GDoN “South facing penthouse corner unit!” edition (reader request)

This unit is located at 1423 Newton Street, Northwest. The listing says:

“Welcome to 301! South facing penthouse corner unit! Featuring a large open floor plan w/ gourmet kitchen, granite countertops, stainless appliances & custom cabinets! Large loft style windows compliment gleaming wide plank floors throughout. Spacious 2 bedrooms w/ custom closets. PARKING, though 2 blocks from Metro, shops, dining & entertainment. Virtual tour & information visit 1423newtonst”

You can see more photos here.

This 2 bed/1 bath is going for $529,800 ($349 monthly fee.)

37 Comment

  • Five-and-a-quarter for a builder’s grade box on a one-way street that you have to drive through the 14th St fustercluck to get to? No thank you.

  • I don’t know if I’d pay half a million. Considering the location you pretty much don’t need a car.

  • 529k is a lot for this and I don’t like the location. It’s also apparently been on the market for a week and they then dropped the price by a whopping $100? Not a good deal.

  • so, uh, what happened to the staging? And windows…for that price this seems less than blah…And then there’s that plain box exterior.
    I’m noticing now in listings that not much is given to interior or exterior design are they now considered cosmetic?

  • For $529k, I’d expect a) more than 1 bathroom (even a half bath) and b) the master to have something nicer than a fiberglass prefab shower kit.

    • The space isn’t bad for someone who wants 2 actual bedrooms rather than one that’s basically an office or closet. The LR/DR looks quite large, although the kitchen seems small. and there’s parking–which may help justify something close to the asking price. Today’s fancy kitchen or bath is tomorrow’s joke–i wouldn’t get hung up on the cheap shower. It just seems as though the broker doesn’t know how to sell it.

  • Penthouse in a 3 story?

  • Wow, this is one of the worst deals I have seen on GDON in quite some time. Can’t fathom anyone paying $529k for this. Also, for the record I wish people would stop using the term “penthouse” so liberally, it’s on the third floor…

  • I would never buy on this street unless the windows were completely sound proof. The firetrucks from the station on 14th and Newton use this route frequently. I used to live on 16th in between Newton and Monroe and eventually had to move because of the sirens 24-7. (old lady who needs her sleep)

  • Wow! More than the normal number of POP haters out today! Before claiming this place is so overpriced, how about looking up some comps? A nearly identical unit down the street at 1514 Newton (also 952 SF) went for almost 570 last month without parking, and a smaller unit down the street at 13th and Monroe just went off the market after listing at 550. Both those units have a second bathroom, but one is smaller and neither have parking.

    Please do some research before spitting vitriol on the web. The bottom line is DC is expensive.

    • Lots of places are expensive. That doesn’t make every unit a good deal simply because prices may be facially similar. Finishes, the floor it’s on, etc can easily impact the price and the good dealness aspect. And yes selling even a month earlier could impact the price differential.
      I’d think the sheer volume of homeowners and investors here would lend just a smidge to their opinions on whether it’s a gdon. But what do we know.

    • HaileUnlikely

      Not sure how saying “I don’t think this is worth that much” is “spitting vitriol.” I think this place is pretty nice. But for $529K plus $334/mo, I think one can do considerably better.

      • I’d say the JF comment on this being the worst deal ever and other similar comments are hyperbole if not vitriol. The bottom line is there are quite a few folks that have not followed the DC real estate market for several years and are basing their assessment on what they paid in 2011 when things were not on the up and up in DC. I happen to have been in the market recently and think this is in the ballpark. Another thing folks don’t understand is that the Fed has pumped up real estate prices with low rates. 2k a month financed plus a modest condo fee (cheaper fees are either teaser rates in new buildings or bs rates in townhouses with 3 units that don’t have sufficient reserves and will assess you for every repair) is not bad for a place that would rent for 2500 that also has a parking space that would rent for $150 plus.

        • The rate is high for a building that size with no real amenities or green space. My small building is less with a huge lawn. My bigger bldg (about this size) is $100 less with healthy reserves.
          2k ONLY IF you put down 20%. If you had 105k laying around, why would you buy this place?
          Even in your most ideal scenario, you rent is roughly 150 over costs assuming no repairs. At 3-10% down you’re taking a loss on the rental.
          Not a gd, but I’m sure we’ve seen worse.

          • Again, you completely disregard parking. Maybe too don’t value it, but plenty of people do. The condo fee is very reasonable. Many comparable places are over 400 for a similar sized unit.

          • HaileUnlikely

            This exactly. If you have $105K lying around, I can think of lots of better things than this to buy, and if you don’t have $105K lying around, this will cost you more than you could rent it for–quite a bit more after factoring in PMI, taxes, condo fees, and insurance.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I don’t *completely* disregard parking, but I value a second bathroom (or even half bath) much more than parking. I suspect most of the neighbors frown upon pooping in the parking space.

    • Actually if your windows are closed, the sirens really aren’t that disruptive – as in I don’t have to turn up the volume on TV and they don’t wake me up. It’s noticeable, but not annoyingly so. Part of city-living, imho. (I live in the building.)

  • Good deal. I think this unit is priced fairly based on market conditions. Location is tops. In the heart of CH, walking distance to everything. It’s a upscale building. The parking spot is clutch. I bet it moves quickly.

  • I checked out this apartment over the weekend out of curiosity. It is acutually much more spacious than it looks in the pics. I actually really liked it–lots of light, spaceous closets, quiet, modern kitchen, and great location. I also really loved that it’s a block away from the Giant.

  • I think it looks good. Good light, good kitchen, spacious rooms, nice view out the window. Looks like Holland! And a parking spot is a must in that neighborhood– that probably explains the price, at least partially. I agree shouldn’t be called a penthouse– but good to know that there won’t be heavy footsteps coming from above (an issue with my current apartment.)

  • I actually went to see this place out of curiosity, and I really liked it. The space is bigger than it appears on the pictures. It has amazing light, modern kitchen, great closets. I also liked that it is very close to the Giant.

  • figby

    What a dreary box.

    • Seriously. This reminds me of my grandmother’s (RIP) dreary, grey rent controlled apartment building in San Francisco. It was plain box, but at least she had expansive views over Golden Gate park and a nice terrace. That truly was a penthouse (3BR, 2.5BA, 1600+ sq feet).

  • Seems to me real estate comment sections are always littered with subjective valuation commentary. The bottom line is that real estate is a rent vs own issue. How much does it cost to buy vs how much does it cost to own. If you can afford the down payment, the economics are appealing. If you can’t, then the valuation is purely academic. In this case, we are discussing a mortgage of about 424k after putting 20% down. Assuming a 5% rate of borrow, that is a $2,275 as a monthly payment to service the debt. Adding in the $349 monthly fee and you arrive at $2,599 per month. If you compare that monthly cost vs the current rental options, the offered price looks like value on its own (admittedly, this is where the subjectivity comes in). Keep in mind the above back of the envelope calculations neglect to consider: 1) the cheap cost of capital (rates are very low and the fed is due to raise in December). 2) the tax deduction savings: could be $7,800 the first year that brings the cost down to about $2k per month. 3) the benefit of locking in a fixed cost of home living (rather than risking rent hikes and moving). 4) the benefit of possible rising asset valuation. While there are flip sides to every coin, to me, I find the economics of ownership compelling, which is why I own (and no, its not this condo).

    • Except a huge hole in your logic is that 98% of people considering this place will put down no where near 20%. They will put down 5%. Maybe 10%, if they can stretch. Someone with the means to drop $100K+ downpayment is not buying in this sad, dreary building.
      All in, this place will be costing them $2800+ month. You can rent for way less than that in CoHi.

      • I agree, affording the large down payment is an issue. Which is why its a rent v own economic calculation unique to everyone. I’m not sure how common 5% down payment loans are these days post the financial crisis, but say its 10%, that is 53k, so you are then financing roughly 480k. Lets say we use a more realistic 4% rate, that is $2,339 + $349 = $3,688 per month, which again neglects the other benefits listed above as well as consider the fact that the tax deduction would he higher as you are paying more interest. The ascetic comments are totally subjective, I’m purely speaking to the valuation commentary that I keep seeing on the boards.

        • HaileUnlikely

          About half of the mortgage interest deduction that you are ignoring will be negated by the property taxes that you are also ignoring, and if you are putting less than 20% down, PMI will wipe out the rest of it. Thus, the mortgage payment plus condo fee is a reasonable estimate of the bottom-line monthly cost. If you put down less than 20%, this will cost considerably more than renting. I also own, and agree with you about the benefits of owning, but if I could afford this, I’d still rather spend the same amount on something else somewhere else.

          • Fair point on the property taxes, but I never really put the interest deduction in the calculation, only referenced it in the things to consider section to emphasize that you can’t just consider these things in a vacuum- Rent of $2,500 < mortgage of $2,600 so renting is better.
            I really think it all comes down to 1) can you afford the down payment, if so, then it becomes a 1) risk tolerance 2) taste and preferences.

        • A huge of percentage of first time buyers (and hell, even those trading up) are only putting down 5-10% nowadays in major metro areas. It’s very common. It’s really the only way onto the property ladder if you don’t have family money or a big annual bonus from work.

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