the same neighborhood. The house sizes up here vary, so you can almost certainly find something in your range.

    Don’t let the extra mile or two scare you, folks. It’s great up here!

    Thanks for putting us on your list!

    • I agree. I’m on the NE edge of Petworth , and with Walmart coming soon I’m hoping for positive changes . But I’ve heard of more going on in NW Petworth/Brightwood.

    • We love this neighborhood.

    • We are up in North Petworth and visit Brightwood occasionally too. As for growth, I think N. Petworth & Brightwood markets will also be helped even further by their proximity to the coming Walter Reed development and (depending exactly where) proximity to two different metro lines (Georgia Ave & Ft Totten) so there is much room for continued upward swing. N. Petworth & Brightwood allow for residents to feel close to stuff (bars, restaurants, shops, U st, Col. Heights areas), without having those same stores, shops, bars be in your backyard or right around your corner – you are able to still maintain a very appealing, quiet residential feel. And lordy there are some gorgeous single family homes!!! Wish we could afford one!!

  • I’m still betting on Trinidad. I’m under contract for another home on my same block.

  • Yaya! Michigan park is such a great neighborhood.

  • Glad to see Hill East/Barney Circle on the list. A lot of great stuff going on in the neighborhood (plus great Metro access, two full service grocery stores and a hop away from The Yards) and still some good deals to be fine the further east you go (Stadium Armory accessible).

  • Okay, so this is where all the “early adopters” start lauding their hoods in hopes of increasing demand. ;-)

    • Yep, pretty much! We bought in Brookland 2yrs ago, basically across the street from Brentwood and Woodridge, we walk to RIA or Brookland, and love it. It’s so fun to see the new investments, local restaurants, renovated homes and library and parks… I don’t think we could afford our place now but we had a pretty small budget.

  • I think that Truxton Circle is greatly undervalued at this moment. It bears a lot of similarities to Bloomingdale (albeit smaller housing stock), and is even closer/more convenient to the metro + groceries. I walk through the neighborhood all the time and keep thinking that we should’ve bought in Truxton Circle instead of Bloomingdale. (Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love it here in Bloomingdale – just think that the values will increase at a steeper rate in Truxton.)

    • Actually Truxton, or Dunbar Shaw as many call it, is more expensive than Bloomingdale on a sq ft basis. Its closer to downtown, closer to metros, and now easy walking distance to o street market. Homes in that neighborhood are much smaller in comparison than most in Bloomingdale – you don’t get the 3-4 floor large victorians. The 3-4 bedroom homes in Truxton often sell for $650-$750K+ , depending on condition, so not exactly cheap anymore.

      • Yup, we live right in the smack dab in the middle of this and just bought a few months ago. the two bedrooms are on the edge of affordable…high 400s, low 500s. (all relative for dc of course). but the three bedroom down the street just went for almost 700. Anyways I hope you are right about Truxton, I couldnt be more thrilled with our purchase but I just sunk all my money into this house and I’m still shell shocked!! :)

  • Bought last year in Kingman Park and we love it there. A lot of great people in the area, walkable to H St. bars and restaurants, accessible via Metro/D6 bus/streetcar (once it starts running), and the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail is great for running/biking.

  • Benning is the only one I disagree with here. It’s a fairly long, long way before that area really turns around.

  • I purchased a 3br/2ba with yard, fully renovated for under 250k in Brentwood a few years ago. It’s still a little rough around the edges due to Brookland Manor but for the most part it’s a decent neighborhood.

  • This is almost exactly the list I was using last year when house hunting for my first home. Here was my Goldilocks experience after about 18 months researching the housing markets in DC. Waterfront was a great location but much of the stock was co-op and what condos there were had unreasonably high HOA fees. Takoma didn’t have much stock in the 250K range and what there was needed major work; ditto for Manor and Shepard Park. Hill East was too much per square foot. Truxton Circle/Eckington was dangerous. (Hate to say it – this was my previous neighborhood and the crime got to be too much. Gunfire every weekend in the summer, anything not bolted down got stolen, open drug sales and related crime, violent muggings and spillover drama from the clubs.) Anacostia was nice and had some lovely neighborhoods but there is just too little there and it would have made me completely car dependent to run errands. The winner was…. Brightwood! Wonderful neighbors, great buses, walkable to the drug store and Walmart, super-easy for guests to hop on the 70 and take it down to the Mall, super-easy for me to get a drink or go to a show on 14th St then take a 50 bus back home. Love it and can’t wait to see what happens on Georgia Ave and with Walter Reed development.

    • We had a similar experience, our realtors were pushing Brookland, Eckington, and Truxton Circle, Kingman Park HARD. We ended up deviating to Petworth/Brightwood, an area they did not mention intially at all and have had the exact same experience as you – we got more bang for our buck, and have a wonderful neighborhood with gorgeous parks and historical sites all around to boot!

      • When was this? Petworth is priced well above Brookland per square foot ($250 vs. $440 at a glance). I lived for quite a while near the Petworth metro and don’t remember any gorgeous parks – and the Soldier’s Home doesn’t count.. Not knocking Petworth at all, but when I was ready to buy early last year, I wasn’t willing to pay the Petworth Premium.

        • This was exactly a year ago, and we did have to go a full mile North of the Metro – - we were in same boat as you, did not want to pay what it cost to be closer! We purchased a block above Sherman Cir, we got a 4 bed, 3.5 bath fully renovated house, with parking and a deck, for under 500k. We walk (20 min) or bus it to the Metro. I admit I rarely see anything under 500k here now, barring something needing a full gut. You also make a good point re parks, what I was thinking of when I said that is Sherman and Grant Circle which we really enjoy walking to and sitting in, but you are right I guess they are not parks in the sense of playgrounds, but some of the nearby schools do have play equipment. We also love being close to Rock Creek Cemetary and walk there frequently. Maybe outdoor space or greenery would have been a better choice of words!
          Essentially, the houses we saw in N. Petworth (at that time) were larger and on nicer, more residential streets that we preferred then what we saw in our budget in the other neighborhoods I mentioned previously.

          • Sounds nice!! Yes – the circles are enjoyable. I lived on Quincy for quite a while within sight of the Soldier’s Home park and always wished that the community had at least some access to all that space.

    • I bought a 4 bedroom townhouse in one of the SW Waterfront co-op communities last year. The co-op fees are $1k a month, which is actually a total steal because they include heart air conditioning, and real estate taxes. (Along with the usual gym, pool, maintenance, landscaping, garbage removal etc.). A thousand dollars sounds like a lot but if you owned a home without HOA fees, you’d pay at least that much in taxes, heat, a/c, and home maintenance costs.

      • Depending on the underlying mortgage and amenities of the building, 1K could be a steal or undoable for a lower income buyer. Lower income buyers are going to want to maximize the amount of equity built and may not be interested in spending the money on a gym or 24hr front desk. For example, our HOAs are $180/mo for a condo in a quality construction but simple building and include everything but taxes and utilities. That comes out to 180+250(taxes)+70(Pepco)= 500/mo. Compared with the monthly costs of owning a single family detached, 1K might come out ahead but for an investment property or first time buyer, costs could be half of that. But no pool :)

        • Right, we were first time buyers and our 3 bed, 3.5 bath home in Brookland is about $350/mo on average for taxes, utilities, and maintenance (taxes are going up each yr though). We don’t have a gym or pool but we have free gyms at work and I never used a pool when I had one… Depends what you’re looking for :).

  • I agree with all of you. BUT–to be the devil’s advocate–what about crime. And what happens when all these hip 20- 30 somethings start having kids and wanting GREAT schools?????? Isn’t this “urban thing” just kind of a life phase for a lot of people.??

    On the other hand, I LOVE life in the city, but I don’t plan to have kids.

    JH

    • Not at all. You might want to read up on urban planning, development, changing lifestyles and desires, demographics, transportation, education, etc.

    • This was a concern of ours when house hunting, a big one, so we did a lot of research and discovered there ARE good schools in DC – better quite frankly then I expected. You have to be smart about where you buy though. Capital Hill has some stellar schools, including publics. Petworth too has some solid public elementry schools (Barnard, Powell), not to mention a number of well respected charters (EL Haynes). We made sure to purchase close to a good public elementary given the charter thing is a gamble, and we are comfortable with our child going to our zoned public school at least until he hits middle school. It is indeed more dicey as you get to middle/high school levels, but the solid charters remain and the neighborhood associations are all actively working on improving the publics at all levels, so city-lovin’ parentals can have hope!

      • Word is, Powell is getting better, at least for the very early learning cohorts. But as a gut check (from greatschools.org):

        - Hispanic: 84%
        - Black: 12%
        - White: NA
        - FARM: 56%
        - English Learners: 60%
        - 3rd Math: 48% proficient
        - 3rd Reading: 29% proficient

        Nothing wrong with that, but our definition of “stellar” must be different. Beauvoir and Sidwell are steller; CCES, Bethesda Elem are excellent. Powell… maybe on the upswing?

        • Fair points, it definitely is the early learning level where the improvements start and (hopefully) trickle up. The poster described Powell as “solid” not stellar. Any school with a large ESL population will have low test scores unfortunately, which is not always reflective of the instruction provided but more the transition to learning to think and speak in a new language for the majority of the student population. You are right though, we are a long way off from stellar but the Powell parent community is very very active and things are improving greatly.

          • Fair points back at ya: poster indeed said “solid”, not “stellar”.

            I’ve also noticed that the parent community is highly engaged, and that bodes well. I hope it becomes a solid school for kids beyond PS through K; it just might, if the engaged and educated parents stick with it rather than bail.

      • Barnard has An outstanding PK program and pretty nice facility up on the hill. So many Maryland moms sneaking in their kids though, MD tags seem to outnumber DC in the lot during pickup.

        • This is a huge problem in NW, and it results in DC kids not getting in these programs and parents having to scramble to find (and pay for) other options. What makes me most frustrated is that no one in DCPS or the DC government seems to care that the kids of tax paying DC residents are the ones getting hurt by this, they do not do any checks or enforcement on residency status. All they need to do is park at the schools and they will see…its majority MD plates coming in. I have a friend who literally lives next to Barnard and could not get her child in the program, but sees MD plates dropping off day after day after day. I am sad that I guess parts of MD do not have good programs like this, but it is really unfair to see DC kids constantly displaced from really good programs designed to help them. I wish DC would do something about this!

          • Wow. I did not know this was an issue. I bought in Petworth 2 years ago with no kids, and have been researching schools trying to figure out whether my current home (which I absolutely love!) will be a 20 year home or a 5 year home. Sounds like this issue is something our neighborhood groups/advocates need to aggressively take on – because we all know a family neighborhood like Petworth needs to focus on improving its schools, but that is a moot point if there are baseline access issues that aren’t being addressed.

          • The same is true at Bancroft – lots of vehicles with MD plates dropping off kids in the am. This is partly due to policy for pre-K admission that favors a siblings from out-of-bounds family over child that lives in bounds. If a kid starts in pre-K somewhere else, chances are that s/he will continue in that school instead of transferring to Bancroft for elementary school.

          • Ward 4 – if you feel DC kids should have automatic entry (not lottery) to the pre-K in their own neighborhood, PLEASE reach out and speak up now. Some of these issues are currently under discussion, along with a huge host of other 4th ward school issues. We will only see change in our schools if we speak often and loudly.

            There are ongoing 4th ward school meetings open to the public. Reach out to below address for more info and to express your opinion. I suggest participating even if your children are not old enough to benefit yet:

            ForWard4dc@gmail. com

    • “And what happens when all these hip 20- 30 somethings start having kids and wanting GREAT schools?????? Isn’t this “urban thing” just kind of a life phase for a lot of people.??”

      Sure, which is why you’ve also been seeing first ring suburbs explode in demand. The question is whether the next generation will take the place of Gen Y as they move to nicer places w/yards, good schools, low crime, etc. I’d assume yes, at least to some degree. I don’t expect DC to collapse a la 60s-90.

      • I think the city should support single family units, to keep folks in, versus condos…. Schools are being modernized, and crime is down.

      • It’s also not a phase for a lot of people. My oldest son is in K and none of our friends with kids his age have moved or planned to. We are all in great charters and haven’t had to trade short commutes and walk ability for schools.

        • He’s in kindergarten and you’re holding that up as proof? Wait until he’s in high school – even middle school – and then come back.

          • What? I moved to DC when I was 22… if I have a kid this year at 28, and stay here until that kid is in middle school, then I will have lived here almost 18 years. Hardly a “phase”. I don’t know why people have to stay here until they’re old and grey to argue that “urban living” is not just a phase.

      • I think the schools will improve. I lived in a in-city neighborhood in Atlanta that was not “lily white”. The schools got better because parents who wanted to live there, of all races, got heavily involved in the schools, and made sure that their kids behaved and applied themselves to learn. Both of my daughters are successful professionals.

        Another thing — the precincts in my area always had the highest percentage of turn-out for elections. Politicians notice that.

        • Yes, ultimately it’s the parents, not the school faculty and administration, that determine how good a school is. As DC continues to gentrify we’ll get more parents that are involved in their children’s educations, and the schools will improve on their own.

    • Just about everyone I know who has kids have fled to the suburbs or plan to do so before they’re old enough for school. I guess some people can afford private schools, but the fact remains that DCPS are not good, and it’s going to take more than demographic changes to make a difference.

      • gotryit

        “the fact remains that DCPS are not good”
        You’re free to be wrong about that as an opinion, but you don’t get your own set of facts.
        -the parents of a DCPS student

      • I know one family who moved to the suburbs when they had children. I know dozens of families who have kids in DCPS and public charters. (And they’re not all in PreK, either.) I know two families living in DC with kids in private school. Since apparently anecdote = data around here, public school wins.
        But seriously, there are good public options. Not acceptable options, not “ok for now” options. GOOD options. Anyone who says otherwise is willfully uninformed or otherwise has an axe to grind.

        • Name one DCPS option that can compete with an average Montogomery, Fairfax, or Arlington County school. One. I’ll wait.

          • School Without Walls

          • “Competing” with suburban jurisdiction is less important to many urban parents than finding the right fit for their kids. For example, Wilson High School may have trouble keeping up with test scores from monolithically affluent suburban jurisdictions but also still has many great teachers and programs for kids to participate in and every class has high achieving students. Yes, you’re taking a risk in some sense that DCPS an entity that has challenges most of the suburban jurisdictions just don’t but it’s also is a dynamic and rapidly institution with modernizing schools, changing culture and an unprecedented influx of relatively wealthy, educated and savvy parents and better prepared children who are rapidly changing the face of DC public education both in charter and traditional schools. I bet 10-15 years from now Wilson, Banneker, SWS, McKinley Tech will become sought after schools THROUGHOUT the metropolitan region and other neighborhood schools like Cardozo, Eastern, and possibly Dunbar, Roosevelt and Coolidge will be up and coming, improving schools.

          • “Competing” with suburban jurisdiction is less important to many urban parents than finding the right fit for their kids. For example, Wilson High School may have trouble keeping up with test scores from monolithically affluent suburban jurisdictions but also still has many great teachers and programs for kids to participate in and every class has high achieving students. Yes, you’re taking a risk in some sense that DCPS an entity that has challenges most of the suburban jurisdictions just don’t but it’s also is a dynamic and rapidly institution with modernizing schools, changing culture and an unprecedented influx of relatively wealthy, educated and savvy parents and better prepared children who are rapidly changing the face of DC public education both in charter and traditional schools. I bet 10-15 years from now Wilson, Banneker, SWS, McKinley Tech will become sought after schools THROUGHOUT the metropolitan region and other neighborhood schools like Cardozo, Eastern, and possibly Dunbar, Roosevelt and Coolidge will be up and coming, improving schools.

          • Sorry for the double post.

          • Alice Deal MS

  • I’m personally enjoying PoP’s occasional forays into high-concept performance art posts. Huzzah!

  • BTW, what’s up with Prince of Petworth and the double barreled cocktail thing in the photo? Is that lemonade, or what?

  • I bought in Trinidad in late 2010 and paid $240ish a square foot. Now houses like mine are listing for $450 a sq ft. I am very happy. Neighborhood is awesome, neighbors are fantastic, I am as happy as a pig in shit.

    • brookland_rez

      2010 was a good time to buy in Trinidad. I looked in 2009 when I was house shopping. I could have bought a fixer upper for under $200k. The biggest issue for me was distance to metro. I remember going to an open house in 2010 at an unrenovated, but well maintained home in Trinidad. I think it was priced under $250k. The guy was interested but was unsure. I remember assuring him that it was a sound investment. Even though it’s been a few short years, Trinidad has come a long way.
      That entire NOMA area has transformed. I rented on Parker St near K and 2nd NE from 2006-2008. We used to chase off the prostitutes/johns and crazy squatters. There was no Harris Teeter, nothing. The closest grocery was Safeway at Hechinger Mall or Giant on 7th. I ride through that area all the time on my bike and don’t think about it too much but it’s really quite breathtaking at how certain neighborhoods transform in just a few short years.

  • Would Takoma really be characterized as “revitalizing” ?? I really have never thought of that neighborhood like that and I have had contact with that neighborhood for quite a few years now.

    • I agree. I don’t see Takoma Park as up and coming…

        • same difference really. I guess the area up near Georgia Ave and the MD Border could use some sprucing up, but the area around the metro and down toward the library and recreation center seems pretty well-establshed.

          • Prince Of Petworth

            We can talk again in 5-10 years and you’ll see the difference coming there.

          • There has already been a large change in demographics (shift towards younger people/families with kids) with some blocks having >50% of the houses having been rehabbed in the past 2 years.

            Once Walter Reed is re-developed (3-7 year time frame), this neighborhood will boom.

          • There are a lot of infill projects in the works in Takoma DC. Those developments will also include a lot of retail, which is a big deal. Also, neighborhoods within walking distance, like Brightwood, Manor Park, and Lamond are seeing development as a result of their proximity to Takoma.

  • We recently moved to Park View and while its awesome to see new plans/ businesses come about, I love how businesses like Fish in the Hood are thriving (plus, I love their food).
    I like a lot of places on this list, and I think many of them could grow in the same organic way, rather than jacking up mom n pop stores to drop in what looks like a complete block of Wisconsin Avenue, as seems to have happened in some areas of DC.

  • Does anyone know of a place you can search for houses/past sales by price per square foot? Seems like a way to find neighborhoods like this.

  • I’m surprised Anacostia (being so close to downtown) isn’t further up the list…

  • Ugh, so few of these are close enough to a Metro stop. At some point the areas with Metro access will be completely saturated with demand, and there won’t be as much spillover into remote and/or single-family home areas as people might like.

    Generation moving in is interested in good transit, but big SFHs on vast lots are antithetical to that.

    We need new metro lines and rowhouses in wards 3 and 4 if we’re to continue absorbing demand.

    • I think that a lot of people make this mistake in DC – thinking being near a metro stop is the only way to live. I urge people to explore the bus lines. They are arguably better-run then the train system and far more reliable. We saved 150k by buying a home 1 mile away from a metro station, and the bus lines are clean, prompt, and get us to that train station in about 6 minutes. I think a lot of new DC residents come from places where people don’t really use bus lines, so they tend to forget about them when it comes to house hunting in dc and what areas they consider (I know for sure we didn’t think of it). We somewhat unhappily resigned ourselves to being a mile away because of our budget, and regularly walked 20 min to our train Station until we explored the bus lines, now we take the bus almost everywhere we go and love it. And saving 150k…so, so worth it.

      • I should add that we are in an area with SFH’s, you can find those 1-1.5 miles away from Metro Stations in parts of NW and NE DC.

        • And that is a huge problem. This is a city, not a suburb, and having poor land use like that is going to leave many broke and/or out of the housing market altogether.

      • I can see why some people need Metro, but for getting downtown from many places in DC a bus would be direct and easy. I rented my current apartment b/c of proximity to Metro, and I ride it about twice a month because by dumb luck I ended up living on a couple of very useful bus routes that I take everywhere.
        .
        Does anyone know if there’s a website or way to get the bus routes mapped onto google maps (like you can do with the metro lines by clicking the “transit” button)? I’m in the process of looking to buy (this post is awesome, keep the comments coming!) and one thing I’d like to do is see where places are in relation to a few key bus routes and where the bus routes in a neighborhood go. I know I could sit there with the metro bus map next to me, but (a) it’s not the best map and (b) that’s tedious.

        • In the Brookland/Woodridge area, there is pretty solid bus-to-metro access. The G8 runs from the Brookland station along Monroe and then up 22d Street. Evening service isn’t as smooth as morning because buses get delayed coming from downtown. Then there is RI Ave serviced by the 83, 86, and T18 going to the RI Ave Station. Anything along the 80 will take you between Fort Totten and Noma-Gallaudet. None of these bus lines are anywhere near as crowded as the 16th/14th/Georgia Ave lines.

          • Thanks. But looking for an interactive map, ideally one that would allow me to see the bus routes on the same map as an address of a house for sale.

        • Try Walkscore.com. It has scores for public transportation and a “where do you commute?” feature that shows you how to get where you’d be going from the address you entered. There might be something better out now, but this is what I used when looking about 1.5 yrs ago.

        • DC Next Bus app for iOS can map lines (one route at a time). When you have it, move map to are you want to look at and it will show all the stops there. Tap a bus stop, and the numbers of the route show up on the upper left. Tap on the number and it will map the whole route.

          That being said wmata does publish a DC bus map with all the routes on it. Not as detailed as the app maps though.

          • But I want to look at a pin corresponding to a house, and see lines on the same map that show where bus routes go.
            .
            Maybe this isn’t possible, all people are suggesting are awkward workarounds (look at the printed pdf map, use a different device to see the bus route).
            .
            But if the NextBus map on ios can do this (show the whole route on a map), is there a way to download the data and put it into google maps on a laptop?

        • It wasn’t dumb luck; you have access to all those bus routes because you live near a metro station!

      • mcjd79

        North Michigan Park is allowing us to do this, 0.7 miles to Fort Totten & 1.2 miles to Brookland Station and newly emerging amenities.

      • Original poster on Metro here – do you own a car? I don’t and have no desire to get one. I know what you’re saying, but buses in this city don’t run frequently enough for me to rely on them solely. Being close to metrorail AND bus is the only way to convince my LA-transplant girlfriend to not buy a car.

        Also, is it just a coincidence that most of the hottest neighborhoods are rail-accessible? (Either Metro or soon-to-be streetcar)

      • When Metro Rail is fine and not having major delays that make you an hour late to work, I would take that over the bus. Bus has to deal with traffic, metro rail..not really. I would rather walk a half mile to the nearest metro rail station than to wait 15-20 minutes in the freezing cold for a bus that I can actually get on

        • Right. Now, if the District would get its act together and devote lanes to buses, that would be a whole different kettle of fish. But as it is, it’s clear neither WMATA nor DDOT care enough about the buses as to make them viable full-time.

      • I take buses almost exclusively, but I have access to a lot of bus lines because I’m also near a metro station. The further you are fro ma metro station, the fewer buses you typically have access to.

        • Also, development tends to happen more around metro stations. So even if you don’t take the train, metro station proximity would be desirable simply for the other amenities that come with it.

      • This is ideal until someone in the household changes jobs and no longer works in the city, then everyone is wishing they bought within walking distance of metro….

        • Unless the job’s in Rosslyn or something, it’s more likely they’d wish they bought a place with a dedicated parking spot and easy highway access.

  • Stronghold doesn’t have a lot quantity, and developers have been honing in that area in the past year or so. There’s still potential to get in for a good price, but those are few and far between and going fast. A 3 bedroom, no rental unit, recently sold for $694,000.

  • What do people think of the Ft. Totten area? I’m constantly amazed that a Metro station with three lines that’s just a few stops away from all sorts of cool areas (CoHi, Brookland, U Street, Gallery Place, Takoma, Silver Spring, etc.) has absolutely nothing around it. Seems like a huge missed opportunity. There’s not even a grocery store.

    • One, a good bit of the land around Ft. Totten is owned by the fed govt and managed by the National Parks and two, there is a Wal-Mart coming that is walking distance from that Metro.

      • I know about the Walmart but it’s really not that close from the western side of the Ft. Totten station, near North Capitol Street. Walking with groceries for 25 minutes? No thanks. And I also know about the federal property but what’s the deal with the giant cement-mixing factory (Aggregate Industries) that appears to be directly in the middle of it? Some development obviously has been allowed.

  • I guess Adams Morgan has already gotten to pricey to make a lot of money in.

    Yippey! I own a nice 1200 sqft condo in lanier Heights that I am about to put on the market! The area was not so nice when I move in 15 years ago.

  • In the last year I bought in Brentwood, right by the Brookland/Brentwood border and I love it. I saved a ton of money compared to other parts of the city. Admittedly, there is not a lot of housing stock on the market, but some developers have taken an interest in rehabbing older homes. Brentwood is one of those neighborhoods where you don’t immediately see all it has to offer, but once you start paying attention you are pleasantly surprised. I can do my grocery shopping, dry cleaning, banking, shipping, etc easily since all these places are about a half mile from each other. We could use some more restaurants, but I imagine that will improve as the Great Streets initiative really gets under way.

    I used to live in Columbia Heights, which was fun, but I started to feel a bit crowded there, and I was getting tired of the noisiness from the fire station and police activity. Brentwood is a lot quieter, and has more of a cohesive neighborhood feel than Columbia Heights, which felt very transient to me… like it didn’t have a soul. Living in NE has made me explore H Street more and I love it. Just ate a great meal at Boundary Road last night. All in all, I’m glad Brentwood made the list and I’m looking forward to what the Great Streets project will bring to Rhode Island Avenue.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Sometimes a neighborhood feeling more cohesive has more to do with buying vs renting. I know when I first moved to Petworth I felt it was more cohesive than Woodley Park but in hindsight I realize it was only because I personally became more invested in the neighborhood and being a part of it. And believe me, Columbia Heights is one of the most soulful neighborhoods in the District. Having said that, I’m happy to hear you are enjoying Brentwood. It will only continue to grow in the coming years, hopefully it will retain it’s soul too :)

  • No Riggs Park?

  • I’m a little late to this party but I’ve lived in Takoma for a few years. If you are looking for an house under $400k then keep an eye on the area around North Capital and Tuckerman. The homes there are more affordable than most places and it’s walking distance to downtown Takoma DC/Takoma Park, MD. Here’s one house that was just listed: http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/6332-N-Capitol-St-NW-Washington-DC-20011/488589_zpid/
    Also keep an eye on 73 Tuckerman St. NW. It was just flipped and it looks like the developer did a great job. It’s been staged with furniture but it hasn’t been listed yet.

  • Edgewood is the best on the list – it’s a 5 minute walk from the bars in Bloomingdale for now (Boundary Stone, Red Hen, Showtime) but it is close to the Rhode Island Avenue metro station (within 1 to 2 blocks). The rowhouses are spacious and the community of residents is already very ethnically and socioeconomically diverse (young artists, students, professionals, singles, new families). The metro access makes this area a gem – primed for new markets, restaurants, yoga studios, and a thriving pedestrian life. Business-owners, take note!

  • I purchased a 400K home in Edgewood several years ago. My home is outstanding and I love my neighbors. I’m approximately 1.5 blocks from the metro and the homes around me are now selling in the 500s. Best investment ever.

  • Hill East seems like kind of the odd ‘hood out here – it’s gotten pretty darned expensive (at least close to the Metro), and is generally much pricier per square foot than Brookland. More comparable to Petworth, really.

  • Edgewood is a lovely place to live! Close to bus routes, the Metro, and walking distance to Big Bear!

    Homes are affordable, we have yards, and the neighbors are nice.

    (Don’t tell anyone! We are resisting gentrification!)

  • SW/Waterfront is by far #1 on the list. A $2 BILLION revitalization project underway this spring. Yes thats BILLION– the largest construction project in the country. A lot of the older condo’s/apartments are being sold at lighting speed to get upgraded or converted to condos. Let’s hope they increase the sales price and decrease some of the outrageous HOA fees.

Comments are closed.