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Spring Real-Estate Guide: Where Homes Fetch Top Dollar

Whether it’s for proximity to downtown DC, sprawling houses, or excellent schools, buyers are willing to pay a premium to live in these six neighborhoods.
Built in 2007, this five-bedroom Potomac home listed in January for $2.7 million. Photograph of Home courtesy of Long & Foster.

Great Falls, 22066
Median Sales Price: $1,050,000
No surprise here—this tony Fairfax County suburb commanded the highest median sales price in 2013 and was the only one to break the $1-million mark. Strict zoning laws mean you won’t find any condos or townhouses—the sprawling Colonials and McMansions sit on deep lots, and many list for $3 million or $4 million.

McLean, 22101
Median Sales Price: $950,000
One of Washington’s most established close-in suburbs, McLean has good schools, big houses, and winding, tree-shaded streets drawing lots of families—and high-rollers. The Zip code claimed the region’s most expensive sale in 2013: a six-bedroom, ten-bath mansion overlooking the Potomac River. Price tag: $12 million.

Potomac, 20854
Median Sales Price: $905,000
After dipping in recent years—to a not-so-low of $784,000 in 2009—the market in Potomac has rebounded, with prices up and houses selling more quickly and closer to list price. Says broker Dana Landry: “In Potomac, you get a lot for your money—a lot of square footage, one or two acres. You’re not going to find that in Bethesda or Chevy Chase.”

Georgetown, 20007
Median Sales Price $901,000
For the first time, Georgetown edged out Chevy Chase DC as the most expensive Zip code in the District. Price per square foot in Georgetown has been climbing—last year it was $580, up from $554 in 2012. How does that translate to sales price? A small two-bedroom home starts at about $1 million. Last year, seven houses sold for more than $5 million.

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Location, Location

There is another way to answer the question “What’s the most expensive neighborhood in Washington?” That’s to look at price per square foot: Where do you pay the highest premium for space? In 2013, only two neighborhoods had a median price per square foot that eclipsed $600.

West End, 20037
Median Price Per Square Foot $637
Since 2010, price per square foot in DC’s West End has spiked by more than 20 percent. The neighborhood has become a magnet for some of the city’s swankiest condos—places like 22 West, the Ritz Residences, and 2501 Pennsylvania Avenue, where properties can command more than $1,000 per square foot. And that doesn’t even take into account the condo fee. A three-bedroom at the Ritz that recently listed for $3.3 million carried a $3,600 monthly fee. But perhaps the biggest shocker: It sold in less than a week.

Logan Circle, 20005
Median Price Per Square Foot $609
Say “real-estate boom” and the first place that comes to mind is probably the District’s Logan Circle. It’s the center of cool, with new restaurants opening virtually every week and a seemingly endless supply of buyers and renters who want to get in. Prices have been climbing for years, and the market shows no signs of slowing. Last year, nearly half of the properties that sold went for more than their original list price.

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