Don’t Expect New Condos in Downtown Silver Spring Anytime Soon

by Will Smith

Downtown Silver Spring. Photo by faceless b.

Now that there are signs of life in the new condo market, prospective buyers are wondering what DC-area neighborhoods developers will pick for new projects. Unfortunately for those with their eye on Downtown Silver Spring, that area is probably low on the list.

Five condo projects delivered in Downtown Silver Spring during the condo boom from 2003 to 2006: The Aurora, The Crescent, The Silverton, 8045 Newell Street, and Mica Condominiums. All of those were new buildings save Mica, which was built as apartments in the 1970s then converted to condos in 2006.

The problem with the Downtown Silver Spring market now is that a large percentage of the recent condo sales are distressed properties, Mark Franceski, director of market research at real estate sales and marketing firm McWilliams|Ballard, told UrbanTurf. There have been 41 condo sales across those five buildings since the beginning of last year, and 19 of them were either foreclosures or short sales. As of last week, there were nine foreclosures and short sales on the market.

All that distressed activity has driven down average prices to around $275 per square foot. During the boom, the same condos were selling for $400 per square foot, which is the price range developers would look for now to justify starting a new project, according to Franceski. So prices would have to come up markedly before developers consider new projects in the area.

The silver lining for a would-be condo buyer in Downtown Silver Spring is that now could be a good time to buy, especially for those willing to endure the unpredictable process of buying a foreclosure or short sale. The inventory of distressed properties in the area could be absorbed in the next six to twelve months, after which presumably pricing will start to firm up and potentially increase.

For more UrbanTurf coverage of Downtown Silver Spring see:

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dont_expect_new_condos_in_downtown_silver_spring_anytime_soon/3177


  1. IA said at 3:28 pm on Wednesday March 16, 2011:

    I saw that they are building something called the Galaxy next to the Aurora condo building. I guess these are apartments?

    Great article. Didn’t know only about 40 units sold there since last year.

  1. jag said at 5:16 pm on Wednesday March 16, 2011:

    Galaxy is one of 4(?) large apartment buildings currently under construction in DTSS. There’s definitely a VERY limited number of condos for sale in 20910, probably because all the 2006 sales have people straddling the line between being underwater, but not enough to walk away.

  1. Dian said at 5:37 pm on Wednesday March 16, 2011:

    I thought the vacant lot that is next to the future DTSS Library was slated to become condos. Is that scraped?

  1. Mark @ MB said at 5:58 pm on Wednesday March 16, 2011:

    That may sound like not many, but those projects combine for almost 700 total units, so that’s not a huge amount of turnover. There were 41 sales since 2010, but only 34 in 2010, which was about 5% turnover for those buildings. Anywhere from 5-10% is pretty normal, and will be in the lower end of that range for established projects like these.

  1. jag said at 8:56 pm on Wednesday March 16, 2011:

    Dian, the DTSS library under construction is adjacent to the Crescent Condo. The vacant lot behind the Crescent will remain so until the library is built and the Purple Line path is finalized. Across the street (Fenton) from the library site is a church and parking lot that has just received the community’s blessing (if you consider East Silver Spring Civic Association a proper representation of “the community”) to be redeveloped into a mixed use residential/retail development. That redevelopment will happen well before the vacant site next to the library/Crescent is developed.

  1. IA said at 10:45 am on Thursday March 17, 2011:

    Jag, thanks for your input on this thread. I find it very valuable. In your opinion, is now a decent time to purchase one of these distressed properties?  <275$/sf sounds like a bargain.

  1. jag said at 12:08 pm on Thursday March 17, 2011:

    IA, I think DTSS is definitely on the rise, but whether prices start rising sooner rather than later remains to be seen. There’s still a lot of construction going on around town and the macro economy doesn’t convince me that the housing prices will start upwards anytime soon, so I think there’s definitely no rush to grab a property. The amount of new construction (1000+ apt units) will likely keep prices tame for the near/mid term.

    So yeah, there’s very little chance the prices will go down further, but I also don’t expect them to rise dramatically in the next 0-18 months either, IMHO.

  1. R said at 10:44 am on Tuesday June 25, 2013:

    The Aurora is also not a new building—it was built in the 40s and converted to condos in the mid-2000s.

Join the discussion

UrbanTurf now requires registration in order to post comments. Register here, or login below if you are already registered.

Click here if you forgot your password.

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »


Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »

Upcoming Seminars ▾