Co-ops in DC? Welcome to Capitol Hill Tower

by Mark Wellborn

Before there were really any residential developments in the Capitol Riverfront, there was Capitol Hill Tower. The 344-unit development started selling a few years ago, and is one of the only new construction co-op buildings that you will find in the city. With 80 percent of the homes sold, the building is proving to be one of the popular residential developments in DC’s newest neighborhood.

The development is located about a block from the Navy Yard Metro, and we headed down to the area earlier this week to take a tour.

Co-ops in DC? Welcome to Capitol Hill Tower: Figure 1

Co-ops in DC? Welcome to Capitol Hill Tower: Figure 2

We were impressed. Capitol Hill Tower offers a lot of space, services and amenities at very low prices. One-bedrooms start at $267,000 and two-bedrooms at $390,000, so even without a pool, fitness center or courtyard, those would be competitive prices in the city. However, Capitol Hill Tower has all those amenities, as well as billiard and party rooms and a 24-hour front desk and concierge services. Underground parking is also available, but not included in a unit’s list price.

Co-ops in DC? Welcome to Capitol Hill Tower: Figure 3

Co-ops in DC? Welcome to Capitol Hill Tower: Figure 4
Living Room in Two-Bedroom Unit

However, the main draw of the development for many prospective buyers is that the units are co-ops, not condos. There are a number of advantages to owning a co-op rather than a condo in DC:

  1. You do not have to pay transfer tax at closing, meaning lower closing costs.
  2. Real estate taxes are included in the monthly building fees.
  3. You actually finance considerably less than the purchase price. There is an underlying mortgage on most co-op buildings, including Capitol Hill Towers. That means that a portion of the purchase price for your unit is your home’s share of the overall building loan. This underlying mortgage is paid down through your monthly fees, and translates to you financing considerably less than the purchase price and putting down less equity when buying. For example, if you are buying a $300,000 unit, and $130,000 of the price is the underlying mortgage then the down payment you make would be a percentage of the remaining amount of the purchase price to finance. So, in this case that would be $170,000 meaning that you would only need to pony up $17,000 if you were putting up 10 percent.

That was somewhat long-winded, so to show you with numbers, here are the financing figures for a 700 square-foot co-op that we saw which was listed for $267,400.

Price: $267,400
Underlying Mortgage: $118,863
Net Price: $148,357
10% Down Payment: $14,835
Amount to Finance: $133,521
Estimated monthly payments (including property taxes, monthly building fees, and underlying mortgage): Approx. $1,800

Unlike most co-ops, Capitol Hill Tower does not require co-op board approval to buy, sell or rent your home.

If you would like more info about the Capitol Riverfront development, click here.

See other articles related to: dclofts

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/coops_in_dc_welcome_to_capitol_hill_tower/959


  1. Rob Burlingham said at 4:51 pm on Thursday May 28, 2009:
    My wife and I just moved to Capitol Hill Tower and love the neighborhood. Great press! We both work on the Hill and it's close to work and really convenient. We love the new beer garden across from National Stadium and can't wait for all the rest that's planned to come. Cheers!
  1. csm said at 5:19 pm on Thursday May 28, 2009:
    I viewed this property and was a bit confused by the variations in the units. For example, one unit would have stainless steel appliances while another your standard black appliances. In another unit, the bathroom cabinets were this cheesy white color. I truly didn't understand the discrepancies. I thought that the building must have been a conversion. I don't expect every unit to look the same but let's keep them consistent in regards to quality and presentation.
  1. rp said at 5:33 pm on Thursday May 28, 2009:
    csm -- It's not actually that confusing, units on the 10th floor and above have dark floors and cabinets, stainless steel appliances, wood cabinets in the bathrooms, and higher ceilings. The 9th floor and below have light wood flooring and cabinets, black appliances, white bathroom cabinets, and high (but not as high as upper floors) ceilings. The sales office should have told you that.
  1. csm said at 5:49 pm on Thursday May 28, 2009:
    RP- thanks. The sales office didn't. The guy gave me a sheet and said that it was a self-guided tour. He then pointed me to the door to the lobby.
  1. AM said at 6:14 pm on Thursday May 28, 2009:
    I really liked the building and the price was great, but am now getting transferred out of state. I was there during a weekend open house, and the sales office was busy, so they were allowing people to view a few homes as a typical open house. When I finished, the agent was able to answer my questions and then went back up with me to view and discuss a couple homes I liked the most. Such a shame I'm moving.
  1. betsy o. said at 6:29 pm on Thursday May 28, 2009:
    The sales guys seemed very informative and are hot too!
  1. mmh said at 10:00 pm on Saturday May 30, 2009:
    GREAT building and a really great price. This neighborhood will only go up in value, buying now would be smart. The advantage of this co-op is there are no sale restrictions unlike most condos in the city.
  1. Hannah said at 9:13 pm on Sunday May 31, 2009:
    I heard they had really high condo fees. Does anyone know anything about that?
  1. kl said at 3:26 pm on Tuesday June 2, 2009:
    Actually, the coop fees are fairly low if viewed properly. My coop fee of $781 includes property tax, condo fee and 1/3 of the mortgage. Most condos require that you pay each of those separately. My total monthly cost on a one bedroom, with parking, is under $2000. Local one bedrooms rentals with parking are $1800-$1900 a month. Here's an estimated breakdown for mine: Condo Fee: $205 Property Tax: $200 Underlying Mortgage: $376 Does that make sense?
  1. danielle d said at 5:21 pm on Tuesday June 2, 2009:
    I moved into the building when it first opened in July 2006. I have nothing but positive things to say about the building, the great amenities, and my neighbors. It is a very social building with lots of families and pet owners. The layout of my studio is the best in the city! If you come visit the neighborhood be sure to talk to the residents.
  1. DVS said at 3:22 pm on Wednesday June 3, 2009:
    I lived in the building from July 2007 - May of last year. Overall I really enjoyed my stay there but I was quite unhappy with the parking situation. On many occasions I couldn't find a space - even though I paid for it - and the parking attendants were less than attentive. Sometimes I would have to leave my keys with them and when I went to retrieve my car, the attendant would be on break or missing, leaving me waiting for 10 minutes or longer. The building is great but the parking was horrible. Has this changed? Anyone else?
  1. CHT Apartment said at 3:44 pm on Wednesday June 3, 2009:
    Sadly, I have to move, but I've loved living in CHT. There are great neighbors, good amenities, and fabulous access to Capitol Hill and the ballpark. http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/apa/1202561631.html
  1. SAK said at 3:54 pm on Wednesday June 3, 2009:
    To Kl, I am looking to purchase a one bedroom unit in this building. How much do you pay per month for a other bills such as electric, cable etc.
  1. Sarah said at 8:22 pm on Friday June 5, 2009:
    I found a listing for a one-bedroom in this building. The listing price seemed low but the monthly fee seemed abnormally high ($1239). Any idea what's going on here?
  1. Will Johnston said at 12:57 am on Thursday June 18, 2009:
    Hey Sarah, I think the fee goes to help pay the underlying mortgage on the whole building. The listing price might actually not represent what you need to take out a mortgage for. For a better explanation, see the end of the post above.
  1. Nathalie said at 2:48 am on Friday June 19, 2009:
    I will be moving to the DC area very soon and has been looking for some condos until I found this one. Unfortunately, living 5 hours away does not give me the luxury to go in the vicinity to visit. The company advertises a unit with balcony, the largest one it seems. Does it really have a balcony? It is mentioned on the floor plan but no actual picture to show the layout. Also, is the parking included in the purchasing price or is that something to be considered on the side as well. Thank you for any answer. Sincerely.
  1. decider2 said at 9:25 pm on Sunday March 21, 2010:
    .....My coop fee of $781 includes property tax, condo fee and 1/3 of the mortgage. Here’s an estimated breakdown for mine: Condo Fee: $205 Property Tax: $200 Underlying Mortgage: $376 So, are any of these fees tax-deductable?

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