UT Reader Asks: Priced Out of 14th Street, What Are My Options?

by Shilpi Paul

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In this installment of UrbanTurf Reader Asks, a DC resident who had hoped to live on the bustling 14th Street Corridor finds himself priced out and looking for other options.

A recent article on Greater Greater Washington about the increasingly posh 14th Street Corridor made me realize that, even after years of saving, I probably can’t afford to live on the corridor. A couple years ago, I thought I would probably buy a condo somewhere along the avenue but, with the speed of development, I don’t think I can find anything in my price range anymore.

Where should I look next? I am not all that inclined to head up to Columbia Heights, but I hear good things about 11th Street. Bloomingdale is a little too far east for my liking and it seems like it is primarily townhouses, rather than condos. Thanks for any ideas!

Readers, what do you think? Post your thoughts in the comments section. If you would like to submit a question for UrbanTurf Reader Asks, send an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/ut_reader_asks_im_priced_out_of_14th_street._where_should_i_live/7385

27 Comments

  1. Sorosh said at 11:46 am on Tuesday July 30, 2013:

    I think 9th Street NW is a good alternative or somewhere in Shaw. I faced a similar issue when buying about a year ago and ended up buying a condo in between Shaw and Bloomingdale.

    The problem is that you are going to have to go pretty far east to see any real notable drop in price.

    Good luck!

  1. Melissa said at 11:56 am on Tuesday July 30, 2013:

    I like the 11th Street idea in Columbia Heights. Some of my favorite restaurants are up there (Maple and Room 11) and I feel like the addition of places like The Coupe have invigorated the area. Plus, it is not nearly as hectic as 14th Street.

  1. Monica said at 11:57 am on Tuesday July 30, 2013:

    Look at Anacostia.  So much closer in to the center of DC.
    It is shame that this area of DC is still so “far” from the minds of most people looking to live in DC.

    Time to get this area moving. It will take the pressure of the overly heated real estate market.

  1. Sherman Circle said at 12:09 pm on Tuesday July 30, 2013:

    Trulia’s heat map shows average, median, and price per square foot. Based on a $ per square foot of space, it looks like Eckington, Truxton and Petworth/Parkview seem still be in the $360-$390 range.

    Based on recent sales, renovated/flipped properties in Petworth are going closer to the $400-$500 $sq foot range these days.

    http://www.trulia.com/home_prices/District_Of_Columbia/Washington-heat_map/

  1. Michael said at 12:18 pm on Tuesday July 30, 2013:

    I’m going to start calling the strip between the circle and U “Lower 14th” because that market is different that Columbia Heights or “upper 14th”.

    That being said, Columbia Heights is a good bet for affordability (your milage may vary). 

    I just rant a search in MRIS for 1 bedrooms on 14th south of U.  There’s only 2, and going for 435 and 640k.

    North of U, to Columbia Heights metro, there are 5 1-bedrooms ranging from 245-475k. 

    If you’d like other options, drop me a line and let me know.  It all depends on what you (and your lender) consider affordable.

  1. Billy said at 12:20 pm on Tuesday July 30, 2013:

    They are not inclined to live in Columbia Heights but they want to live on the 14th St Corrider? I live in Columbia Heights off 14th and it’s a super quick bus or metro ride to U St., Logan Circle and Dupont. In addition, Columbia Heights is a great mix of local and commerical retailers.  Makes no sense to me.

  1. C said at 12:50 pm on Tuesday July 30, 2013:

    What is the average price/sq feet in DC RE sales?  Are they all that different in Logan/14th Street (or, lower 14th, as someone said)?  When I’ve looked at listing across the NW quadrant (more or less, although including some in NE and SW and SE), I seem to see a lot averaging about $500/sq ft, no matter the neighborhood.  I assume that many are renovated, but not all of them, some are just ambitiously priced.  I see homes in Dupont/Logan/even Georgetown for approx 500/sq ft.  I also see homes (many that have been re-done or flipped) in other neighborhoods (Petworth, Columbia Heights, Bloomingdale. NoMa, H Street, Hill) that are also on the market for 500/sq ft.  I’m not so sure that Logan/14/lower 14 is that different than other neighborhoods in terms of the RE market and pricing out at 500/sq ft.  Love some informed views on this, though.

  1. Mary said at 12:51 pm on Tuesday July 30, 2013:

    Southwest/Waterfront? Condos are more affordable, nice river views, Arena stage, walkable to the ball park. A couple cafes and restaurants (Catina Marina, Jenny’s Asian Fusion, Station 4, Z Burger and an Indian place is coming soon). Metro and Safeway right there. The fish market’s fun. Future development’s meant to bring a lot more retail and residential and a concert hall venue that the 9:30 Club is in talks to manage, but it’s pretty nice now and really close to the night life options in Penn Quarter and Capitol Hill.

  1. mona said at 1:03 pm on Tuesday July 30, 2013:

    Maybe you should rethink how you approach buying property. Looks like your going for trendy areas but you don’t have the cash to get in them once they are already defined as “Trendy”. Maybe try looking for places that are up and coming and are going to be the next “Trendy” place. If you figure out how to do that let us all know. This is real estate the last thing you want is to buy while the neighbor is hot and at the top of the market. You know what they say buy low, sell high. Chasing trendy neighborhoods will have you spending a lot of money for a place that you may grow out of in a few years. If possible think about what you may need in a neighborhood for then the next 5 possibly 10 yrs. You may not always want noise and bars and being woken up at 2am when bars let out. You may want parking one day, you may want a little yard or more room. Can’t tell you where in the city that might be. It might not be in the city and your budget may force you out of the city. Try giving it some more thought on what you really want out of a property. North on 14th street isn’t in the middle of everything but you could get more bang for your buck and still be less then a 1 mile away. Bloomingdale may be further east then your taste but the homes are big Victorians that are only found in a few select places in the city. It is also growing very trendy in the past years and seems like a new restaurant is opening every month. Anacostia’s time is coming, may not be today or tomorrow but it is one of the last places to buy property at reasonable prices and probably where you will get your best ROI if you wait it out. Reality is most of NW and Capital hill may be out of your reach if your looking for trendy. Your going to have to get creative and step out of your comfort zone.

  1. C said at 1:13 pm on Tuesday July 30, 2013:

    mona, I get that you’re a cheerleader for Bloomingdale but please be realistic about it.  It is far east, compared to what the UT reader describes wanting.  Bloomingdale homes are not mostly all big Victorians.  There are no true Victorians in DC; that is a misnomer.  There are some pretty homes in Bloomingdale but not all of the homes would fit that description.  Fourteenth Street does have restaurants opening practically every week (and sometimes mutliples within a week or two).  Bloomingdale may not be for everyone.

  1. Jimbo said at 1:16 pm on Tuesday July 30, 2013:

    Bloomingdale has quite a few condos, but most of them are in “boutique” refabbed row houses rather than large all-inclusive buildings.  There’s a building at 2nd and Florida that’s currently being renovated into a bunch 1BR condos that may be worth checking out. 

    My guess is that Truxton Circle and Bloomingdale are your best bets for relative affordability while still being somewhat close-in.

  1. saladman8283 said at 1:39 pm on Tuesday July 30, 2013:

    I agree with Mary and Mona.  Southwest/Waterfront is on the cusp of becoming a great neighborhood but people haven’t begun buying up investment properties yet.  You’re near several Metro stops, the Mall, the neighborhood by Verizon Center, and a quick hop to NoVa and National Airport (if that’s important).  Check out the redevelopment plans for that neighborhood.

  1. Logan said at 1:55 pm on Tuesday July 30, 2013:

    PG County has some real bargains.

  1. Anon said at 2:49 pm on Tuesday July 30, 2013:

    It would be helpful to know what characteristics about 14th Street are attractive to the person asking the question and an estimate of their budget. If your priority is to be somewhere trendy maybe it makes more sense for you to keep renting and invest your money in something other than real estate - it depends on your priorities. It’s hard to tell from the limited information in the question.

  1. Chris Hamilton said at 3:24 pm on Tuesday July 30, 2013:

    Go east! LeDroit, Bloomingdale, Truxton, even Eckington. Still close enough to walk to everything that is 14th Street. I live in a condo at 2nd and W called McGill Row (http://mcgillrow.com/) - units available - that is very reasonably priced. A 12-block walk is NOT too far. And with CaBi stations everywhere 14th Street (as well as 17th) is very close. If you go to other parts of the city, you’ll have a harder time walking to 14th. Although CaBi makes everything closer. I consider where I live great because I can walk to U Street, 14th Street, 17th Street, 11th Street and still be a bit away from the hub bub. And Florida Avenue and Rhode Island Avenues in LeDroit and Bloomingdale are booming with new restaurants and bars. Go east!!

  1. JB said at 3:25 pm on Tuesday July 30, 2013:

    I don’t understand why people do not like Columbia Heights, especially if you want to be close to 14th St.  Columbia Heights is just a quick walk, cab, metro, bike, or bus ride up the road. Columbia Heights also is a very diverse area, with great food, a lot of convenient stores (both big and small) and has great public transportation.  I was lucky enough to buy 3 years ago in the high 300’s and now my home is worth the high 400’s.  Columbia Heights, 11th ST, Petworth, Park View, etc…. all of these neighborhoods are the next to get dramatically better in the next 5-10 years.

  1. Beebe said at 3:30 pm on Tuesday July 30, 2013:

    I don’t understand why people do not like Columbia Heights

    Too ghetto.

  1. Charles said at 3:56 pm on Tuesday July 30, 2013:

    Walkable downtown Silver Spring is terrific!  Cleaner, safer, more walkable than many close in DC neighborhoods and a considerable $ savings! I’m very pleased with my purchase in Sept. 2012.

  1. Justin S said at 4:06 pm on Tuesday July 30, 2013:

    I’d recommend moving to Philly.

  1. Sharon said at 5:51 pm on Tuesday July 30, 2013:

    I also work along 14th Street, just north of Thomas Circle.  When I moved here from out of state recently, I’d originally hoped to live close by, and thought I’d rent in the neighborhood—but also realized quickly that I was priced out of the local market.  However, I’m thrilled to have ended up purchasing a wonderful home after looking farther north eastward in the Woodridge area along the Rhode Island corridor.  There, I could finally locate a fully renovated farmhouse with great yard for my dog, deck, and a virtual park feel around the home…AND the large Langdon Park nearby. As other readers have said, the joy is that this neighborhood WILL likely develop trendiness, and buyers now will continue to experience the growth in value.  It is a true diamond of a neighborhood, but still only 15 minutes away from 14th Street, with very reasonable traffic flow!

  1. Seriously? said at 5:58 pm on Tuesday July 30, 2013:

    Sharon, you sound like an investor who’s looking to offload homes in Woodridge.  I would try harder next time!

    Ps. “very reasonable traffic flow” is simply not true.  Try driving downtown down RIA during rush hour and you will see what I’m talking about.

  1. Judith Claire said at 7:45 pm on Tuesday July 30, 2013:

    Mary, Yes, Waterfront SW is a wonderful place to live. It worked for Vice President Humphrey, Justice Marshall, Justice Souter and Justice Powell. I am so grateful they weren’t looking for trendy! How about using…. au courant?

  1. A.S. said at 9:19 pm on Tuesday July 30, 2013:

    One thing about 14th Street is that, depending on how much you make, the Capital Manor Cooperative has units available for around 50k (1,070 per month which includes payments on an underlying mortgage, taxes, coop fees, and water/gas but not electric). I think you have to make under 50-60k a year for an individual or 70k if a couple. It’s located at 14th and W Street. Common laundry room in the basement and not a lot of amenities but reasonably well maintained.

  1. JOHN HINES said at 8:50 am on Wednesday July 31, 2013:

    Definitely check out the SW Waterfront—NOT the area around the baseball stadium, but the area around Arena Stage.  There are some great late 60’s style condos in there that are still reasonably priced.  The big bonus is that there is a HUGE waterfront promenade only a few steps away.  The other bonus is the area is about to become hot because they are planning to redevelop the area.  Location is great.  It is waiting to be discovered!

  1. Workman said at 9:43 am on Wednesday July 31, 2013:

    The other bonus is the area is about to become hot because they are planning to redevelop the area.

    Just be prepared for years of construction noise/dirt/inconvenience.

  1. hma said at 10:14 am on Wednesday July 31, 2013:

    Same thing happened to us. We desperately wanted to stay in the 14th and U st area, but couldn’t afford the $1M+ for a house. So we moved up to 11th. It’s a great neighborhood and you can still very easily get down to 14th quickly.

  1. Payton Chung said at 6:12 pm on Wednesday July 31, 2013:

    I heartily agree with Mona: this individual needs to rethink their approach and have a more realistic “comfort zone.” S/he should either expand horizons to include places that aren’t already ultra-trendy, or get a really huge pay raise or win the lottery, or take those savings to a city where housing in ultra-trendy neighborhoods is less scarce (Montreal, Chicago, Philly, Berlin, Buenos Aires?), or stick with renting.

    Somehow, I doubt that someone “not all that inclined” to live in Columbia Heights (Walk Score 95) and who thinks Bloomingdale “a little too far” (0.9 mi. to Logan Circle) is ready to retire to Southwest.

    Also, um, Woodridge will never “develop trendiness.”

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