UrbanTurf Reader Asks: Will Brentwood Turn Around?

by Mark Wellborn

From an UrbanTurf reader:

“I am a resident of the Brentwood neighborhood in NE DC. Do you know what the future holds for this neighborhood? Any rumors, rumblings, anything?

I purchased a rehabbed condo back in 2006 because 1) I needed a place to live because I was sick and tired of paying rent and the increases every year and the seller was very generous and easy to deal with on the purchase; 2) I thought it’s a neighborhood in transition and maybe it will turnaround in a couple of years and become a great place to live but it’s been slow going and now I’m nervous that I’ve made a mistake in my purchase.

If you happen to obtain any information about the future of this area, please let me know. I want to know if I’ve paid $249,000 to live in [a transitional neighborhood] forever or should I just use it as a rental and move on somewhere else.”

For those of you familiar with Brentwood, please let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

For those unfamiliar with Brentwood, it’s a smaller neighborhood in Northeast DC bounded by Rhode Island Avenue to the north and New York to the south. See the map plus Brentwood market stats below, both courtesy of Redfin.

Brentwood borders
Brentwood housing market snapshot

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This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/urbanturf_reader_asks_will_brentwood_turn_around/652


  1. Stu said at 12:36 am on Friday March 13, 2009:

    Since he lives there, he might know better than me, but here are my impressions.  A lot… a lot… will depend on the recovery of our global economy.  If a long severe recession occurs, then I don’t see much progress being made in the near future.  I think the north side of Rhode Island Ave is progressing due to the proximity to metro, the spillover from the desirability of Brookland, and the presence of handsome-looking single family homes.  The south side, east of the shopping center, has a massive public housing project that (Saratoga) that isn’t going away any time within the next decade as well as lots of ugly 30’s-50’s attached homes.  It will depress the values of the surrounding area indefinitely. 

    The wild card in this, the make-or-break if you will, is the development planned (and ready to break ground whenever financing is available (yikes)) right at Rhode Island Metro.  It’s a very well-planned development that will spur development and change the perception of the surrounding area.  The city needs to make it happen, but I don’t think there’s the political will.  People should be pushing for it.

    My prediction, fwiw, is that the area will continue improve slowly, and almost imperceptibly for someone who lives there.  But in 5 years, you will barely be able to recognize the place in other ways.  Small incremental changes add up.  Best of luck with your investment, but then again I hope you were comfortable/happy living there since it should ALWAYS be a home first and an investment a distant, distant second.  I also encourage you to work to improve our neighborhood by volunteering, going to ANC and association meetings, cleaning up trash, calling police when you see illicit activities, etc.

  1. NE Resident said at 9:32 am on Friday March 13, 2009:

    I live kind of in Brentwood—but just north of Rhode Island Ave.  I have lived in the neighborhood for about 3 years as well.  I think that in the long term, your investment will be good.  But 3 years isn’t long term—10-15 years is.  In my 3 years I have seen the neighborhood improve—houses being fixed up, less garbage on my block, and new neighbors.  However, I agree that you won’t see radical change unless you A)the development at the metro does occur, or B)the Rhode Island Ave Great Streets iniative really changes the look and feel of the street.

    Personally I am content to live in a slowly improving neighborhood that is affordable and has pontial in the future.

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