UrbanTurf Reader Asks: Which Property Will Have the Better Resale Value?

by Mark Wellborn


In this installment of UrbanTurf Reader Asks, a reader who has narrowed her property search down to two condos wonders which has the better investment potential: a large three-bedroom with parking in Petworth or a smaller two-bedroom without parking in Dupont Circle.

I have narrowed my search for a new condo down to two fairly different properties. The first is an 1,800 square-foot three-bedroom condo in Petworth that has been renovated, has a back deck, an off-street parking space and is about four blocks from the Metro. The second is a 1,000 square-foot two-bedroom condo in Dupont Circle with no parking and no outdoor space. Both these properties are in the same price point, but my plan is to sell whichever property I buy in the next 5-7 years. So, based on the descriptions, which property will have the better resale value?

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This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/urbanturf_reader_asks_which_property_will_have_the_better_resale_value/1201


  1. Emil said at 2:02 pm on Tuesday August 4, 2009:

    Seeing that both of the properties are at the same price, I think you want to also look at more than resale value.
    If you will spend less money commuting, sell your car, and only rent zipcars, you may save even more money in dupont. You could also supplement your income and help pay for your Petworth mortgage by renting out the extra bedroom. I really think it is important to look at Petworth’s growth potential. In the next 2-3 years I see the area becoming the next U street for the 25-35 crowd with many apartments and condos being developed. That being said, “prime” real estate will still be in downtown because of location. But a smart buyer will figure the cost of street parking (parking tickets) and rising condo fees in older buildings into a purchase and thus I would likely go for the Petworth location.  Best of luck!

  1. benji said at 2:11 pm on Tuesday August 4, 2009:

    As much as I love Petworth, the Dupont property will still have better resale value in five years. Dupont is central and established and that is not changing anytime soon. Petworth is a great neighborhood, but its lack of public trnaportation, restaurants and bars is a strike against it in this debate.

  1. B said at 2:13 pm on Tuesday August 4, 2009:

    Dupont is probably a safer buy.  People will always want to live in Dupont.  However, safe is not necessarily the best money maker.  Are you risk adverse or a gambler, cause no one has a crystal ball.

  1. Lauren said at 3:58 pm on Tuesday August 4, 2009:

    I think the more important question is where you’d prefer to live for the next 5-7 years, but if you are going to think about the decision in terms of appreciation potential, I would consider that most people don’t move to Petworth to live in a condo. So if you are going to buy there, I would say buy a 3br rowhouse, which you should also be able to get for the price of a 2br Dupont condo.

  1. Eli said at 4:34 pm on Tuesday August 4, 2009:

    I agree with Lauren: if you’re going to get a condo, get one in Dupont and not Petworth.  If you can afford a 3BR condo in Petworth, save a little longer and just buy a rowhouse there.

    @Emil - I don’t see Petworth ever being like U St.  It’s just a totally different infrastructure and mix of variables.  Will it commercialize over the next several years?  Definitely.  But nothing like U St.

  1. aj said at 10:47 am on Wednesday August 5, 2009:

    I was recently in the same position and I went with Dupont.  I will personally enjoy living there, I can always find tenants if I move away from the city, and while it may not double or triple in value over the next few years, I am pretty sure I won’t lose my money either!  I think Petwork has some great investment potential but agree with Lauren, people who move to Petworth do so b/c they can get a *house* not a condo.  And people looking for parking can find affordable condos in Glover Park or Cathedral areas and not have to put up with the ‘transitioning’ that Petworth is still going through.

  1. chp said at 11:02 am on Wednesday August 5, 2009:

    A 3BR condo is kind of a rare thing, and though people tend to move to Petworth to buy houses, there will always be people who want the security of a Master Insurance Policy and an association that takes care of things for them.

    Personally, having lived in a condo in Petworth the last 3 years, I think that an investment in a good-sized condo near the metro with parking has much much more potential reward/return than buying a tiny place with no parking in Dupont.

    Neighborhood-wise, Dupont is already overpriced, Petworth is a good deal. Chances are that the close-to-metro Petworth values are only going up with all the development going on down there. You certainly wouldn’t LOSE money, which is a risk I think you might be taking in Dupont.

  1. stoor said at 3:24 pm on Wednesday August 5, 2009:

    Better chance for appreciation, definitely the Petworth condo, without a doubt. Dupont has appreciated/“gentrified” and without a doubt will hold it’s value and probably appreciate a bit more with its location.

    Your Petworth condo is 4 blocks from a metro which is great and will help in the unit’s appreciation.  “Gentrification” continues to move east from U Street and there are “plans” for a development for the Howard U crowd.  More condos are being developed in the east U Street/Petworth area meaning there will be more businesses and development (assumption).

    Dupont is the safe play and probably the easier rent, but Petworth has more potential and you could certainly see at least 50% appreciation in the next 5-7 years.

    If the Floridian can get their act together that will help.

    Disclaimer: I am in the process of buying a condo in one of the newer developments near the U Street/Petworth area.

  1. ns said at 4:10 pm on Wednesday August 5, 2009:

    What is the U Street/Petworth area? There’s an entire neighborhood between U Street and Petworth.

  1. Dave said at 10:16 pm on Wednesday August 5, 2009:

    All things being equal (ie your happiness level is the same with both units) There is little question the Petworth property offers the higher ROI prospect.  It will rise in value more quickly.  Dupont is likely to stay stable.  Small risk Petworth drops - very small.  As to hipness - the owners of Marvin and the Gibson are putting in a restaurant there.  There’s a new YES market.  These businesses pay market analysts big bucks for a reason.  In general, I would council that buying a home for purposes of investment return is not a great idea.  It is not a investment diversified strategy (i assume u don’t have a ton more money you’re investing elsewhere).  I’d look closely at the costs of owning (including the closing costs, transfer taxes, etc) as compared to rental over a 5-7 year period.  Check out the NYT rent vs own calculator where you can make different assumptions about appreciation and length of stay.

  1. stoor said at 10:34 pm on Wednesday August 5, 2009:

    NS—-oops! i meant U street and Shaw…near 9th and Florida Ave.

  1. paul said at 7:37 am on Saturday August 8, 2009:

    Dupont, hand’s down. It’s not even a contest. I’m a real estate agent so I know!

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