Comp and Circumstance: Renovated Rowhouses in Petworth Vs. H Street

by Rebecca Ortega

Comp and Circumstance presents two listings of roughly similar prices in DC and considers the pros and cons of each. This week, we compare two properties in the rapidly-changing neighborhoods of Petworth and H Street. The price point is between $519,000 and $529,000. Let us know in the comments which of the two you feel is the better buy.

See all our past Comp and Circumstance features here.


One Block from Petworth Redevelopment (and the Metro)

This week’s Comp and Circumstance considers two newly renovated properties in “up-and-coming” neighborhoods. 3726 9th Street NW is a large three-bedroom, 3.5-bath row home situated one block from the Georgia Avenue-Petworth Metro station and the epicenter of redevelopment for the Petworth neighborhood.


The development of Columbia Heights over the past several years has spread north into Petworth, and most of the activity centers around the Metro station. Developers and investors have pounced on the opportunity to capitalize on the potential economic growth by investing in blighted properties, and renovating them in the hopes of attracting DC home buyers.

The 9th Street property is one of these top-to-bottom renovations, gutted and refurbished into quite an attractive property. At $529,000 with 2,500 square feet of usable living space, the property looks to be a great buy. The home has hardwood floors, high ceilings, and the usual granite and stainless steel renovation package in the kitchen. Interesting architectural details in the master bedroom and off-street garage parking make it stand out.

The real question behind the value of this property is how quickly Petworth redevelops. This home’s location may one day be ideal, should the development on and around Georgia Avenue continue in the right direction; the question is whether that day is five years away, or fifteen. Safety concerns linger, too, as Petworth has not changed quite as drastically as Columbia Heights just to the south.


Just Off H Street

606 Tennessee Ave NE is a very similar property to the Petworth three-bedroom. It is a newly renovated row home, with generous (albeit less) living space in an up-and-coming neighborhood. The property has a fully-finished basement, three bedrooms, three full baths, a patio and off-street parking.


The property is also within very close walking distance of the ever-expanding bar and restaurant scene along H Street NE. The city has invested considerably in the economic restoration of H Street, including a massive streetscape project and providing tax incentives to local business owners to spur continued growth.

Many people consider investment in this area a sure thing, as the proof of continued development can be seen almost daily. Furthermore, another bump in appreciation is expected when the streetcar delivers in 2012.

Like the Petworth property, however, the transitional feel to this area might put off some buyers. Also, there is no Metro within walking distance, so residents will need to walk, drive or take the bus anywhere they are hoping to go.

So, what do you think? Would you invest in the spacious Petworth property or do you feel the momentum on H Street is too good to pass up? Let us know your preference in the comments below.

  3726 9th Street NW 606 Tennessee Avenue NE
Bedrooms 3 3
Bathrooms 3.5 3
Square footage 2,500 2,083
Pros Garage parking, one block from Petworth Metro, top-to-bottom renovations, very spacious Top-to-bottom renovations, wood-burning fireplace, patio, off-street parking, blocks from vibrant H Street nightlife
Cons Safety concerns, very limited outdoor space, may not appreciate as expected Safety concerns, small third bedroom, not close to Metro
Price $529,000 $519,000
Neighborhood Petworth H Street NE
Links 3726 9th Street NWMap 606 Tennessee Avenue NEMap

See other articles related to: petworth, h street, comp and circumstance

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/comp_and_circumstance_renovated_rowhouses_in_petworth_vs._h_street/2362


  1. Dom said at 8:45 am on Wednesday August 11, 2010:

    I think you have to pick the Petworth home.  It’s so close to Metro, 25% more living space than the H St home, and only $10K more.

  1. El said at 8:59 am on Wednesday August 11, 2010:

    My vote would be H Street. You get more space with the Petworth home, but there is so much more to do along H Street.

  1. Brian said at 9:05 am on Wednesday August 11, 2010:

    Petworth. Living close to the metro and (fingers crossed) lower Georgia Avenue could become a commericial center just like H street, especially with the planned streetcar.

  1. Jimmy said at 9:24 am on Wednesday August 11, 2010:

    Personally, looking at these homes as investments, I think there’s just way more in the pipeline for the H Street area than Petworth in terms of development. Not to mention that if the economic/develompent impact of the streetcar is anything here like it has been in other cities (see: Portland), the H Street area is in for some HUGE changes.

  1. Seriously? said at 9:25 am on Wednesday August 11, 2010:

    How exactly is Petworth less safe than H Street? Unlike Columbia Heights or H Street, Petworth is still a community of families and senior citizens. I don’t think the fact that a Target hasn’t been dropped in the middle is a drawback.

  1. Rock said at 9:28 am on Wednesday August 11, 2010:

    Long term, Petworth feels like a better investment. It’s geographically connected to Columbia Heights and the emerging eastern part of the U Street corridor, whereas H Street feels little bit plopped down in the middle of nowhere in terms of other development.  My concern for H is that it’s more of a destination for bars and restaurants, vs. a place people really want to live, and at some point the novelty of making that trek could wear off.

  1. Matt said at 9:33 am on Wednesday August 11, 2010:

    @ Seriously—Who said/where does it say that Petworth is less safe than H Street?

  1. Kim said at 9:53 am on Wednesday August 11, 2010:

    Matt, I was wondering the same thing.

    Also, @Seriously and @Rock, have either of your spent a lot of time in the H Street area other than at the bars and restaurants? There are a ton of families and senior citizens living in the area (both long-term residents and newer residents that are kind of making H Street an extension of the Hill).

    I would pick the H Street property. The only drawback (to me) is the distance from a metro station and half of the time I find buses more reliable and more pleasant than the metro anyway.

  1. PetworthRes said at 9:56 am on Wednesday August 11, 2010:

    “Safety concerns linger, too, as Petworth has not changed quite as drastically as Columbia Heights just to the south.”

    If you check the DC Crime Map and statistics (http://crimemap.dc.gov) you’ll find that Petworth has significantly less crime than many neighboring more renovated and more expensive areas. I researched it thoroughly when I bought in the neighborhood and found that crime decreased block-by-block steadily from the Columbia Heights metro to the Petworth metro, and if you go further north an east (into the Petworth neighborhood proper) the crime rates go even lower. The Washington Post had an article about this about a year ago that stated that Petworth has the same level of violent crime as Dupont Circle and a fraction of the property crime. Plus, the whole area around the metro just began streetscape improvements that should drastically improve the appearance of Georgia Ave.

  1. easy one said at 10:48 am on Wednesday August 11, 2010:

    H St property.  Victorian homes hold their value better than Wardmans, and it has better curb appeal.  Though both homes are renovated, the Victorian has more character (exposed brick on fireplace, you could potentially re-open the fireplace in the upstairs bedroom). 

    H St has bars/restuarants/incoming public transit, moreso than Petworth at the moment.  And the trolley expansion is slated for H St before Petworth’s line as well.  As for the argument that Columbia Heights is expanding into Petworth, well Capitol Hill is expanding into H St.  I personally think of Capitol Hill as a 1st class neighborhood whereas Columbia Heights just feels cheap/2nd rate.  The Target/Super giant/strip mall vibe doesn’t help.

  1. DC said at 10:54 am on Wednesday August 11, 2010:

    I would also pick H St.  Little smaller, but I like that house better, and the homes in that area are all really beautiful Victorians if you ever drive by.

    As for being “plopped down in the middle of nowhere”, it’s 1 mile to the Capitol/Mall.  H St feels just outside downtown to me, whereas Petworth is the one that feels really far.  Ever drive up 7th /Georgia Ave?  It’s like a war zone in some parts

  1. SL said at 11:11 am on Wednesday August 11, 2010:

    Just a comment on the Petworth house - it’s actually in Columbia Heights, but very close to the Petworth metro (the Petworth neighbhood is north of the metro, east of Georgia Ave). The two metro stops are only 8 blocks apart from each other, so this house is within a 10 minute walk of the 11th Street stip of restaurants and maybe 15 min to the CH metro. Plus it’s right by new development in Petworth…right now the house might seem to be on the edge of a developed area but within 5 years should be in the middle of everything. Plus, I actually think it’s nice to be somewhat removed from all the congestion in Columbia Heights but still reach it easily when you need to.

    I agree both the houses are in rapidly developing areas and offer a lot. I think your preference may depend on where you have lived before - like many of my friends in the Petworth neighborhood I moved there from Adams Morgan, and have always gravitated towards NW. However, I have friends on the Hill who love it and wouldn’t consider living anywhere else. It’s really hard to see how you could go wrong with either house, and it’s more a matter of personal preference.

  1. Lauren said at 11:31 am on Wednesday August 11, 2010:

    I was going to make similar points to SL about the Petworth house also being in close proximity to everything in Columbia Heights. I think Spring Rd is the border so I don’t think it’s technically *in* CH, but it doesn’t matter because it’s close to everything either way. Also being 2 stops away from everything on U St is something to consider.

    Also very true that how you approach this depends on where you’ve lived before - I probably do have a NW bias, but it’s funny from the comments how it seems like we’re living in 2 different cities.

    Finally, streetcars are one thing but I think being 1 block from a Metro station is practically priceless in terms of accessibility to other parts of the city/region (and the Green/Yellow lines seem to have the fewest problems).

  1. H Street Landlord said at 11:59 am on Wednesday August 11, 2010:

    “As for being “plopped down in the middle of nowhere”, it’s 1 mile to the Capitol/Mall.”

    Agreed. How is it in the middle of nowhere if it is one mile from the US Capitol?

    I would definitely go with the H Street property. The Petworth one is very appealing as well though.

  1. jag said at 1:43 pm on Wednesday August 11, 2010:

    If anyone buys these banking on a return then they’re just crazy. That said, the H St. facade and interior charm increases the likelihood that some out-of-town doofus 5 years from now would fall in love with the property and not understand the “transitional” “safety concerns” the area is going to deal with for decades to come.

  1. NE said at 3:51 pm on Wednesday August 11, 2010:

    I used to live in NW and now live in NE.  I actually feel safer in the H St area than I did in Columbia Heights.  H St strikes me as residential; if you walk the side streets, there are always neighbors out and about.  People sit on their porches and say hello as you walk by.  Columbia Heights always had more sketchy characters around, especially at nighttime.

    These “transitional safety concerns” are by NW ppl who don’t live in NE, or haven’t recently lived there.  You can’t speak to something you don’t know about first hand.  As always, before buying you should walk the area at day AND night.  I think if more NW ppl did this they’d be surprised to find how peaceful NE is at night.

  1. Ian said at 5:57 pm on Wednesday August 11, 2010:

    Capitol Hill area is so much more pleasant (imho) to walk around and live in. I would pick the “H St” property.

  1. sophie said at 7:52 am on Thursday August 12, 2010:

    Both look nice, but I’d go with the Petworth house.  There’s more space, and it comes with a garage.  I also just really like the feel of that neighborhood.  I believe that the continuing development of surrounding areas (namely Columbia Heights) will help further the development of the Petworth neighborhood.

  1. Petworth fan said at 3:45 pm on Thursday August 12, 2010:

    For me, Petworth wins hands down. H St just doesn’t do it for me at all. I’ll take an established community of families over a slowly gentrifying “strip” any day of the week. I’d rather not live near all those bars, etc. and it’s way too far from metro for my taste. I just wouldn’t buy over there, no matter the price…
    Don’t get me wrong, I totally love NE, but i’d buy in Brookland before i bought around H St. Just think Petworth & Brookland are better fits for my tastes.

    But to each his own… Both will find happy buyers, i’m sure.

  1. Andi said at 4:38 pm on Thursday August 12, 2010:

    I would suggest checking safety stats before making personal generalizations. According to the DC crime stats website, for the last year, crime is lower around this H St address than this Petworth address and the crime stats for 14th & Irving Sts NW in Columbia Heights are twice that of these addresses. Just because a neighborhood is considered a “good” neighborhood, has had more development or has more expensive property, does not mean the crime statistics are lower.

  1. Andi said at 4:47 pm on Thursday August 12, 2010:

    BTW - based on the DC site, Brookland has about 1/4 of the crime rate of both Petworth and H St. And Woodridge is even less.

  1. dan said at 7:02 pm on Thursday August 12, 2010:

    interesting convo…i think the petworth house is much nicer.  however, i live 4 houses down from the h st. house.  we moved from 16th and U sts NW two years ago and had the same “NW bias.”  however, the feel in this area is very much like the hill,  very neighbor-y w/ lots of families…its drastically different than the feel you get when you are actually on h street (which is a commercial strip).  that said, its so great to live near h street, i love walking two blocks to what i consider the best area to eat/drink in around DC (i like the vibe of the bars, very laid back for the most part).

    also, i ride my bike to the office in chinatown in under 15 mins.

    so, prognosis= h street…its like buying on U street a few yrs before it popped.  in 5 yrs h street will have matured, not sure if petworth is on the same pace (?).

  1. Scott said at 9:10 pm on Thursday August 12, 2010:

    H Street. Both look nice, but there isn’t anything going into Petworth like there is on H right now. The Rosedale Rec Center two blocks away is slated to be completely rebuilt with a new pool and library this year.

  1. David said at 8:07 am on Friday August 13, 2010:

    All, I am the ANC commissioner representing that area on 9th Street.  SL had good points.  It is also worth noting that in October the city will break ground on a new community center to replace what is currently behind the home.  It will be a nice improvement.  We are also nearing redevelopment of the Safeway less than a block from that property, and several new restaurant and retail options are moving ahead (as well as our new farmer’s market three blocks to the north).  We have had a theft from autos issue on that block, but MPD has made great srides in tackling that issue.  .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  1. a said at 9:32 am on Friday August 13, 2010:

    Victorian homes hold their value better than Wardmans
    what is you evidence for that?

  1. Erin said at 10:23 am on Friday August 13, 2010:

    I’ve lived in Columbia Heights, Logan Circle and now in NE right off of H St. I’ve experienced crime personally in each neighborhood. I’ve also checked the crime maps. There are similar statics in both neighborhoods. Crime is unfortunately something that goes along with the territory of living in a city like DC. I’m not suggesting anyone get used to it. I’m simply noting that these are real factors that come into play when deciding on where to buy a house. Is it safe? Do I want to bring my children into this environment? The answer for both of these neighborhoods at this particular point in time is maybe not. Yes - both properties are good investments. I think that given time, both areas are going to see a lot of new development and improvements across the board. Safeways, rec centers, police presence, etc. But are you, the home buyer of either of these places, willing to wait that out? That’s the wager here, and that’s how these prices are set. Moderately. Because it isn’t a sure bet just yet. Also - whoever thinks that $500K is expensive for a 3 bd, 3 bth place clearly lives in Ohio. Welcome to DC folks! It’s expensive.

  1. west said at 10:33 am on Friday August 13, 2010:

    well, to be fair Erin, to most people FROM DC $500,000 is really expensive. its only been an inflated market for a short number of years. and houses along h and in petworth have hit 500,000 only very recently. i would say you have to be pretty new to the are to think that is normal.

    even with that said, most properties in dc are still under 500,000.

  1. Kate said at 10:35 am on Friday August 13, 2010:

    The H st house’s virtual tour claims 5 bedrooms—not sure what to think of that.

  1. David said at 7:46 am on Tuesday August 17, 2010:

    H Street.  Once the H Street construction project’s done next summer, that place will change far more dramatically than the slow and steady improvements taking place around Petworth.  Additionally, probably take just 10 mins or so to walk from there to Lincoln Park.

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