Chancellor's Row, in DC's Brookland neighborhood, will have 237 brick-front townhouses. Photo courtesy of Chancellor's Row
Washington’s average commute of more than 30 minutes ranks as one of the worst in the country. Every day, the District’s population swells by about 70 percent as workers pour in from across the region. Drivers also crisscross DC, Maryland, and Virginia to get to jobs in employment hubs such as the Dulles corridor, Tysons Corner, and downtown Bethesda.
Worsening traffic has made living along the Metro and near Maryland’s MARC and Virginia’s VRE stations more desirable. Rail commuters save time, money, and—in some cases—their sanity. “While on the train, you can answer e-mails or read a book,” says Kenneth Wenhold of Metrostudy, a real-estate consulting firm. Homes near transit have also held their value better during the recession. “They tend to be priced higher and sell faster,” Wenhold says.
Here are eight new-home communities near Metro, VRE, and MARC stations.
When Amy and Justin Kim were ready to buy their first home, they came up with a list of what they wanted: a two-bedroom close to the Metro with a back yard for Twiggy, their chihuahua. Their price target of about $500,000 led them to Del Ray.
Bounded by Braddock Road, Route 1, Glebe Road, and Russell Road, Del Ray started out 100 years ago as a community of railroad workers from nearby Potomac Yard—then one of the biggest railroad yards on the East Coast. Today Del Ray is an artsy enclave of working professionals drawn by proximity to the Metro and Old Town; affordable, charming homes; and the sense of community.
Birchwood Apartments (525–545 N. Pollard St.; 703-465-0050) is a 43-unit apartment building four blocks from the Virginia Square/GMU Metro station. Units have floor-to-ceiling windows in the living room and granite countertops in the bathroom; amenities include a billiards room and fitness center. Rents range from $1,875 for one bedroom to $3,195 for three.
Less than a mile from the Ballston Metro, Buckingham Commons (4330 N. Henderson Rd.; 703-875-0303) is a development of Federal-style red-brick townhouses. The first phase of construction—which included 69 townhouses—hit the market two years ago; three units from that group are still for sale. A second phase of 51 homes goes on sale next year. Built around courtyards, each four-story townhouse has a rooftop deck, hardwood floors, and a two-car garage. Three-bedrooms start at $675,000, four- and five-bedrooms in the low $700,000s.
>>This item is part of the May 2010 cover story Tales From the Boom and Bust. To read an excerpt from the article, click here. To read the complete account of the rise and fall of the housing market in Washington, pick up a copy of the magazine, now on newsstands.
Wonder what happens to houses after foreclosure? Welcome to the fast-paced world of housing auctions.
At 8 am on a Saturday, about 100 investors, homebuyers, and spectators gather at the Grand Hyatt in DC’s Penn Quarter. James Brown’s “Living in America” blasts at nightclub decibels.
The auction house REDC has 50 homes on the block, and bids start as low as $5,000. The crowd is hungry for bargains.
Where: 2035 2nd Street, NW; 202-299-9223
What: Cityscape on Belmont
Where: 1330 Belmont Street, Northwest
Number of units: 28
Number sold: 20
Floorplans: Options include one bedrooms with one bath, two bedrooms with one bath, and two bedrooms with two baths. Two-story, two-bedroom units—some with private rooftop terraces—are also available.
Prices: $349,000 to $799,000.
In each unit: Most units have marble fireplaces, and all units have private patios or decks. Kitchens have premium stainless-steel GE appliances, granite countertops, and cherry cabinets with under-cabinet lighting. High-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) cables are already wired through the walls, ready to be plugged into an HD television. Ceilings in some units reach 16 feet.
What: The West Village of Shirlington.
Where: 4155 S. Four Mile Run Dr., Arlington.
Number of units: 528 spread out over 40 buildings, each with four floors.
Number sold: 410.
Floor plans: Choose from one- and two-bedroom condominiums, two-bedroom cottages, and three-bedroom townhomes. Cottages are flats, and townhomes occupy two stories.
Prices: One-bedroom condos start at $310,000, two-bedroom condos at $369,000. Cottages start at $399,000, townhomes at $434,000.
In each unit: Hardwood floors, custom walk-in closets, washer/dryer, ceramic tiling in the bathrooms, and stainless-steel kitchen appliances. There’s also a balcony, walk-out terrace, or sunroom in every unit.
What: Axis Condos
Where: 243 15th Street, SE
Number of units: 20
How many are left: 7
Available floorplans: Three one-bedrooms, which each have a den and two-bathrooms; three two-bedroom, two-bath units; and a penthouse with two bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a den.
Prices: $359,900 to $595,000
Building amenities: A shared rooftop terrace has views of the Capitol; the penthouse unit has a private terrace. Other luxury touches include caesarstone countertops, hardwood floors, and thumbprint door access.
Closest metro: Potomac Avenue and Stadium-Armory are both about four blocks away.
Special deals: If you use the developer’s preferred lender, Axis Condos will drop the asking price by three percent.
Where: 1391 Pennsylvania Ave., SE
Number of units: 247
Floor plans: There are 10 floor-plan options, ranging from one-bedrooms with a bathroom to three bedrooms with two bathrooms.
Prices: Prices start at $332,900 for one-bedrooms, $363,900 for one-bedrooms with a den and a parking spot, $399,900 for two-bedrooms with parking, and $479,900 for two-bedrooms with a den and parking.
In each unit: Hardwood floors and granite countertops, stainless-steel appliances, walk-in closets, and ceramic tile in the kitchens and bathrooms.