GDoN? “best location in the city” edition

1459 S Street Northwest

This unit is located at 1459 S Street, Northwest. The listing says:

“Stunning all new 1200 sq 2 bedroom, 2 bath luxurious Townhouse Condo. Good light from southern exposure, gleaming gourmet kitchen with huge marble island, custom tiled baths, washer/dryer, and the best location in the city!!!”

You can see more photos here.

This 2 bed/2 bath is going for $679,000 ($183 monthly fee.)

47 Comment

  • justinbc

    Honestly seems underpriced to me given the location, size, and quality.

  • The spaces seem small for 1200 sf total and it isn’t much of a kitchen. I wonder if it’s in the basement, in which case, it’s overpriced.

    • definitely a basement unit. At first I thought it was two floors, but it looks like it’s just one. There must be a big addition on the back of the house.

      • figby

        A similar basement unit at 16th and Q sold last year for $840k. Totally nuts. Who pays that to live largely below street-level?

  • Yes, I always wonder who buys these basement units – I could never live half underground, with little light. Is it people who actually don’t mind, or prefer, to live underground – and do these people actually exist? I’ve known Brooklyn renters who preferred the garden floor of brownstones because they wanted to be able to let their dog out into the yard without going outside, or purchasers of such units who were avid gardeners who wanted to create a nice garden – but they had the space to do so, an entire deep, private backyard. But here in DC, with the alleys, you usually have cars parked out back, and almost no patio to speak of, which is not nice enough outdoor space to even tempt me to live underground.

    • I have an active preference for split level units, with the bedrooms on the basement level and the living space above it. I’m a light sleeper, so the extra soundproofing provided by being underground + having an insulating level between me and any neighbors is a win. And the only thing I do in my bedroom is sleep, so lack of light is fine. I don’t see much to love in all-basement-level units with this sort of bowling-alley layout, though.

    • Andie302

      Usually people that buy garden units pay much less for space underground. If location was of more importance to you than being above ground, then this type of purchase would make sense. I’ve also had real estate clients that want to limit the number of stairs as they age.

    • In my own circle of experience, men are more willing to purchase or rent underground than women. That’s just anecdotal, but in multiple cities it’s been the case each time. Of course television contradicts that, though, with Laverne & Shirley (can’t recall any other basement apartments on TV off the top of my head).

    • They’re often a good deal, although i wonder about long-term appreciation and you have to be vigilant about water issues-past, present, and potential.. Sometimes people renovate the basement first and live there while they redo everything else— some can be quite nice–I almost rented a beautiful one when I lived in DC in the 90s. They usually lack period details and some, particularly in condo buildings are old custodian units they never had much character and no one wants to add much in the reno.

      This one is not w/o light, but a little claustrophobic with ceilings. I would be more concerned with security/privacy. Sometimes there are on a slope, so you get an actual garden and decent light in the back.

    • We went to the open house for this place this past weekend, were pleasantly surprised at how much light it actually gets. Obviously not as much as it would get were it above-ground, but they did do a decent job of configuring it so that it gets a decent amount of light.

  • Observations: no bath tub (so if you have a kid, oh well). And it’s a basement (not the best place to consider a long term home). So…the buyers are either likely to be investors who will rent it to roommates for $3800 mo or….first time buyers who would need $135k for a down payment (well, responsibly to avoid PMI).

    Seems a bit overpriced to me for a basement. a similar sized 2 bed/2ba sold in my condo building on the top floor of a 4 story small building with two parking spaces for not THAT much more.

    BUT the kitchen is a nice use of space. Not enough condo kitchens have decent storage. But there’s also not much space for a table and chairs.

    • Not the best place for you personally to consider a long term home is probably more like it. For some it may be ideal. A home is a very personal thing and it’s great that there are a variety of styles for people to choose from. The buyer of this home might appreciate the feeling of living in a house rather than in an apartment/condo building, where they may have to walk through hallways and/or up several flights of stairs to get to their home. And who’s to say that the buyer is a prospective/current parent? Speaking from experience.

      • I’m simply thinking of the neighborhood and how do you maximize your buyer pool when you renovate given the low supply of 2 bedrooms in that area (I know, because we looked). I also don’t think this looks as though it “feels like a house”. You’re underground. Nothing house-like about that in my view. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s not housey. And you’d still have condo dues.

        • You are totally entitled to your view. To me, though, walking in a front door like the one this home has feels much more like a house than walking into a lobby, going up an elevator or stairs, down a hallway to my door. I did that for years, but the home in this post is closer to my current living situation. That’s why I think it’s great that there are so many options out there. We all have different preferences. Wouldn’t it be boring if we all wanted the same thing?

          • I guess, but as a home buyer in a city I don’t plan on living at forever (specifically because there’s a lack of afforable homes for families), I consider resale value when I have purchased properties. It’s still an investment, after all.

          • Its right off 14th st; anyone that buys this is going to have no problem with resale value later on.

          • Everything is awesome! Everything is cool when you’re part of a team!

          • So if I may summarize your position: there are no good houses or bad houses because people are different? Kinda defeats the whole purpose of this Good Deal or Not exercise, no?

          • To J0-sh: That’s not my position at all. All I’m saying is that we all have different preferences and needs, so what may seem to be a good deal to one, may be a bad deal to another. I hope that’s more clear!

  • Location is indeed great. But, 679K for a basement condo. No way.

    • If I can afford a $679k home, it’s not going to be in the basement. Nonetheless, I’m sure it will be snatched up by a small-plates fetishist who is lured by the bright lights of 14th.

      Also, why is the last picture of a cell phone?

      • I was wondering the same thing! Are they implying the home has Nest or something?

        • If you look at another listing website that has larger pictures, you’ll see that the last picture was cut off. Its a wall mounted iPad; probably controls some of the house features and it looks like there are ceiling mounted speakers. So I assume its tied in with that.

    • Yeah, that’s my thinking too. If the developer was going to do the digout anyway, it seems like it might have made more sense for it to be a regular rowhouse with a legal basement apartment that the rowhouse owners could rent out. Obviously that would make the rowhouse more expensive than the current non-basement portion… but it seems like the pool of buyers for a 2-bedroom English basement apartment would be somewhat limited.

      • Granted, this one does seem to have pretty good light for a basement.

        • I visited a friend who just bought 2 duplex in a converted 4unit building with the bedrooms on basement level, and the place is just shy of 2000sqft. Bigger than most row homes. Other than for the interior den and bathrooms, the bedrooms were huge and had really good light.

      • Almost every rowhouse I have seen with an English basement like this that was done by a developer has sold the basement unit separately. And most sell. So perhaps you are…wrong?

  • Those confused about the suggestions of the “condo alternative” from yesterdays GDoN, this is what they were talking about. For about 45k more, you can have an entire home just up the road and not live in a basement.

  • Perfect example of why the use of “condo alternative” made sense in yesterday’s GDoN.

  • I don’t think this is a great deal. That said, it’s probably among the most affordable options if you don’t want to live in a matchbox and don’t mind the basement. But at this price, I’m not sure why you’d buy this, rather than rent. I understand the pros v. cons of buying generally, but you are paying an inflated rate for a neighborhood at its peak of coolness. It’s not like buying in Shaw/B’dale/Brookland where there is still room for your home value to increase. And (imposing my life trajectory on all other buyers) it’s not like you are getting enough house to really stay there for long enough to make the cost of buying worth it, imo.

    • I hear you on “peak coolness”, but it’s extremely unlikely that this place will ever lose value. Sure, it may not appreciate as much as place in Bloomingdale (for instance), but it seems like a safe bet to me. This could work well as a “starter home” for someone [with a lot of money] who would then have no problem renting it out should they decide to move.

      • I feel it could lose value. My theory is that all of the rental buildings that have went up and are going up in the 14th / U area will be converted to condos and sold at some point. Once the market is flooded with these units, prices will drop. Reasoning is that it is still a fairly tight mortgage market, but as rates increase lenders will loosen the guidelines and more people will be qualified buyers. This is a direct result of the appetite of investors willing to buy mortgages. All the management companies will cash out when the time is right. Now, they are cash flowing the projects with high rents.

        • See Dupont Circle. I doubt anyone selling there is losing money, but you can buy a condo that is larger than this for less money right now in Dupont and Kalorama.

          Safe bets are safe until they aren’t.

  • Pretty sweat deal for a place with a built in iPad… I would of guess at least a million.

  • It’s a good deal and a good investment if you can afford to keep it for 5+ years. You’ll have zero problem renting it out in this location. Most renters care less about living in the basement, especially one that is renovated. So if push comes to shove and you have to move, you won’t have much trouble renting it for costs in 3-4 years. Rents aren’t going down in central DC unless there is a horrific crash (maybe?).

    There are plenty of people out there who will live in a basement level condo. Sure, it is better if you have the 1st two floors. But certainly getting a 2BR 2 Bath under $700K is reflected in the basement placement. Good luck getting anything above ground for this price. Under $600 for newish construction is unheard of near U and 14th.

    • People who say this forget that rent is income and is taxed. I do not think it is a safe bet that this would rent at enough to pay the mortgage and taxes.

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