Looking to unload a house or condominium with a short turnaround time and for more than the asking price? Sellers in Penn Quarter, Columbia Heights, and Adams Morgan are in luck. Those neighborhoods led DC in home sales last month, according to new statistics from Long & Foster that re-affirm the District's status as a very hot housing market.
The median home sale citywide last month was $517,000, a 15 percent increase over the same period in 2012, with several neighborhoods charting median sale prices at greater than 100 percent of listings. In Columbia Heights and Mt. Pleasant, the median sale was $569,000, another 15 percent bump from last year. On average, sellers in those neighborhoods received 103.5 percent for what they put their homes up. And and the listings went quickly, too, with houses and condos lasting an average of just 19 days before being snapped up. The citywide average was 29 days.
Adams Morgan and U Street were not far behind, with homes in those nightlife-filled neighborhoods going for 101.8 percent of asking prices. But the rate at which housing prices increased was much slower—the median sale price was $471,000, up just 1 percent from last year's figure of $465,000.
By Natalie Grasso
The Laird-Dunlop Coach House is abuzz with people finalizing its listing with Washington Fine Properties. Listing agent Eileen McGrath is on her laptop in the kitchen, interior designer Kelley Proxmire is putting the finishing touches on her staging job, and photographer Angie Seckinger has just arrived to document it all. We’re here for a tour with McGrath, and as we wait for her to complete paperwork our eyes drift to the ballroom. We begin to fantasize about the parties we might like to throw in the room, with its 14-foot ceiling and Palladian-inspired French doors opening onto a lush and secluded garden and views across the river to Virginia.
Photographs courtesy of Home Visit.
Address: 2030 R St., NW
Details: 6,000 square feet; 6 BR, 4+ BA; roof deck, 3-car parking, media system, elevator; lower-level space could function as gallery or in-law suite.
Listing Agents: Cathie Gill, John Gill, and John Pruski
We know, we’re still in Dupont (and still not completely over that Corcoran Street property we showed you last time). But we couldn’t resist the opportunity to sneak a peek at this four-level Victorian we discovered on a recent trip to the neighboring Phillips Collection.
Photographs by Chris Zimmer Photography.
Address: 1618 Corcoran St., NW
Details: Approximately 3,000 square feet. 3 BR, 3 BA in main house; 1 BR, 1 BA rental unit on lower level.
Listing Agent: Jennifer Myers, RE/MAX Allegiance
Maybe it's the lure of a floor-to-roof renovation. Perhaps it's the prime location just a few blocks off Dupont Circle. Or maybe it's because we're currently crushing on designer Lori Graham, who helped outfit the interior of this swanky three-story space. In any case, we were chomping at the bit to get a peek inside.
"It was completely gutted--from the floorboards to the walls to the ceilings," says Myers. "It is like-new construction, but still keeps those period details. That's hard to find in Dupont." The home's 127-year-old facade was kept intact, and the moldings, staircase, and fireplaces within were modeled after the originals. "The owner wanted to modernize the space while still remaining faithful to its 1880s style," she says.
We think it worked.
The Georgetown home that former International Monetary Fund Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and his wife, Anne Sinclair, own will soon go on the market. Photo by Erik Uecke
The home that disgraced former IMF head Dominque Strauss-Kahn and his wife, Anne Sinclair, own in Georgetown has been listed with Washington Fine Properties and is expected to officially go on the market within the next two weeks, according to Dana Landry, principal broker at Washington Fine Properties. Strauss-Kahn and Sinclair bought the home—located at 2613 Dumbarton Street, Northwest—in 2007 for $4 million. At the time, the listing described the three-bedroom, four-bath house as an “extraordinary and complete renovation of an East Village Federal.” It said the home had a library and “multiple sets of French doors that open to a huge backyard.” Built in 1900, the red-brick home is currently assessed for $3.8 million.
Prices for townhouses at Old Town Commons start at $714,900.
Buyers are drawn to Old Town for many reasons. With its cobblestone streets, waterfront setting, and Colonial-era buildings, the historic city is charming and beautiful. King Street is lined with independently owned shops and restaurants. Three parks—Waterfront Park, Founders Park, and Oronoco Bay Park—provide green space along the water. On Saturday mornings, the year-round farmers market at Market Square is busy. And a free trolley connects the neighborhood to the nearby King Street Metro station.
So it may not be surprising that even with the real-estate slowdown, median prices in Old Town’s 22314 Zip code have remained relatively steady. “Old Town has held its value well despite how difficult it’s been,” says Nicky McDonnell, a Coldwell Banker agent. And the market is beginning to show signs of growth: In April, the median sales price surpassed $600,000 for the first time since October 2006.
Townhouses in Old Town usually start in the $700,000s, says Marc Pina, vice president of Coldwell Banker’s Alexandria branch, although large restored houses can command much more—a six-bedroom Federal-style home on Cameron Street, five blocks from the water, is listed for $2.7 million. Bargain-minded buyers can find small condos in older buildings in the high $200,000s.
Old Town and its surrounding neighborhoods also claim a handful of new condominium and townhouse developments, many with a traditional look and feel. “New construction has kept the wonderful old character of Old Town,” says McDonnell. New condos typically range from $300,000 to $800,000; new townhouses are often priced from $700,000 to $1 million.
900 North Washington Street
900 N. Washington St.; 703-851-2255
Buyers at 900 North Washington Street are within walking distance of the King Street business district and the Braddock Road Metro. Made up of three four-story buildings, the development has 57 one- and two-bedroom condos. Shared amenities include an exercise room and two rooftop terraces. Twenty-three units are still on the market. Prices, which include a parking spot, start at $379,000 for one-bedrooms and $499,900 for two-bedrooms.
Duke Townhomes & Flats
1300 Duke St.; 703-837-0364
About a half mile from the King Street Metro station, the Duke Townhomes & Flats is a development of 18 townhouses and 40 condos. Only one home remains: a two-bedroom condo ($594,900) with a gas fireplace.
Old Town Commons
735 N. Alfred St.; 571-312-8910
When finished, Old Town Commons will span five city blocks and include 159 townhouses and 44 condos. Construction is ongoing, and the developer is putting homes on the market in phases. Designed to look like historic Alexandria rowhouses, the townhouses range in size from three to four bedrooms. Some have two-car garages; all have rooftop decks and, on the main level, hardwood floors. Prices start at $714,900 for a three-bedroom townhouse with a loft. Condos, which will begin going on the market in October, range from one to two bedrooms; prices start in the high $200,000s.
2400 Main Line Blvd.; 571-970-4043
North of Old Town, Potomac Yard will eventually boast 571 condos and townhouses. Homes will range from two to four stories and from three to four bedrooms. Some will feature two-car garages, fireplaces, or roof decks with space for a wet bar. The nearby 24-acre Potomac Yard Park—scheduled to be completed next year—will offer a mile-long jogging and biking path and a small concert stage. Although construction will be ongoing until 2016, a handful of condos are already on the market, ranging from $500,000 to $600,000. Townhouses will range from $700,000 to the mid-$900,000s.
This article appears in the August 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.
Cheri and Bob Justis had lived in a five-bedroom house in Germantown for 14 years, but they’d long dreamed of trading it for a condominium closer to DC. After six months of condo hunting in places such as Alexandria and Bethesda, they fell in love with the Palladian in Rockville Town Square.
“The whole mixed-use community with restaurants, shops, and condos was amazing,” says Cheri. Their new two-bedroom unit, which sits just beneath the clock overlooking Rockville Town Square, gives them a front-row view of community activities. In December, they watched the town square’s Christmas-tree lighting from their window.
The couple also likes the condo’s proximity to the Metro—the Red Line’s Rockville stop is a short walk away. The Justises, both proposal writers, often take the subway to meet with clients who work in the District. Says Cheri: “We can either walk to everything or ride to where we want to be.”
The Rockville area has lots of condos and apartments. These five communities have new units for sale or rent:
Completed in March of last year, the Alaire (1101 Higgins Pl., Rockville; 301-770-4440) is the first gold-level LEED-certified apartment complex in the Washington area. It has a “green” roof, solar-powered trash compactors, and a saline pool. Within walking distance of the Twinbrook Metro station, the complex has 229 units, 66 of which are still available for lease. Rents range from $1,725 for a one-bedroom to $2,700 for a two-bedroom with loft. All units come with a free parking space.
Reston was developed as a planned community in the 1960s and became more popular in the 1980s with the building of Reston Town Center, a hub for shopping, dining, and entertainment.
Homebuyers pay a premium for newer properties close to the town center. Condos range in price from the low $100,000s to more than $1 million. Townhouses start in the $200,000s, and there are million-dollar single-family homes. Prices are lower in nearby Herndon. Here are new developments in both areas:
Midtown Reston Town Center (11990 Market St., Reston; 703-689-0900) was built in 2006. There are two condo towers and a third building, Midtown North, which has loft-style units. Amenities in all three include a private media room with theater seating and a landscaped deck with a waterfall. About 36 units are available—half in Midtown North and half in the tower buildings. Prices range from $400,000 to $990,000.
Higher prices in DC and the close-in suburbs have led some homebuyers to look at Frederick. “As long as you can keep up with the commute, the advantage of Frederick is lower prices,” says Tom Greeves, who sells homes in the area. The market held steady last year and has been picking up in 2010.
Frederick has MARC and Amtrak service to DC’s Union Station; a walkable downtown with shops, restaurants, and arts; historic homes; and a small-town feel.
Single-family homes range from $200,000 to $1 million. The historic district and Baker Park, near Hood College, are popular. While there hasn’t been much new construction in downtown Frederick, several nearby communities have new single-family homes and townhouses.
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.