Rent vs. Buy: Glover Park

by Michele Lerner

Row Houses in Glover Park

Plenty of rent-versus-own calculators are available online to do a purely numbers-driven evaluation of whether you should buy a home or rent one. (The New York Times has a particularly good one.) But, as most buyers in search of a new home know, the decision to buy a home is not purely financial. It requires a long-term commitment to a home and a neighborhood.

Beginning with a look at Glover Park, UrbanTurf will work its way through the neighborhoods of the city to gather estimates of rent and home prices as well as the distinctive characteristics of each community.

The Neighborhood

Glover Park, located just north of Georgetown, extends along both sides of Wisconsin Avenue NW from Whitehaven Parkway to Calvert Street and northward on the western side of Wisconsin Avenue to Fulton Street. The western boundary of the neighborhood extends along 42nd Street adjacent to Glover-Archbold Park.

Photo courtesy TreyDanger

The neighborhood population is a mix of long-term residents, college students, single professionals and some young families who opt for the quiet neighborhood rather than moving to the suburbs.

For all that it has to offer, Glover Park is essentially in a Metro station “dead zone.” That said, the D2 bus line, which runs through Dupont Circle and on to Capitol Hill operates all day with rush hour service throughout the neighborhood every few minutes. A number of bus lines also run frequently up and down Wisconsin Avenue.

To Buy…

The homes in Glover Park are primarily row houses built in the 1920’s and 1930’s, which, depending on the condition and size, are priced from $600,000 to $800,000, according to Chris Jones, a realtor with Long & Foster and a Glover Park resident. The properties on the higher end of this range typically have three or four bedrooms, garages and upscale renovations. For example, this updated townhouse listed for $765,000 has four bedrooms, two full baths and a one-car garage. Conversely, this three-bedroom home that is not too far away but in need of some work is available for $100,000 less.

In addition to row houses, Glover Park is filled with condominiums that were converted from apartments in the 1970’s. Prices average between about $250,000 and $300,000 for a one-bedroom, one-bath unit, and two-bedroom units range from $350,000 to $450,000, although finding a unit this size for sale in the neighborhood is fairly difficult.

…Or To Rent?

Now let’s look at what renting in this area will cost you.

Based on an analysis of Craigslist apartment rentals from the past ten days, a one-bedroom apartment in the neighborhood rents for approximately $1,400 to $1,700 per month. Two-bedrooms will run you about $1,900 to $2,300, and the mid-point for renting a three-bedroom row house is about $3,200 per month.

To put these numbers in perspective from a buy-versus-rent standpoint, we look at a Glover Park one-bedroom, one-bath condo with parking that recently sold for $265,000 at 4000 Tunlaw Street NW. Monthly costs for this home are estimated at approximately $2,100 per month including the condo fee of $494, property taxes, condo insurance and principal and interest and private mortgage insurance on a loan of $251,750, which assumes an FHA-approved down payment of 5 percent, or $13,250. The building also has a number of amenities including a 24-hour front desk, a swimming pool, a roof deck and a convenience store.

By contrast, a similarly-sized one-bedroom home is estimated to rent for approximately $1,600 per month, a $500 monthly difference.

The Verdict

If you are looking for anything larger than a one-bedroom, the rent versus buy debate in Glover Park is fairly one-sided. You should buy. This would be a different story if there were more two-bedrooms for sale in the neighborhood, but as we noted above, we found that this size unit is fairly hard to come by. And if you are looking for a three or four-bedroom single-family home, chances are you have a family and plan to stay in the neighborhood for the foreseeable future.

See other articles related to: renting in dc, rent vs buy, home buying, glover park, dc home prices

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/rent_vs_buy_glover_park/1726


  1. SimonF said at 4:45 pm on Thursday January 28, 2010:

    Cool feature. I would particularly like to see this done for downtown neighborhoods.

  1. James said at 1:23 am on Friday January 29, 2010:

    No way.  GP is a youning’s scene.  You will outgrow it within a few years.  RENT RENT RENT!

  1. Jenny B said at 10:02 am on Friday January 29, 2010:

    This is a great feature! It would be helpful to have a breakdown of the numbers for the house-buying option, too.

  1. former Georgetowner said at 10:43 am on Friday January 29, 2010:

    It’s funny how things have changed in recent years wrt to the rent/buy dilemma.

    When my ex bought in 2002 in a Maryland suburb, his mortgage payment (incl tax, PMI) was around $200 less than the rent on an equivalent apartment.  And come tax time, he received several thousand dollars because of the mortgage interest deduction. 

    So 2002 wasn’t even that long ago, but it used to be that you got rewarded for saving money and having a good credit socre through lower housing costs vs rent.

    nowadays, the owning premium is $500 a month over renting for a 1 bedroom, and we are saying that it’s a good deal.  It’s kinda funny.

  1. SimonF said at 10:58 am on Friday January 29, 2010:

    @ former Georgetowner

    2002 and Maryland suburbs versus 2010 and DC neighborhood? Apples and oranges, in my opinion.

  1. Maria said at 12:31 pm on Friday January 29, 2010:

    Great feature!  After much internal debate, I have concluded that renting is the best option for my family right now.  We can rent the type home we are looking for at around $3,000 whereas our mortgage payment would be in the $4,000+ range.  Given we already have plenty of writeoffs from rental properties that we own, this one is a no brainer.  I just had to get over the false notion we’ve been conditioned to believe that being a homeowner is the way to go.

  1. Felicity said at 2:55 pm on Friday January 29, 2010:

    Interesting article and a great new feature. I’d love to hear from some Glover Park residents re: who your neighbors are—mainly college students or families? When I was visiting a friend in GP a few months ago, I couldn’t believe how late into the night her neighbors’ outdoor beer pong lasted. The police were called.
    Also, is the D2 really reliable? It’d have to be for me to live in a neighborhood so far from the Metro.

  1. Matt said at 6:10 pm on Friday January 29, 2010:

    I moved to Glover Park in 2004 after undergrad. 37th Street is like Frat Row. Every other house has four mid-20’s “professionals.” I hate that term, especially considering most residents, including myself, act like it’s college. You see the occasional walk-of-shame on Saturday mornings or Sunday afternoon keg race. It’s very safe. The only crimes committed are those not picking up after their dog, or the myth of the Georgetown cuddler. In my first GP rental house, there was a young couple with a 2 year old daughter. They were miserable and tried to make our lives miserable too by calling the police, complaining about us yelling during a Redskins game. Do yourself a favor, if you want to buy in an area, rent there first. If it’s for you, great, then buy. But don’t buy a house and expect renting neighbors to change just because you pay a mortgage.

  1. Simon Landau said at 11:33 am on Saturday January 30, 2010:

    Glover Park is an interesting area to consider investing in.  While it does not have all of the urban perks of living in a downtown neighborhood, it does provide residents a more secluded feel, with proximity to great restaurants and shopping.

  1. casey said at 12:00 pm on Saturday January 30, 2010:

    I moved to DC from Portland, OR this summer. I have lived in DC in the past and spent 6 months looking at homes in various DC neighborhoods. GP has a strong neighborhood association that cares a great deal about the neighborhood. It is close to restaurants, grocery stores, and I think the D2 connection works very well.  You can stroll into Georgetown quickly. It is a neighbrhood in which you feel very safe.  We have one of the best parks in DC and it is very dog friendly. All of the homes on 37th that sell are going to single families as they are a good price for the DC market.

  1. GloverParker said at 5:36 pm on Tuesday February 2, 2010:

    Totally agree with casey—while it’s true, 37th Street can be a bit of a party zone (particularly closer to the University in Burleith), the real neighborhood streets are mostly owner occupants, some of whom have lived in the neighborhood for decades. I walk three blocks and have my choice of two dozen restaurants, Whole Foods, a gas station, CVS, a hardware store and more. The D2 and D6 run through the neighborhood—not just along it—around the clock at very close intervals and there’s always the 30s and Circulator running down Wisconsin as an alternative. There are plenty of families with kids—enough to support the elementary school in the middle of neighborhood—and a huge expanse of parkland that backs up to many of us. It’s a great place to live.

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