Comp and Circumstance: Kalorama Convenience vs. H Street Potential

by Rebecca Ortega

Comp and Circumstance presents two “for-sale” homes of roughly similar prices in DC and compares the pros and cons of each. This week, we look at two distinctly different properties in the Kalorama and H Street NE neighborhoods. The price point is between $475,000 and $480,000. Let us know in the comments section below which of the two you feel is the better buy.

See all our past Comp and Circumstance features here.

Living room at 2107 S Street NW

Two-Bedroom Renovated Kalorama Condo

This week’s Comp and Circumstance considers two distinctly different homes in two distinctly different neighborhoods.

2107 S Street NW

2107 S Street NW, Unit C is a terrace level condo in a Beaux Arts (characterized by details such as arched windows and pediments) building in Kalorama. The renovated two-bedroom, one-bath unit makes good use of its 969 square feet. The unit also has ample storage space, a wood-burning fireplace, a wine cooler, hardwood floors throughout, crown molding and spacious bedrooms. However, the dining area is a little narrow and as a terrace level unit it doesn’t get the natural light of one on an upper floor. The condo fees are about $320 a month, a portion of which pays for maintenance of shared outdoor space. The list price does not include parking, which in this extremely busy neighborhood will mean frustrating trips around the block to find a spot if the buyer has a car. That said, it is about a five-minute walk from the Dupont Circle Metro. Overall, the unit is a good buy in a highly desirable neighborhood where similarly-sized properties sell in the $500 and $600s.

Living room at 1219 I Street NE

Two-Level Row Home Just Off H Street

1219 I Street NE

Aside from the price, 1219 I Street NE is a fairly different property than 2107 S Street NW. It is a two-level row home near the H Street Corridor, a popular area, but not as desirable to most buyers as Kalorama. The 1,089 square-foot property is spread out on two levels and the exposed brick and 12-foot ceilings make the home feel even larger than it is.

The kitchen has been renovated, there are two full bathrooms upstairs including a spa-like master bath featuring separate tub and shower (a rarity in older row homes), and a small backyard patio. Like the S Street unit, the home does not have a parking space, and the patio backs up onto a not-so-picturesque alleyway. However, for those wanting to invest in the H Street area, the location is ideal, just around the corner from the neighborhood’s main drag.

So, what do you think? Which of these distinctly different properties would you buy? In your mind, who is the ideal buyer? Are the properties priced correctly? Let us know your preference in the comments below.

  2107 S Street NW, Unit C 1219 I Street NE
Bedrooms 2 2
Bathrooms 1 2.5
Square footage 969 1,089
Pros Nice renovations and use of a small space, 4 blocks to Dupont Circle, excellent amenities in established DC neighborhood Spa bath, exposed brick, located in up-and-coming neighborhood with appreciation potential
Cons Street parking, terrace unit, little natural light Neighborhood still developing, not that close to Metro
Price $475,000 $480,000
Neighborhood Kalorama H Street NE
Links 2107 S Street NW, Unit CMap 1219 I Street NEMap

See other articles related to: kalorama, h street corridor, dclofts, comp and circumstance

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/comp_and_circumstance_kalorama_convenience_vs_h_street_potential/2456


  1. PND said at 11:23 pm on Wednesday September 8, 2010:

    I have been looking at the S Street property…thanks for bringing it to everyone’s attention UrbanTurf! smile

  1. ash said at 12:51 am on Thursday September 9, 2010:

    I just saw some girls get in a knife fight on h st its ghetto

  1. jag said at 1:11 am on Thursday September 9, 2010:

    S St. - easy. H St isn’t even close to the same league as Dupont and that’ll be the same 5, 10, and 25 years from now, no matter how many trolley lines they build.

  1. Mike said at 8:56 am on Thursday September 9, 2010:

    I’m usually a fan of the Capitol Hill area, and I think the H street area will turn into something good down the road.  However, the H street property is on the “wrong side” of H, and will be slower to develop.  The Kalorama property looks much nicer, and the location has so much going for it.  It’s a beautiful building too.  Immediate public transportation is the icing on the cake.

    I think the Kalorama place is priced pretty well, the H street one is probably a tad ambitious.

  1. DC said at 9:03 am on Thursday September 9, 2010:

    H st. only because I have a car.  If you purchased the S st. property and had a car you are fool.  Also, I rather not have to pay 320 to maintain a 10ft yard space.

  1. SL said at 9:49 am on Thursday September 9, 2010:

    I think it’s more a life stage decision between these two properties. If you’re younger, single, or kids are far in the future, I’d go for the Kalorama property - everything in walking distance and a great historic building. 

    The H St. location would probably be a better option for a couple thinking about starting a family (though at only 2BRs and 1000 sq ft not a lot of room to spread out - to be fair though I think this house is small for the area and the price is a little high for the size).

    Just for comparison’s sake, you could probably get a renovated house in Petworth close to the metro for that price with 3 or 4 bedrooms, a bigger yard, a full basement, and between 1500-2000 sq ft. You might be able to find better deals in the H St area though if that’s your preference (I think Petworth and the north-of-H-St areas are pretty similar in terms of pluses and minuses - mainly comes down to if you are a Hill fan or prefer NW).

  1. Meredith said at 10:22 am on Thursday September 9, 2010:

    I agree with SL in that the property you choose is a lifestyle decision, however the H Street property will likely have a better return on investment in the next 5 to 10 years.

  1. Kim said at 10:26 am on Thursday September 9, 2010:

    I’d go with the H Street property. As with most of these comparisons, there’s no one “right” answer that applies to everyone and I think it’s odd when people try to act as if there is.

    Ash, I saw two people get in a pretty bad fight in Dupont a few nights ago. I guess it’s “ghetto,” too.

  1. Jimmy said at 11:33 am on Thursday September 9, 2010:

    Ridiculous comments about “ghetto” areas aside (I mean, let’s face it, you’re probably more likely to get mugged in the AM/Kalorama area than H Street), the “lifestyle” argument is a good one.  Both places would be good for young coulpes with very young kids and both have great nightlife scense nearby. 

    I would like to address the “wrong side of H” comment. This is most certainly the perception, but it’s getting less and less true. Especailly as it pertains to those blocks of I Street that are closer to the commercial areas on H (ie, 1100-1400).  So, based on that perception, you get deals like this, whereas you’d have to pay $50,000 more for the exact same place just 3 block south. Silly as hell, yes, but that seems to be how the DC real estate market goes.

    But, the “North of H” stigma is likely to go away fairly soon as housing in that little “wedge” above H (but south of Florida) continues to see the influx of young professionals and families.  So, in terms of investment, I’d say the H Street property clearly wins out.

  1. dzad said at 12:41 pm on Thursday September 9, 2010:

    H St has a long way to go.  Go there when the sun goes down and see for yourself if you feel safe.  It is now 2010 and U St is finally where it was thought or projected to be 5 years ago.  Plus U St area was connected to Dupont and Adams Morgan.  There is nothing connected or adjacent to H St which is great to live in.  I give H St. till 2020 to make it to where U St. today if it continues to grow and doesn’t lose momentum.  I remember back in 2005 people were excited about H St. Not much has changed there.  Not being negative, being realistic.

  1. Jimmy said at 1:09 pm on Thursday September 9, 2010:

    Um, sorry, dzad, but “not much has changed there” is a statement only someone who has never been there during the six year period in question would make.

    While it certainly has a ways to go in some respects to be U Street(which is the only accurate part of your assertion), it has come a long way since 2008, let alone 2005. And to suggest in such a blanket fashion that there’s NOTHING “connected or adjacent to” H Street that is “great to live in” is wildly inaccurate at best, insulting to those living in that area at worst.

  1. SL said at 1:54 pm on Thursday September 9, 2010:

    Regarding the comments about H Street and crime, if you check out http:\\crimemap.dc.gov you’ll find that your assertion really isn’t true - H Street has less crime than many more “arrived” neighborhoods like Columbia Heights or U Street (where frankly, I would love to live if I could have afforded a house there). These blanket assertions that whole neighborhoods are too sketchy for consideration are not borne out when you actually take the time to compare the crime statistics. Plus they also sound a lot more like segregated 1995 Washington when everyone would say to newcomers not to live east of 16th Street or that only the red line was safe. My takeaway after looking into these statistics a LOT is that most of these up an coming areas (H Street, Petworth, Shaw, Hill East) have similar or better crime stats than many areas seen as more desirable or safe (Adams Morgan, Dupont, Mt. Pleasant, Columbia Heights, U Street). My conclusion: be informed about crime and don’t write off neighborhoods based on popular opinions about safety.

  1. jag said at 3:41 pm on Thursday September 9, 2010:

    I don’t really disagree with you SL, but I don’t think anyone would claim that CH or U St were safe. An of course there’s more crime in those areas because the density is much higher than H St. I think crime is only 1 issue though - I’d pick the S St. condo because the neighborhood amenities are 2nd to none within the city. H St won’t be catching up anytime soon and in some ways it never will (e.g. metro).

  1. H Street Landlord said at 5:40 pm on Thursday September 9, 2010:

    Jag, I agree in certain instances re: density, but it’s hard to argue that there is not a lot of density on H, especially Thurs to Sun

  1. swester said at 8:26 pm on Thursday September 9, 2010:

    H St. can be sort of a ghost town after dark, apart from the few clusters of hipster/yuppie bars/clubs.  There are still way too many abandoned buildings and empty storefronts, and crime statistics aside, H St. just doesn’t feel safe after dark. The lack of metro makes it feel even more isolated.

    I’d say within 5 years it could be something like U Street, but by being an early adopter, you’re essentially betting on that trajectory. And let’s face it - the economy is not what is was from 2000-2008, when both Columbia Heights AND U St. came into their own. The wait could be longer than you expect.

  1. Wrong side of H said at 9:12 pm on Thursday September 9, 2010:

    I apparently live on the wrong side of H Street, in what some refer to as the “ghetto”. My wife and I have felt save living in this ‘hood for years. We’re surrounded by families young and old from a range of economic backgrounds (some of whom have lived in the neighborhood for generations), interns, and generally nice people. We’ve met everyone around our block and ALL of our neighbors (including the random people we pass on the street) are quick to smile and greet one another. People who like Kalorama are probably never going to like H Street - it’s just too edgy and not trendy enough with chain restaurants and fashionable bars - and that’s just fine with those of us who have found the area to be a comfortable, walkable community. I’m not really sure what some people think we are waiting for, but H Street is never going to be like U Street - and that’s a good thing.

  1. Jordan said at 12:28 am on Friday September 10, 2010:

    It is my humble assertion that the Dupont condo is VERY reasonable for that area, and the H street row house is priced on the high side, given the sq footage. So that makes the comparison a bit skewed. Only a few months ago I was seeing 3 bedroom vic row houses going in the $390’s out on H street. This one is priced aggresively.

  1. kck said at 9:00 am on Friday September 10, 2010:

    Why wouldn’t you call this Richardsonian Romanesque in terms of style? Not sure it’s beaux arts…just saying.

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