When Union Market opened in Northeast DC in 2012, it was impossible to predict how dramatically it would affect the surrounding neighborhood in just a few years. Back then, it was the sole newcomer to the historic Florida Avenue Market next to Gallaudet University. Today, its neighbors include luxury apartments, Trader Joe’s, Blue Bottle Coffee, Italian hot spot Masseria, and, soon, a steakhouse from Le Diplomate restaurateur Stephen Starr.
It’s no shock that home prices around the market have steadily ticked up, too. But the record-breaking sale that just took place in the neighborhood is something of a surprise: The four-bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom rowhouse at 919 4th Street, NE was listed for less than a week before it received 17 offers—yes, 17. The sale closed on Friday for $1,387,000—or $338,000 over its list price of $1,049,000.
A single-family home has never sold for so much in the area bounded by Florida Avenue, H Street, and the metro tracks, now sometimes referred to as the Union Market District.
“Our strategy selling this house had always been to price it slightly below where we thought it would go,” says Robert Bailey, founder of Rock Creek Homes, which renovated the previously vacant house. But he says neither he nor his agent, Slate Properties’ Kenneth Germer, “expected it to go as high as it did” especially since “it wasn’t just like one or two offers that drove it up.” Of the 17 offers that came in, five were over $1.3 million.
Kelly Standen Balmer of ONE Real Estate represented the buyers, who are moving to DC from out of town. She says one-half of the couple hadn’t even seen the house until the final walk-through yesterday. She says they waived all contingencies, used an escalation clause that increased in $20,000 increments, and offered all-cash (though they ultimately financed 50 percent) to win. She says they were attracted to the neighborhood because of its proximity to H Street, Trader Joe’s, and Blue Bottle Coffee, and because they anticipate home values will continue to appreciate there. Also: Since they’re still in the process of relocating, they plan to put the house up for rent for the next year.
Bailey and his wife bought a house in the neighborhood in 2015. They recently sold it and moved to a larger place nearby. They listed their original house for $879,000. It received four offers and sold in February for $921,000. “The interest in that house is what tipped us off to the fact that 4th Street might do better than we thought,” he says.
To be fair, 919 4th Street was not a run-of-the-mill flip, which also helps explain its sale price. Bailey’s company worked on the place for a year, nearly doubling its square-footage and using high-end materials such as white-oak flooring, status-brand kitchen appliances, and custom cabinetry. And though they added a floor to the original rowhouse, the “pop-up” is set back from the facade and not visible from the street.
Take a look around for yourself.