Good Deal or Not? “Wont last long” edition

1905 9 1_2 Street Northwest

This house is located at 1905 9 1/2 Street, Northwest. The listing says:

“Location~Location This is It. One block from Metro, Shopping, and Entertainment.. Home has updated kitchen,bath this is a true must see, available Lot next door also for sale could be used for parking..This Wont last long”

You can see more photos here.

This 2 bed/1 bath is going for $530,000.

62 Comment

  • Is the listing full of sarcasm? The bathroom is nice, but that’s pretty much it.

  • Updated Kitchen? Yes, technically, updated from original construction in 1900… but c’mon

  • That’s a lot of inside brick on the outside of that building.

  • Holy cow that sucks. The second bedroom seems to barely fit a twin bed pressed against the wall. The updated kitchen is hidious and those combo washer/dryers are horrible. But I guess its all about location. Maybe somene super handy could figure out how to improve the space.

  • Sounds crazy, but given the location, it’s probably about right.

    Gut it, add two floors, sell for $899k.

  • “Lot next door also for sale could be used for parking”? Maybe so, but given the value of real estate in this area, I’d think that would be one hell of an expensive parking spot.

    • justinbc

      Which adds all the more appeal for today’s personal helicopter pilot.

    • If I were thinking about buying this house, I’d definitely want to know what the zoning regulations are for the lots on either side. Could this two-story house end up with a four-story neighbor?

      • pablo .raw

        Looks like it is on R-4: Permits matter-of-right development of single-family residential uses (including detached, semi-detached, row dwellings, and flats), churches and public schools with a minimum lot width of 18 feet, a minimum lot area of 1,800 square feet and a maximum lot occupancy of 60% for row dwellings, churches and flats, a minimum lot width of 30 feet and a minimum lot area of 3,000 square feet for semi-detached structures, a minimum lot width of 40 feet and a minimum lot area of 4,000 square feet and 40% lot occupancy for all other structures (20% lot occupancy for public recreation and community centers); and a maximum height of three (3) stories/forty (40) feet (60 feet for churches and schools and 45 feet for public recreation and community centers). Conversions of existing buildings to apartments are permitted for lots with a minimum lot area of 900 square feet per dwelling unit. Rear yard requirement is twenty (20) feet.

  • the electric meter on the front of the house is a nice touch.

    • It’s unfortunate.
      I imagine it’d be possible to re-wire a house to put the electrical panel (and thus the meter) at the back, but I suspect it’s prohibitively expensive if the only reason to re-wire is that the meter is unsightly.

  • The kitchen layout is really poor — there’s very little upper-level cabinet space, and having the washing machine in the kitchen means there’s that much less lower-level cabinet space.
    At the very least there ought to be some ceiling-mounted (?) cabinets over the stove, ideally short enough that there’s still a “pass-through” to the other side. But I question the wisdom of having that peninsula with the stove in the first place — I guess the idea was to create a “bar” with seating, but so much storage space is lost that I’m not sure it’s worth it. Might be better to have the stove and some cabinets up against the wall on the other side of the stairs, and put an island in the middle or leave it open for a table.

  • Wow. I’m never going to be able to afford a place in DC, am I.

    • jim_ed

      If by ‘DC’ you mean the most transit, retail, dining – and not to mention hottest real estate – neighborhoods in the city, then no, probably not. But DC is a big city! and there are plenty of affordable(ish) neighborhoods and areas all across town.

    • Be patient and have yourself ready enough to go at a moment’s notice. A few deals can still be had.

  • Usually I can find something to like about any house, but I’ve got nothing for this one. Tiny, cramped, unattractive in every way. Unless you can afford to gut it or raze it, it is not a good deal.

  • okay, so I’ll go there; Why the hideous red counter top??

  • A (much) nicer 3 bedroom sold on that street for $584k two years ago. Have prices really gone up so much since then?

    • There have been several of these tiny rowhouses on the other side of U St (12th St, 12th Pl, Florida Av) that have sold for $550-$600k. So yes, prices likely have gone up that much in two years.

    • Yup. That place would easily go for $675-700K today. U Street’s real estate market is red hot. It will only get crazier when all the new condos near U/9th come online next year, thus driving up prices for the existing real estate. More supply does not equate to cheaper prices.

      • Accountering

        I see what you did there. You’re wrong, but nice try.

        • How is he/she wrong?

        • Wrong how? I don’t know if that estimate of $675K-$700K is accurate, but it certainly seems that the arrival of “luxury” condos increases prices per square foot for the existing real estate, and thus increased supply does not, in this instance, result in lower prices.

        • Housing is a relatively inelastic market (though not as bad as healthcare). All those new buildings will be setting record comps for the area, which will serve to drive up the price of preexisting housing. The notion that “more supply will lead to lower prices” really only works for elastic product and service categories. Housing is not one of those.

          • I am glad you don’t do antitrust. I think you are having difficulty defining “market.” Yes, the precious real estate surrounding the U Street and Shaw metro stops is very inelastic, but the price of homes throughout dc is elastic. More supply downtown means prices elsewhere will not rise as fast.

          • Administrator – only to a point. You don’t seem to understand the demand-side by presuming that everyone wants to live in the dense downtown-proper. This is clearly not the case.

          • Anonymous 3:39, you don’t seem to understand Administrator’s point. Downtown was an example. More housing in a nearby/substitutible area means that prices will not rise as fast as they otherwise would.

            E.g. more housing stock in Shaw will, *all things being equal* put downward pressure on housing prices in the surrounding areas, and even in “substitutes” like Logan Circle and H St. Indeed, it will indirectly put downward pressure on housing prices throughout the city.

            The law of supply & demand is not a conservative conspiracy; it’s a banal truism. It applies everywhere and always. I’m baffled when comments sections are full of people talking about how it doesn’t apply.

          • Nobody says that it doesn’t apply, it’s just much more nuanced than a simple supply/demand curve you learned about in college.

          • “Basic economics don’t really apply that well to the housing market”

            This person says it doesn’t apply. How’s that for nuance? My point is that basic economics is actually a great language for exploring the nuances affecting housing, and that it’s much more productive to have this conversation in the context of economics than to have it under the pretense that this is somehow outside the realm of economics. I mean, we’re talking about how society is allocating resources here, people. By definition, this is economics.

          • Heh, fair enough regarding “This person.”

          • dcloafer, I posted that. First, you don’t read so well. I did not say basic economics *does not apply*. Second, what I was talking about is that basic economics teaches the simple law of supply and demand – supply goes up, prices go down. For that to hold, you have to make assumptions that may or may not be true – this is why it’s called economic theory. The real-world doesn’t always work that way. In real-life housing markets, more supply doesn’t always equal lower prices, it’s way more complicated than that. If we’re having a real conversation about,. say, U street housing prices, you can’t just trot out catch phrases from Econ 101.

      • “If they build more nice new condos close to the core, then people will buy them and they won’t need to keep flipping/popping up houses elsewhere.”
        This isn’t an either/or kind of thing — there’s enough demand to live in D.C. that there’s a market both for new condos AND for flips and (alas) pop-ups. I don’t know what you define as “close to the core,” but the presence of new condos in the U Street corridor is not going to mean that developers will have no market for flipping houses in Petworth. If anything, it’s like a mutually reinforcing frenzy.

        • justinbc

          +1 The demand for both renting and buying exceeds the current forecasted supply in DC, and that’s with new huge buildings popping up in almost every neighborhood without a historic tag.

        • So the problem is demand. Why do you think freezing supply will freeze demand? Do you think a ban on pop-ups and condos will make dc less desirable all of a sudden? U Street is in walking distance to many jobs, it should always have been in high demand. It was less desirable for a couple of generations due to racisim/riots/street crime. Fortunately, we have partially overcome some of these demand killers.

        • ” If anything, it’s like a mutually reinforcing frenzy.”
          That’s a perfect description of what’s happening right now. It’s a virtuous cycle if you’re an asset owner who has access to cheap credit. If you’re a young family or an older Millennial looking to buy for the first time, it’s absolutely brutal.

        • Administrator, I don’t think anyone is advocating “freezing” supply, and I also don’t think anyone is saying that “freezing” supply would freeze demand.
          It’s possible to increase supply and have smart infill development. The way to do that is to build mid-rise apartment/condo buildings like the Atlantic project next to the 9:30 Club, or one of the many buildings recently completed or in progress along Georgia Avenue. Popping up individual rowhouses isn’t a very efficient way to increase supply, though it’s a very efficient way for a developer to make a tidy profit.

      • What you seem to miss here is that A LOT of folks are far more attracted to living in 100+ year old homes that have been converted into condos. Many people enjoy the smaller scale buildings and the sort of life/community they seem to engender. Building taller condos downtown won’t do a thing to slow the flipping/popping process in transit-oriented neighborhoods.

      • Yes they will, because many home buyers don’t want “nice new condos”, they want an actual house, and many home buyers don’t want to live in U street. Basic economics don’t really apply that well to the housing market, especially at the city and neighborhood level.

        • If many home buyers didn’t want to live in U Street then why is it so hot right now? 2 bed, 100 year old homes selling for over a mil in U street – I forgot, people don’t want to live there.

        • @Anon 3:53
          You’re missing the point: Previous Anon wasn’t saying that U St isn’t highly desired; s/he’s responding to the point that building more/higher condos won’t limit the flips in Petworth.

        • “If many home buyers didn’t want to live in U Street then why is it so hot right now? 2 bed, 100 year old homes selling for over a mil in U street – I forgot, people don’t want to live there.”
          One massive driver is cheap credit. And that’s a problem created by public policy.

        • @Anon 3:53, many do, but also many don’t. Both can be true. All I said was that many don’t want to live in U street. I didn’t say that no one wants to live in U street, because that’s not true.

  • I would buy it and sit on it until a sweet offer is made by a developer to purchase all three lots(If the ones on either side are buildable- didn’t read the full listing.)

  • It’s sister looks not much better (though at least the counter isn’t red?):

  • “Won’t Last Long” is referring to the foundation

  • Kind of depressing that a house like that is half a mil. Only a few years ago it seems the best house in Petworth was the same price. And we couldn’t believe it. Now they’re selling just the basement of houses for $350k+. Great for my equity but still kind of sucks for an inclusive neighborhood…

  • That’s it, I’m moving to Chicago

    • My friend just picked up an amazing townhouse in the heart of Lakeview – 2BR, 2BA, multiple decks/outdoor space, garage, fireplace, 1300 sq foot duplex for under $370K. I am envious.

  • It’s badly staged but it’s got a lot of potential.

    I get the initial sticker shock but the after tax monthly costs of this place would probably be like $2000 and you can barely rent studios in U Street for that price.

    • My thoughts too. Based on the comments I was expecting something truly horrible, but was pleasantly surprised. This would be an nice alternative to renting an apartment or buying a condo, especially if you want a bit of oudoor space.

    • jim_ed

      eh, not really…. Assuming it sells at list (which I think is fairly reasonable), even with 20% down (that’s $106,000 not including any closing fees), at a 4% rate, this place is about $2,500 a month. 10% down yields it at $2750/month. While that may be fairly equivalent to rent on the east end of U Street, that comes with having a ton of liquid assets on hand to put down.

  • wow, great deal. this will last a week.

  • NO SLEEP AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASERS: The noise from the late night bars on night street would not make that house worth 350k.

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