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Sold in Six Days – Kalorama Studio on Belmont

by Prince Of Petworth May 20, 2016 at 10:35 am 28 Comments


Hipchickindc (aka Suzanne Des Marais) is an associate broker with Bediz Group, LLC at Keller Williams Capital Properties . Unless specifically noted, neither she nor the company that she is affiliated with represented any of the parties or were directly involved in the transaction reported below. Unless otherwise noted, the source of information is Metropolitan Regional Information Systems (MRIS), which is the local multiple listing system and/or Real Estate Business Intelligence (RBI). Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Featured Property: 2032 Belmont St NW #132
Legal Subdivision: Kalorama
Advertised Subdivision per Listing: Kalorama
Bedrooms: 0 Baths: 1 Parking: Street Ownership: Condo
Square Footage: 386 square feet Monthly Condo Fee: $272.71
Original List Price: $224,900.
List Price at Contract: $224,900.
List Date: 02/25/2016
Days on Market: 6
Settled Sales Price: $224,900.
Seller Subsidy: $1000.
Net Price per square foot: $580.
Settlement Date: 04/30/2016
Transaction type: Standard

Original GDoN post is: here.

The listing can be seen here: here.

This unit is located in one of Kalorama’s numerous high rise buildings surrounded by trees and green space. Tucked away from the hustle and bustle, this area is not far from Adams Morgan restaurants and bars, Rock Creek Park, Woodley Park, and (north) Dupont. The Valley Vista condominium is a large building, with 169 units, built in 1928.

Since the beginning of 2016, there have been a total of 89 settlements of studio units that are condo ownership in all of DC. These range from a 264 square foot unit on Irving Street NW in Columbia Heights that sold for $111,000. (list price at $99,900.) to a 600 square foot high rise loft space on New York Ave NW that sold for $399,900. This time last year, there were only 57 studio condos settled to date. Median time on market for studio units in 2016 so far is 16 days, so they tend to move quickly.

In contrast, there have been well over 400 one bedroom condo units settled throughout the city since January 1st 2016, and at least 400 two bedroom condo units sold in NW alone during that time.

You can see currently active studio units available here

The listing agent for this sale was Vanessa Patterson with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Pen Fed Realty. Jeff Wu with Keller Williams Capital Properties (per above disclosure, the same brokerage firm as the writer) represented the Buyer.

  • Hill Denizen

    Ugh, that just hurts my soul. I get that this is a great location and an updated apartment, but over $200k for a fairly small studio plus a condo fee??? That’s insanity.

    • anon

      Tried paying rent lately? Guess not….

    • Anon Spock

      Always curious about these things: what do you think it should sell for?

    • Hill Denizen

      I do pay rent, for an apartment about this size actually, but I could never imagine investing in a space this small to live in or at least hold onto for the long haul. Stuff like this just makes me feel like I could never afford to buy in this city. And I’m not a real estate professional, but I don’t necessarily think this is a bad deal or overpriced given the market. It’s just overpriced for me personally.

      • Anon Spock

        You sounds like you can afford to but but you have some issues with what you can afford.
        If you’re comfy paying rent for this space, it makes no sense you’d bulk at buying such a space which would likely be cheaper than your rent and give you a tax break.
        Unless you get a foreclosure or stay east of the river, you’re not getting much more at this price point.

        • logandude

          It is not just the per-month cost, but also flexibility/liquidity. If you rent, you can get out with relatively minimum hassle and with minimum losses – if your job or family situation changes, or all of a sudden you hate the view out of your window (dang that highrise that’s going up right in my viewshed!) or a new noisy bar moves in around the corner. But if you buy, it may be more difficult to get out quickly, and there is at least the risk that you could lose money on it (past results do not guarantee future returns).
          Incidentally, another way to get in at a lower price point in this neighborhood is to go co-op rather than condo.

          • anon

            I’m the anon above – I could never see buying a studio either, as I craved space, and much enjoyed living in my larger rentals v. my smaller ones. So I held out to buy until I could afford a big space. Now, having moved cities, and renting again, I don’t think I’ll necessarily do that next time, as there seems to be savings in buying small condos here.

            Having owned in NYC, where and when coops were pretty much all that was available (before the condo building boom of more recent years), I’d say a coop is even more restrictive if your life changes, and wouldn’t buy one in DC just because condos are readily available and DC buyers tend to have a problem with them (for when you go to sell.) Here where condos are plentiful, they can usually be rented out, and sold more easily (no board approval), so I might buy a smaller condo here (though probably not a studio) even if I hope for more space sooner than later. As with anything I’d buy, it has to be a good deal financially (monthly fees and taxes) and look good, so as to be readily sellable when I want to sell it.

  • CS

    I’m always curious as to who is buying studio condos. Are people generally buying them to live in full time? Or are people buying them who live/work part of the time in the city (and have a larger home elsewhere)? Or are investors buying them to rent them out?

    • CS

      And I realize it’s probably d) all of the above, but I just wonder which situation is the most common.

      • Anon Spock

        I think 1 & 3 are most common, but #1 seems most likely. Cheaper than renting a similar studio or 1 bed with the added benefit of the tax deduction. Good option for a starter home.

        • Yep, most of my friends who bought studios lived in them for cheaper than what they’d pay for rent in comparable buildings, and used to equity to scale up after a few years.

          • kd21

            Equity? You don’t build equity after a few years, unless you’ve already put a bunch down, or you’ve won the real estate lottery and realized a double digit gain on your property.

          • ledroit

            right, and anyone who’s bought real estate in this area in the past 20 years has hit the real estate lottery.

          • fka Shawess

            +1 to binpetworth.
            kd21, double-digit gain isn’t unheard of in some parts in DC, even in a year or two. And even if you’re paying a decent amount of interest on a loan, payment of principal on a fixed-rate mortgage isn’t totally negligible in the beginning. It’s not huge, but it can add up.

          • kd21

            fka Shawess,

            Sure, you’re putting down money each month towards the principal even in month 1 on a 30-year loan, but the wealth associated with building equity for a year or two before selling is completely wiped out by all of the fees and taxes associated with buying, owning, and selling a property.

          • fka Shawess

            kd21, you’re absolutely right that this could be the case. I guess I’d just say that each case has its own considerations. There are scenarios in which you could walk away from a property in a few years without losing money, and in some DC neighborhoods and properties, actually pocketing some decent returns.

      • SaraEP

        I’m going to guess it’s more the latter. The folks in my building who own are on a wait list to rent out their units because the building currently has too many renters (I’m in NW). Unit owners now have a 3 year cap on how long on their renters can stay in their unit so that all unit owners have an opportunity to rent. I get it but it’s pretty sucky for long-term community building.

        • Anon Spock

          That’s the first I’ve heard of this setup. Must be a popular stretch.

          • anon

            this is actually a smart rule that many condos should put in place before they become majority investor units. If you get over 50% renter occupied, then the building is no longer on the FHA approved list for government backed loans. This will add serious cost to a new mortgage or refi and making selling a PITA.

        • HaileUnlikely

          I wonder how the condo board’s cap on how long a renter can stay legally relates to DC’s in my opinion sometimes over the top tenants rights. I guess this would require a unit owner who has no intention of living in their unit to do so anyway, as owner re-occupying dwelling for personal use is basically the only legal grounds for getting rid of a tenant who is paying rent.

          • SaraEP

            Yeah, unsure. Not a battle I wanted to fight and neither did my landlord. I’m moving out and he intends to sell. I think it made the building less attractive as I’m hoping to stay in DC long term and would like to build relationships with my neighbors.

          • Anon Spock

            Since the policy isn’t really giving the owner more right than they have (can always take possession for personal use at lease end), I don’t see much of a challenge to the policy.
            Sara, why does the 3 year renting cap preclude relationships with your neighbors? You can be friends with people even after you move.

        • Anon

          Is this a coop? Coops have different requirements than condos because they need to maintain a higher proportion of owner-occupied units.

          • anon

            I don’t think they do, for financing purposes for new owners’ mortgages, which is the reason, any more than condos do – the mortgage financing rules are generally the same. Coops just prefer fewer renters usually.

          • Sudden Debt

            The Valley Vista (2032 Belmont Rd) is a condo.

    • anon

      If you are single, they are not a bad option. Really works well if you can put a sizable amount down and keep your monthlies low.
      Also, I am not there yet, but i would buy college age kids a studio. Better to pay for this then rent in a dorm or group house. When they are out of school, then they can start paying everything and have a head start at building capital.

    • domrep

      A neighbor of mine, actually they’re a married couple…bought a 480 square foot studio for about 170K 4 years back, sold it last month. They probably got close to a six figure profit for it. After commission and other fees. It depends on where you buy, in DuPont you’re probably paying at the highest price point so it’d be a little more difficult to profit quickly, but in an area like Navy Yard or SW, with the development coming in, you’re more likely to see a better return on your investment.
      Buying a studio condo is an easy way to get your foot in the door when it comes to owning some real estate in DC. It’s cheap to buy, probably cheaper than your rent and you get the added benefit of tax breaks and writing the interest off. Live in it for 4 years, flip it, profit and get something bigger.

  • SaraEP

    To Anon Spock:
    May 20, 2016 at 12:55 pm
    Since the policy isn’t really giving the owner more right than they have (can always take possession for personal use at lease end), I don’t see much of a challenge to the policy.
    Sara, why does the 3 year renting cap preclude relationships with your neighbors? You can be friends with people even after you move.

    Yes, I understand I can remain friends with someone after I move or they move and I will. That wasn’t my point. My point was that I’d like to be in a building where people can and will stick around for more than three years. I’m of the opinion that people who have a vested interest in living a building long-term tend to care about more about knowing their neighbors, their safety, and care of the building. Those who buy just to rent a place and then expect their tenants to move out after three years may not be like that because they’re looking to make a buck and leave. If that’s their goal, fine, but I’d rather not live there.


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