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Tales From the Boom and Bust: Where to Buy Now
Comments () | Published May 1, 2010

Where Prices Have Gone Up

In DC: American University Park, Tenleytown, Palisades (20016)

Zip code 20016, which includes the Palisades, American University Park, and Tenleytown, has seen the highest three-year price increase in the region as families have flocked to the area, drawn by strong schools, proximity to downtown DC, and relative quiet.

In all three neighborhoods, which have lots of single-family homes, neighbors stop and chat as they walk their dogs or head to nearby shops. In Tenleytown, that includes Whole Foods on Wisconsin Avenue. In the Palisades, there’s the Belgian bistro Et Voila and Kemble Park Tavern. In American University Park, residents can eat lunch at Wagshal’s deli and pick up dinner at the HomeMade Pizza Company.

“The population of school-age kids has skyrocketed,” says mother of three and writer Lynda Cokinos, a fact she attributes to the strong reputation of Francis Scott Key Elementary School in the Palisades. Tenleytown’s Janney Elementary also is considered one of DC’s best.

Since 2006, the median home price has climbed by 29 percent to $710,800, though last year prices fell by about 5 percent. The nearby Cleveland Park Zip code 20008 has seen a similar rise—prices rose by 23 percent to $624,999 in the last three years.

In Maryland: Downtown Silver Spring (20910)

Over the last decade, downtown Silver Spring has been transformed from a relatively affordable, slightly shabby area to one of the region’s most desirable areas for families and young professionals.

The median home price in 2009 was $400,000, up by 14 percent from three years ago. Residents seeking large homes within walking distance of the Metro pay for the proximity to a town center: Four-bedroom single-family houses on residential streets often sell for $750,000 and up. Lots of new condos and townhouses have been added in recent years.

“We wanted a neighborhood that was close in and felt urban but where we could buy a house with a yard for our family,” says Rachel Posell, 44, a personal trainer and mother of three. She also appreciates the area’s ethnic diversity, strong school system, and reliable government services. When it’s warm out, she and her family like to walk around downtown Silver Spring, which features a farmers market, concerts, and lots of restaurants.

In Virginia: Arlington (22202)

Arlington’s 22202 Zip code—which includes the neighborhoods of Arlington Ridge, Aurora Hills, Pentagon City, and Crystal City—is filled with young professionals and two-income families drawn to a highly rated public-school system.

Real-estate agent Mary De Luca says many residents work for the federal government, including at the nearby Pentagon, which has helped protect real-estate prices. The median home price in 2009 was $490,000, up by 9 percent over the last three years. (The median price rose even more over the same period in Oakton’s 22124 Zip code, but that area saw a big drop last year, from $649,990 to $504,000.)

Says De Luca: “Arlington went from a place that people didn’t want to move to in the ’80s and ’90s, when it was sort of rundown, to being what we have today”—an area filled with restaurants, bike paths, shopping, upscale condo developments, and single-family homes.

Franki Parde, who has lived here 30 years, says her neighborhood, Aurora Hills, has restaurants and shops that rival those of Georgetown but without the difficult parking. Parde and her husband walk almost everywhere on the weekends, including to the nearby Pentagon City mall.

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Posted at 05:00 PM/ET, 05/01/2010 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Articles